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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Minnesota Legislature vs. Same Sex Couples

And Also: I'm wary when David Bernstein supports Obama on Israel policy, but his speech also impressed Josh Marshall and got a slight nod from Glenn Greenwald, so maybe it really was helpful. Good episode of Army Wives. More knowing relationship touches.

The place that passed the first statewide law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people now has its legislature submit this amendment to the voters, just meeting supermajority requirements:
"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"
Let me add that I got the text via Wikipedia since repeatedly news reports don't actually provide it. The particular text is important in cases like this. The text here includes "recognizing" out of state marriages. New York doesn't grant same sex marriage licenses but current recognizes out of state same sex marriages. So, this selective slap against same sex couples is worse than it could be.

These type of laws (higher law at that, since it's a state constitutional amendment) have real effect since they deny privileges and immunities along with being a slap in the face, but have a clear moral message too. They amount to a type of establishment of religion since regarding a matter with much religious significance, one specific side is getting special state endorsement. The same is true in regard to various abortion restrictions such as:
The bill mandates sonograms for women seeking abortions, and makes clear they can view the image and hear the fetal heart beat. If she [chooses] not to see the sonogram, a doctor must give her a detailed description of the fetus from what can be seen on a sonogram.
Opponents of abortion sometimes want to have it both ways. They claim that Roe v. Wade isn't really necessary since without it women would still have the ability (not right, of course) to have an abortion overall. But, they gladly support a myriad of regulations that effectively make having one difficult. If these laws have no concrete effect, are they then merely moral pronouncements? This isn't true, since they do, but even then it would be problematic on First Amendment grounds. As usual, I would note Justice Stevens covers this ground well.

Oh, the amendment passed the Minnesota Senate with four Republicans opposing it and two Democrats supporting it. As usual, this is not just a right and wrong issue. It is a political issue. This is what happens when you vote for Republicans these days. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has called in question the new Indiana defunding Planned Parenthood law given federal Medicaid rules. But one reason I'm not just going to being holding my nose when I vote for him in '12.