Love Wins

The photos on the front page of the Washington Post are usually depressing. War, natural disasters, and other tragedies provide a seemingly endless stream of sad or horrifying images.

Not so this morning. When I picked up my paper, the images were joyful, depicting happy same-sex couples who were finally able to apply for marriage licenses in our nation’s capital. I went to the WaPo’s web site and discovered that it has a whole slide show of photos of happy couples. Here’s my favorite (note the poster):

I often tell my students that, in my humble opinion, one purpose of government is to help people be happy. The DC government did a good job on Wednesday.

28 thoughts on “Love Wins”

  1. That you teach your students that one purpose of gov’t is to help people be happy gave me pause. While I typically have a great deal of respect for your experience and opinion, I have to disagree with you on this. And the fact that you are passing it on to our kids is troubling to me.

    Even in this event there are two sides: by making some citizens happy, the gov’t has made other citizens sad – encroaching upon their traditional and long held ideals. Such is the way of central planning. So I hope you also teach your students that looking to the gov’t for their happiness will not only disappoint in the end, but along the way will probably necessitate a negative impact on others.

    I believe that an increasing reliance upon the gov’t for our happiness is a major contributor to our cultural malaise and, in my humble opinion, decline. I wish that the gov’t would lessen it’s presence in our lives and allow us to pursue happiness as we choose. I have the right to pursue happiness; I do not have a right to expect the gov’t to make me happy.

    1. To Tom below…youre right..the government should lesson its presence in our lives and allow us to “pursue happiness as WE choose”

      and that means ALL of us. the government shouldnt worry about who i want to love..MARRY and spend my life with.

  2. @Tom I agree that the government should stay out of the marriage business, but in defense of the blogger, it is nice to see people finally being allowed to pursue happiness. The gov’t shouldn’t have been keeping them from getting married in the first place.

  3. Amen. It did my heart good to see these photos.

    as for Tom’s exception to the government’s job being to make people happy, isn’t “promote the general Welfare” [from the Preamble to the US Constitution] simply another way of saying making people happier? It is a shame that some folks are made unhappy by the expansion of liberty and equality, but then, let’s face it, in the long term, their real happiness will not be affected on bit by their gay neighbors being granted marriage equality.

  4. There isn’t much that makes me misty, but this put a great big ol’ lump in my throat…from being happy for these people. I look forward to the day ALL AMERICANS have equality and tax-exempt organizations no longer are allowed to back legislation that discriminates against tax-paying citizens. Now THAT will be a real “Tea-Party”!

  5. I get so tired of people talking about traditions, dont they get what they call traditions used to be the weird and strange, but what people should be focusing on is the fact that Gay Str8 or what ever, 2 people in love is wonderful. I am glad they have made it where people of the same sex can get married. For to long i have seen Gays denied the simple benefit of being called spouse. You say they are not the bibles, way of a family. Well tell me does a father who sexually abuse his daugther, the bibles ideas of a family, a brother and sister having kids together. I have seen the ups and downs of both types of families and so far sorry to say the gays are showing more love and how to be a family then most hetero families.

    1. “Tradition” is just one of the many empty arguments employed by those opposed to marriage equality. All their arguments fall apart under scrutiny, because they are mere fronts for their real rationale: to use the state to implicitly assert that homosexuality is bad and homosexual relationships inferior to heterosexual relationships. And the underlying rationale for that objective is to comply with and maximize compliance of others with their religious doctrine.

      If anyone is interested in one of my many efforts to get those folks to actually support their arguments (which they never can), see http://archive.redstate.com/blogs/a_texan/2007/sep/20/a_social_conservative_responds_to_dobson_on_thompson#comment-525622 Important Note: Up until that point I had been on a very friendly basis with Gamecock (sometimes having email conversations about baseball as well as politics), and the nicknames I call him are friendly, based on inside jokes.

      By the way, how many of these vocal, active “defenders of marriage” are actively seeking no-fault divorce and other measures to make divorce (a real threat to marriage) more difficult legally? (not that I’d support such an effort, but if there were any consistency to their views, they would be focusing much more effort on that larger threat to marriage)

      1. Oh, I should note that I’m “BrooksRob” there. Or more precisely, I was. The main Redstate moderator banned me shortly after I pressed for an actual rational discussion of the issue (well, that plus I really irritated them by trying to disabuse them of their cherished myth that “tax cuts always [or at least generally] increase revenues”)

  6. Traditional marriage is a property arrangment, where the wife is the physical property of her husband. Social conservatives ignore this traditional definition of marriage because it is inconvenient for their argument. Historically, love was a minor consideration in marriage. That has shifted to the point that “traditional marriage” no longer exists in most western societies.

  7. Tom, what you must understand is that allowing gay couples to be equal in society in no way harms people who don’t like gays. What you assert to be an issue would only be an issue if the government were forcing anti-gay people to marry someone of the same sex. With all due respect, I’m getting tired of this proclamation that letting gay couples get married harms straight couples. That is false, false, false.

  8. Wearing a human hat, there should be no issue that government has a role to try to help people find their ‘happiness’. And the core tenent of capitalism is that all voluntary transactions or relationships, are mutually beneficial. I agree with that. But….

    Wearing an economist hat, if we dont have 2.3 kids and grow at 3% a year, our civilisation and our economy will collapse. It is completely appropriate for government to have a ‘bias’ in its public policy towards all choice activities that encourage 2.3 and 3. If those dont happen, all the love is moot. It seems to me that tolerance and respect are core to our values and should be honored, but for the state not to try to put a finger on the scale towards activities and behaviors which are necesary to the survival of the state, is not ‘wrong’

    1. JB, you seem to be ignoring our legal core values as embodied in the Bill of Rights, primary among which is equality under the law.

    2. JB also ignores the fact that the world is grossly overpopulated and we really don’t have a need at this point (or probably, any time in the near future, given medical science these days) for every single couple to repopulate at that rate – many reproduce over that rate anyway. Gay couples would not be incentivized to be straight by prohibiting marriage – if they were, that incentive would already be working. It isn’t… at most it creates broken families who contribute more to the ills of society than to the success of it. He also ignores the positive economic impact and stability that marriage brings to those families – for our general welfare.

    3. @JB. There are also other economic considerations that you are either overlooking due to lack of knowledge, or that you are ignoring intentionally. By granting marriage equality, the following economic benefits will occur:
      1) Savings in government expense through having fewer tax returns to process, since more couples who are married in fact would also then be married in the legal sense and able to file joint returns
      2) Fewer children on welfare due to the stability of more couples who are allowed to marry and place those children on their insurance coverage
      3) More homes that would be purchased since more couples would have more money to purchase homes with
      4) More weddings mean more work fo florists, caterers, formal wear shops, photographers, and wedding planners, gift registries, hairstylists, et al.
      5) More money to invest in the communities we live in since we would not be shelling out exorbitant amounts of filing fees and lawyers’ fees to gain the same rights and protections for our families that different-gendered couples are granted with a $20-$30 marriage license. In my area, for my husband and I to have the same protections that a male-female married couple ge for a $25 marriage license, just the filing fees for all the paperwork would cost us in excess of $15,000. And that is if we download the forms from the legal websites (which entails other fees) and file them ourselves. And lawyers average about $150 an hour to complete the paperwork, and the lowest quote we have gotten so far would average about another $25,000 for the lawyer. THis is money we could spend with local merchants who would then invest in other community merchants and stimulate the economy in our area better than a lawyer sending his or her children out of state to college.

    1. The same can be asked of straight couples, but it is not. How about we stop with the double standards here, and get the government out of everybody’s bedrooms once and for all. True conservatives do NOT want Big Brother in our bedrooms and in our homes, and yet by fighting against marriage equality, they are actually KEEPING our government in their own bedrooms as well as ours.

  9. Was it love that won or politicians bought by money and not reflecting the will of the people.

    1. Jane, this “will of the people” argument is getting old. To those who want a referendum on whether or not gay couples deserve marriage equality, I say matters of fairness and justice should not be subject to popular vote.

      Let’s look at another social fight over the rules of marriage.

      When the CA Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in 1948, 90% of Americans opposed it. By 1958, the number had increased and 94% of Americans disapproved of marriages between interracial couples. In 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality for interracial couples on a nationwide level, 72% still opposed it. It wasn’t until 1994 that these people were in the minority for the first time with 41% opposing and 45% approving.

      Thank God we have a constitution and other branches of government to set us right when we make mistakes.

      Sources:
      http://www.gallup.com/poll/28417/most-americans-approve-interracial-marriages.aspx
      1948 figure from Gail Mathabane, “Gays face same battle interracial couples fought,” USA Today, 2004-JAN-25.

      1. “matters of…justice should not be subject to popular vote”

        Bingo, that’s why I referenced Loving v. Virginia in my initial comment upthread and linked to the Wikipedia entry. Whenever I hear that stupid argument about majority preference I ask if the person would say the same about interracial marriage. Of course, they respond with either some diversionary non-response response or they say that race is different because “race isn’t a choice, but homosexuality is (or at least homosexual behavior and relationships)”. I respond that, even if we leave aside legitimate challenges to their premise, religion is a choice, as is political party affiliation, etc. — so should majority preference prevail if the majority wanted to exclude from legally-recognized marriage Jewish couples or inter-religious couples or Repblican/conservative couples or Democratic/liberal couples? ok, actually I don’t bother asking social conservatives about that last group…wouldn’t want to get an enthusiastic “You betcha!” 😉

        But as anyone interested can see by the example I provide via link in my other comment, it’s impossible to have a rational, logical discussion with opponents of marriage equality on this issue because they will consistently either evade questions (often responding with the mere pretense of an actual answer, via straw man, non sequitur, etc.) or will shift to some other, equally indefensible argument. And they do this because their arguments are all just fronts for their real rationale: to ensure that government continues to implicitly confirm and impose their religious doctrine by denying equal rights to same-sex couples.

  10. I am tired of hearing the phrase “will of the people” or “let us vote.” The only people that should be allowed to vote on this are the people that it affects. Let the same sex couples vote on whether or not they should make marriage for them a govt institution. Don’t let straight couples decide that. That would go against the very core principles of our constitution. A majority group should never decide what a minority group can and can’t do. If we left it up to a “will of the people” vote, then women would not be able to vote, blacks would still be slaves, and asians would not be able to marry US citizens. These things were all voted on, and lost. The court system is designed under the constitution to protect these small groups of people. People always say that when the courts don’t go their way, they were a bunch of activist judges. In truth, they are doing their jobs… to protect the minorities from majority rule. Anyone, or any law that keeps a small group of people at bay, is demonstrating discrimination, pure and simple.

  11. This is indeed all about government lessening its presence.

    If gays would like to marry and priests or other authorities would marry them, who is the government to stand in the way of their personal and spiritual choices?

    To the cynical comment about love or lust, I’d point out that more conservative areas have far higher rates of teen pregnancy and divorce. Such a comment would better be directed towards the couples consisting of the self-professed devout.

  12. I just want to congratulate all the new husbands and wives and let them know that I, a straight married person, am doing all I can to change hearts and minds of those I know so that some day soon every person has the chance to marry his or her loving partner. It is a complete outrage that this basic civil liberty does not yet exist.

    Blessings and best wishes to you all!

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