Saturday, February 28, 2004

Compelling Interest...

It takes some audacity to write about a topic one really doesn't know much about; that's at least twice as true when you're on the same playing field with people like Eugene Volokh.

My question, though, is about allowing homosexuals to marry.

I'm not an expert on constitutional law, but I don't recall anything about a right to marriage.
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is too thin a reed to lean on: every one of us
has or knows someone who has a desire to see legalized something which makes someone happy (eg, pot, drinking at 16, Farmer Bob and Woolly...)

I found the following item: "The US Supreme Court has affirmed what Justice Powell first said in the Bakke decision, namely, that diversity is a compelling interest for our government, our society, and colleges and universities." (Cited here) On the other hand, I found this line: "a fraud suit brought by the state is narrowly tailored to address the state’s compelling interest in preventing fraud." (The state was Illinois, but I can't say the quote specifically refers to Illinois or the 'state' in general. Cited
here ; scroll down to Monday March 3 2003.)

So, here's my (double edged) question: is there any compelling interest that would obligate the state to allow homosexuals to marry? And is there any compelling reason to not allow it?

My thought on the first side of the question is that the arguments for allowing it don't really carry much weight. "My life mate was dying in the hospital and I wasn't allowed to visit him!" Hey Pal, my mother checked herself into the hospital for depression and the hospital was legally not allowed to confirm or deny that she was there (at least until she gave her permission - imagine if
she'd fallen into a coma before she said okay.) Rights to hospital visits, inheritance, etc do not seem to be major reasons to create a marriage.

On the other hand, what about that "compelling interest in preventing fraud"? How many more phony marriages will we see involving people who want the green cards and people who are willing to make a phony marriage for a few dollars? How many marriages will take place so
one person can get the insurance benefits from another's employer?

I must get back to this, but I ma work right now, AND I WANT TO GO HOME.
Maybe more tomorrow; certainly in a day or two.

By the By, Ron Leavitt, the genius who gave us 'Married with Children' and the almost-as-good 'Unhappily Ever After' (is there anyone quite so attractive as Nikki Cox?) has a new show coming on this week, about the household staff working for an obnoxious rich family.

Also listened to Rossini's 'Italian Girl in Algiers' from the Metropolitan Opera this afternoon (nice to have them on the internet.) I thought the tenor who sang Lindoro was rather good.

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