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Passions in Poetry

CA's Prop 8 struck down

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JenniferMaxwell
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0 posted 08-05-2010 03:56 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6ZdE08wcCU&feature=channel


Prop 8 Ruling:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/35374801/Prop-8-Ruling
JenniferMaxwell
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1 posted 08-05-2010 11:09 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

A few quotes from Walker’s ruling:

“Marriage in the United States has always been a civil matter. Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize marriages but not to determine who may enter or leave a civil marriage. Religious leaders may determine independently whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the relationship under state law..”

“A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION...”

And the one that gets to the heart of the matter:

“California's obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to "mandate [its] own moral code."

Bob K
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2 posted 08-06-2010 02:54 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     A victory for Civil Liberties.
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3 posted 08-06-2010 10:56 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Actually, how is it a victory for anything if a single judge, by himself, of his own volition, is able to tell 8 million people (the majority of the voters, by the way) that their vote is wrong, and doesn't matter?
If the government's appointee can nullify the thoughts of the majority of the people just because he wants to, and there is no recompense, then why have elections at all. I think we should just allow the judges and the government to decide what is right, and what is best, and to determine what we should think/feel. Perhaps Orwell was right... I mean...
It's not like this country is a Democratic Republic, or anything like that...
If we had a history of people voting for the issues and deciding their own laws- or voting for the people in congress to do that in their stead- then perhaps there would be a right for people to be upset at the fact that they voted, voiced their opinion, decided on the law they wanted, and then had the government tell them they were wrong and change their mind like a bunch of un-repentant children.
Then again, we must have that right, because there has never, in the history of the modern world, ever been a nation that disallowed their citizens the right to think and decide freely for themselves.

G-d Bless The United States Of Amerika

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "WHAT A RIDE

Bob K
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4 posted 08-06-2010 01:57 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I disagree, Ringo.

     The country is a democracy, but the choices that the people of that  Democracy can make are limited.  The limitiung factor is the Constitution, which the voters may change under certain specific conditions.

      Pure Democracy, without the keel of a constitution, can be a pretty chaotic thing, and the founders was very much against it.  They had a better understanding of Athenian History than we do.  They also had a very clear unbderstanding of the function the mob played in Roman politics (vox polulii, vox Dei) and how it helped bring about the end of the Roman Republic.  They were educated guys, in large, and they wanted no part of the mob ruling the country they were setting up.

     The founders were aware of a history that went back over 2000 years.  We are lucky here if our electorate remembers Vietnam.  The necessity of preservation of human rights makes no sense to them because very few people actually have an education with roots.  We are fortunate if we are trained to do jobs.  

     Judge Walker did not tell the voters of California that they are wrong.  (We, actually, since I am one of them.)  He said that the law was unconstitutional.  You can have many laws that people favor, such as Literacy tests, Poll taxes, neighborhood covenants and bills calling for religious discrimination.  That does not mean that they are constitutional.

     Our laws must not only be popular, Ringo.  That is not the only thing that determines whether a particular law will be the law of the land in this land of ours.  Populists forget that.
Denise
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5 posted 08-06-2010 03:27 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

We aren't a Democracy, we are a Republic.
Grinch
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6 posted 08-06-2010 03:45 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

If you want to be fussy the US is technically a Federal Constitutional Presidential Republic but Bob is quite correct regarding why popularity is a bad argument when it comes to enacting laws.

.
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7 posted 08-06-2010 09:03 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


      The distinction Denise is making is purely a modern invention, one that was not made at the time the constitution was written.  Pettifogging grade school teachers have been using the distinction to bully their students for years.  It's false.

     My copy of Johnson Defines Democracy as "One of the three forms of government; that in which the sovereign power is neither lodged in one man, nor in the nobles, but in the collective body of the people."

     Johnson defines Republick as "1) Commonwealth; state in which the power is lodged in more than one.  2) Common interest; the publick."

     In short, a distinction without a difference.

     If I recall correctly, the distinction came into being after the civil war.

     Johnson, whose first edition of  "The Dictionary" was published in 1755, was the authority that our Founders would have turned to to settle problems about word usage.  His was the standard English Language dictionary of the time, and as Englishmen, it is doubtful they would have considered writing or speaking differently.  The fad for an American Language and orthography didn't really crop up till the 19th Century.

    

    
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8 posted 08-08-2010 02:19 AM       View Profile for rachaelfuchsberger   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rachaelfuchsberger

I think it's about time that a Judge, who is sworn to uphold the LAW finally made the decision that the LAW set forth in the CONSTITUTION says is the right decision. It may not have been the popular decision, but it was the RIGHT one according to the LAW. It's about time that SOMEONE recognized not only the 14th ammendment, but the fact that ALL men are created EQUAL. And this hogwash that is spouted about gay marriage being an abomination against God, is exactly that. Hogwash. To those that want to spout off about it, check out in your precious bible, Matthew 7:1 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-14:4 then get back to me on that. Also, check out the part about SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE in the Constitution. You rightists and religious bible thumpers can't decide the morals for the rest of the nation. That's WHY the pilgrims left England and other European countries in the first place! To be free to practice whatever form of sanctity they CHOSE to! THINK, people!  

-Arana Darkwolf
Like a cat, I'll land on my feet. I always do.

Denise
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9 posted 08-08-2010 10:50 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

There is a big difference, Bob, and not a modern invention:

quote:
A Democracy

The chief characteristic and distinguishing feature of a Democracy is: Rule by Omnipotent Majority. In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man.

A Republic

A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate.
http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/aspects/demrep.html
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10 posted 08-11-2010 02:53 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Denise, the author of the book from which you have drawn your excerpt here has written his book, as the fuller explanation states when one follows up the reference at the bottom of the page, as a way of speaking against socialism.  Socialism had not been invented at the time the issues he wishes to discuss were first current, so he may be forgiven, I suppose, for building a somewhat distorted case.  His concerns appear to be more to make socialism sound illegitimate than to convey an actual history of events.

     In his last paragraph, however, he begins to deal with some of the problems he has tried to shuffle under the rug during the prior exposition.

quote:


It is noteworthy here that the above discussion, though brief, is sufficient to indicate the reasons why the label "Republic" has been misapplied in other countries to other and different forms of government throughout history. It has been greatly misunderstood and widely misused--for example as long ago as the time of Plato, when he wrote his celebrated volume, The Republic; in which he did not discuss anything governmental even remotely resembling--having essential characteristics of--a genuine Republic. Frequent reference is to be found, in the writings of the period of the framing of the Constitution for instance, to "the ancient republics," but in any such connection the term was used loosely--by way of contrast to a monarchy or to a Direct Democracy--often using the term in the sense merely of a system of Rule-by-Law featuring Representative government; as indicated, for example, by John Adams in his "Thoughts on Government" and by Madison in The Federalist numbers 10 and 39. But this is an incomplete definition because it can include a Representative Democracy, lacking a written Constitution limiting The Majority.





     Let's try to take these issues a bit at a time:

quote:

It is noteworthy here that the above discussion, though brief, is sufficient to indicate the reasons why the label "Republic" has been misapplied in other countries to other and different forms of government throughout history. It has been greatly misunderstood and widely misused--for example as long ago as the time of Plato, when he wrote his celebrated volume, The Republic; in which he did not discuss anything governmental even remotely resembling--having essential characteristics of--a genuine Republic.



     In fact Plato was using the word "Republic" in the way that it was first used.  It was not at all incorrect.  Plato more or less came up with the term.  Our author was trying to foist revisionist history on us by suggesting that Plato had made some sort of mistake.  

     In fact the use Plato made of the term "Republic," which was as a generic term for some sort of State was the way the word was used for 2000 years.  A generic state, for 2000 years was a Republic, and that was a perfectly genuine use for the word.  Your author was wrong.  He was talking about a use for the word that came long afterwards.  It was applied to many different forms of government because it actually meant many forms of government.

     The reason that Plato didn't discuss anything even remotely resembling "a genuine Republic," in your writer's terms, was because such a thing didn't exist at that time.
Plato's notion involved an aristocracy; as I said, it was a generic term for government, and might even include some monarchies.  The term wasn't misunderstood, any more than the word "perfect" was misunderstood in the constitution.  It simply was understood differently.  Among other notions, your author has no apparent understanding of the notion of linguistic drift.

quote:

Frequent reference is to be found, in the writings of the period of the framing of the Constitution for instance, to "the ancient republics," but in any such connection the term was used loosely--by way of contrast to a monarchy or to a Direct Democracy--often using the term in the sense merely of a system of Rule-by-Law . . .



     Your author is simply incorrect.  In fact Plato's Republic is a monarchy headed by a Philosopher King.  Republics were generics.

     He is right in suggesting that a Republic was a Rule by Law.

quote:

s indicated, for example, by John Adams in his "Thoughts on Government" and by Madison in The Federalist numbers 10 and 39. But this is an incomplete definition because it can include a Representative Democracy, lacking a written Constitution limiting The Majority.



     This would suggest that the author's definition of a Republic and that of the founders may not be in agreement, as indeed, it seems to me not to be in agreement.  Here the author suggests that the disagreement is somehow the fault of the founders.  I would suggest that it is not the fault of the founders, who had a pretty good idea of what they were talking about, and which seemed to fall pretty much in line with Johnson's notions of both "Democracy" and "Republic" as being rough synonyms at that time.  

     The author is upset with the founders because they have not confirmed his own notions about what the founders ought to have been thinking.  Alas, they were men of the 18th Century and their concerns were those of men of the Enlightenment, and they were limited by their point of view and their concerns.  They did not share the concerns the Anti-socialist point of view of the Author of Denise's rebuttal, though, who knows, they might have had they lived today.  One might always claim the likelihood, but the reality must always remain speculative.

     Myself, I l;like to think they'd be more sympathetic to the left, but I too must bow to reality.  I don't know either.
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Actually Plato used the word Politeia whence we get the word polity and (through French) policy.  Not sure why we persist with using the Latin translation "Republic", when we have "Polity/Policy" that comes from the exact Greek word that Plato himself used!
  

quote:
Politeia is the original title of the book by Plato now commonly known in English as The Republic. Cicero translated politeia as res publica (see also: De re publica), from which the modern word republic comes. Note that the meanings the ancient Romans attached to res publica were also multiple and only partially overlapping with the Greek politeia, and further that few of the multiple meanings of politeia or res publica are much of an equivalent to republic as it is understood in modern political science.
(From Wikipedia)
  


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12 posted 08-13-2010 02:13 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

It's interesting that, more often than not in online discussion of Prop 8 and the whole issue of "gay marriage", I notice that very few of the supposed majority in favour of the ban are prepared (or, I suspect, able) to stick their heads over their comfortable parapets and attempt to defend their position.

This, coupled with the very weak showing by the defendants' counsel in the recent proceedings in Perry et al v. Schwarzenegger et al, which I have substantially read, seems to bear out my view that the opinion of the majority is based upon a personal prejudice that they dare not articulate in public (or possibly even to themselves).

A sad state of affairs; or should I just say, a sad State.
JenniferMaxwell
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quote:
I notice that very few of the supposed majority in favour of the ban are prepared (or, I suspect, able) to stick their heads over their comfortable parapets and attempt to defend their position.

How few? How many should it take? If there were more, would that make them right? Would more voices change your own conclusions?

Or perhaps your logic is just very seriously flawed? If there is an established correlation between bigotry and silence, MB, I'd certainly like to see your sources.


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     I think the problem is that somewhere along the line folks have gotten used to saying "Let's vote on it!' reflexively, without considering whether everything is suitable.  The funding on a bill may be a matter for a vote, or a declaration of war.  However, we can't vote on how I feel about checkers, either the game or the dog.  That's my choice alone.

     And our government has put some things further from votes than others.

     The things called "Rights" tend to be almost automatically excluided from the vote.  I say almost because i can't think of a situation where we get to vote on whether somebody can have his rights abridged.  They're supposed to be there, period, within the limits of the constitution, and nobody's, especially no momentary majority is suppoosed to be able to take them away.

     Speak to me some other time about things like eminent domain, which puzzle me greatly.
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16 posted 08-14-2010 03:06 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Hi Jenn, nice to see you beavering away here .

Yo Ron, hope you are doing well, back soon on your points.

.....

Actually Bob, while I appreciate it is possibly not always desirable for statute to broadly follow the will of the majority, it is imv, vastly preferable if it does, especially in areas, such as this, that involve moral judgements (as opposed to, say, taxation law!).

If the law becomes too out of step with the will of the people, I would suppose that instability, and ultimately, discontent, revolution and anarchy might result.

My sadness about the current situation in California arises mainly because it appears that the majority are being forced to accept something that, despite the (to me, obvious) humanitarian case for it, they clearly don't want.  

It may be that, as in the past, an enlightened few in power need to lead the "ignorant" majority out of their fear and blindness into enlightenment by means of force: the force of law.  But in these civilised times one would have hoped that this wouldn't be necessary, and that education and tolerance would have superceded the necessity.

moonbeam
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17 posted 08-14-2010 04:41 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

How few? - "very few"; do numbers matter?  Few relative to the number who voted in favour of a ban.  Few, considering that the least they might do imo is attempt to give some coherent reasons for the trouble and bitterness they have caused.

How many should it take? - Well, I guess one with a good argument would be a start.  But what I was getting at was the sadness of the conclusion that one is drawn towards when no coherent argument emerges from a majority who vote for such an obviously unjust and discriminatory measure.  That conclusion would be avoided if even one sustainable argument was presented, and many supported it publicly.  It might not change my mind, it might not make it "right", but at least it would clothe the reprehensible action with a shred of decency and sincerity.

If there were more, would that make them right? - Not necessarily - any more than the outcome of the vote itself was "right".  But it would have tended to remove the suspicion that mere bigotry lay behind inaction.

Would more voices change your own conclusion? - No.  That's irrelevant, see above.

Silence = Bigotry?  "Logic", "Sources"?  

Well for a start "they" aren't silent.  Arguments in court have been attempted clearly, it's just that surprisingly few "ordinary" folk seem either able or willing to defend those arguments or even subscribe to them.  

It's ironic that one of the more important legal cases which dealt with the difficult area of silence = guilt was Griffin v.  California.  Prior to the case Griffin was convicted by a jury following a lead by the judge who asked them to take into account the silence of the defendant in determining his guilt or otherwise.  At the time Californian law permitted such a lead form the presiding judge.  Griffin v.  California overturned that position and ruled that it is a breach of the 5th for a judge to lead in such a manner that suggests to the jury that silence is evidence of guilt.  Thus at law in the US and indeed the UK it has since been the general position that silence does not imply guilt.  

My view is that there is a tension between the law on this point and, what the Court in the Griffin case called the "natural and irresistible" inclination of ordinary reasonable people to tend towards a presumption of guilt when a defendant relies upon the right of silence.

Interestingly the more heinous the crime and the more far reaching its effect on humanity, the more tenuous is the law's firmness in applying the principle - as in terrorism cases.   This in my view is a tacit recognition, even by the unemotional face of the Law, of that natural and irresistible inclination.

I have a natural and irresistible inclination to believe the worst of that majority of voters who voted for a ban on gay marriage when they stay silent as to their reasons.  Maybe that's my problem, my human frailty and my illogical stance.   .
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     My intention was to speak of "Rights" as in The Bill of Rights, Moonbean, not as in what is "right" and what is "wrong."  Perhaps I am misreading your comments here, but it seems to me that you may have read me as meaning "right," that way instead of  as in "Inalienable Rights."  These are supposed to be guaranteed by The Bill of Rights, and trump, hopefully, the changing moods of the citizenry.

     The provisions of the California Law, and probably the discriminatory measures taken against gays and lesbians as well, seem to me to violations of the equal protections clause in The Bill of Rights.

     That doesn't mean that these constitutional quarrels can't get complex.  Witness the various elements within the constitution that validated slavery.  A separate amendment was necessary to straighten that out and make it clear that, no, slavery was not supposed to be one of those things enshrined in the Constitution.  In that sense, in the sense that the Constitution is available for amendment, it is true that these rights are within range of the voters.  But the founders made it much more difficult than simply the actions of a single state.

     I should say that it is good to hear from you again, by the way.  That's more important than the contents of the post itself.
 
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