Talk:Federal Marriage Amendment/Archive 1

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Under the Campaign Issue header it reads:

"In general it appears that the American public does not consider the same-sex marriage issue to be a political priority; one poll showed it ranked 22nd in a list of 23 political issues, sorted by "importance" to the questionee"

I encourage you to read this from the AFP today: [[1]]

"Moral Values" was a big issue in this election, and the Gay Marriage Amendements effectively brought Bush's base to the polls in many swing states (Ohio for example..)

I've went ahead and edited for a more NPOV, I encourage people to add or edit. message me.

Howrealisreal 15:12, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Why is Russ Feingold listed under "see also"? --Goobergunch 21:31, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Don't see any reason so I'm removing, feel free to revert --Goobergunch 21:34, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Should gay rights activists' objections to the FMA be here, or in gay marriage or both?

They should at least be here. On the other page, you can put "Gay rights activists are opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment which they claim...." Just one sentence should be enough. Just a thought. -- RM


Kerry supporters have argued that his position is more in line with the sentiments of the majority of Americans at this time

Lol. Is this an intentional tongue-in-cheek attack on Kerry, or did the author not realize that it sounds that way? --Andreidude 18:59, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Gay rights POV

The article's lead sentence states:

The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a proposed change to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage legally as involving people of different sexes.

This makes it seems like it's a change from

  • recognizing only same-sex unions as "marriage"


  • allowing people of opposite sex to "marry" as well

Am I reading too much into this, or is it poorly worded?

I suspect someone placed this wording in there, deliberately. My 30 years' experience of talking with gays taught me the value of loaded and tricky language. Why, they're worse than communists!!

In particular, the amendement does NOT define marriage as "involving people of different sexes" but only as "the union of a man and a woman". I don't know who stuck in that involving stuff, but I'm too angry to look it up; just fix it, okay? --Uncle Ed 16:21, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

It's not the best wording, but it is technically accurate - the marriage would have to involve people of both sexes to be legal under the proposed wording. I'm not an expert on the subject - perhaps this should be listed as an article needing attention? It could do with some formatting changes too I feel. akaDruid 16:30, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

While it works well in normal circumstances, the wording becomes a bit of a problem if we include androgynes, non-operated intersexuals et cetera in the equation - though admittedly these groups are too small to be much of a factor. (Mind you, it is interesting to see where they will end up should the amendment pass. Male? Female? A freak show circus cage? But that's off-topic entirely.) --Kizor 16:41, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

POV in disguise

The article says:

Some supporters of the amendment claim that supporting only heterosexual marriage is strictly a matter of public interest. They believe that the government has an important role to promote heterosexual marriage because having and caring for children is vital to the public interest in various areas such as the economy. Although the existence of same-sex marriage would not interfere with the continued public support of heterosexual marriage, they assert that extending the principle of human rights to a previously excluded group in this area would constitute a case of legislating morality.

To me, this reads like an argument by opponents of the amendment. ":Akadruid|akaDruid]] 17:31, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Took at stab at NPOV and simplification. Davodd 19:01, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)
Nice work! I reckon this is a much better article now, and much more NPOV. I'm going to remove the NPOV message I put at the top. I hope this new edit covers the concerns raised above too. akaDruid 10:07, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

If you move this down ....

"To others, it is designed to defend the marriage of opposite-sex couples and to reaffirm that homosexual couples cannot marry."

Then you better move this down too ...

"To some, it is designed to restrict the right of marriage to opposite-sex couples and to deny that right to same-sex couples."

JDR 00:06, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The only problem with that JDR is that there is no "right of marriage". I know at least one person who would be contacting the White House about their demand for a government supplied spouse if there were. The "right of marriage" is a ficticious "right" made up by the homosexual community so they can claim that someone is denying them something and come off as being oppressed. Nice propaganda job they've done too, since it seems to be working in the mind of some otherwise sensible people. DavidR 15:37, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but do you know anything about how the constitution of this country is set up? All rights are given to people (even a right of marriage) unless specifically taken away by the government (ie, the right to murder). The constitution and the bill of rights wasn't created to "give rights to the people", it was written to "make sure the government cannot, under any circumstances, take certain rights away". Try being educated, instead of believing blatantly homophobic bullshit spewed by the "moral majority" of this country. In summation: ALL RIGHTS ARE GIVEN UNLESS SPECIFICALLY TAKEN AWAY. This amendment is designed to take away rights.

Disputed format or facts:

  1. Inclusion of DOMA facts in the FMA definition is not germane to the definition of what the FMA is.
  2. Inclusion of POV arguments in the explaination of the text of the FMA.
  3. Format dispute: Inclusion of External links within the body of the article.

Davodd 00:14, Feb 21, 2004 (UTC)

  1. Inclusion of DOMA facts is important in relation of FMA (3/4 on both).
  2. POV arguments were already present in the explaination of the text of the FMA.
  3. Inline external link citation is acceptable.

JDR 00:17, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

POV agruments, though valid, belong in the arguments section of the article; not the definition part. Maybe you should NPOV the definition if you find it to be POV. As for external links in article text, please read Wikipedia:Guide to Layout; especially the Wikipedia:Guide to Layout#External_links part. Davodd 00:25, Feb 21, 2004 (UTC)
Then put BOTH in the arguments section, not just one. That is why the other sentence was included (to balance the oppositional tone that was there).
External links in article text can be inline [just like current events]. It's easy ... LATER it can be put into a reference section.
I full well know about all the pages that you linked to.
JDR 00:32, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC) (PS. read Wikipedia:Cite your sources)
I added two external links -- in the external links section:Alliance for Marriage web site (a pro-amendment site) and web site (an anti-amendment site). Of course you know "full well" what I linked to, as can anybody who reads the page history. Anyway, I do hope we can resolve this dispute and edit this article in a collaborative, NPOV way. Davodd 00:41, Feb 21, 2004 (UTC)
I did a formal reference section. JDR [PS. I didn't mean in the article, but W:GtL link here in talk]
Great job! Davodd 18:02, Feb 21, 2004 (UTC)

Some minor wording issues

To some, it is designed to restrict the right of marriage to opposite-sex couples and to deny that right to same-sex couples.

I had to read this a couple of times before I understood it. At a glance, it seems to suggest that even the rights of straight people are being restricted. I thought about replacing restrict with confine but that doesn't sound entirely correct either. Thoughts?

To others, it is designed to defend the marriage of opposite-sex couples and to reaffirm that homosexual couples cannot marry.

This I feel needs clarification. It's not so much about defending straight marriages themselves as defending the institution or sanctity of marriage. Nobody, to my knowledge, is suggesting that any individual straight marriages will somehow be endangered by same-sex marriages occurring.

In fact that whole paragraph seems like splitting hairs. The 2 views seems like a distinction without a difference. Perhaps it could be better phrased thus:

Some see the FMA as a defense of straight marriage, while others see it as a pre-emptive block on gay marriage.

Though even this I think is a bit weird. It's clear to me that the FMA's sole purpose is to prevent gay marriage. It doesn't help heterosexuals in any way, as far as I can see.

Anyway, these issues of wording are so minor I'm not even going to edit the page until I've seen some thoughts about all this. I've had enough edit wars for one week. Evercat 00:35, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The FMA may ban state courts to require local governments to confer marriage or domestic partnership status

should be ban state courts from requiring, but it looks like it was originally force, hence the to require. has that been edited?

So-called Right of Marriage

The only problem with that JDR is that there is no "right of marriage". I know at least one person who would be contacting the White House about their demand for a government supplied spouse if there were. DavidR

One would think the "right of marriage" is the right to marry anyone who will consent (given certain provisions about age, unrelatedness, neither person already being married, etc), not a right to get married even if nobody wants to marry you. Your rhetoric is ridiculous. Evercat 08:25, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

And no, I don't feel that my rhetoric is ridiculous. That's what a "Right" means, it's a guarantee of something you get to do. DavidR 01:51, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Marriage is licensed, just like driving. You don't have a "right to drive" therefore you don't have a "right to marriage". You can not marry a blood relative (3rd cousin or closer?). This privilege is licensed by the state. It is not a right. Reverting your changes. Please engage in discourse prior to making changes, read the part about this being a controversial article. I posted my comments at least a day prior to making changes to the article. DavidR 20:56, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I'd also like to add that the comment you made with your edit shows that you are trying to make this POV, Evercat. I quote: "Since we're talking about what this means to some people, go with a stronger statement of that particular side's position." This is about the facts and the fact, whether anyone likes it or not, is that there is no "right" to marriage. DavidR 22:34, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Since whether or not it can properly be considered a right is a matter of debate (e.g. the license seems largely a formality to me) the sentence "To some, it is designed to restrict the right of marriage" etc) is perfectly NPOV, because it's perfectly true, and even someone like yourself can agree that some people see it this way. NPOV articles generally tell you about the actual beliefs of the people on either side of a debate. Evercat 22:39, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

If the license "seems" such a formality to you why the big fuss? Just ignore it and go on. DavidR 01:51, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The "right of marriage" is a fictitious "right" made up by the homosexual community so they can claim that someone is denying them something and come off as being oppressed. Nice propaganda job they've done too, since it seems to be working in the mind of some otherwise sensible people. DavidR 15:37, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The above is my reply to an earlier comment on the so-called Right of Marriage. Since this seems likely to start a reversion war I thought I would start a new section to try and head that off with civil discourse.
Respectfully, - DavidR 17:46, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You're gonna love this. U.S. Supreme Court ruling, 1967, Loving v. Virginia:
I quote the then-Chief Justice:
"Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival."
I think this proves adequately that there are some who regard marriage as a right. You may disagree with the position, but you cannot deny the existence of the position. Evercat 23:01, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I might also add that I don't deny that some people take the position that the Earth is flat. If someone attempted to document that position as a valid position in any article other than one on the Flat Earth Society I would put precatory language in front of it as well. DavidR 01:34, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I never denied the existence of the position, I categorically deny the validity of the position. I have a "right to life", no license require, "Liberty," again no license required, "and the pursuit of Happiness" again no license required. As for the drivers license being a formality, get arrested for DUI, then go drive and get pulled over with your license suspended. Just tell the nice officer that the license is a "formality" and see what he says.
I don't recall saying that a driver's license was a formality. I said a marriage license was a formality. Please read and understand straw man.

Evercat, my bad. I wasn't setting up a strawman, I got distracted about 27 times while trying to write that paragraph and I didn't go back and reread your comment. DavidR 01:21, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Chief Justice Warren expressed an opinion under one set circumstances and may have been less than careful in his phrasing. Such opinion does not have the weight of law.
[added later] But it does have the weight of law; that's precisely what it has. It's a ruling from the highest court in the U.S.
I could also point you to Zablocki v. Redhail and Turner v. Safley. Perhaps all these Supreme Court judges are incompetent.
No, I don't say all these Justices are incompetent. I do say however that many people in high politic ol office do not always consider the long term ramifications of their words. I decline to cite instances from the Internet, I have seen dozens or more in print. I might also add that all these decisions were made before the "Gay 90's" and consider that the possibility that same-sex marriage might ever be considered legal never entered the Justice's minds. I also notice that in the 1987 decision the Justice in question keeps citing a Constitutional right, but being quite familiar with the US Constitution I can say that I am completely unaware of such a clause. Perhaps he is citing the Missouri Constitution, but his comments never make that clear.
I might also add that you are hardly engaging in discourse before making your unilaterally changes, your changes are POV, and do not reflect the facts. Please note the first entry in the Table of Contents for this article. DavidR 23:13, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
You just said you don't deny the existence of the position. So we're in agreement. The existence of the position is all the contested sentence in the article claims. Evercat 23:25, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)
(note that I will not currently dispute your removal of talk of rights from the 1st paragraph, though you can't call it a privilege either. I hope you'll accept my new 1st paragraph, at least. Evercat)
Your rewritten 1st paragraph is well worded, thanks. Apologies for editing in haste earlier. DavidR 01:21, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
OK. I still maintain that, given Supreme Court rulings, it's just a fact that there is a right to marry in the U.S., but for the sake of resolving this dispute, I will bend to what I perceive as your unreasonableness, and reword the still-contested bit so it does not use the word "right" at all. Evercat 19:37, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I am sorry you feel I am being unreasonable. However the Judicial Branch of the US Government does not make laws. Only a vote of the citizenry or their duly elected representatives can do that. DavidR 13:26, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Nevertheless, it's clearly true that the Supreme Court interprets the law, and in many cases, clarifies what rights people have. For example, a week or two ago, it ruled that the Guantanamo inmates have the right to challenge their detention. Now anyone who says they don't have that right is incorrect. They do have that right - the Supreme Court has made it so. Anyway, enough of this. Evercat 19:01, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

On rights

I'm not sure exactly what definition is being used here for "right"; here's what I got off the Wikipedia article on the subject:

At its most fundamental, a right is a claim, on other persons, that is acknowledged and reciprocated among the principals associated with that claim. ... A libertarian approach might be to invoke conventions of arbitration where disagreements or uncertainty arose with respect to rights. This could be considered the natural or contractual basis for rights, such that no formal third party is necessary for a right to exist. ... A statist or authoritarian approach would rest on the assumption that rights exist only if they are dispensed by an authoritative body.

On the basis of this, I'd say you could make an argument either way. Reference to a "right to marriage" is perhaps incorrect or misleading; however, I don't think it's false to call this an issue of civil rights. It's simply an issue of whether to add a right, rather than an issue of whether to revert to pre-existing rights. We frequently refer to the "right to vote," yet voting requires registration, and is a man-made institution. Sorry to drag up a (somewhat) dead issue, but I'm curious what this group considers "rights" and for what reasons. Mariko

Yes, you have to register to vote, but that is to protect that right for yourself and others by preventing fraud. This right is established in the U.S. Constitution. I see little or nothing about marriage in the Constitution. DavidR 12:11, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
That wasn't precisely my point, though I thank you for the input. If I am interpreting your remarks correctly, you believe a "right" is something that is codified as being available to a certain subset of the population in the Constitution. According to the Wikipedia article on right, this is not the only definition.
In fact, this definition would require that women's suffrage not be called a matter of "civil rights," since at the time the right of women to vote was not codified in the constitution. Looking at the text of the Amendment, actually, it simply says The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex -- meaning that the right exists outside the Amendment and the Constitution; it is merely upheld by the Constitution.
I respectfully argue that the matter of whether something is a "right" is not entirely based on its presence or absence in the Constitution. Additionally, if same-sex marriage were defined as legal in the Constitution, it would be a right by your definition as well -- meaning same-sex marriage proponents are involved in a "civil rights" issue; the issue is simply whether to add a right, as I stated in my previous comment. Mariko

If the word "Right" is not good, how about wording Liberty of Marriage or Freedom to Marry??

And, speaking about liberties not enumerated in the US constitution, actually the established legal doctrine speaks that there are Unenumerated Liberties, something like natural rights. Further, a some point in constitution (Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution) guarantees such unenumerated rights (after Justice Kennedy's writings, perhaps should be said "Liberties") as enjoyed by the populace. 01:36, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

pointing out democratic votes

I removed the sentence "Three Democrats voted in favor of the cloture" because I really don't see why this needs to be mentioned, especially since there is no mention of republicans voting for it (I guess since it's obvious that they would?).

I'm not sure how to word what I want to say, but I really don't think it needs to be there.

Grimey 00:14, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, the number of republicans is sort of mentioned also, isn't it? If 3 out of 48 senators who vote for cloture are democrats... 01:00, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It just doesn't seem like a neutral statement. Grimey 01:22, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It's notable to point out how the two majors tended to vote on the amendment. That only 3 of the 48 who voted for the cloture are Democrats is significant --Simoes 02:19, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I think a good wording may be "A number of Republicans joined Democrats .... managed by states, and a few Democrats voted in favor of the cloture." That eliminates any POV that I sensed. It brings it more in line with a single thought about parties voting atypically. Grimey 03:21, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I think the direction of the votes within parties is interesting and noteworthy -- what I don't understand is why it didn't go the other way as well. How about this? "x Democrats voted for cloture and y against; for Republicans, the figures were z and a, respectively." Mariko
I initially added the phrase to balance the phrase that was (and still is) in the article saying "A number of Republicans joined Democrats in voting against..." Whatever you decide to do with it is fine with me (I personally like Mariko's suggestion), but right now it reads to me as if every Democrat voted against cloture, which is not true. - Jonel 21:54, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Why not mention the Democrats who voted for, and the Republicans who voted against? It's fairly significant in regards the vote. Ambivalenthysteria 01:11, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Marriage in the U.S. vs. Marriage

I rephrased a sentence in the text section: "To some, this is a reasonable measure which defends the family and the institution of marriage as it has recently been practiced in the U.S." A quick look at the marriage page shows that the proposed amendment would not support all types of marriage that are present in the world; I think it is clearer this way, since it gives the place where the definition came from. Any thoughts? Mariko

Marriage has been one man to one woman for the bulk of human cultures throughout history. Yes, there have been exceptions but I do not believe that any culture has ever recoginzed same-sex marriage as valid, so I have reverted that part. If I am mistaken please post some sources and change it back. Respectfully - DavidR 12:04, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Frankly, your first line is incorrect. According to the Wikipedia article on marriage: Globally, societies that sanction polygyny as a form of marriage are far more common than those that do not, while monogamy between one man and one woman is by far the most common in western cultures. Whether same-sex marriage is sanctioned in other places is irrelevant; the form of marriage defined in the Federal Marriage Amendment (one man and one woman) has not been practiced by the bulk of human cultures throughout history, and it is not the only definition. The Federal Marriage Amendment does not aim to protect all marriages, since it does not allow polygyny, possibly a more common type of marriage than monogamy; its aim is to maintain the Western practice of heterosexual monogamy. I agree, however, that it might be better to rephrase the qualification as "practiced in most Western cultures" rather than "practiced in the United States." Edited to add: I should have provided a link to the marriage page in my previous comment. I saw your comment by the reversion asking for a citation; the marriage page on Wikipedia is intended to be my citation and justification for the change. Mariko

I would recommend keeping the qualification, since the current American practice of monogamous heterosexual marriage is not the exclusive model of marriage for the entire world. Polygamy is found in traditional societies around the globe; Islam and pre-Revolutionary China spring to mind as examples. One could argue that monogamy is actually a minority practice, if you look at "the bulk of human cultures throughout history." The FMA would disqualify heterosexual polygamy (whether Islamic, LDS, or whatever) equally with same-sex monogamy. JHCC 15:45, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Page Organization

It seems to me that "process" doesn't belong under "opponent arguements." Maybe it should be on the same level as "opponent arguements?"

Another opponent arguement

The Constitution is designed to be a document that lays out the rules of the government's relationship with it's citizens. Marriage is an institution under which individuals (not necessarily just the members of the married couple) deal with each other in a certain way. Therefore, the Constitution (and the federal government, for that matter), ought not have anything to do with marriage.--1pezguy 01:21, Jul 17, 2004 (UTC)


DLR commented: "rm unsubstantiated POV regarding attitudes. If popular attitude supported same-sex marriage we wouldn't have had a proposed Constitutional Amendment against it."

This is rather silly. A lot of people seem to agree that the proposal was simply a political move, given its context, and the underlying logic in the above statement might also be applied to other silly causal relationships: "If it wasnt true, I wouldnt have said it"..."They said so, so it must be true." -Stevertigo 00:44, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Ed wrote:

so that no U.S. state would be required to recognize a marriage license which another state issue to a same-sex couple (see same-sex marriage).

I don't think this is quite what the amendment was supposed to do - rather, by saying that a marriage was between a man and a woman, it meant it's not even possible for there to be any marriages between same-sex couples. So the question of recognising other states' same-sex marriages is moot, because there can't be any. Isn't that right? Evercat 20:59, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It's my understanding that this is (recent) federal law, "protection of marriage act" or something like that, that no U.S. state would be required to recognize a marriage license wich another state ussues. The constitutional amendment was supposed to thwart a Supreme Court decision against the law. --1pezguy 23:57, Jul 23, 2004 (UTC)

Evercat, thanks for making the distinction. I see now that there are two related motives behind the FMA:

  1. My state cannot be forced, by some court claiming Constitutional grounds, to recogninize YOUR STATE'S gay marriage (in any form); as well as,
  2. Your state is not allowed to call same-sex partnerhip "marriage" or force businesses, local governments, etc. to treat ss couples the same way as mf couples.

I was so focused on the first that I wasn't even thinking in terms of the second. I'll have to ask around, but I think it's the prspect of being forced to give any sort of social approval to ss couples that has conservatives up in arms. I'm not discriminating against you if I don't let your partner Bruce come to the office Christmas party for employees and spouses only (if FMA passes) and I'm committing a hate crime if I say that my church calls homosexual relationships sinful if judicial activism finds a way around the DOMA. --Uncle Ed 19:41, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You are reading too much into the amendment. It simply defines marriege as between a man and a woman and prevents legislative and court action from extending marriage rights to unmarried people. There is nothing in it that addresses interstate law since it overturns all in-state laws that extend incidents of marriage to unmarried couples. Therefore your state would not have to recognized my states gay marriage, domestic union, inheritance rights, hospital visitaion, or child custody rulings since my state's laws would be effectively overturned as extending marriage rights to unmarried couples. Davodd 00:33, Jul 27, 2004 (UTC)

Marriage Protection Act

This article perhaps should cover this legislation that was just passed by the House. No matter what anyone thinks of "same-sex marriage", this legislation seeks to bar access to federal courts by a segment of the American people. Clearly unconstitutional, and merely a ploy to delay a plausibly inevitable reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act by the Supreme Court. -- Stevietheman 19:06, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'm thinking this should perhaps be a separate article, but at the very least linked, and probably briefly covered in this article. Politically, they were tied. As for it's constitutionality, though, you're quite wrong in your assessment. I don't want to get into a debate here, but read Article III, Section 2 of US Constitution again. As far as precedent goes, the USC Title 28, Sections 1251 - 1631 already do similar restrictions of jurisdiction. --patton1138 17:17, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)