For John, BLUF: We are in a middle place re "marriage". Do we think we are coming to rest or do we think there are more changes coming?
Law Professor Ann Althouse blogs about the appearance of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Meet the Press Sunday AM (I was working), "Scott Walker entertains the notion of entirely extracting government from the business of recognizing marriage".
On "Meet the Press" today, David Gregory asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: "Are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic, rather than as a disqualifying issue?" Walker said:I would like to start by saying that Mr Chris Matthews is either not now, or is no longer, a critical thinker.Well, I think there's no doubt about that. But I think that's all the more reason, when I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crisis in our state and in our country. That's what people want to resonate about. They don't want to get focused on those issues....Later, pushed to talk about a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Walker said:Well, the interesting thing on the generational standpoint is I've had young people ask me--I think an appropriate question is not expanding it to include folks who are not one man and one woman, but rather questioning why the government's sanctioning it in the first place? And that would be the alternative, say not have the government sanction... marriage period. And leave that up to the churches and the synagogues and others to define that....This is an issue that's been raised time and again in the comments to same-sex marriage posts on this blog...
Chris Matthews jumped all over Walker's idea: "Well, you can't get away because here are issues of Social Security payments and all kinds of things involved in that. And rights of prisoners and rights of people in the military. You have to recognize spousal rights."
Marriage is very deeply embedded in so much of what government does. How could you disentangle it now?...
I like what Governor Scott Walker says, but Professor Althouse raises a good point when she says:
Marriage is very deeply embedded in so much of what government does.As a society we tend to be buffaloed by what my Wife calls the seven last words of the church, "We never did it that way before." Down that path is rigidity.
If we visualize that what the Government cares about is good contracts, faithfully executed, involving the rights and responsibilities of the committed adult partners and any offspring (and perhaps even parents), then we have a path forward. We have formal contracts, executed down at the City Clerk's office, and we have defacto contracts, self executing when adults enter into long term relationships or procreate. Having made that decision, we then, by law, incorporate all those rights and obligations into the new contract, perhaps named Contract of Civil Union. And we make it retroactive.
If you want to get married, see your local Rabbi or Minister or Imam or have your best friend's Brother officiate at some form of commitment service in a beautiful local, or do it yourself, as Professor Althouse and Meade did, out in Colorado, a few years back. Or do nothing. The Government shouldn't care.
Regards — Cliff