Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriagee would define second class status for some people

There may be more to say on these blogs in the next few days about constitutional amendment proposals and processes (both state and federal).

But one thing stands out whenever a state constitution defines marriage (as one man and one woman) and implies that marriage will give its participants certain privileges. The problem is the implication that those who are unmarried (or who cannot marry a consenting adult of their choosing) can be expected to defer or "sacrifice" to meet the needs of the married if conditions are demanding enough. That is, as a constitutional matter, they have second class citizen status. This may not mean much in practice until there are specific needs or hardships. But as Jonathan Rauch often writes, a singleton is an "accident waiting to happen."

(Picture: Paleigh Tavern, Colonial Willamsburg, VA, at Revolutionary City dramatic performance, April 2006.)

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