Over the course of its history, the LGBT community has adopted certain symbols for self-identification to demonstrate unity, pride, shared values, and allegiance to one another. These symbols communicate ideas, concepts, and identity both within their communities and to mainstream culture. The two symbols most recognized internationally are the pink triangle and the rainbow flag.
The female and male gender symbols are derived from the astronomical symbols for the planets Venus and Mars respectively. Following Linnaeus, biologists use the planetary symbol for Venus to represent the female sex, and the planetary symbol for Mars to represent the male sex.
The ace ring, a black ring (also known as an ace ring) worn on the middle finger of one's right hand is a way asexual people signify their asexuality. The ring is deliberately worn in a similar manner as one would a wedding ring to symbolize marriage. Use of the symbol began in 2005.
The white knot is a symbol of support for same-sex marriage in the United States. The white knot combines two symbols of marriage, the color white and "tying the knot," to represent support for same-sex marriage. The White Knot has been worn publicly by many celebrities as a means of demonstrating solidarity with that cause.
The white knot was created by Frank Voci in November 2008, in response to the passage of Proposition 8 in California and bans on same-sex marriage and denial of other civil rights for LGBT persons across the nation.
Long-engaged Richard Carlbom, head of the marriage-equality campaign Minnesotans United for All Families, is said to have put a deposit on a wedding venue. The associated chatter does not mention a date.
Long-term though their advocacy has been, there are others who have been pushing the issue since even earlier. Jack Baker and Michael McConnell have been trying to get married since 1967 and are the plaintiffs whose unsuccessful suit, Baker v. Nelson, until this year was the only same-sex marriage case to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. The two are still together, living quietly in Minneapolis.
And those four GOP votes are symbolic of something else: The number of Americans who approve of same-sex marriage has risen much faster over the last two years than virtually anyone expected. Much as they are changing positions on immigration issues, suburban Republicans in particular are said to be beginning to recognize that the danger of failing to court more diverse voters likely eclipses angering religious conservatives.
A similar evolutionary calculus appears to have helped DFLers from conservative districts in Greater Minnesota come to the same decision as Rep. Joe Radinovich, the Crosby DFL freshman who had been seen as a bellwether.
If the law is enacted, many of the 515 Minnesota laws said to discriminate against gays and lesbians will automatically become egalitarian. Nor would Minnesota have to grapple with many issues still playing out in states where same-sex marriage is legal.
Calling it an outgrowth of the push for same-sex marriage, the groups insisted that the school climate law would discriminate against religious students and should not apply to private schools. They succeeded in securing a controversial exemption before the measure passed out of the House last week.
This paper analyzes contentions against same-sex marriage. It does not, however, take any ultimate position for or against proposals about the subject, and it limits itself to legislative as opposed to judicial arguments. More specifically, the paper considers the rights and symbolism that surround the union of marriage. It also considers how generalized and unexplained appeals to equality and discrimination affect the arguments about same-sex marriage. Then, the paper explains and analyzes a dilution argument against same-sex marriage. This analogy to trademark dilution suggests ways in which same-sex marriage might be said to dilute the symbolic value of traditional marriage and to affect the interests that persons in traditional marriages have in the symbols that it provides. The paper also explains and develops other arguments, including those related to establishment of religion, impairment of free exercise, procreation, and implications for other types of unions. The paper ultimately concludes that these other arguments are not as substantial as the dilution concern. The paper also analyzes the ways in which same-sex marriage advocates might attempt to respond to the dilution concern.
Government acts, statements, and symbols that carry the social meaning of second-class citizenship may, as a consequence of that fact, violate the Establishment Clause or the constitutional requirement of equal protection. Yet social meaning is often contested. Do laws permitting same-sex couples to form civil unions but not to enter into marriage convey the social meaning that gays and lesbians are second-class citizens? Do official displays of the Confederate battle flag unconstitutionally convey support for slavery and white supremacy? When public schools teach evolution but not creationism, do they show disrespect for creationists? Different audiences reach different conclusions about the meaning of these and other contested acts, statements, and symbols. Accordingly, one needs some method for selecting the relevant audience. No method is perfect, but this Article tentatively advances a "reasonable victim" perspective as the presumptive starting point for constitutional analysis.
"...they can't mean this literally (although some do purport to mean this literally)."First off, I disagree with almost everything on this blog, but I read it (and enjoy it) because it helps me understand the rationale behind liberal thought outside of the stereotypes and caricatures presented by conservative pundits. Your ordinarily well-structured arguments help me to respect your opinions even though I disagree. But the statement above is ridiculous. It'd be like my saying, "Gay people who want to get married say they're in love. They can't really mean this. What they really mean is...." This is a sensitive, emotionally-charged issue for both sides, so I understand getting a little carried away. But the entire country needs to elevate its discourse on the subject, so please don't try to turn those of us who oppose gay marriage into straw men.
Bryce, do you object to the manner of being cahracterized in this way or to the characterization itself? I'd be interested in your perspective on what might be meant by a defense of traditonal marriage, if you think the post misses the point.
A complicating factor in all of this is that the stakes for the pro-same-sex marriage side are largely symbolic in states that recognize civil unions but not marriages, or at least so they appearSometimes the symbolic means much more than the practical. Suppose inter-racial couples couldn't "marry," but instead had to enter "multi-race unions." There can be little doubt that such a distinction would confer a lower institutional status on mixed families.
Back on-topic:"Each side will accuse the other of wasting time on a divisive social issue..."That seems to be Obama's stock-in-trade, more than anything I've heard from conservatives. Everything Obama doesn't want to deal with is a "distraction." In the case of gay marriage, Obama naturally doesn't want to address the issue, considering he is as homophobic (using the Left's definition of that term) as Rush Limbaugh."Pro-same-sex-marriage political activists who are actually gay have a great deal more at stake in this debate than do anti-same-sex marriage political activists..."Unless you consider tyranny by black-robed totalitarians a significant factor at stake, sure. On that note, you won't find me complaining about Vermont. Americans used to value persuading others. But who needs persuasion, when you have government compulsion?"Ultimately, rights can and should be taken away if they're the wrong rights."More importantly, judges need to be restrained when they abuse their authority, and they do not have the authority to invent rights out of whole cloth.
In reply to Bryce's comment (the first one, at the top of the page), I'll reiterate that it makes little sense to say that same-sex marriages "literally" threaten traditional marriages. If opponents of same-sex marriage thought that legalization would increase the divorce rate or would lead fewer straight couples to marry, that would be a literal threat. But that testable empirical proposition does not appear to be what anti's mean when they say that same-sex marriage poses a threat to traditional marriage. Instead, they seem to mean that legal same-sex marriage, by its mere existence quite apart from consequences to which it might lead, undermines traditional marriage. That's why I characterized this claim as one objecting to symbolic cheapening, which I would and did distinguish from literally having tangible consequences for traditional marriages.
Maybe I'm not giving conservatives enough credit, but it's always seemed to me like most of them actually believe that legalizing same-sex marriage will LITERALLY destroy traditional marriage and traditional family units because more people who would otherwise marry someone of the opposite sex will become completely confused by the new option and will choose wrongly, and people in current marriages and families will abandon them in favor of a same-sex spouse. I know this is utter nonsense, but based on my experience, it seems like those idiots genuinely believe it.
I think the best way to answer Greg's question is to explain how I sincerely believe same-sex marriage poses a threat to traditional marriage. I'll end up addressing Mike's point as I go along, too.In Parker v. Lexington, the First Circuit Court ruled that the rights of parents to direct the moral education of their children were trumped by the public interest of teaching young children tolerance toward same-sex marriage. The school was pushing this agenda on children in kindergarten and first grade, and all the parents wanted was prior notice and the choice to opt their children out of such programs until seventh grade. After seventh grade, when the children were older and the parents had had time to instill in them the values they considered important and true, they were more than willing to allow the children to receive the sensitivity training toward the idea of same-sex couples. The court, however, supported the school in teaching the children while they were young and impressionable without parental involvement of any kind. This is, in my opinion, a dangerous precedent to set. I don't trust any agenda that intentionally circumvents parental involvement in its indoctrinating of children.Until I read that court decision, I was opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds, but didn't see it as a threat to traditional marriages and families. The aggressive and underhanded tactics of those propagating same-sex marriage in this case turned me more strongly against the cause in general, because now I see it as my right to raise my (future) children as I choose being infringed on by their right to be under the same linguistic umbrella. So, that's an example of a sincere concern about same-sex marriage. I think that's a literal enough threat to traditional marriage (which is, in my view, inseparable from parenting rights, because truly traditional marriage had child-rearing as its focus), even if it's not necessarily empirically testable. Ideally, attitudes in both camps would shift so that proponents of SSM didn't think they had to take somebody else's rights in order to get their own, and opponents of SSM would emphasize tolerance and respect for opposing viewpoints in the moral education of their children so that the homosexual community wouldn't feel threatened, either. 2b1af7f3a8