Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marriage in Maine

Maine became the fifth state to permit same-sex marriage, and the second state to do so by democratic vote of the state's elected representatives.

As I mentioned when Vermont made the same change, it is highly significant that the change is now taking place by democratic vote. That two states have now done so really takes the sting out of conservative arguments that same-sex marriage is being involuntarily imposed on a reluctant populace by unelected judges. The people of these states, speaking through their elected represenatives, have accepted same-sex marriage as appropriate.

It's amazing how much movement there has been on this issue in such a short time. If memory serves, it was only ten or so years ago that anything like marriage for gay couples appeared impossible. It didn't take long for civil unions to become a moderate, mainstream position, even though actual marriage remained a point of difficulty. Now, legislatures are accepting actual marriage.

One of the latest contrary arguments is that permitting same-sex marriage somehow discriminates against religion and will somehow require churches to recognize same-sex marriage even though it is contrary to their religious tenets. But a simple perusal of the actual bill shows that it amply protects against this danger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Prof. Siegel,

How do you think this trend of legislative approvals of same-sex marriage will impact courts that are confronted with the same issue?

Is this enough of a groundswell for some other state court -- or, perhaps ultimately, the Supreme Court -- to cite as evidence of evolving standards while upholding or allowing same-sex marriage? Or would opponents of same-sex marriage be able to point to this trend as evidence that each state can decide the issue for itself through its legislature, thus eliminating the need for "activist" judges to impose same-sex marriage on states where public sentiment is against it?