Katherine Kersten, the lizard-skinned sack of choler, grudge, and resentment, has really aired it out this week. In the interest of time, boys and girls, we'll do a two-fer.
First was Bar association panel paving the way for gay marriage. This one was written in the same key as "We've Got Trouble" from the Music Man, although Spot doesn't know if Katie was wearing a striped blazer and a straw boater when she turned in the column to Doug Tice. One almost hopes so.
Katie feels faint because, well, we'll let Katie tell it:
Below the radar, the groundwork is being laid to change the meaning of marriage in Minnesota.
The new "Rights of Unmarried Couples Task Force" of the Minnesota State Bar Association is the latest step in this process.
Here's how the Bar Association defined the task force's mission: "In light of the disparity between legal rights and protections available to same-sex couples as compared to different-sex couples," the task force will "review the current state of Minnesota law and ... make recommendations as to desirable changes, if any, in the law to address this disparity."
Leave it to the lawyers to think of such a thing! And what about that radical Minnesota State Bar Association flying under the radar like that. Diabolical.
Here's what Katie fears:
Now, however, it's clear that these legislative attempts [in California and Connecticut] at fairness have backfired. In the past few months, the Supreme Courts in both California and Connecticut have struck down their state's domestic partnership or civil unions law as unconstitutional under their state constitutions, and have required that marriage be redefined to include same-sex couples.
Shriek! Shriek! Shriek!
Boy, those gays! Give them and inch and pretty soon they want to be treated like anybody else! The nerve of some people.
What lessons should we draw from the sad experiences Katie recites?
States that want to protect their traditional marriage laws can draw two lessons:
First, if they have a domestic partnership or civil union law, they should repeal it. A court might find it unconstitutional.
Second, these states should not pass laws that give gay couples benefits similar to those of marriage. If they do, a court may find that they have created an unequal, two-tiered system of partnership, and may impose same-sex marriage as a result.
This is the context in which we must evaluate the work of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Unmarried Couples task force.
Yes, context is everything, Katie; just ask Michele Bachmann.
Spot says the lesson the state should draw is that they ought not be half hearted about equal protection. So-called "domestic partner" legislation is a tacit admission of the inequality, and that is why the courts are finding them to be a violation of constitutional principals of equal protection.
And just so no one is fooled, boys and girls: to Katie, "traditional marriage laws" is code for religious belief. But even Katie is smart enough to know that you cannot justify the discrimination on that basis. But make no mistake: the battle is over the ownership of the word "marriage."
But the Catholics, Assembly of God, and the assorted snake handlers would never be required to perform a gay marriage.
Aren't their marriages kind of dismal affairs anyway, Spotty?
Ah, grasshopper, you made a play on words; good for you.
Preachers and and judges and sea captains all get their authority to marry persons from the state, not from religious doctrine. It is a civil covenant that is entered into as a result of the "marriage." But as far as Spot can tell, nobody is required to perform a marriage. Don't like gay marriage? Fine, don't perform one.
But you don't get to own the word.
Katie second column this week was about Al Franken being mean to Christians. On second thought, that one deserves its own post. Look for Katie times two II, probably tomorrow.