Equality in New York

All Democrats save one: Aye.
All Republicans save four courageous souls: Nay.
Here come the primaries.

33-29. Every Democrat save one voted for, every Republican save four voted against. The Conservative Party and the local Teahdis will now try to purge the courageous quartet. (Tell me again how Teabagging is really a libertarian, small-government movement?)

Thanks to the Republican Party, the men and women who will now be married according to the laws of the State of New York will not be treated as married by the Federal government. And the House Republicans are now spending half a million dollars’ worth of your money in court trying to keep it that way. (Tell me again about how Republicans believe in states’ rights?)

Basic fact:

In 2004, according to a Quinnipiac poll, 37 percent of the state’s residents supported allowing same-sex couples to wed. This year, 58 percent of them did.

Yes, I’d guess New York was ahead of many other states on this, but not that far ahead. The right wing, having pandered to the gay-baiters successfully through the mid-2000s (remember Ohio in 2004?) now has to pay the price. It’s going to be a long, long walk back.

Footnote Am I right that every Republican contender for President opposed letting gay Americans serve in the military? If so, that’s something worth reminding the voters about, since three-quarters of them disagree.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

13 thoughts on “Equality in New York”

  1. I don’t think this is a winning issue for the Democrats. 2004 is not that long ago. And this is an issue where the opposition to gay marriage includes more people who are otherwise inclined to vote for Democrats – observant Catholics, Latinos and African Americans.

  2. Not Latinos or Catholics. I have no idea where this fairly widespread belief comes from – plenty of polling shows that Latinos and Catholics are exactly as likely as the population at large to support gay marriage. African Americans, yes, but it’s not like black people are deserting the democratic party in droves.

  3. If you restrict to “observant” Catholics, say those who attend mass weekly, it’s not clear you have much of a Democratic constituency to begin with. I also suspect abortion is a bigger issue than marriage equality.

  4. (Kleiman): “Tell me again how Teabagging…
    Tell me gain about the importace of civility in public policy discussions, Professor Kleiman. Is this the model of public policy analysis you present to students and for which you bill taxpayers?
    Legal recognition of same-sex marriage is a tax increase. Redefinition of “marriage” to include same-sex couples creates a matertial change in employment contracts that offer spousal benefits to employees. Some companies may renegotiate contracts. Likely, governments will not. Taxpayers will now e on the hook for a very expensive class of new health care recipients.

  5. Can we finally see a Malcolm ban? Seriously? Yes, all the gayz are expensive health care recipients. Care to tell us why, Malcolm? Hmm???

  6. Malcolm, I take it you said the same thing about the handicapped at the time of ADA?
    And are willing to go on record now as saying that you strenuously oppose it and seek its repeal?

  7. Umm… Seems to me Malcolm has just made the argument that no family structure (spouses, children, etc.) should be beneficiaries of any government or private employer policy, since the resulting expenditures are all, in his definition, a tax. The logic seems utterly straightforward.

    Why should single individuals be penalized by the tax code in order to support couples with a non-working spouse and their children? Come to think of it, gay couples where both spouses work and that don’t choose to have children are actually being penalized by the tax code relative to single income traditional families with lots of children – say, the classic Catholic family with 12 kids (thanks to all those deductions for dependents). It’s government theft, I tell you!

    The bottom line here is that the law should only favor my life choices.

  8. Prasad – One recent survey (http://www.publicreligion.org/research/?id=318) somewhat confirmed your assertion. An earlier one, based on polling of voters in 2008 supports mine:

    (% of those questioned) Ethnicity % Yes on Prop 8
    (68%) White 49
    (7%) African American 58
    (14%) Latino/Hispanic 59
    (7%) Asian 48

    [Source: DBR Survey of California Voters for Equality California, November 6‐16, 2008, found at http://www.ncsu.edu/stud_affairs/glbt/pdfs/Prop%208%20Report.pdf%5D

  9. (Foster): “Seems to me Malcolm has just made the argument that no family structure (spouses, children, etc.) should be beneficiaries of any government or private employer policy, since the resulting expenditures are all, in his definition, a tax. The logic seems utterly straightforward.
    Not at all. Circumstances alter cases. Marriage is an evolved custom which protects women and children from men who would skip. The cost/benefit considerations which incline societies to surround families with favorable treatment do not apply to couples who are far less likely to have children and who are far more at risk of an expensive medical condition.
    (Maynard): “Malcolm, I take it you said the same thing about the handicapped at the time of ADA?
    Yes. Pretty much.
    (Maynard): “And are willing to go on record now as saying that you strenuously oppose it and seek its repeal?
    I support freedom of association and freedom of contract in the private sector. I support anti-discrimination policies in public sector employent and building codes in most public works that make reasonable accommodation for most disabilities. I support straight cash payment for public employment (you want a health plan or a pension, buy it with your paycheck). Make sense?
    (Maynard): “Why should single individuals be penalized by the tax code in order to support couples with a non-working spouse and their children? Come to think of it, gay couples where both spouses work and that don’t choose to have children are actually being penalized by the tax code relative to single income traditional families with lots of children – say, the classic Catholic family with 12 kids (thanks to all those deductions for dependents). It’s government theft, I tell you!
    I agree with a lot of that. If employers paid straight cash and left to individuals to purchase health insurance and pensions, and if governments either allowed all people to designate a tax-exempt heir or abolished inheritance and estate taxes, there would not be much of a marriage benefit worth a dispute. “When someone says ‘It’s not the money it’s the principle’ it’s the money.”
    (Maynard): “The bottom line here is that the law should only favor my life choices.
    I’m single. Never married. Three of my friends died of AIDS. Try again.
    (MT): “Can we finally see a Malcolm ban? Seriously? Yes, all the gayz are expensive health care recipients. Care to tell us why, Malcolm? Hmm???
    Why what? I did not make the assertion that you attribute to me.

  10. Here’s one more poll that finds very similar levels of support for gay marriage among whites and latinos. Blacks and Asians record much more disapproval.

  11. “I support anti-discrimination policies in public sector employent and building codes in most public works that make reasonable accommodation for most disabilities.”

    So what is going on here? You think buildings built by the government should have ramps, but not malls?
    You think Lockheed Martin should not discriminate, but you are happy if McDonalds does so?
    You think that public libraries should have facilities for the disabled, but once those libraries are privatized (yes, this is happening, in various municipalities) those facilities can be ripped out?

    I assume this generic stance means you want to get rid of that Social Security benefit for the blind. After all, that’s a flat out tax that’s coming out your pocket to support someone else’s cushy Braille-reading lifestyle.

    Regardless, it seems that you’re arguing in a very strange way, and generating unnecessary hostility.
    You disagree with employer supported health care. Fine, I’m with you 100% on that — employer supported health care is an abomination.
    But to claim that gays should be the one’s that suffer for you to make a point regarding this abomination strikes me as a very strange way to view the world.

  12. My preference: governments should not discriminate, and the governments should allow non-State actors (including contractors to the government, like defense contractors) to discriminate on the basis of any silly reason whatsoever. I have reservations about gays in the military, although there was a pretty openly gay guy aboard my ship in the 70s and no one cared, that I could see. I don’t see any of the people who fume about don’t-ask-don’t-tell champing at the bit to enlist. There’s a good reason behind the superstition that women are bad luck aboard ship. Love is more powerful than regulations, and favoritism is destructive of unit cohesion. This is a practical objection that you cannot overcome by asserting that the command should just make it happen. That’s like the EPA and Congress mandating the invention of 1000 mpg flying carpets. I have reservations about State-sponsored adoption into non-traditional homes (single parents, same-sex couples). Humans evolved before legal codes.

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