Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marriage Amendment On Trial

The marriage amendment trial aired on Wisconsin public TV last week and I am told that it will air in Milwaukee tomorrow night at 11 pm on Channel 10.

I have read that some anti-amendment bloggers have criticized my opponent, UW Law Professor Michele LaVigne. This is preposterous. She did an excellent job. She realized that an emotional approach is best for her side and for the format (very brief everything) we were stuck with and she delivered that.

I couldn't really do that because the arguments for the amendment that I want to make are not that simple and not rooted in emotion, although they do draw on very primal understandings of the nature of marriage. In that sense, the format worked against us. But its hard for me to be objective. Both Michele and I agreed that we would never watch it (but I did anyway). I think it is fair to say that the trial produced some thought provoking arguments and is worth seeing.


Todd said...

Interesting information out now from Scandinavia (link is to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal [subscription necessary]):

"[T]here is no evidence that allowing same-sex couples to marry weakens the institution. If anything, the numbers indicate the opposite. A decade after Denmark, Norway and Sweden passed their respective partnership laws, heterosexual marriage rates had risen 10.7% in Denmark; 12.7% in Norway; and a whopping 28.8% in Sweden. In Denmark over the last few years, marriage rates are the highest they've been since the early 1970s. Divorce rates among heterosexual couples, on the other hand, have fallen. A decade after each country passed its partnership law, divorce rates had dropped 13.9% in Denmark; 6% in Norway; and 13.7% in Sweden. On average, divorce rates among heterosexuals remain lower now than in the years before same-sex partnerships were legalized.

"In addition, out-of-wedlock birthrates in each of these countries contradict the suggestion by social conservatives that gay marriage will lead to great increases in out-of-wedlock births and therefore less family stability for children. In Denmark, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births was 46% in 1989; now it is 45%. In Norway, out-of-wedlock births jumped from 14% in 1980 to 45% right before partnerships were adopted in 1993; now they stand at 51%, a much lower rate of increase than in the decade before same-sex unions. The Swedish trend mirrors that of Norway, with much lower rates of increase post-partnership than pre-partnership.

"Is there a correlation, then, between same-sex marriage and a strengthening of the institution of marriage? It would be difficult, and suspect, to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between these trends in heterosexual marriage and marriage rights for gays and lesbians. But the facts demonstrate that there is no proof that same-sex marriage will harm the institution of marriage, or children. An optimistic reading of the facts might even suggest that the energy and enthusiasm that same-sex couples bring to the institution of marriage may cause unmarried heterosexual couples to take a fresh look at marriage as an option."

Anonymous said...

What say you in response to this? You keep justifying your Yes vote on the belief that civil unions will in some way erode marriage for heterosexuals (despite the evidence that we heteros are doing that quite well on our own).

Does this change your thinking?

Rick Esenberg said...

People also cite the Scandanavian experience for the opposite propostion. I haven't done that because I am not persuaded that the experience of countriesy where marriage has already been in decline translate well into our context. In other words, since I can't say that other stats which show marriage on the ropes are related to partnership laws, I won't say that some incremental changes that are positive are.

darcie muckler said...

I would just simply like to know..what would be the threat of two people that love each other to make their commitment legal?
Sans all of the politics.
I work for the county as a divorce judgment clerk, and prior to that, paternity records. Where single parentage is rampant.
I truly think your argument of the sanctity of marriage is quite moot, when more than half end in divorce.
And so goes your other argument about children needing a mother and a father.
I have many gay friends who have children.
I take is as an insult that you assume that neither the father nor the mother of gay relationships are non existent.
There are many different families. Where the mother and father are still much a part of the childs life.
If a child is in a safe and loving home, no matter the sex of the parents, how can that be such an issue? I don't get you whatsoever.
If you personally think that there are children out there that aren't loved and happy in a commited same sex relationship, then I ask you to visit my workplace.

darcie muckler said...

And I add, I'm in room G-9, you know, right across from the cafeteria. Let's talk.
Just ask for Darcie.
All I want to know from you is, what the problem really is.

darcie muckler said...

I should add, so not as to take up county time, that my lunch is from noon to 1pm. So call first, then we can meet anytime from 12:01 to 12:59pm.