Disgustipated

My mother used to say ‘disgustipating’ to refer to things that she thought were really rotten.  I hadn’t thought of it for a while, until this week.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a decision that gay marriage is a Constitutional right, and that the remaining states where gay marriage is forbidden will have to allow it.

Hooray for Marriage Equality
Hooray for Marriage Equality

While I was out this morning, I saw the sign above at a parking lot.

I really have no problem with gay civil marriage: gay people should be able to express their commitment to each other, and secure their legal rights with respect to each other, the same as heterosexual couples.

But is it ‘marriage equality’?  Hardly.

All but a tiny handful of the seven billion of us walking the planet today are here because, at some point in the past, a man and a woman came together and caused us to be.  Not all of them were married, but it is that essential fact of our existence that is the origin of marriage.

And until and unless there is a race of literal Amazons who reproduce through parthenogenesis, so it will continue to be.

What bothers me about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is that, first, there is nothing in my reading of the Constitution that infers a right to gay marriage, either directly or indirectly.  Many, many decisions are made (in business, politics, and life in general) by coming up with the answer first, and assembling whatever arguments are needed to support it.  But I expected the Supreme Court to be above that sort of crap.

What’s far worse, though, is that the government is now empowered to clonk those of us who believe that ‘equal under the law’ is not ‘the same thing’ upside the head and tell us to get with the program.  We already have laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation: those, together with yesterday’s decision, mean that gay civil marriage will not be containable as ‘civil’ for very long.

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The other disgustipating Supreme Court decision concerned Obamacare.  The law, as written, indicated that subsidies would be available for individuals who had purchased insurance through ‘an exchange established by the State.’  We normally don’t say that in American law.  You might say ‘a State’ or ‘the States,’ referring to one or more of the 50 state governments, or ‘the States or the Federal government’ if that’s what you meant.

We had understood that the intent was that a state would have to set up an insurance exchange for its residents to get the subsidies, as a means of encouraging states to set up exchanges.  But most states didn’t do that, leaving it to the Federal exchange.

But if people couldn’t get subsidies, the insurance wouldn’t be affordable, so an executive decision was made to allow subsidies to residents of all of the states.  You could reasonably read ‘an exchange established by the State’ to refer to, not a particular one of the 50 states, but the government in general.

Ultimately, this one doesn’t really matter for me.  New York did set up an Obamacare exchange. (Alas, I earn too much to be eligible for a subsidy, and even if I got one, it wouldn’t make a dent in the actual premium.)  Nevertheless, with or without the subsidy, Obamacare remains the most breathtakingly bad public policy decision that I can remember in my life.

But I’m sure something will come to top it later this year.

10 thoughts on “Disgustipated”

  1. As I mentioned on a friends Facebook post, The US Supreme Court actually was backed into a corner with regards to legalizing gay marriage in all of the USA. This is because, when I looked up on Google, I found out that 37 states had legalized gay marriage. I believe two thirds of states are required to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 37 states that legalized gay marriage added up to 72% of USA states. Because, as I mentioned before, two thirds of USA states are required to ratify a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution -and two thirds is equal to 67%- that means that we had a ‘defacto’ amendment to the US Constitution with regards to gay marriage. What bothers me is that the US Congress did not send out an amendment after 37 states had already voted in their respective legislatures that gay marriage should be legal. This would’ve allowed the US Congress to follow the proper procedure for amendmending of the U.S. Constitution. The US Congress was really incompetent, with regards to this gay marriage issue, when it comes to amending the U.S. Constitution the proper way ! They’re a bunch of incompetent boobs!!! But, what else is new!!!

  2. A Obamacare works! It is far,from perfect, but is is a good start. The NHS in the UK is, for the money, much better. But we will improve. Give it time. ‘Americans love a challenge’! Yeah!!! 🙂 !!! The ruling was a good one! If the U.S. Supreme Court had not ruled that way, then we would have had to get rid of the amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government the power to levy an income tax! You see, when they wrote that ‘tax’ amendment they forgot to add the lines that say something to the effect of: ‘the U.S. Congress shall have the power to pass laws to enforce this amendment’. Whoops! 🙂 ! The USA is rather sloppy, and the U.S. Supreme Court exists to be the ‘the ultimate legal janitors’ when it comes to our ‘legal messes’ that are caused by the USA’s collective national lackadaisicalness!!!!!! Because you are an engineer then this must drive you ‘nuts’! It used to bother me, but now I am on ‘medication’ which makes me so much more ‘mellower’! ‘Just call me mellow yellow’! I am a ‘mellow fellow’! . Maybe I can get a ‘grant’ to study ‘mellowness’! I would then have a ‘mellow fellow-ship’! LOL. 🙂 !!!

  3. Actually, 37 state legislatures didn’t enact gay marriage for the people of their state. In about half of those 37, gay marriage came to be through Federal court order. Another half-dozen got it through state court orders. In only about a dozen states was gay marriage enacted through the legislature and/or by referendum. So we can’t really say it was the will of the people in 37 states.

    The question about Obamacare being a tax was resolved a couple of years ago. Last week’s decision was related to the subsidies paid by the government. And Congress always had the power to tax; the Sixteenth Amendment merely added a new kind of tax that could be levied.

    Actually, a UK-style public health service would have been preferable to the mess we got: it would at least have been honest. Now, we nominally have private health insurance, but new policies are subject to so many government regulations that they might as well have been issued by the government. They’re also anything but affordable.

    1. Having lived under the NHS, it’s worth noting that there is still a market for private insurance to help people “jump the queue” for optional surgery with NHS coverage. What the NHS did well (1996-99) was to provide primary care to people and provide prescriptions at a reasonable cost (about $4/month for anything in the approved formulary, but with no cost for all prescriptions for people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypothroidism). I never got a bill for treatment by my primary care physician, and I paid the fixed rate for prescriptions until they told me that I qualified for free prescription coverage due to hypothyroidism.

      One place where both the PPACA and Medicare Part D fail is in their inability to negotiate drug prices.

  4. Down in Alabama, some probate judges are refusing to issue marriage licenses at all to avoid issuing them to same-sex couples.

    Are couples who prove to be infertile, or who choose not to have children for whatever reason less worthy of marriage? My brother-in-law’s ex-wife is a carrier of hemophilia. He would have done well to have no children because his daughter proved to be a carrier of hemophilia, and gave birth to three boys, all of whom have hemophilia.

    The Consitutional argument that I have heard most frequently raised in favor of same-sex marriage is that of equal protection under the law. The ability to bequeath or otherwise transfer property to your spouse unchallenged is often a much stronger right than the ability to do the same with someone to whom you are not married, all else equal. In many states, the surviving spouse is entitled to a minimum percentage of the estate, regardless of what the decedent’s will says. There are other states, such as Maryland, that allow the surviving spouse to be disinherited.

    On the Obamacare front, I was just notified that I will receive Form 1095 to allow us to show compliance with the PPACA beginning this year.

  5. My wife is rather older than I am: when we got married, I had to accept the reality that we would almost certainly not have children. (We didn’t,) But we’re still honest-to-God married. Natural marriage honors the potential for new life, even if it doesn’t happen in every instance.

    When gay marriage became an issue some years ago, my first reaction was that, of course, gay people should be able to use civil marriage to secure their rights and express their commitment to each other. And if we could go that far, and no farther, I wouldn’t have a problem with gay civil marriage.

    My objection to gay marriage as it’s come to be in the United States, and last week’s Supreme Court decision, is that it empowers the government to cram down our throats the calculus that:

    Marriage = Marriage
    Civil Marriage = Natural Marriage
    Gay Marriage = Straight Marriage
    Gay = Straight

    … and if you disagree, you’re a hater or a homophobe (i.e. ‘chicken’), and only a baby step away from being a Ku Klux Klansman. And it’s already happening.

    Re Obamacare: oh, goody: more bureaucracy.

  6. I’m clearly missing something, because my reading of the recent Supreme Court decision does not appear to force churches to allow same-sex marriage, but does compel the local/state issuer of marriage licenses to issue them to same-sex couples, allow them to be married by the justice of the peace, the mayor of the town or a judge, whichever applies in your area, with those marriages then valid in any state.

    I think that it would be interesting to track the divorces among same-sex couples over the next 5-10 years to see how the courts rule in property matters.

    You sound like you want an exception carved out for heterosexuals much like the “covenant marriage” that Alabama proposed, and that was passed in Louisiana, in which the chief attraction is that it’s much harder to get a divorce. Marriage counseling is also required before entering into a covenant marriage. In a recently decided case before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals (Blackburn v. Blackburn) In which the wife countersued for divorce based on incompatibility and certain acts of violence by the husband. She also argued that because they were married under the Louisiana Covenant Marriage provisions, she should enjoy the same protections in Alabama. The judge who granted the initial divorce and ordered the division of property’s ruling was upheld. When you divorce, the law that is in effect is the law of your state of domicile, not the state where you married. That goes back to the Bell decision in 1901.

    An interesting response to Obergefell v. Hodges comes from state senator David Simpson of Texas, who has requested a special session of the Texas legislature to consider Simpson’s proposal that Texas end marriage licensing.

  7. The Supreme Court decision left open one’s ability to ‘advocate’ and ‘teach’ religion, but did not say that one is free to ‘exercise’ one’s religion, as described in the First Amendment. An Oregon bakery was fined $135k for not providing a wedding cake for a gay couple, even though at the time, gay marriage was not yet legal in Oregon.

    Suing the churches is the logical next step. You might say that the First Amendment would prevent it. But anyone can sue over anything, and if one has enough money for lawyers, one can prevail. Meanwhile, churches, like other enterprises, carry liability insurance, and some have been told that their liability coverage will not apply if they’re sued over same-sex marriage and lose. Alas, liability makes cowards of us all.

    I’m actually OK with gay civil marriage, as long as it remains civil, i.e. a creature of law and government. I don’t believe it’s a Constitutional right, and for that reason I’m disgusted with the Supreme Court decision. But state legislatures should be free to enact it, or not, as they see fit.

    What’s really disconcerting is the broader public reaction, that we’ve somehow scored a civil rights victory comparable to abolishing legal racial discrimination, and that gay marriage is just the same as natural marriage. What’s worse is that if you don’t believe the foregoing, you’re either a hater or a homophobe, and the government is now empowered to cram it down your throat.

    I don’t think ‘covenant marriage’ is all that useful: it seems another bit of complexity, to no useful end. But states are free to try it, just as they are (or should be) free to implement gay civil marriage.

    And ending marriage licensing, alas, isn’t the answer either. As long as we have differing legal rights, tax rates, etc., for married vs. unmarried people., the government needs to positively establish who is and is not married. If there are no marriage licenses, then after a couple is married, the marriage has to be registered so that the government can take cognizance of it. And we’re right back where we started. If the state registers gay marriages, the same result has been achieved; if not, the state is engaging in illegal discrimination.

  8. ‘The separation of church, and state’ allows churches and other religious groups to marry who they want to. In fact, churches were marrying gay people long before it became legal. Churches can’t be discriminated against because they don’t want to marry gay people because it would violate separation of church, and state. As for nonprofit tax status for religious groups: I do not think that any religious group would allow another religious group to lose it’s respective tax exempt status for not wanting to marry gay people. When it comes to money groups always protect each other! 🙂

    As for marriage between two gay people not being the same as ‘natural’ marriage: 65% of first marriages are unhappy. 15% of those 65% stay together. The other 50% end in divorce. 35% of first marriages are happy marriages that last. These statistics are the same for gays, lesbians, and straights. Mathematically speaking, then based on the evidence we can say that gay marriage, lesbian marriage, and straight marriage are equal. As an engineer you can see the math is undeniable! If A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C. 🙂

    As for the Obamacare ruling, and the sloppiness of the writing of the ACA: I think my point was that our country needs to be a little more precise. Sloppiness is not good, and if the ACA had not been sloppily written that case would’ve never have happened. My point about the income tax amendment was that it was sloppily done. Yes, it is true that Congress has the power to tax. But, it is also true that whenever an amendment is added to the Constitution, Congress is given the power in the amendment to write laws to enforce the amendment. It was just sloppiness when the income tax amendment was written that they didn’t put that in it. So, just like Obamacare it was just sloppiness then. Sloppiness should not be the basis for a lawsuit! That is my point! Sloppiness leads to unnecessary pain, and loss. As a country we need to be more detail oriented. It will save us a lot of consternation. 🙂

  9. Well, maybe….

    A Catholic church can reasonably exclude non-Catholics from the sacrament of marriage. It’s part of their exercise of religion, and beyond controversy. But in a community where laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it’s not so clear. One might say that the sacrament of marriage, by definition, is exclusively between a man and a woman. But one can still sue, or perhaps worse, publicly shame the church into changing its ‘hateful’ stance. Even the Pope has given ground on this issue, so it’s by no means assured that the separation of church and state will hold out.

    I can believe that both gay and straight marriages in the same culture will have similar rates of satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and ultimately divorce. People are going into marriage with similar expectations, so one can reasonably expect similar results. But that doesn’t make gay marriage the same as straight marriage.

    With respect to Obamacare, when the law was under debate, the estimated cost was based on subsidies being provided only to states that had set up their own exchanges. So it’s clear what the original intent was. But by drafting it the way they did, referring to ‘an exchange established by the State,’ they opened the door to the Supreme Court interpreting it to mean something else when the original intent wasn’t working as intended. That’s a dirty trick, although in fairness it’s not really the Supreme Court’s fault.

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