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Marriage: A word? A relationship? Are the two the same?

December 6, 2010 | 12:11 pm

Having gotten past the hour of argument over whether the opponents of same-sex marriage have legal standing to defend Proposition 8 in appellate court, the panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals  hearing the case wasted little time getting to the heart of the matter.

All three judges have been pressing Charles Cooper, the lawyer arguing to keep Proposition 8 intact, to articulate the rational basis for the ban on same-sex marriage. If domestic partnerships have all the same rights as marriage in California, what's the relevance of all this argument about the ability of heterosexual couples to procreate? If same-sex couples have the right to adopt children or have them through the help of a third party of the opposite sex, along with the ability to form lifelong loving relationships with legal recognition of rights to inherit and make medical decisions, what is the rational basis for denying them a word?

Cooper's response is that the word "marriage" is, in a way, the same as the relationship. Allowing the title of marriage to the unions of gay and lesbian couples changes the nature of marriage itself, he says.

-- Karin Klein



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