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April 23, 2014

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Sen. Harry Reid indicates support for gay marriage if it reaches Nevada ballot

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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nev., right, accompanied by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 25, 2011, as they announce a new proposal to solve the debt limit crisis.

Even as President Barack Obama’s shift on gay marriage opens up a new round of debate about federal laws, Sen. Harry Reid has remained adamant in his view that decisions about who should and should not be allowed to marry should be left to the states.

But on Thursday, Reid quietly said that if he were called on to vote one way or another in his home state of Nevada, he would “follow [his] children and grandchildren” and support legalizing gay marriage in Nevada.

Reid communicated his position without words: He nodded affirmatively in response to a reporter questioning whether he would support a vote in Nevada to recognize homosexual marriages.

The statement expressed by that nod is a significant one for the Senate majority leader, who has often said that he doesn’t object to gay couples marrying or think it’s any of his business whether or not gay couples choose to marry, but has never proactively said he would support their right to do so at the state level if asked to decide.

Reid still personally believes that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, a point he reiterated in a statement Wednesday in which he also said he recognized his children and grandchildren took the right of gays to marry as a given. He did not indicate that he would follow their lead and vote to legalize gay marriage, however, until asked Thursday.

Reid didn’t go quite so far when asked about his plans for a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which received the support of the Judiciary committee in November. Reid voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that defines a marriage as being between a man and a woman for federal purposes but allows states to deviate from that standard, in 1996. He has since voted against efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a heterosexual union only; such an amendment would trample the rights of states to define their marriage laws for themselves.

When asked about the Defense of Marriage Law repeal Thursday, Reid called it “an important piece of legislation” but did not commit to bringing it to a vote on the floor, citing sure Republican opposition.

“It’s not a Democratic problem, it’s a Republican problem,” Reid said.

The Republican party opposes legalizing gay marriage, and its members would be likely to filibuster any attempt to repeal the federal law that exists defining marriage as a male-female affair. Strikingly though, most Republicans have avoided commenting on the issue since the president expressed his views yesterday: Thursday morning, House Speaker John Boehner rather bluntly avoided questions about gay marriage by saying he would “stay focused on jobs.”

The Democratic party hasn’t taken an official position on the legality of gay marriage. But now that Obama has said he is in favor of gay marriage, Reid said he thinks the party will follow suit and add legalizing homosexual marriages to its platform.

“If the president is in favor of it, I’m sure it will be,” Reid said.

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  1. Equality under the law is what we're talking about here for legal civil marriages. This is an equal rights issue and equality only exits if it applies to everyone. Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington have legalized same-sex marriages. So have the countries of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. In some cases, it has been legalized by legislation and in other cases by court rulings. The U.S. Supreme Court will eventually strike down anti-gay marriage laws -- just as it did in 1967 when it struck down the remaining laws in the U.S. banning interracial marriage. Today, interracial marriages are an accepted part of society. Twenty years from now, people will look back on the gay marriage issue and say "What was the big deal?"

  2. I guess nobody heard Romney say Las Vegas is now the GAY Capitol of the country, somebody run and tell Goodman,QUICKLY-----------

  3. Much like Thomas said, this is only a matter of time before same-sex marriages are allowed. It's simply an equal rights issue. Those who oppose it are on the wrong side of history.

  4. I do not know where this notion of entitlement came from; but nowadays, everyone is entitled to something, "just because".
    A perfect example is the comparison of a marriage to a woman and a man to a man and a man, or woman to woman for that matter. The "entitlement folks" shout "equality".
    Let's examine that. A relationship between a man and a man is equal to the relationship between and man and a woman. Really? How? Physical? NO! Emotional? NO! Biological? NO! Physiological? NO! Parental? NO! Then how?
    If equality is what you want. then explain how all things are equal.

  5. "The People do not want gay marriage, so they need to cast out this abomination and keep our country "One nation under God"

    thekingofbail -- what "The People" want is irrelevant when it comes to what consenting adults do in private. And it seems your version of One nation under God" means it's for christians only, no?

    "Equality under the law is what we're talking about here for legal civil marriages. This is an equal rights issue and equality only exits if it applies to everyone."

    ThomasBruny -- funny how the opponents keep missing that

    "Both sex's are guaranteed "equal rights" as long as they don't attempt to marry the same sex. To smugly challenge either assertions is to belittle an institution that has been the foundation of our country."

    acejoker -- then you and your ilk are completely clueless of what equality means and the nature of the republic you live in. Pity.

    "If equality is what you want. then explain how all things are equal."

    rebelkicker -- here's 2 explanations. 1) "No State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" and 2) "All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness[.]"

    "She cried - and the judge wiped her tears with my checkbook." ~ Tommy Manville

  6. This issue of same-sex marriage is not just a religious belief issue, but a moral and ethical issue. Whether or not you believe in morals or ethics - they are the foundation of what civilized societies rely on to promote interaction between people.

    We have a Republic (representative government), and people are FREE to act as they choose in the confines of their own homes. However, the 9 th Circuit Court of appeals, AND the U.S. Supreme court, have both found (in cases that not about same-sex marriage) - that there are limitations limitations on our Constitutional freedoms. And they have stated them clearly.

    One is freedom of speech, but no to the detriment of others, nor in a manner that will construct a violation of law.

    Another is that such restrictions on free speech to not allow defamation of character, slander, etc. - including not being allowed to yell "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater (or any place else).

    Such restrictions DO NOT restrict free speech; the courts have merely determind that there are necessary limitations on how free speech is EXERCISED.

    I submit that same-sex marriage would NOT be subject to limitations other than lewed behavior in public, making a show of probably offensive (to the majority of Americans) affection in public, or other such PUBLIC demonstrations of same-sex involvement.

    THAT DOES NOT MEAN that two people could not kiss each other, or embrace, in PUBLIC - as men and women do. It simply means that it is prudent that we do not allow deviations from the moral and ethical basis from which this country was established.

    Otherwise, it will no longer be the United States of America. It will beoome more like the defunct Roman Empire - where immorality and a lack of ethics in human relationships eventually caused the downfall of the a a former world power.

    This scenario of "personal entitlement" at the expense of the rest of the country, has happened in many countries of the world - not just in America.

    But unless people - on both sides - are willing to agree on certian moral and ethical behavior, our society will never move any possible gains of achieving acceptance of same-sex marriage.
    You cannot change what people believe in very fast - and we have 320 million people in this country, to consider.

  7. Killer b.
    I understand that liberals point to "life, liberty, and happiness" to validate their stance on gay marriage. To me, it is a weak argument. One can say that about a lot of things. "It's ok for me to do this, because it makes me happy, and I have the right to be happy."
    But you failed to answer my question. How is the relationship between a man and a man the same as a man and a woman?
    I will go one step further. How is gay marriage beneficial to society? A man and a woman procreate, and life moves on. Gay marriage cannot satisfy this. So, once again my question is: in the matter of "equality", how is a marriage between a man and a woman "equal" to a marriage between a man and a man?

  8. "This issue of same-sex marriage is not just a religious belief issue, but a moral and ethical issue."

    Socratic -- the question your post failed to address is who gets to decide which version of morality gets the force of law behind it. Legislating morality is generally far beyond any legitimate government authority.

    "But you failed to answer my question. How is the relationship between a man and a man the same as a man and a woman?"

    rebelkicker -- that's because your question is no question at all relevant to this Discussion. Other than the single point about procreation. Marriage isn't about that at all, otherwise it would be part of the civil contract. Which it is not.

    "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion." -- Arthur C. Clarke, 1999, from "God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke" in Free Inquiry magazine

  9. Whereas: The word Gay used to mean homosexual is an euphemism that distorts the meaning of the word gay in the English Language.

    Whereas: The word Marriage as used by Western Christian, Muslims, Hindu and Asian Cultures means the union of man and woman, in both singular and plural (polygamy) marriages, but never means homosexual civil unions.

    Whereas: The term Marriage under the law represents a type of Civil Union recognized by the law of a relationship that was historically Of the people and sanctioned historically by Religious Institutions.

    Whereas: Major Religions consider Homosexual relations to be a sin, and the use of the word marriage to describe a homosexual relationship to be an abomination.

    Whereas: The Constitution prohibits the government from interfering in the Right of Association of its citizens in the private sector.

    Whereas: The Right of Association allows the private sector citizen to individually discriminate based on their Moral and Ethical value system.

    Whereas: The Constitution prohibits the government from declaring any religion as being its own, as England had done with the Protestant Religion.

    Whereas: The Constitution dictates that government must treat all persons equally under the law . . . no exception.

    Whereas: As the Constitution of the United States recognizes that the people are "Equal under the law", any civil union legal rights afforded to a married couple must also be afforded to a homosexual couple, or for that matter any civil union entered into between persons.

    Whereas: The government did first regulate marriage in part for bigoted reasons.

    I make the motion, to the body of the people: That government be prohibited from using the word Marriage to describe any Civil Unions between people. That government be prohibited from regulating the nature of any Civil Unions, which represent a simple private contract between persons.

    I make the motion, to the body of the people: That government be prohibited from using the word Gay, to describe a homosexual Civil Union. That the meaning of the word Gay be reestablished to its rightful meaning of a "general happy feeling".

    And to finish:

    I claim to be in a prosperous gay (hetero) marriage with my wife for the past 34 years, and that I am tired of politicians (Reid, Obama) floating RED HERRINGS meant to distract the people from the important economic problems, caused by our Government, that deserve one hundred percent of the time of Congress, and the President to understand and correct.

  10. What a pathetic joke, the Democratic parties, and the major media outlets coordination of having Mitt declared a bully of homosexuals and the left the defenders of homosexuals in the same news cycle. Anyone who thinks the people are not being gamed by our politicians are the biggest fools of all. I say, ignore this nonsense. Let's talk about what matters to our country.

  11. Rebelkicker -

    You asked how the relationship between a man and a man is the same as a man and a woman. The answer is it is not. The question is irrelevant though, because the relationship between Man A and Woman A is not the same as the relationship between Man B and Woman B. All relationships are different.

    You also posit that heterosexual marriage benefits society because "a man and a woman procreate, and life moves on." Not all married couples procreate, and there's plenty of procreating going on outside of marriage. This, too, is irrelevant.

    This is not a question of whether one relationship is equal to another. The question is simply do the laws apply equally to everyone, and they do not.

    Perhaps you would agree with acejoker's assertion that "Both sex's are guaranteed 'equal rights' as long as they don't attempt to marry the same sex." Based on his past comments, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he would also assert that "Blacks and whites are guaranteed equal civil marriage rights as long as they don't attempt to marry outside their race." Both statement are patently absurd.

    Fortunately for the rest of us, the law of the United States, as enshrined in the Constitution, does not allow that. If you can get legally married to the one you love, so can everyone else. Period. It is the LAW that has to be equal, not the relationships to which the law applies.

  12. acejoker -

    The institution of marriage has been the foundation of our country??

    That must be why the word "marriage" is mentioned so many times in the Constitution. And the Declaration of Independence. And the Federalist Papers. So, so many times. Zero times.

    The very first words of the document that created our country (i.e. laid out the foundation) declare the whole purpose is "to form a more perfect Union". The foundations of our country are, and always have been, the institutions of freedom and liberty and equality. And as we continue to move toward forming a more perfect union, despite the efforts of some like you to prevent that from happening, we are constantly moving toward perfecting those institutions - freedom, liberty, and equality.

  13. KillerB - Regarding your question: "...who gets to decide which version of morality gets the force of law behind it?"

    The answer is: no one person decides this.

    In the United States, the development of the MORES of our society emerged over time, to become accepted and traditional - customs and behaviors - which were regarded as essential to the survival, welfare, and conduct of our people.

    As such, "Reason," and adherence to moral and ethical standards of behavior (as defined by a majority of our society), became part of our formalized legal code.

    History teaches us the value of VIRTUE, HONESTY, MORAL CHARACTER, ETHICS, REASON, and more. But such values must also be ACCEPTED by people as having such value - as demonstrated by their actions, attitudes, and laws they pass.

    Many people talk about family values, their rights, etc. in (mostly) political or religious forums. But the origins of our Ethics and Morals eminate from philosophical values based in our historical culture, as well as, Greek (and other philosophies) - AND God's teachings in the Bible.

    In ethical and moral discussions, philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Heracles, et al) have noted that there is "good and evil" in the world. This condition requires that people make a choice between good and evil.

    THIS "CHOICE" is based on each INDIVIDUAL'S judgment of the "goodness or badness" of human actions and character. Whether or not this JUDGMENT of behavior is ACCEPTABLE to the "majority of the people" in our society, is also based on what we are taught, our understanding and Knowledge of Reason, and yes - our religious history and precepts.

    People came to this "new land" for religious freedom (among other things), and recognized that "God" (and His teachings in the Bible) was an important part of their lives. Similar teachings on ethics and morals exist in many religions (and man-woman marriages are the norm). (homosexuality is not condoned)

    Thus, in the "Declaration of Independence," there are references to "God" and [our] "Creator" as being the entity who endowed us with "unalienable Rights." These Rights were so stated, because of the VALUES and BELIEFS that our Representatives in Congress (in 1776) believed as "self-evident" - AND reflected the MORES of a "majority of the people" at that time - and still do.

    As to whether a "majority" of the people is right or wrong, it remains the concept under which our Constitution and government was established, and still functions.

    So, until "We the people..." decide to change the way we VIEW or VALUE morality and ethics in America, a permissive status of same-sex marriage will NOT be acceptable to a majority of the people. That is democracy in action.

    Finally, if same-sex marriage (and other sex-gender-based behaviors) become the new "norm" in our society - I predict our nation will be well on its way to self-destruction - for the very same reasons that the Roman Empire collapsed.

  14. "KillerB - Regarding your question: "...who gets to decide which version of morality gets the force of law behind it?"

    Socratic -- although the question was rhetorical, nice to see someone paying attention to the bedrock issues.

    "With morality the individual is led into being a function of the herd and to ascribing value to himself only as a function. . .Morality is the herd instinct in the individual." -- Frederich Nietzsche, 1882 "The Gay Science"

  15. If you don't like gay marriage . Don't get one .

  16. "Flip-flopper!"

  17. Killer B
    I realize you find my points irrelevant because you have no comeback.
    Let me ask you again, in very simple English.
    Is a relationship between a man and a woman the same (I say same because the gays are asking for equality- and the last time I checked equal means equal) as a relationship between a man and a man?

    Secondly, I realize liberals hide behind life, liberty and happiness. But, that is based on normal circumstances.
    For example, I have the right to walk down any street in America and be afforded the RIGHT of life, liberty, and happiness. IF I am NORMALLY walking down the street.

    Now, If I do not have any clothes on, then that changes everything. If I am singing at the top of my lungs in a strange neighborhood, that changes everything. If I am peeping in peoples windows and looking in backyards, that changes everything.
    You liberals are all alike.......