Las Vegas Sun

March 4, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Unfair traditions should be changed

It’s bewildering that Clarence Lanzrath — in his May 17 letter “Where is the real Obama?” — can accuse President Barack Obama of a “complete reversal” of his previous position on same-sex marriage. Unlike Mitt Romney, who was completely in favor of civil unions when he was governor of Massachusetts and who is now completely against such unions, Obama’s positions have been consistent. The president’s position has advanced from favoring only civil unions to now favoring marriage for same-sex couples. It is a logical extension of his views rather than a reversal.

Lanzrath says, “The dictionary defines marriage as between a man and a woman.” That is not the definition in any dictionary I have seen. Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary has three definitions for “marriage”: “1. the state of being married. 2. an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected. 3. an intimate or close union.”

However, dictionary definitions should have no effect on the status of civil marriage. While religiously sanctioned marriages can be restrictive, government-sanctioned marriages should not deprive anyone from enjoying the same rights as are granted to others.

Some of those opposed to same-sex marriage argue that it is a threat to the “tradition” of marriage. Is that the same “tradition” that once prohibited interracial marriage? Unfair traditions should be changed. My heterosexual marriage of 56 years is certainly not challenged or threatened by same-sex unions or marriages.

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  1. Please. President Obama has been anything but consistent on this issue. See this fact-check by Politifact:

  2. I should point out that I do not disagree with Mr. Lipman's position with regard to gay marriage. Though I would prefer to see all government involvement refer to domestic partnership contracts without regard to gender, I will say that I support the idea of "gay marriage" with the caveat that I do *not* attach any religious meaning to the word "marriage" itself.

    It is the assertion that President Obama has always supported gay marriage that I take issue with since it is so easily demonstrated that Obama has changed his position more than once in the past.

    Yes, I'm am pleased that not only did Obama support the repeal of DADT (though I think he should have done that the same way as it was enacted, with an executive order, when he took office) but that he has also stated his support for gay marriage. But I can not feel that this is his true position in his heart. It simply reeks of political posturing in an election year.

  3. You nailed it Mel. Not favoring gay marriage is not the same thing as opposing it. President Obama favored civil unions in preference to gay marriage. His position has evolved over the years, much as public opinion polls show the American people have evolved to a favorable view of gay marriage.

  4. Like all things at times they seem to change as we address issues.The dictionary states that marriage is between one man and one women.That should be changed to read marriage is between two people who love each other.This is a part of what has changed in our society like it or not.

  5. One must understand where Lipman is coming from. He's such a committed leftist his glasses aren't rose-colored, they're red, so you have to weigh his positions from that perspective. Me? I couldn't care less if homos marry but government should not trample on the religious rights of others in order for that to happen. So, let the suckers marry in civil ceremonies but let religious sects decide for themselves whether to sanction such unions.

  6. Do christians support marriage the way King David had it?

  7. I agree that President Obama's reversal on same sex marriage reeks of political opportunism -- particularly his position that this issue should left to the States. Since when has the federal government ever deferred to the States on a civil rights issue?

    A man of true moral conviction would be pushing for federal legislation to ensure that the fundamental rights of all Americans are protected.

  8. "...government-sanctioned marriages should not deprive anyone from enjoying the same rights as are granted to others."

    Lipman -- government needs to get out of the marriage business completely. The licensing part is the weakest link in this whole anti-gay marriage controversy, that a couple or trio or whatever can enjoy their lives' most intimate relationships only with state permission.

    For the rest of y'all -- how many more times are we going to Discuss this topic to death??

    "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. Although I may not agree with BChap on some issues, I can truly appreciate his decision making. Unlike many posters who get their talking points from television, BChap obviously uses his life experiences when weighing the issues. Kudos!

  10. I'm waiting to see Carmine try to defend his statement "Marriage is, was, and always will be between a man and a woman. It is as it was from the beginning of time and still." which shows not only a woeful lack of knowledge of history, customs and culture around the world...but also a sad lack of reading comprehension of his own bible. Wouldn't his own "Old Testament" completely destroy his claim of " it was from the beginning of time..."?

  11. "However, America is a nation of laws. It makes absolutely no difference whether or not, as an individual you agree with a valid law or not."

    airweare -- it's hardly that absolute. Of course BChap is a retired cop.

    "...a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law." -- Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803)

  12. Carmine,"the dictionary states that marriage is between a man and a women,please state a source."

    My source is Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary copyright 2009 .That would be on page 761 under marriage." the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and constractual relationship recognized by law". That sounds like a man and women to me.And if I might ask what did you think it meant all these years, before all this became a argueing point.

  13. "My source is Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary copyright 2009 .That would be on page 761 under marriage." the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and constractual relationship recognized by law". That sounds like a man and women to me."

    samspeaks -- so we should all let some etymologist decide what our most committed intimate relationship should be? Think again.

    "Inalienable rights. 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[.]" -- Article 1, Section 1, Nevada Constitution

  14. Carmine,You asked for a source and I gave it to you.So why dispute what you asked for. And if I might add on your 4:37 A.M. post you stated "marriage is, was, and always will be between a man and a women". Your words not mine,sometimes we all make mistakes including you and me, no one's perfect.

  15. Hello conservatives,
    Now how many wives did King David have again?

  16. Keep it simple. Whenever obama's lips are moving you are being lied to. He's arrogant and self serving. One more term of this guy will be a huge national blunder.

  17. The Christian message is based on the New Testament. There are many stories in the Old Testament that serve as examples of what not to do as a Christian. When Chirst came on the scene he was very clear that many of the preceding practices were not of God's will. Orgies and homosexuality were not condoned by Jesus. He would have loved those who were involved but condemned the behavior. Leftists who are secular are not well versed on the Chistian faith usually and should try to educate themselves on what Christ's teachings were in the New Testament. Some postings attempt to tie Christ and Christians to old testament stories. That is an error in understanding.

  18. "The Christian message is based on the New Testament...Leftists who are secular are not well versed on the Chistian faith usually and should try to educate themselves on what Christ's teachings were in the New Testament."

    Houstonjac -- having been an ordained minister I was "well versed on the Chistian [sic] faith." I find genuine historical works -- Plutarch's "Lives," etc. -- to be far more relevant and pure than your scriptures. The better of "Christ's teachings" were nothing new, the revered gospels having been written two generations after the crucifixion. Nothing new in them that hadn't been around for centuries and taught by such enlightened philosophers as Socrates and Epicurus.

    "It was the same with those old birds in Greece and Rome as it is now. . . . The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." -- President Harry Truman on the insight "Plutarch's Lives" gave him

  19. Killer bee. Are you a Christian. You said you are ordained minister but did not say you are a Christian Just curious. My comment still stands

  20. "Killer bee. Are you a Christian."

    Houstojac -- used to be, obviously, no longer am. Liberated myself years ago.

    "Religion is the opium of the people" -- Karl Marx from the introduction of his 1843 "Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"

  21. About that New Testament Jesus thing Bob Jack:

  22. Traditions and taboos evolve as do our opinions. I try, I really try, to accept that what is my choice might not be what you want to do. So as long as it doesn't involve violence, intimidation, children, I don't care what gets you through the day, the night, your life. I try to accept anyone's behavior especially if it not traditional or is taboo (excepting ILLEGAL behavior.) I'm long over the "stage" of doing something different for the sake of rebellion. But I am rather accepting of the wild cards out there and in here. I've disclosed before that I am of mixed race and I betcha that if we go back an extra couple of generations, most of you are of mixed race too. Did you see the PBS genealogy show recently showing a spunky "white" woman who laughed "GET OUT OF HERE" when told she was 20.xx percent African? But she liked being told that 'cause she was trying to pass as Pink--Red and White mix. Isn't it wonderful that we can be accepting of any and every color. But we're not so accepting of various life styles--and probably never will accept dramatic differences in politics. Just doesn't seem to work. Europe is on a "Multi-culturalism doesn't work" kick. I'm ok with cultures but only if we can agree on what is legal and appropriate ways to treat each other.

  23. Enough of this chit-chat about what Mel Lipman quotes a Dictionary as saying what marriage is.

    THE LAW defines marriage as follows:
    The "legal union of one MAN and one WOMAN as HUSBAND and WIFE." This is defined in "BLACKS LAW DICTIONARY - 6th Edition" (cite:) Singer v. Hara 111 Wash.App 247,522 P.2d 1187, 1193."

    Further, Blacks Law Dictionary also defines a "Married woman" as being "A WOMAN who has a HUSBAND living and not divorced." So I suggest that no matter what Obama THINKS our laws should allow, they do not now allow such marriages - and until it is changed, the President should stop making such "political" statements - BEFORE HE WORKS WITH CONGRESS to write legislation that would make Gay marriage the "law of the land."

    This definition in BLD should leave no doubt as to what constitutes a marriage, as it is defined by these "...Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence..." - WHICH ARE USED by Attorney's-At-Law in the practice, prosecution, and defense of civil and criminal matters in every Court in the United States.

    Rationale for using Black's Law Dictionary:

    The U.S Constitution says we are a "nation of laws. "Black's Law Dictionary" - - which has been a recognized SOURCE for legal definitions for two centuries - - provides a useful "starting point" for defining "legal words and terms."

    Further, it provides Adjudicated Case Law summaries, cross-references, explanation of words and phrases, discussion of legal points-of-law, and address "settled Case-Law," precedents, and State and Federal legislation.

    While there is no change in the stated definition of "marriage" shown in BLD, supplemental research sources are available (as noted by the Authors) that may be useful due to occasional variances in the practice of law in State or Federal cases. These "Helpful sources for supplemental research can be found in "Words and Phrases" and WESTLAW."

    BOTTOM-LINE: Whether or not any one writing in this column agrees with how the law defines marriage - the question NOW BECOMES: whether "We the people..." should CHANGE the law."

    And it is NOT REASONABLE or PROPER for the President of the United States (who represents 320 million people of various opinions) to make a whimsical and political "statement-of-the-day" (he has flip-flopped a lot on this issue) - in support of "Gay marriage."

    Every interest group that develops a claim cannot carve out its own niche of America. It is up to a MAJORITY of the people to decide whether Gay marriage should be legal. And that decision will, in turn, illustrate what kind of country "We the people..." want the United States to become.

    The fall of the Roman Empire should give us that answer.

  24. "The U.S Constitution says we are a "nation of laws. "Black's Law Dictionary" - - which has been a recognized SOURCE for legal definitions for two centuries..."

    Socratic -- "nation of laws" is NOT in our federal Constitution, and Henry Campbell Black's dictionary was first published in 1891, 115 years ago. So what else did you make up?

    And the "BOTTOM-LINE" is hardly whether or not "We the people..." should CHANGE the law." It's whether or not any one of us, citizen or not, can be deprived of liberty -- and that encompasses adults in intimate relationships -- without due process of law. That's a protection found in both the federal and Nevada Constitutions. All you have to do is look it up.

    "...a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law." -- Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803)

  25. @ By KillerB - You are incorrect.
    The phrase: "Law of the Land" IS in the Constitution. "Article VI. Section 2" of the United States Constitution" explicity says:

    "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all the Treaties made ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land, and the Judges in every State should be bound thereby ...."

    Thus, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States..." ARE INDEED "...the supreme Law of the Land." Hence, the United States is, defacto, a "Nation of Laws" - a term used by the Framers, politicians, and lawyers for over 200 years.

    And by the way, of what consequence is it that the 1st Edition of Black's Law Dictionary was published in 1891. TODAY, the revised and updated 6th Edition (as of 1990) is the current Law Dictionary being used. The BLD will be revised again when such changes are necessary.

    But this does not change what I said about the current LEGAL definition of marriage. And, while the BLD is a primary source for such research (noted previously), it is NOT the only source. But it is still accurate. And I am sure the 7th Edition will be forthcoming when needed.

    As for your coment about Gays and deprivation of liberty. It USED TO BE that being Gay would get you into some kind of trouble, get fired from a job, not get a security clearance, etc.

    I believe some progress has been made - for the better. Gay people are protected from harassment, and have the same LIBERTY to PRACTICE their life-styles - just as straight people have (even this still excludes Gays from getting "married.") But I have seen progress made over the years in recoginzing (some) Gay "rights" aka: liberties.

    As for Marbury v. Madison - I agree with this quote. So what can "We the people..." do to prevent poor legislation and change laws? Well, we can take a greater interest in what Congress does! I submit that "We the people..." have relinquished our COnstitutional authority as citizens to a bunch of do-nothing politicians in Congress, and the White House.

    So if we are to remain a free nation, and pursue justice for all, we must still be responsible for ENSURING that fair and just laws are passed - as they affect everyone. So the ANSWER to the question I asked of "what to do" - is check out who YOU vote for, and what THEY stand for. Then hold them accountable for doing it.

    Our Rights were defined in the Constitution by the Framers, yet the current cast of characters in Washington, DC, can undo what the Framers provided for us - if we let them.

    So lets keep discussing the issues as they come up - and "keep writing them cards and letters" to Congress. Then, eventually, we will find creative ways to resolve this - and many more - concerns we have.

  26. "The phrase: "Law of the Land" IS in the Constitution.....And by the way, of what consequence is it that the 1st Edition of Black's Law Dictionary was published in 1891. TODAY, the revised and updated 6th Edition (as of 1990) is the current Law Dictionary being used."

    Socratic -- wrong again. "Law of the Land" is not "a nation of laws," de facto or otherwise. The "consequence" about Black's dictionary is you added 85 years to its existence. And the current (2009) Blacks is the 9th Edition. I have an 8th on my shelf (2004). Along with a Fifth and Sixth Abridged and a Fourth Unabridged.

    "The Government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right." -- Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 163 (1803)

  27. "Don't forget Confucius. But ONE huge difference. The wise men and philosophers said listen to me, I will show you the way."

    CarmineD -- Confucius being an Eastern philosopher is irrelevant. Our entire culture, including our system of laws, has its roots in ancient Greece. And at least the philosophers I read (Socrates, Epicurus, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius) didn't really say "I will show you the way" or "I am the way." They were actually indifferent about other people's opinions, especially Marcus, a Roman emperor and the last great Stoic writer.

    Quoting your mythic Jesus to me is wasted. I am no longer christian.

    Q: "What is the burning question on the mind of every dyslexic existentialist?"

    A: "Is there a dog?"

  28. "I would add to the list of religious men Buddha, Confucius, Laotsze, Socrates etc. BUT as I said, these are religious men. Christ is religion itself. . . . .My suggestion may fall on deaf ears but I suggest you read the book. . ."

    CarmineD -- again, Eastern philosophers are irrelevant. Socrates was not religious, had a problem with institutions, and was executed for it. The biggest difference between us is you can't seem to distinguish between being spiritual and being religious. You seem to attach your dogma to everything. As for your reading offer, here's my counter-offer -- commit to reading Plato's "Apology" and I'll read yours.

    "Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write." -- John Adams "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law," from "The Works of John Adams" (1851) volume 3, page 462

  29. "I rea [sic] Plato's Apology many many years ago. As I recall he believed and proclaimed even then the existence of one true God..."

    If you read the popular Jowett translation, I don't question your reading. Benjamin Jowett (died 1893) was a popular Plato translator who was also a theologian and is guilty of what many translators of his day did -- christianized the text, especially by singularizing and capitalizing "God" in their finished works. I have his contemporary George Long's (died 1879) translation of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius and was always curious about how these deists kept mentioning "God." That was answered in Martin Hammond's fresh translation (2006) of Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations."

    "Then, by the gods, Meletus, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the court, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach others to acknowledge some gods, and therefore do believe in gods and am not an entire atheist - this you do not lay to my charge; but only that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes - the charge is that they are different gods. Or, do you mean to say that I am an atheist simply, and a teacher of atheism?" -- Socrates in Plato's "Apology," Jowett translation

  30. If I go back far enough, according to the logic of many people, I should get closer to some "truth" about cave drawings would have to be the most informed about this. No one has yet answered what they think about King David having several wives at once.

  31. "If I go back far enough, according to the logic of many people, I should get closer to some "truth" about cave drawings would have to be the most informed about this."

    mschaffer -- you think? Whether it's all the Catholic pomp and ritual or an aboriginal shaman chanting dancing around a fire, it's all just man's puny efforts to explain the unexplainable.

    "To sum up: 1. The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. 2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. 3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride." -- H. L. Mencken, "Coda" 1920

  32. @ KillerB - You are amazingly short-sighted, or just don't care about facts - even when they are pointed out to you - as I have, extracted FROM the U.S. Constitution.

    If you say we are NOT a "Nation of Laws" (which is an obvious paraphrase that you do not accept), this tells me you must NOT BELIEVE or UNDERSTAND that the WRITTEN INTENT of the Framers of the Constitution was to "...ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH" ... "This Constitution, and the Laws of the Unted States..." AS "...the supreme Law of the Land."

    1. Would you agree that the Framers WROTE that statement?

    If so, why do you reject a common PARAPHRASE (not originated by me) that says essentially the same thing? Are there not many ways to say the "same thing" when talking about other subjects? (language dictionaries and thesaurus' are full of them.)

    2, If you DO NOT AGREE with what the Framers WROTE in the Constitution - and therefore believe the "Rule of Law" to be invalid - WHAT do you think are the legal rules under which this Republic exists, if not LAWS?

    I will anticipate your answer to this 2nd question, and suggest that you believe our Constitution is "BROKEN" (or other word you might choose), and therefore, the U.S. Constitution is invalid; or at the very least, does not work as you think it should. After reading some of your commentaries, I think this may be at the crux of what you believe.

    If I am wrong on this last point (or anything else), say so; but don't just say that I am wrong - without further explanation. I have explained, at great length, WHY I think you are wrong. I know you can do the same.

  33. Something calling itself "The-Socratic-Inkwell", starts out be using a fake name and then wants to be taken seriously.
    "The-Socratic-Inkwell" believes this is a nation of is. There are laws for the privileged and wealthy and then there are laws for the rest of us.

  34. @ By mschaffer (Mark Schaffer - Because you made an issue of my writing "to be taken seriously," I will tell you I have been a successful business research analyst and writer since 1979. So I have no fear of not being taken "seriously" in the forums I write in.

    My writings and opinions are credible, or I would not have a job. But what I write in the LV Sun is only COMMENTARY - amd meant for conversational purposes; I am not out to "change the world" by the comments I make herein.

    You have also made a presumptous remark by chastising me using a "nome de plume." I have written under this name for over 30 years. It has meaning to me, but I do not see what your point is in criticizing it? The name I use has NOTHING to do with what I writen.

    Acceptance of WHAT I (or anyone else) will write is, of course, subject to the ability, interest, and willingness of others to engage in intellectual discourse.

    As for your acquisience that the U.S. is, indeed, a "nation of Laws" - thank you. I agree that that there is certainly, a FINANCIAL disparity between the wealthy and "the rest of us." But, such disparity only occurs as a result of what a person has (or has not) been able to achieve, as aided by their education, level-of-effort, and business acumen; all of which will make a business prosperious (and the owners "rich")- or result in failure.

    You seem to want assurance of FINANCIAL parity with the rich - but our Constitution DOES NOT provide for that. In France, they are working such parity as the new Socialist President is about to envoke a NEW 75 percent TAX INCREASE on everyone who earns over one million dollars a year.

    Yet, if France did not SPEND so much (s we are also doing in the USA), neither the France nor the United States would need such high taxation rates. Is this Socialist approach the kind of financial parity you would like to see in the United States?

    I don't believe you can "blame" rich people for being rich. They are just successful, where others have failed. But they take all the risks. Yet conversely, no one wants to help a failed business by sharing their financial losses.

    So, I believe your last line of comment about "Laws for the privileged..." and "...the rest of us" - MAY be TRUE, but ONLY if you are taking about the IRS Code.

    Because every American has the OPPORTUNITY to advance themselves by hard work. I did it, and you may have too. That is what our Constitution provides for: liberty and the freedom to pursue such success; not parity of income.

  35. Something calling itself "The-Socratic-Inkwell" makes claims about it's background that, even if true, would confirm an inability to reason given a "business" background. Critical thinking is not prized in such environments and this person's writing confirms this. Between leaps of logic and lack of valid research sources it adds nothing of value to the discussion. Socrates would be embarrassed to know his name was being used to give credence to nonsense.

  36. By Airweare - regarding your comment: "Upon graduation the trust fund kicks in to supply the wealthy entrepreneur a stable funding source of unimaginable possibilities to try and fail and try again with OPM. Is this fair?"

    First, "OPM" (private money) belongs to the people who earn or invest it. So if they take the risk, make some profits, and become successful - while employing people who get paid - then it is THEIR MONEY. We know this because if the IRS considers it THEIR MONEY, they get taxed on it.

    I will agree - depending on one's perspective - that the disparity between "rich, middle-class, and poor" income levels might may not SEEM "fair" - but such egalitarianism would apply in a Socialist-collective government (ala Karl Marx). We are not that. And I also agree with you that equal financial support is not available to everyone. But then, the Framers of our Constitution did not designed to it to make things "fair;" the 1st Amendment shows tht liberty and freedom was the focus for a new nation.

    Today, ALL Americans stil have the OPPORTUNITY to PURSUE Happiness (e.g., financial gain), and the Constitution "ordains" (mandates) that we have the opportunity to pursue this. (For example, Billionaires, like Bill Gates exercised their opportunities and rose to to great wealth from, essentially, nothing.)

    I grew up in a family of four in Brooklyn NY, and we were definitely poor. But after graduating from HS, (and the school of "hard knocks"), I tried to figure out how I could get out of Brooklyn. How could get a better job, and earn more money - like other guys had?

    Well, I found out how; I joined the Air Force. It was there I found that working hard, showing initiative, and producing results - would move me up the (rank) ladder, which paid MORE MONEY.

    After the Air Force, I progressed further: I got a job as an analyst. Yet I still wanted more. So again, I asked some friends: "why someone was paid better than I was?"

    The answer was: "because he had a college education." So, I went to college at night, worked during the day - and in great 4 years, I graduated with a college degree in business; and it really paid off.

    So just as I took OPPORTUNITES to become successful in life, any American who wants to ssearch for it. Being rich is not a requirement can achieve the same success - if they work at it. Taking risks and working hard has proven to be a good basis for success. And I'm sure that there several million oher American success stories that could be told. Those stories would include the 350,000 (former) business-startups that were typical in the pre-recession years.

    SO in ANSWER to your question: "Is it fair?" I will have to say "yes" - because the "opportunity" in America does exist - and it is generally not dependent on anyone else. All one has to do is be motivated - and, (as Nike Shoe Co. says): "JUST DO IT!"

    Where there is a will, there is a way.

  37. I wonder how "The-Socratic-Inkwell" would have done without that pesky government funded Air Force supporting his/her/it's efforts?