Positions on Marriage

When you develop the "warrior mind," you learn to stop seeing conflict and start seeing everything as positioning. You become less sensitive to words that people use to confuse issues, and more sensitive to where things are and where they are going. Because of the continuing debate on gay unions, I became curious about the historical positions of the Supreme Court regarding this matter and found a useful page that summarizes all Court decisions on race, class, and sex.
Common comparisons between gay marriage and inter-racial marriage misstate the positions in the debate about states recognizing marriages in other states. States that prohibited inter-racial marriages did recognize those marriages performed elsewhere, but this did not force them to authorize such marriages themselves. The prohibition of inter-racial marriage in some states did not create “public records” that needed to be recognized in other states because, by their nature, they prohibited such recordings. The Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia (1967) ruled that laws against inter-racial marriage because they violate Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, which forced these states not only to recognize such unions elsewhere but officially authorize them internally. In that case, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Notice a couple of points here. First, he says marriage is “fundamental to our very existence and survival,” so he clearly is talking about the biological union of opposite sexes, not a domestic partnership, which is not fundamental to existence or survival. He also describes “racial classifications” as an “unsupportable” basis for denying marriage because that is “subversive to the principles of equality.” The question therefore remains, is having an institution recognizing an inherent difference between the sexes similarly “subversive to the principles of equality?” This has also been decided by the Supreme Court. In Michael M. v. Sonoma County (1981) the Court ruled that gender-based classifications are not “inherently suspect.” Rostker v. Goldberg (1981)> upheld exclusion of women from military draft. ers v. Hardwick (1986) ruled that same-sex partners are not included in the "zone of privacy" that protects heterosexual couples but that was overturned by the recent decision of Lawrence vs. Texas (2003).

These are the positions on marriage and sex differences that are enshrined in law. These positions are what Sun Tzu calls "entangling" positions, by which he means, if you move from them, you will never be able to return to them.