Archive - Sep 9, 2006
We spent Sunday evening on the beach in Grand Haven and watched the sun set.
The chief casualty in the struggle over same-sex marriage has been the American constitutional tradition. Liberals and conservatives -- judges and legislators -- bear responsibility for this sad state of affairs.
Twenty states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriages; many more are in the offing. On the ballot this fall in Virginia and five other states will be proposed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Passage of the amendments is all but foreordained, but the first principles of American law will be further endangered...
The Framers meant our Constitution to establish a structure of government and to provide individuals certain inalienable rights against the state. They certainly did not envision our Constitution as a place to restrict rights or enact public policies, as the Federal Marriage Amendment does.
Ordinary legislation -- not constitutional amendments -- should express the community's view that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." To use the Constitution for prescriptions of policy is to shackle future generations that should have the same right as ours to enact policies of their own. To use the Constitution as a forum for even our most favored views strikes a blow of uncommon harshness upon disfavored groups, in this case gay citizens who would never see this country's founding charter as their own...
To constitutionalize matters of family law is to break with state traditions. The major changes in family law in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the recognition of married women's property rights and the liberalization of divorce, occurred in most states at the statutory level. Even the infamous bans on interracial marriage were adopted nonconstitutionally by 35 states, and by constitutional amendment in only six...
Marriage between male and female is more than a matter of biological complementarity -- the union of the two has been thought through the ages to be more mystical and profound than the separate identities of each alone. Without strong family structures, there will be no stable and healthy social order, and alternative marriage structures might weaken the sanction of law and custom necessary for human families to flourish and children to grow. These are no small risks, and present trends are not often more sound than the cumulative wisdom of the centuries.
Is it too much to ask that judges and legislatures acknowledge the difficulty of this debate by leaving it to normal democratic processes?
From an article of the same title by Daniel Gross on slate.com:
Star-endorsed basketball shoes have long been one of the great rip-offs in footwear. Nike wants $130 for a pair of Zoom Kobe I sneakers and $110 for Zoom LeBron IIIs. You'll pay at least $90 for Allen Iverson's signature shoes, the Answer. (The question: What costs too much?)
But now cheap is suddenly cool. New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury has just put his name on a line of cheap athletic wear and shoes, dubbed Starbury. Marbury's signature Starbury One basketball shoes retail for a mere $15.
Marbury isn't the first basketball player to put his name on cheaper shoes. In 2004, Shaquille O'Neal's Dunkman line of shoes retailed at Payless for $40 a pair. But what distinguishes Marbury's shoe is its extreme cheapness combined with his vow to actually use it in his professional life. "I'm going to wear the shoe on court. I'm going to wear the sneakers all season," he said in a piece that aired on National Public Radio this morning...
And rather than affiliate with a sleek, design-conscious company like Nike or a mega-retailer like Target, Marbury has chosen to cast his lot with a scrappy upstart. The Starbury line is available only at the up-and-coming cheapo apparel retailer Steve & Barry's. Steve & Barry's started with a single store at the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, expanded to other college campuses, and then to malls. Today, there are about 130 stores, with six opening in August and September alone. This piece in Business Week explains how Steven Shore and Barry Prevor have managed to undercut Wal-Mart and Target by scoring great deals from landlords at crappy malls, buying directly from overseas, and offering only house brands. The result: absurdly low prices. Walk through the aisles and you'll shake your head in disbelief: polo shirts, rugby shirts, hats, university T-shirts, bulky hooded sweatshirts, jeans and khakis, shorts, warm-up jackets, all for less than $10.