《经济学人》:幸福婚姻在美国
日期:2011-08-02 11:44

(单词翻译:单击)

Lexington
来克星敦

Connubial bliss in America
幸福婚姻在美国

Behind the politics of gay marriage, a widening social acceptance
同性婚姻之政治因素的背后,公众对同性恋的接受程度看涨

Jul 30th 2011 | from the print edition

AMERICA is the country, said Alexis de Tocqueville, where the bonds of marriage are most respected and the concept of connubial bliss “has its highest and truest expression.” If the French aristocrat were to revisit America’s capital today, he might at first glance think his observation had withstood the test of time remarkably well. Not content with having in 1996 put a Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the statute book, Congress has now begun to hold hearings on a Respect for Marriage Act. Defended, respected: what could possibly ail marriage in America?

法国贵族托克维尔曾说,美国人最为尊重婚姻联系,夫妻美满生活的概念在美国也是达到了“最顶级最真实的境界。”今日,倘若托尔维尔能够重游华盛顿的话,乍一看也许觉得自己的评论如此经得起时间考验,历久弥新啊!美国于1996年曾经推行了一部《捍卫婚姻法案》,现今,不满足于仅此而已,国会又已着手于就出台《尊重婚姻法案》举行听证会。到底是该捍卫婚姻还是尊重尊重?到底哪个可能会“蹂躏“美国婚姻呢?

Plenty. As the revisiting Norman would swiftly discover, Americans today are better at quarrelling about what marriage is and who should be allowed to enjoy its benefits than they are at the more demanding work of getting and staying married themselves. The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia points to a widening “marriage gap”. Traditional family values are enjoying a revival among better-educated Americans, but are fraying in the lower middle class and have collapsed among the poor. As for laws “defending” and “respecting” marriage, these are merely weapons in a battle that has rolled back and forth for more than a decade between those who say that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and those who abhor the idea.

能够“蹂躏“美国婚姻的因素还真不少呢。要是故地重游的话,托克维尔会很快发现,如今美国人更多的是争论婚姻的本质是什么,以及哪一方可以从婚姻中受益,反而没有过多谈论他们自己应该提高结婚率,压低离婚率。弗吉尼亚大学《全国婚姻计划》表明“婚姻差距”愈发扩大。受过良好教育的美国人越发崇尚“传统家庭观念”,下层中产阶级的这方面意识在变淡,而之于贫穷家庭,“传统家庭观念”干脆就已分崩离析了。十几年来,美国内部有两种声音,一种声音主张允许同性婚姻,另一种声音对此深恶痛绝,在这十几年里,两番势力反反复复斗争不断,而至于美国法律一边捍卫婚姻,一边尊重婚姻,他们也不过是斗争中的武器而已。

So far neither side has scored a decisive victory, though each will occasionally claim one. When it was passed, DOMA looked like a solid victory for enemies of gay marriage. Its aim was to nip moves towards same-sex marriage in the bud by defining marriage as a legal union “between one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It also stipulated that in the event of an individual state making same-sex marriage lawful, no other state needed to respect the rights or claims arising from such a marriage. To buttress this apparently formidable firewall, three dozen states have imposed constitutional or other legal bans.

目前为止,两方都没有取得什么决定性胜利,虽说他们时不时的会宣称自己胜利了。当初《捍卫婚姻法案》的获准通过,对于反对同性婚姻的人来说,这看似是个实实在在的成功。《捍卫婚姻法案》定义婚姻为依照法律程序,一男一女互为夫妻的结合,以此来达到掐死同性婚姻于摇篮中的目的。同时它还规定,万一有个别州承认同性婚姻合法性的话,其他各州也不必对次类婚姻所产生的权利和要求予以尊重。为了支持这条看似强大的防线,三十几个州以州宪法或者其他法规的形式,强制颁布了对于同性婚姻的禁令。

And yet gay marriage marches on, scoring its own victories along the way. Among the greatest and most recent was New York’s decision last month to become the sixth and most-populous state to allow same-sex marriage. If the Respect for Marriage Act were to become law (though this will need to await a more sympathetic Congress), this would defang DOMA and mark another victory for gay marriage. But DOMA is anyway not the deterrent it once seemed. The ever-cautious Barack Obama, who favours civil unions but says his views on gay marriage are still “evolving”, has ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the law, which is under challenge in the courts.

然而,同性婚姻一直都在继续,并且过程中也取得了一些胜利。上个月,纽约州成为允许同性婚姻的第六个州,同时也是六个州中人口最多的一个,对于“同性婚姻”来说,这是自己最近一次的胜利,同时也是有史以来最伟大的胜利之一。倘若《尊重婚姻法案》能够写进法律的话(虽说那还得等着“通情达理”的国会予以通过),《捍卫婚姻法案》的威力恐怕就会被大大削弱,从而为同性婚姻打赢又一场战争。但是话又说回来了,《捍卫婚姻法案》早已失去当初的震慑力了。《捍卫婚姻法案》在法庭上受到质疑,一贯行事小心翼翼的奥巴马也已要求司法部门放弃为此法案提供辩护。奥巴马个人支持同性恋民事结合,但他表示自己对待同性恋婚姻的看法还未一锤子钉死。

The relentless back-and-forth in Congress, the courts and state legislatures transfixes the minority of Americans who feel strongly about this issue. And yet the cycle of victories and defeats may in the end matter less than one startling underlying fact, which is that America’s attitudes to homosexuality appear in recent years to have undergone a dramatic change.

对于同性婚姻问题,国会,法院以及州议会一直反反复复,令那些强烈抵制同性婚姻的少数美国人无计可施。可是最终,胜利与落败的轮回就显得不那么重要了,一惊人的基本事实反而更加要紧,那就是,近几年,美国人对于同性恋的态度发生了巨大的转变。

Gallup reported in May that for the first time ever a majority (53% to 45%) of Americans said that same-sex couples should have the same marriage rights as straight couples. In 1996, the time of DOMA, the majority leant 68% to 27% the other way. The controversial policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, which banned gays from serving openly in the armed forces, is meanwhile due to expire in September with surprisingly little hue and cry. And when National Journal polled political “insiders” this month, it found a majority of Democratic politicos, lobbyists and strategists in favour of making gay marriage legal. No less telling, a majority of their Republican counterparts, while continuing to oppose gay marriage, thought their party should just ignore the issue.

今年5月,盖洛普民意测试显示,有史以来第一次,大多数美国人认为同性伴侣应跟异性伴侣一样享有同样的婚姻权(持有此观点的美国占到了53%,而持反对观点的人占了45%)。而《捍卫婚姻法案》颁布的那一年,也就是1996年,反对同性婚姻的人占了大多数,当时的数字是68%,而支持的人仅有27%。如今,饱受争议的“不问不答”(这项政策旨在防止同性恋在部队中公开自己的性取向,以防引发歧视乃至有损士气的后果)政策也将于今年9月告一段落,而令人惊讶的是,人们对此并未有什么抗议。本月,《国家杂志》对重要政客展开民调,发现大部分民主党政客,说客以及策略家都赞同同性婚姻合法化。当然了,不用说,大多数共和党一方面继续反对同性婚姻,一方面认为民主党干脆就应该“不甩”这个话题。

That might make electoral sense. Since it is the young who are most relaxed about gay marriage, standing in its path might cost the Republicans dear in the future. The notion of denying gays the spousal rights available to others makes little sense to a generation that sees marriage at least as much as a union of soul-mates as a formal structure for child-rearing.

民主党此举对于自己的竞选来说大有裨益。现如今,年轻人对于同性婚姻最看的开,因此跟他们意见相悖对于共和党的前途很不利。有人认为,结婚是为了名正言顺的生儿育女,而婚姻之于年轻人来说主要是两个情投意合之人长相厮守, 至少,年轻人把两者看得同等重要,因此,其他人拥有结婚的权利,而同性伴侣却不能够,这种说法在年轻人这儿行不通。

To crusaders against gay marriage, however, the issue transcends electoral calculation. They say they are defending both God’s will and a vital child-centred institution that is already beleaguered enough. In this election cycle, Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman pursuing the Republican presidential nomination, has become a lightning-conductor on gay issues. In spite of having a gay stepsister, she has long put opposition to same-sex marriage at the centre of her politics. In 2004 she likened the gay lifestyle to “personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement”. The fact that her husband runs a clinic offering to cure gays of their supposed affliction has caused both indignation and merriment among metropolitan types.

然而,对于抵制同性婚姻的斗士来说,同性婚姻这个问题已经不是竞选能够丈量的了。他们称自己捍卫神的旨意,同时也在捍卫着“以孩子为中心”的重要社会习俗,而这一习俗已是受尽折磨,频临承受极限。米歇尔•巴赫曼是明尼苏达州国会女议员,她正奋力争取拿下共和党总统候选人资格,在这次选举周期里,她俨然成为了同性恋问题的一把“避雷针”。尽管自己的一个同父异母的姐姐就是同性恋,米歇尔一直以来还是把反对同性婚姻问题作为自己的核心政治立场。早在2004年,她就将同性恋生活方式与“人身依附”,“痛苦绝望”以及“个人奴役”画上了约等号。米歇尔的丈夫开了一家诊所,他们认定同性恋者饱受痛苦,于是为他们提供这方面的治疗,生活在大都市中的人们对于这一举动可谓是既愤慨又欢迎。

Attitudes like Mrs Bachmann’s may do her little harm with the Republican base, but strike parts of the wider electorate as antiquated or downright bigoted. That may be why Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who ran for the presidency in 2008 and may yet do so again, has warned fellow Republicans to “get the heck out of people’s bedrooms”. It could also explain why Rick Perry, the governor of Texas now pondering a presidential run of his own, says that he has no quarrel with New York’s new law. Pleading the tenth (states’ rights) amendment, he argues that New York’s stand on gay marriage is its own business.

在共和党内,巴赫曼所持的这类看法于她来说无伤大雅,但走出共和党阵营,她还要面对广泛选民,而在一部分人看来,她的观点过于守旧,或者说是无比顽固。这也就是为什么前纽约市市长朱利安尼提醒共和党人,不要瞎搀和人家家卧室里的私事。朱利安尼曾于2008年竞选总统,这次他可能还将参选。正考虑参选下届总统的德克萨斯州州长裴礼表示,自己对于纽约州承认同性婚姻没有什么意见,同样也是出于这个道理。裴礼搬出了《美国宪法第10修正案》(第10修正案保护各州的权利),坚称纽约州对于同性婚姻持有什么立场完全是他们自己的事情。

In point of fact, neither Mr Giuliani nor Mr Perry favours gay marriage. Mr Giuliani says civil unions are good enough for gays. Mr Perry has not only been a vehement opponent of gay marriage but also gone so far as to defend Texas’s anti-sodomy law, which the Supreme Court has ruled to be unconstitutional. Such men have their beliefs, but they are also seasoned politicians. They can see which way the national mood is blowing.

事实上,朱利安尼和裴礼二人都不赞同同性婚姻。朱利安尼认为同性伴侣民事结合就足够了。而裴礼之前不仅强烈反对同性婚姻,甚至还捍卫德克萨斯州的《反鸡奸法》,而美国最高法院裁定《反鸡奸法》违宪。这些人有自己的主见,但是同时,他们又是颇为老练的政客。他们清楚民意所向。

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  • formidableadj. 强大的,可怕的,难对付的
  • ailvt. 使 ... 苦恼 vi. 苦恼,生病 n. 小病
  • electionn. 选举
  • underlyingadj. 在下面的,基本的,隐含的
  • glancev. 一瞥,扫视,匆匆一看,反光,闪烁,掠过 n. 一瞥
  • occasionallyadv. 偶尔地
  • issuen. 发行物,期刊号,争论点 vi. & vt 发行,流
  • striken. 罢工,打击,殴打 v. 打,撞,罢工,划燃
  • abhorvt. 憎恶,厌恶,痛恨
  • decaden. 十年