Figured I would answer Joe's comments to the 'I Am Progressive' post in a new post since it would be more fun that way.
Regarding marriage, he brings up a good point. Basically he is saying (if I understand correctly) that marriage, being conducted by churchs and the like, is a religious institution and as such, the special benefits married couples received is a violation of church and state. I actually agree with this arguement. Ideally the government should be in the business of civil unions and the churches the marriage bit. That way, you take the entire 'marriage is the union of a man and a woman' out of the equation of whether or not you receive government tax breaks and the like and just leave it to the churchs to work that out. When people get hitched, they go down to the City Hall, get it notorized or whatever as a civil union, then do whatever religious or pagan or whatever ceremony they want to do as far as marriage goes and yer all done. To me that makes a lot more sense then what you have now.
Regarding the progressive tax code question. A progressive tax code is what we have now in which you are taxed at a higher rate the more you make. This is different than a regressive or flat tax where everyone is taxed at the same rate or you levy a heavier sales tax to make-up the short fall. The theory is 10% of someone's income for someone making $20,000 is a lot more to them than 10% of someone making $200,000 in terms of standard of living, etc. This is something I agree with.
Finally, state's rights. I believe Joe's question boils down to stronger state's rights equals more division between the states and within the country as a whole. While there is a certain amount of truth to this, I believe states are in a better position to identify the needs of their population and to react to those needs faster and more effeciently than the federal government. Additionally, the needs of your California's and New York's are very different thatn the needs of your Kansas's and Texas's, so the 'one size fits all' of the Feds doesn't always make sense. With that said, I also believe the Federal government has a strong role to play. I'm just not sure where the line is. What I do know is that it is too far on the fed side now.