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June 29, 2003 2:34 PM   Subscribe

A US Constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage. Bill Frist, the Majority leader in the US Senate, is spreading the Word.
posted by four panels (125 comments total)

 
Remember when the Republican Revolution House o' Reps was vilifying Clinton for adultery and then it turned out several of them were adulterers? I wish that same sense of cosmic irony would strike down on Frist and the others behind this little bit of nonsense, with immediate & public outings!
posted by jonson at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2003


Well, this'll go on for a looong time. Anybody remember the Equal Rights Amendment?
posted by JanetLand at 2:46 PM on June 29, 2003


Oh, this is just petty pandering to the usual fundamentalist constituencies yadda yadda. There is no way they could actually get an amendment like this past both the House and the Senate and then have it ratified by the states. Frist is just trying to sir up attention for himself.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:48 PM on June 29, 2003


Bill Frist is a grade-A bigot homophobe. His comments only further a cause of hate against a minority.

If homosexual marriage were legalized, what would be the great harm in it?

And if marriage is a sacrament, then aren't you admitting marriage is indeed a religious thing, and as such, should not be regulated by the secular state?
posted by benjh at 2:51 PM on June 29, 2003


I think you're right, elwoodwiles. This is brazen moralistic grandstanding, but that's not all. It's a tragic misuse of the Constitution, a document intended to represent our most core agreed upon values as a nation. Unfortunately, so many other wastes of time and exploitation of civic virtues have essentially rendered that collection of papers inert. Sadly, it only took a few generations.

And benjh, I agree too; it is our perception of divinity that defines the sacred, and for me, love is divine, so bring it on but leave the guvmint out! Maybe US gay/lesbian couples should have a national "marry-in" to protest his abuse of power...

Sharp words, but this kind of thing just gets my goat. Meanwhile, yay Canada!
posted by moonbird at 3:13 PM on June 29, 2003


C'mon it's all politics. The Dem candidates will take the bait, disgusting enough yahoos in the south for the Republicans to win the presidency again.
posted by mrhappy at 3:16 PM on June 29, 2003


mrhappy - I guess that makes it all ok then.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:21 PM on June 29, 2003


I have this fear that this zone of privacy that we all want protected in our own homes is gradually — or I'm concerned about the potential for it gradually being encroached upon, where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned,"

"And I'm thinking of — whether it's prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home ... to have the courts come in, in this zone of privacy, and begin to define it gives me some concern."


By "this zone of privacy that we all want protected... [is] gradually being encroached upon" he of course means that it is being strengthened. Which is interesting language, in that it is the opposite of what he means, and is deceptive.

A conservative expressing the idea that the strengthening of the concept of individual privacy "gives me some concern" should be surprising, but sadly isn't. I wish people that supported real libertarian and/or conservative views would realize that their viewpoints are not being addressed by the republican party so that, hopefully the party gets votes in proportion to people that actually agree with their actions.
posted by rhyax at 3:21 PM on June 29, 2003


I wonder if Frist will get the Log Cabin Republicans on board?

This proposed amendment seems delightfully dumb in it's potential to damage relations with SCOTUS - doesn't it amount to a "fuck-you" gesture towards the overturning of Bowers Vs. Hardwick? And Frist thinks this will be somehow productive?
posted by troutfishing at 3:25 PM on June 29, 2003


"I have this fear that this zone of privacy that we all want protected in our own homes is gradually *— or I'm concerned about the potential for it gradually being encroached upon, where criminal activity** within the home would in some way be condoned," Frist told ABC's This Week.

*Here, Frist realises that to complete this sentence in a logical and consistent way - by saying something is being eroded in the privacy of our homes - undermines his prejudices, and actually is statement for the opposition, and to recover resorts to
** the tarnishing of a group as out laws, defying his own logic - because his whole protest is at the decriminalising of a sexual act (as it happens, permission is granted for all consenting adults).
posted by dash_slot- at 3:28 PM on June 29, 2003


Well, yeah, like Rhyax said (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 3:31 PM on June 29, 2003


As anyone who's studied politics knows well, the US Constitution is interesting because it proscribes state activity based upon a presumption of natural rights (rights 'shall not be deprived', 'unenumerated' rights are taken as granted) rather than prescribing the rights of citizens. The most famous proscriptive addition to the Constitution was that enforcing the prohibition of intoxicating liquor in 1920, and we all know what a success that was. It should certainly rest heavy in the minds of those seeking to follow its example.
posted by riviera at 3:31 PM on June 29, 2003


His support for a marriage amendment doesn't seem to sit very well with this statement, from the end of the article, about the recent sodomy ruling:
Frist said the questions of whether to criminalize sodomy should be made by state legislatures.
"That's where those decisions, with the local norms, the local mores, are being able to have their input in reflected," Frist said.

I bet he'd approve of a constitutional amendment banning "sodomy", though.
posted by uosuaq at 3:33 PM on June 29, 2003


C'mon it's all politics. The Dem candidates will take the bait, disgusting enough yahoos in the south for the Republicans to win the presidency again.

I disagree. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any of the Democrats with any chance to win the nomination to come out in favor of gay marriage. Remember the "defense of marriage" act? Wasn't it signed into law by Bill Clinton?

Get ready of years of contentious debate on this issue. I believe that most Americans have no problem with last week's ruling, but they are simply not ready to accept same-sex marriage.
posted by Durwood at 3:35 PM on June 29, 2003


Sorry, make that "get ready FOR years of contentious debate."
posted by Durwood at 3:36 PM on June 29, 2003


Bill Frist is a grade-A bigot homophobe.

Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid. Yes, the tolerant left strikes again.
posted by alethe at 3:41 PM on June 29, 2003


Is it me or is the US government anxious to add amendments to overcome legal outcomes that don't jibe with a conservative agenda? In particular I'm thinking about the proposed anti-flag burning amendment. While I don't see any mention in the first article about an actual amedment being proposed, it wouldn't surprise me. I guess appointing conservative judges to the Supreme Court doesn't guarantee conservative social values will always be upheld.
posted by infowar at 3:41 PM on June 29, 2003


yea, dash, i'm glad they left the pause in the quote so that you can see he had to stop and think about the crap spewing from his mouth. it kinda reminds me of those bugs bunny cartoons where bugs tricks someone into saying something they didn't mean to. too bad bugs isn't a senator.

And yes, DOMA was signed by democrats, and supported by Gore. Thanks guys, i guess gays have to pay more to really be represented. i always liked that name, defense of marriage act, like it is under attack. us gays want nothing more than to attack marriage, and in turn, the family, and then take your kids of course; i'm pretty sure gays like to eat kid's brains. defend yourself.

also, that is a very good argument against gay marriages, alethe, you've certainly convinced me.
posted by rhyax at 3:52 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid. Yes, the tolerant left strikes again.

And political correctness reaches its ludicrous extreme as liberals are blasted for refusing to submit graciously to bigots.

Bigoted, homophobic and/or stupid is exactly what those people are, and I pointedly include the gays who won't fight with us because they don't believe in marriage at all. The arguments in favor of treating us differently are pure sophistry and nonsense, and I'm tired of taking them seriously. Of taking you seriously.
posted by Epenthesis at 3:52 PM on June 29, 2003


What's the big deal with allowing gay marriages? I have two friends that have been a couple for several years. They own a house together, they're in each other's will, and they're planning to adopt as soon as they can.

Should they really be prevented from marrying just because they happen to both be men?
posted by bshort at 3:55 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe: Quite apart from Frist's equation of homosexual acts with drug pushing and prostitution, if one is against gay marriage, one is a bigot: "One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ." Gay marriage takes nothing from heterosexuals, and the pretence that it does stems from yes, homophobia.

I personally would not marry anyone, even if I were straight, and the "tolerant left" allows me that belief in peace. The "tolerant right" very often does not.
posted by divrsional at 3:59 PM on June 29, 2003


What's the big deal with allowing gay marriages?
Sounds like somebody hasn't been reading his Leviticus...
I bet you think garments of mixed linen and wool are perfectly okay, too...pervert.
posted by uosuaq at 4:03 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid. Yes, the tolerant left strikes again.

Well, yes, if you feel the need to pass laws that only serve to encroach on the rights of a minority, then the odds are that you are a bigot or a homophobe. That, I'll admit to you, doesn't mean your stupid. It's your eagerness to attack "the left" for stepping out of line with the ruling party that makes you look stupid.

I just noticed that uosuaq has the coolest username
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:05 PM on June 29, 2003


Surely 'tolerance' is a secondary issue in politics (esp. in the land of Limbaugh).
posted by dash_slot- at 4:11 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe: He isn't a homophobe because he opposes same sex marriage. That's his whole religious dogma thing going on. He's a homophobe because he compares being a homosexual to prostitution and drug use. He's a homophobe because he pulled a Santorum. (and that, in and of itself, sounds a bit gay).

Typically in this country, we make laws to give additional civil rights. But in this case, he is proposing a constitional amendment to specifically forbid rights for a set group of people, which is directly contradictory to the whole founding father's feeling that "all men are created equal" blah blah blah.

Not only that, but an amendment of this type would be a huge thing. Nothing will make us look better on the world's political stage then to specifically forbid the rights of a group of people, while we scream about human rights.

This amendment would, however, make us a bit more popular with the Taliban.
posted by benjh at 4:27 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid.

Yep. Would you prefer moral equivalence?

...he pulled a Santorum. (and that, in and of itself, sounds a bit gay).

Of course, the word "santorum" has a brand new definition.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:44 PM on June 29, 2003


1) Why bother with a constitutional amendment? Can't Bush just overturn the Supreme Court decision by executive order?

2) Frist said he feared that the ruling on the Texas sodomy law could lead to a situation "where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned... And I'm thinking of, whether it's prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home, and to have the courts come in, in this zone of privacy, and begin to define it gives me some concern."

Um... if criminal activity is decriminalized, it's not criminal activity anymore.

Idiots.
posted by Tin Man at 4:49 PM on June 29, 2003


I can't stress enough that it's really worth reading the Lawrence v. Texas opinion in its entirety. IANAL, but from my constitutional-law-junkie perspective it seems to me that not only were the Justices aware that this decision would lead to bringing the idea of gay marriage to the forefront of public discourse (obviously), but that they attempted to circumscribe the scope of the ruling for that very reason.

From the majority opinion (page 18): "[This case] does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter."

From O'Connor's concurring opinion (page 7): "Texas cannot assert any legitimate state interest here, such as national security or preserving the traditional institution of marriage. Unlike the moral disapproval of same-sex relations--the asserted state interest in this case--other reasons exist to promote the institution of marriage beyond mere moral disapproval of an excluded group."

As for Scalia's dissent, the language in it is in hateful, paranoid, and homophobic. But whether it is legally untenable is an entirely separate issue. In fact, Scalia may have ended up unwittingly making an argument in favor of gay marriage. From p. 20-21 of the dissent:

At the end of its opinion--after having laid waste the foundations of our rational-basis jurisprudence--the Court says that the present case "does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter." Do not believe it. [...] Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned.

Of course, you have to take his comments out of context to get a favorable reading, but the media has been taking comments from the dissent out of context left and right since the ruling (for example, "I have nothing against homosexuals"), so why stop now?

For what it's worth, I think O'Connor's concurring opinion is on a far stronger legal foundation than the majority opinion, even though it's narrower: notice how Scalia takes one shot after another at holes in the majority opinion, but his attempt at taking apart O'Connor's opinion relies primarily on Scalia's own refusal to recognize homosexuals as a social class, mixed in some legal sophistry that dates from Jim Crow. Sandra Day O'Connor: most powerful woman in America.
posted by Prospero at 4:54 PM on June 29, 2003


pff... that's so gay.

seriously though, why not leave the choice up to the states? Marage isn't even defined in the constitution so far, why add it now?
posted by delmoi at 4:55 PM on June 29, 2003


Exactly right, delmoi. If the Defense of Marriage Act ever gets challenged in the Supreme Court, I'd love to see what Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist do, seeing as how they're wary of laws that encroach upon the power of the states. (Not that that stopped them from throwing out the Florida Supreme Court's interpretation of its own state's laws in Bush v. Gore.)
posted by Tin Man at 5:10 PM on June 29, 2003


As a conservative and a Christian, I have no problem with gay marriages. The problem I have is with the government being involved in marriages at all. Marriage is a religious sacrament (or rite or whatever your sect might call it). The civil authorities should never tell me who I can marry. It should be none of the government's business whether I'm married or not. Seems to me there would more practical legal ways to deal with all the things marriage typically entails (property rights, most commonly).
posted by marcusb at 5:32 PM on June 29, 2003


I just love how the party of "small government" and "get government off our backs" seems to love poking around in other peoples' bedrooms.
posted by Vidiot at 5:35 PM on June 29, 2003


ACLU form letter here btw.

and yes, the Defense of Marriage act was signed by Clinton. Then again its arguable if Clinton was liberal to begin with. I think its pretty simple at this point, if your religion tells you that homosexuality is wrong and you believe it then you're a bigot. Religion is no excuse.

Also, I don't buy, "Its just for the fundies" argument. The fundies influence and represent moderate and apathetic religious people. In fact these people fund them. Where does that dollar go every Sunday? Or who exactly gets your money when you give to those nice charity people at intersections?

I hear the so-called moderates all the time when I ask them about homosexual marriage. "Hey Mike, why should these fags get special rights?" "Its part of their agenda!" etc.

Its easier to hate homosexuals than to go against the opinions of your family, friends, and church. The gay and lesbian community has a huge uphill battle and I would be surprised if gay marriage happened here in the US (in all 50 states) in my lifetime.
posted by skallas at 5:42 PM on June 29, 2003


Well, this is one more reason that despite being a libertarian, I find myself preferring the democrats to the republicans. I think that proposals like this truly redefine the term "nanny state".
posted by mosch at 5:59 PM on June 29, 2003


Bigoted, homophobic and/or stupid is exactly what those people are, and I pointedly include the gays who won't fight with us because they don't believe in marriage at all. The arguments in favor of treating us differently are pure sophistry and nonsense, and I'm tired of taking them seriously. Of taking you seriously.

Thanks to you (and others) for proving my point about tolerance. Only those views acceptable to you are to be tolerated so that your most "righteous" claim of tolerance really means 'you have to tolerate me, but I don't have to tolerate you'.

It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in gay marriage or accept the gay lifestyle, not because they are bigots but because they believe it is contrary to God ( just as all sin is ). But what is more disturbing to me is that those who do not share that religious view attack and label people for being honest about what they think.

I have never been set for long in my opinion of whether gay marriage is a "right" or even a controversy the states should deal with ( civil unions sometimes seem perfectably acceptable ). I was not commenting on the legal argument.

I was, however, distressed by the quickness to label someone who disagrees with gay marriage as a bigot. And I pointed to the "left" because that is where I see most of this "tolerance" hypocrisy. And this sort of name calling will never be called a "hate crime" of any sort because it is spoken by the "left."

So, if you don't want to take me seriously, fine. But do not label me or others who think like me and then claim that we are the ones being intolerant or ignorant.
posted by alethe at 6:00 PM on June 29, 2003


Also, I don't buy, "Its just for the fundies" argument. The fundies influence and represent moderate and apathetic religious people. In fact these people fund them. Where does that dollar go every Sunday? Or who exactly gets your money when you give to those nice charity people at intersections?

Huh, skallas? When I give money to my church, I know where that money's going, and it certainly isn't going to the fundamentalists. (And, I don't give to "charity people at intersections"...I don't have enough money that I can afford to give away money to whoever wants/needs it, so instead I like to know something about the organization that gets what I can afford to give.)

How exactly do fundamentalists "influence and represent" moderates like me? Because I'm an Episcopalian, the Southern Baptist Convention determines my views? I don't think so.
posted by Vidiot at 6:08 PM on June 29, 2003


It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in gay marriage or accept the gay lifestyle, not because they are bigots but because they believe it is contrary to God ( just as all sin is ).

I don't buy that that's actually their motivation. In fact, we can pretty conclusively reject the hypothesis that they're motivated by a principled opposition to sinful behavior. If they were so motivated, we'd expect them to be pressing for constitutional amendments banning gluttony, or sloth, or mixed-fiber cloth, or charging interest on money. But they aren't doing these things, so their motivation must, logically, be something other than a principled opposition to sinful behavior.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:24 PM on June 29, 2003


Whenever any sort of 'gay right' is debated, I always think back to my childhood as a closeted gay boy in a conservative, small town, and assess the debate in terms of what would have helped me to cope with my life. Even now, as a gay man in Toronto with some newly-acquired symbolic and instrumental rights via the gay marriage decision, this is what really concerns me - how do we lower the suicide rate among gay teens? how do we make these people - who aren't hurting anyone - feel less like freaks? how do we bolster the emotional infrastructure of these kids, so they don't drug/unsafe-fuck/drop-out/otherwise screw up their futures?

Canada's gay marriage decision does this. It helps to construct a discursive "floor" that supports our gay youth by making it more difficult for us to be portrayed as "the other." Frist's position does the opposite.

The responsibility of government is to prevent harm from coming to its citizens, to provide social goods, and to ensure some sort of equity. Frist is derelict in his duty. As opponents of his stance, we need to ground ourselves in an understanding of the high stakes we're dealing with here: this isn't about two fags walking down the aisle. It's about life, death, health, and sanity.

Who is being protected in Frist's vision of the just society?
posted by stonerose at 6:26 PM on June 29, 2003


It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in gay marriage or accept the gay lifestyle, not because they are bigots but because they believe it is contrary to God ( just as all sin is ).

so let me get this straight: they aren't bigots, they just have a problem with all homosexuals?
posted by mcsweetie at 6:28 PM on June 29, 2003


Sandra Day O'Connor: most powerful woman in America.
I suspect she is getting SO much pressure from her Republican friends to retire...

Of course, any of the Right Wing MeFites (and I know you're out there) can end the "who's the real bigot" fight any time by making a solid practical an logical argument against "gay marriage". Yes, you will be subject to some flaming, trolling and snarking from the worse of the Left Wing MeFites, but "I am rubber, you are glue" is NOT located anywhere near the 'high road' of debate.

And after just celebrating my 17th anniversary, I have to ask "In what bizzaro universe is Marriage some kind of special privilege?"
posted by wendell at 6:34 PM on June 29, 2003


It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in gay marriage or accept the gay lifestyle, not because they are bigots but because they believe it is contrary to God ( just as all sin is ). But what is more disturbing to me is that those who do not share that religious view attack and label people for being honest about what they think.

I guess the question is, does bigotry get a free pass because the person believes that opinion is ordained by god. I have relatives who believe that interracial marriage is contrary to God. Does that mean that suddenly, we wave a magic wand and suspend all criticism of that belief?

I think that you are confusing "tolerance" with a free pass from criticism. It is none of my business what those religious people believe about gay marraige. If they do not wish to celebrate it in their congregations, that is their right. In fact, one of the areas where I part company with many of my gay rights activists is that I believe the Boy Scouts of America have the right to define themselves as an exclusive club. (However, they don't have the right to turn around and demand that I sing their Hosanas.) I respect your right to have an opinion, however wrong it may be, to such an extend that I would gladly risk my life to defend it.

However, where you and I part company is that tolerating you does not mean that I let your bigotry pass unchallenged. Tolerance simply means that I do not feel that laws should be passed that prohibit you from expressing your point of view. It does not mean that when others engage you in debate, that you can whine about not being "tolerated."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:39 PM on June 29, 2003


Nicely put, stonerose.
posted by Vidiot at 6:42 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid. Yes, the tolerant left strikes again.

Umm the answer to your 'question' is yes. So explain this to me, if the 'left' is 'intolerant' why aren't they trying to get an amendment to ban bigots, homophobes, or the plain stupid.

I also think they are stupid. I also think no better of you.
posted by MrLint at 6:50 PM on June 29, 2003


I suspect she is getting SO much pressure from her Republican friends to retire...

Indeed. I find myself wondering what'll happen to this ruling if GWB is re-elected in 2004 and gets a chance to pack the court. Especially given that both O'Connor and the three dissenting justices make the case that Bowers v. Hardwick didn't have anything to do with Lawrence v. Texas in the first place, and O'Connor's opinion shows a way to strike down the sodomy laws in question without overturning Bowers in the process (using the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment instead of the Due Process Clause).
posted by Prospero at 6:51 PM on June 29, 2003


please keep in mind here that the purpose of the constitution is ti lay out how the federal govt is run, and in addition to the bill of right limit the power of that govt has over the people. To add amendments that have no other purpose than to limit the freedoms and liberties of the people is anathema to the freedom the nation is allegedly founded upon. Suggesting such amendment should be really be punished by an old fashioned tar and feathering as to alert the populous to a prime cut of jackass.
posted by MrLint at 6:57 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid.

No doubt true, but hardly "automatic"....although one supposes it's remotely possible that religious nuts and knee-jerk Republican buffoons like Frist may have some unknown, shared genetic deficiencies contributing to who they are. Perhaps some are born gay....some are born bigoted and stupid. Where is Father Mendel when you really need him?

(But judging from other aspects of the agenda people like Republican Frist push, 'tis much more likely that years, if not decades of ignorance are required to produce the bigotry, homophobia, and stupidity we see from Frist and his dumb ilk.)

So, if you don't want to take me seriously, fine. But do not label me or others who think like me and then claim that we are the ones being intolerant or ignorant.

Tut tut tut. It's really much, much worse than you think. People don't take your views seriously, AND your particular views, without any doubt whatsoever, are completely and utterly intolerant and ignorant. You ARE in fact behaving intolerantly and ignorantly.

Now that we've got those labels affixed precisely and accurately, let's also easily agree that (outside FreeRepublic.com) condemnation of intolerance and bigotry is in no way "intolerance", any more than condemnation of wife beating or racism is "intolerance." Really, alethe....what can we expect from you next...some dumb argument that juries are "intolerant" of the spouse abusers they punish? You buy the KKK's claims that they are victims of hypocritical "intolerance"? You giving MetaFilter the O.J. Simpson-style defense of gay-bashing?

And really, alethe: "....contrary to God"? Stoning "Sabbath breakers" should make your hateful amendment list next, right? After all, mindlessly chanting "lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" and "it says so in the Bible" are at precisely the same level of moral reasoning.

Yeah. Really. You...and Frist....and Bin Laden.... with your silly sophistries and your shared, shameful certitudes about what is "contrary to God", would make great bedfellows (queer or otherwise) yourselves, you know.

I hear Al-Qaeda needs recruits.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:13 PM on June 29, 2003


I won't get into arguments about who's homophobic or left or right or whatever, but if any legislator is really interested in promoting family values and protecting marriage as an institution...

Why not introduce a bill to make adultery a Federal crime?
posted by alumshubby at 7:43 PM on June 29, 2003


Amen to KirkJobSluder and fold_and_mutilate.

Alethe, your view of "intolerance" is really quite laughable.

Let's see. Suppose I'm a gay man. (Which I am.) Suppose I'm in love with a man and want to get married, and you tell me you want to pass an amendment to prevent me from ever getting married to that man. You accuse me of being intolerant because I'm annoyed that you want to control my life?

I'm sorry, but that's just screwed up beyond words.
posted by Tin Man at 7:47 PM on June 29, 2003


Yeah. Really. You...and Frist....and Bin Laden.... with your silly sophistries and your shared, shameful certitudes about what is "contrary to God", would make great bedfellows (queer or otherwise) yourselves, you know.
I hear Al-Qaeda needs recruits.


Is this close enought to invoke Godwin's Law yet?

You ARE in fact behaving intolerantly and ignorantly.

I think the same about you when you start to attack people, so whats the point? Its fine and great trying to get your points across, but is it really necessary to compare alethe to a Al-Qauda recruit? Seriously, show a little restraint and attack the opinions, not the person with such vitrole. It is EXACTLY by making such absurd comparisons that make people intolerant.
posted by jmd82 at 7:55 PM on June 29, 2003


In fact, we can pretty conclusively reject the hypothesis that they're motivated by a principled opposition to sinful behavior.

...Conclusively based on hyperbolic examples... yes, we could.

so let me get this straight: they aren't bigots, they just have a problem with all homosexuals?

They don't have a "problem" with anyone ... they have a "problem" with sin.

I guess the question is, does bigotry get a free pass because the person believes that opinion is ordained by god.

No, the question is why do you assume they are bigots because they don't agree with you?

I think that you are confusing "tolerance" with a free pass from criticism.

No, I'm confusing tolerance with tolerance. If we are to tolerate another's opinion then we can not label him, assuming the person is a bigot. That does not mean we cannot criticize that belief -- We see that you reject gay marriage on religious grounds, on which we disagree, but are there circumstances that would allow you to consider civil unions? -- See? That was a fun example, wasn't it?

However, where you and I part company is that tolerating you does not mean that I let your bigotry pass unchallenged.

It's because you do not tolerate me at all - you've already labeled me a bigot... what sort of dialogue can you expect to have now? What sort of civility?

Tolerance simply means that I do not feel that laws should be passed that prohibit you from expressing your point of view.

It does not mean simply that - Tolerance is, among other definitions, "The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others." You obviously have no respect for me or my beliefs and so I cannot take with any sort of credibility your statement about defending my right to my opinion.

It does not mean that when others engage you in debate, that you can whine about not being "tolerated."

Interesting... A person points out that being called the offensive term "bigot" is whining -- Would you also say that a person called "nigger" would be whining if they complained?
posted by alethe at 7:58 PM on June 29, 2003


It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in gay marriage or accept the gay lifestyle, not because they are bigots but because they believe it is contrary to God.

It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in the miscegenation of the races or accept the integration of Negroes and Whites, not because they are bigots, but because they believe it is contrary to God.

It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in allowing young girls to maintain intact genitalia, not because they are insane misogynists, but because they believe female genital mutilation is required by God.

It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in allowing the wicked secularity of Western culture to infiltrate the Muslim world, not because they are murderous terrorists, but because they believe secularism is contrary to God.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:02 PM on June 29, 2003


No doubt true, but hardly "automatic"

Fine, I guess I'll risk asking the question - why does opposing gay marriage make one a bigot?

People don't take your views seriously, AND your particular views, without any doubt whatsoever, are completely and utterly intolerant and ignorant. You ARE in fact behaving intolerantly and ignorantly.

Really? You seem pretty ignorant about me and my beliefs and yet have already pigeonholed me and insulted me... it seems your statement applies to you.

Now that we've got those labels affixed precisely and accurately, let's also easily agree that (outside FreeRepublic.com) condemnation of intolerance

Yes, actually it is. Condemnation of intolerance is intolerant behaviour -- that doesn't mean it's wrong in all cases. There are things, like "wife beating," that we probably could agree to be intolerant of -- but it is still being intolerant to codemn them. And since I don't read FreeRepublic.com, I guess that makes at least one view outside of it.

It is, to use a simple adage, "loving the sinner and hating the sin." A person can be intolerant of the sin and yet still love the person. If he couldn't, there would be no churches.

After all, mindlessly chanting "lottery in June, corn be heavy soon" and "it says so in the Bible" are at precisely the same level of moral reasoning.

Well, keep rattling off misconceptions of people's faith and misinterpretations of what the Bible says and you will not be able to see the moral reasoning, that's true.

You...and Frist....and Bin Laden....

Frist and Bin Laden? You must be joking... sadly I guess you are not. If you really think Frist and Bin Laden are moral equivalents than you are more far gone than I could have imagined.
posted by alethe at 8:08 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe, would you complain if I called you "too fucking stupid for words?" I'm just asking. Because, after all, like the term "bigot," the term "too fucking stupid for words" is based on a judgement, whereas "nigger" is just an epithet. Therein lies the fault with your analogy.
posted by stonerose at 8:09 PM on June 29, 2003


...just an epithet. Therein lies the fault with your analogy.

Hrmm - "a term used to characterize a person or thing." Seems like the word "bigot" as it is used to characterize a person is an epithet...

And if you don't like that definition how about "an abusive or contemptuous word or phrase" - seems "bigot" fits there as well...
posted by alethe at 8:13 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe, would you object to being called an arsonist? what about if you set fires for fun? would you still object? even though it's being used rightly in an abusive or contemptuous manner? terms like "bigot" and "arsonist" serve a socially useful purpose, because they point out objectionable forms of behavior, that are worthy of contempt.

but even worse than "bigot," I would argue, is "derailer of constructive discourse."because the latter reproduces the former.
posted by stonerose at 8:21 PM on June 29, 2003


Are you against gay marriage, alethe? If you are, would you care to argue against it here? I've heard quite a few cogent, reasoned arguments in favor of gay marriage, but none against it.
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 PM on June 29, 2003


I hate to try to raise the bar here (since I suspect some of us won't be able to jump over it), but has anyone read any good general analyses of the sociological/psychological production of in-group/out-group dichotomies? I'm thinking of Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities," which deals with nationalism. Do any similar treatments of marriage/family spring to mind?
posted by stonerose at 8:33 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe, would you object to being called an arsonist?

Stonerose:
Hrmm... I responsed to point out that your assessment of 'judgement' and 'epithet' was wrong because of your ignorance of the possible definitions for epithet. I do not understand what being called an arsonist has to do with that.

Are you against gay marriage, alethe? If you are, would you care to argue against it here? I've heard quite a few cogent, reasoned arguments in favor of gay marriage, but none against it.

Vidiot:
Would there really be a point to that? I have been insulted and labeled un-"rightly" a bigot. (Not to mention that I have not read a convincing argument for gay marriage that didn't include a comment that anyone who did not agree with it must be a "bigot.")

But if you really want to know my opinion... I waffle. I think civil unions should be allowed by law, but not "marriages." I do not think the church should accept or encourage such "marriages", but I do think that civil magistrates should do what is best for the people. If that means civil unions, so be it -- maybe I would support it, maybe I would not, but at least it would be a civil matter and not a church one.
posted by alethe at 8:35 PM on June 29, 2003


OK, so if one condemns sin, as alethe does, why does s/he think that laws which are civil, and not religious in nature (last time I looked this wasn't a theocracy) should adhere to biblical/scriptural prohibitions? Why should US civil laws be driven by a single interpretation of a religious text that also proscribes many of the other activites long unpunished as mentioned above?

G*D, I have more respect for fringe Christian groups that DO think adulterers should be stoned, mixed fiber clothing disposed of and who really would kill me if they had their way than the "pick and choose" Christians who think that "love the sin, hate the sinner" removes responsiblity from them for their bigotry, because that's what it is.
posted by ltracey at 8:40 PM on June 29, 2003


OK, so if one condemns sin, as alethe does, why does s/he think that laws which are civil, and not religious in nature (last time I looked this wasn't a theocracy) should adhere to biblical/scriptural prohibitions?

I never said I did... My first comment was about Frist being labeled a bigot because of his views. I do not pretend to understand why he is offering this "ammendment."

But to totally ignore the influences of Christian thought in the founding and the founding documents of this country would also be a mistake.

"pick and choose" Christians who think that "love the sin, hate the sinner

What do you mean by picking and choosing?
posted by alethe at 8:46 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe, you're being a little vague, using terms like "the church" and "the people." Would you care to explain?
posted by stonerose at 8:47 PM on June 29, 2003


Frist and Bin Laden? You must be joking... sadly I guess you are not. If you really think Frist and Bin Laden are moral equivalents than you are more far gone than I could have imagined.


Let's see; which one thinks people who don't practice the tenents of their religion do not deserve to be protected by law?

I think you need to review the 14th amendment (especially the last sentence of section 1) as well as federalist 10. For a majority to deny a minority equal rights, including the benefits of marriage, is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.

It is a fact that many religious people will never believe in the miscegenation of the races or accept the integration of Negroes and Whites, not because they are bigots, but because they believe it is contrary to God.

They may believe it is contrary to a god, but they are still bigots.
As FZ said,
"You can't run a country
By a book of religion
Not by a heap
Or a lump or a smidgeon&quot
;

As a physician, I am embarassed by troglodyte greedheads like Frist. And as one who works with surgeons, I can also say that his credentials as an advocate for the ill are overblown.

It is cheap sopishtry to claim that tolerance should preclude disagreement with obnoxious statements. I avoid that problem by never claiming to be completely tolerant. I am liberal, and therefore more tolerant, but I reserve the right to call someone an asshole if I feel like it.
posted by TedW at 8:54 PM on June 29, 2003


By the way, alethe, I'm not trying to troll here. Thanks for giving us your opinion, and I'm sorry that you haven't seen any pro-gay-marriage arguments that didn't stoop to the level you describe.
posted by Vidiot at 8:55 PM on June 29, 2003


alethe, you're being a little vague, using terms like "the church" and "the people." Would you care to explain?

I'm assuming you mean in my last comment to you so that's what I'll address...

I'm being vague to avoid denominational differences. When I say 'the church' I mean any "church" that tries to follow what the Bible says and understand it with as little misinterpretation as possible -- Because without that pursuit it seems silly to me to be a Christian. (Personally, I think the 'Reform Church' comes closest to this). That of course is a theological discussion...

The people are the citizens of this country for whom the civil magistrates have resposibility to and for.

On Preview:
and I'm sorry that you haven't seen any pro-gay-marriage arguments that didn't stoop to the level you describe.

I am sorry too... I think there's a good argument to be made.
posted by alethe at 8:59 PM on June 29, 2003


No, the question is why do you assume they are bigots because they don't agree with you?

I think there is a difference between disagreement and bigotry. One can disagree with me on what political direction the executive branch of our government should be taking, that is not bigotry. One can disagree with me on whether Katherine Hepburn or Spencer Tracy was the better actor, that is not bigotry. But demanding that an entire class of people be denied equal opportunity to form committed long-term relationships in the eyes of civil authorities, that is bigotry.

No, I'm confusing tolerance with tolerance. If we are to tolerate another's opinion then we can not label him, assuming the person is a bigot. That does not mean we cannot criticize that belief -- We see that you reject gay marriage on religious grounds, on which we disagree, but are there circumstances that would allow you to consider civil unions? -- See? That was a fun example, wasn't it?

I suppose the question I wish to throw back at you is how much bigotry should one be permitted to express before it is permissible to consider one a bigot? At what point can I say that Matthew Hale or Fred Phelps who hold religious opinions that justify discrimination against racial and sexual minorities bigots? Can I use the term in protesting the Klan, or is the term verboten only in criticizing members of certain Christian religious sects?

Also I think that you misread my post. I think that either the institution of marriage should be abolished altogether as a civil union, or that civil marriage should be equally open to gay and lesbian couples. What I said was that it is none of my business how congregations celebrate marriage within the bounds of their religion. That is something quite different. I don't care if the Church on the corner does not consider my relationships worth celebrating, what I care about is city hall, the hospital, the IRS tax office, the insurance office.

It's because you do not tolerate me at all - you've already labeled me a bigot... what sort of dialogue can you expect to have now? What sort of civility?

Well now, that depends. You find my use of the term "bigotry" to describe your opinions to be insulting. (Please note, that I did not label you a "bigot", I said that "tolerance" does not demand that "bigotry" always pass unchallenged.) I find the terms that conservative Christians use to describe my relationships to be offensive.

It does not mean simply that - Tolerance is, among other definitions, "The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others." You obviously have no respect for me or my beliefs and so I cannot take with any sort of credibility your statement about defending my right to my opinion.

I'm not so certain about that. (I really had to dig for that definition by the way.) To be helpful, lets consider the definition of intolerance:
2. The quality of being intolerant; refusal to allow to others the enjoyment of their opinions, chosen modes of worship, and the like; want of patience and forbearance; illiberality; bigotry; as, intolerance shown toward a religious sect.
Other that the fact that I choose to call a duck a duck, and consider anti-gay opinions to be a form of bigotry, how am I being intolerant? I have already said that anti-gay Christians can enjoy their opinions, can tailor their mode of worship around their beliefs (by refusing to celebrate gay marriages), I'm more than willing to let anti-gay Christians express their beliefs, in public, and practice their rituals in public.

The only thing that I do when confronted with anti-gay Christianity is point out that it is a form of bigotry. In fact, I dare say I show much more tolerance for anti-gay Christianity than it shows to me. After all, this entire debate stems from a supreme court case that found it unconstitutional to throw me in jail for having certain kinds of sex, I don't blame anti-gay Christians for 9-11, I lost my good standing within the Boy Scouts of America for becoming a bisexual atheist, and yet I support their right to define themselves as both anti-gay and anti-atheist.

So why should I not say that anti-gay Christians who deny equal status to my long-term relationships with men are expressing bigotry? Why should I not say that anti-gay Christians who wish to criminalize those relationships are expressing bigotry? Why should I not say that anti-gay Christians who blame me indirectly for 9-11 are expressing bigotry?

Interesting... A person points out that being called the offensive term "bigot" is whining -- Would you also say that a person called "nigger" would be whining if they complained?

I see a big difference between the two. A black person can't change the color of their skin. A bigot can learn to practice tolerance. (At which point, they will no longer be a bigot.)

It is, to use a simple adage, "loving the sinner and hating the sin." A person can be intolerant of the sin and yet still love the person. If he couldn't, there would be no churches.

I think here is another big difference. I don't care if anti-gay Christians are anti-gay in their homes, in their churches, or among their friends. But here in the realm of public opinion, why should I not call their intolerance of me and mine "bigotry"?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:03 PM on June 29, 2003


I think you need to review the 14th amendment (especially the last sentence of section 1) as well as federalist 10. For a majority to deny a minority equal rights, including the benefits of marriage, is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.

As I've already written, I don't know why Frist is offering the ammendment, nor do I know his legal reasoning.

Perhaps there is a case to be made against the "privilege" of marriage under the 14th ammendment, I don't know, I haven't much looked at it. But it doesn't seem to be very strong if there is one.
posted by alethe at 9:12 PM on June 29, 2003


Would there really be a point to that? I have been insulted and labeled un-"rightly" a bigot. (Not to mention that I have not read a convincing argument for gay marriage that didn't include a comment that anyone who did not agree with it must be a "bigot.")

Well, here is the problem. You post in defense of an blatantly unjust policy, a policy largly defended on slander and untruth, a policy that causes serious harm to thousands of people, a policy that rests on the promotion of a work or religious liturgy to the law of the land, a policy that ultimately is the denial of what has been defined as a civil right to an entire class of individuals. If intolerance of gay marriage is not bigotry, then I have a tough time trying to figure out what does qualify as bigotry in your book.

And at the end of this discussion, you can go home, go to bed, vent a little rightous anger at the fact that someone had the gall to consider your views on gay marriage to be bigotry, and thousands of others will still be lacking that basic civil right.

But if you really want to know my opinion... I waffle. I think civil unions should be allowed by law, but not "marriages." I do not think the church should accept or encourage such "marriages", but I do think that civil magistrates should do what is best for the people. If that means civil unions, so be it -- maybe I would support it, maybe I would not, but at least it would be a civil matter and not a church one.

In what way would these "civil unions" be different from a marriage?

As far as I can tell, no one is arguing that your church should accept or encourage gay marriages. (Mine does, but unitarians are a bit weird anyway.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:16 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid. Yes, the tolerant left strikes again.

I'm comfortable with thinking that anyone against gay civil marriage is a bigot, a homophobe, or at least sort of addlebrained.

All that civil marriage is is a form of contract; it says precisely squat about what any faith on this earth might choose to bless, ignore, or condemn. All that it does, with some variations from state to state, is establish conditions to hold property jointly, gives each spouse some power-of-attorney for the other, provides both partners some protections in the case of dissolution, and usually requires that the couple pay slightly more federal income tax.

How on earth could anyone take a reasoned stand against allowing people to contract together in those ways, for crying out loud? Are homosexuals to be forbidden from holding property jointly, because of their filthy bum-love? Are homosexuals somehow unqualified to ever have power of attorney for anyone else, or only for other homosexuals, because only the firm of wrist can be trusted with those powers? I simply cannot imagine any reasonable claim that allowing people to make these utterly boring, businesslike contracts could be objectionable.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:26 PM on June 29, 2003


so let me get this straight: they aren't bigots, they just have a problem with all homosexuals?

They don't have a "problem" with anyone ... they have a "problem" with sin.


But they don't behave like people who have a problem with sin. If they were people who had a problem with sin, we'd expect them to be out there arguing against all sin, and taking on first the sins that are most common. Gluttony is a sin, but I'm not aware of any religious-right movement to constrain that sin. Sloth is a sin, but, again, it somehow slips under the radar of the anti-gay religious right. Hard-heartedness is a sin, and yet there aren't religious-right groups advocating against forcible donations to charity. Mixed-fiber cloths and charging interest are sins in the same books that condemn homosexuality in the OT, but yet the religious right doesn't argue that we must enforce those of God's laws.

I don't know what's actually motivating them, but I can conclusively reject the hypothesis that it's a principled opposition to sin, since they only seem to oppose a few not-terribly-popular sins.

The religious right has somehow hit on the idea that sin is something that we do with our genitals, which is rediculous. It's a lot easier to sin, and sin gravely, with your wallet than it is with your penis. Worse, it takes the concept of sin and turns it into something that THEY do, over there, with their filthy gay willies, and not something that WE do every day with our closed wallets and sharp tongues and callous treatment of others as mere tools to our own advancement.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:33 PM on June 29, 2003


I suppose the question I wish to throw back at you is how much bigotry should one be permitted to express before it is permissible to consider one a bigot?

I do not know... that depends on you I guess, my point was that one cannot call another a bigot and be at the same time also 'tolerant' (in one sense at least) of his views. I only wanted some to admit they were being intolerant - I never said it was a bad thing, but I did mention that I was offended when the label was cast at me.

At what point can I say that Matthew Hale or Fred Phelps who hold religious opinions that justify discrimination against racial and sexual minorities bigots?

I am not familiar with Hale, but I do know of Phelps. I can only say of Phelps that since he apparently truly believes in his views, what else can he do? -- If he really believes that homosexuals are going to hell and if he really does believe his methods are the only way to convince them to repent and save themselves from hell, what else can you expect from him? At least he's being upfront with you. I think he's only a bigot in the sense that he is intolerant of what he perceives as sin and that it is his "love" for the sinner that compels him to act in the way he does. It seems nutty, but I would rather not name call him if I can resist it.

Can I use the term in protesting the Klan, or is the term verboten only in criticizing members of certain Christian religious sects?

In a certain sense, we are all bigots -- We all are partial to our own views and "intolerant" of others. I think many in the Klan, if the term were explained that way, would be very willing to say that they are bigots because they are in fact partial to their own views and race and intolerant of others' views and races.

I find the terms that conservative Christians use to describe my relationships to be offensive.

Hrmm... point taken. I cannot apologize for the church, but for myself I can only say that I do not agree with your lifestyle, I do think it is a sin, just as many many things are sins that Christians engage in, and that God loves both you and I even in spite of our sin.

Other that the fact that I choose to call a duck a duck, and consider anti-gay opinions to be a form of bigotry, how am I being intolerant?

Because it is only on your own viewpoint that the "duck" as you say is a "duck." You believe that anti-gay views are intolerant and that's intolerant. Others believe pro-gay views are intolerant and that's also intolerant. The qualifications of whether those things are 'right' or 'wrong' is another matter.

The only thing that I do when confronted with anti-gay Christianity is point out that it is a form of bigotry. In fact, I dare say I show much more tolerance for anti-gay Christianity than it shows to me.

I've no idea -- If tolerance means compromising God's word then I hope that Christianity does not ever conform. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't be treated well. ( Aside : If I sounded like I was condoning Phelps' activities please understand I do not, I was only trying to understand what his possible motives could be.)

I see a big difference between the two. A black person can't change the color of their skin. A bigot can learn to practice tolerance. (At which point, they will no longer be a bigot.)

Perhaps, but the name calling is still offensive whether they can change their spots or not.

I think here is another big difference. I don't care if anti-gay Christians are anti-gay in their homes, in their churches, or among their friends. But here in the realm of public opinion, why should I not call their intolerance of me and mine "bigotry"?

In the realm of public opinion would you also ask the church to be silent? You can call them bigots if you wish, but the church has a responsibilty to share with all the truth and it may not be very pretty.
posted by alethe at 9:41 PM on June 29, 2003


In the realm of public opinion would you also ask the church to be silent? You can call them bigots if you wish, but the church has a responsibilty to share with all the truth and it may not be very pretty.

I suppose it depends on what you see as truth. But this is the typical wordplay used by anti-gay Chistians in complaining about intolerance. The church is expressing "the truth" those who publicly express an alternative view of the truth are "intolerant."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:47 PM on June 29, 2003


And at the end of this discussion, you can go home, go to bed, vent a little rightous anger...

I try to have no anger in writing any of this. I do not feel I'm above anyone else here -- but MeFi sometimes does irritate me, and I stayed away for a long time.

In what way would these "civil unions" be different from a marriage?

In my mind, civil unions would take place in courthouses not churches.

As far as I can tell, no one is arguing that your church should accept or encourage gay marriages. (Mine does, but unitarians are a bit weird anyway.)

I wish that were so, but there are many outside forces arguing that the church should accept cultural viewpoints that it should not. And churches either resist, compromise, or throw all doctrine entirely out the window.
posted by alethe at 9:48 PM on June 29, 2003


Being a parent three times over, and a good citizen, and married for 20+ years, and blah, blah, blah, and steady, and square, and forthright, and blah, blah, blah, a generally all-around normal blah, I have to ask: what is the big deal with gay marriages? I cannot comprehend the hue and cry over it, except in religious terms, which is exactly the sort of intolerance that the country was founded to curtail, or so I always imagined.

Alethe: I agree, civil unions would be fine. However, it looks to me as if this is exactly the sort of union that these....forgive me, bigots...are moving heaven and earth to forbid. Of what possible detriment to someone secure in their own relationship and beliefs is the idea of others legally pairing themselves to have secure and supportive lives?

Disagreeing with someone is benign. Taking drastic steps to ensure that others cannot enjoy benefits of society that you enjoy and then cloaking your reasoning in words like "sin" and "criminality" is bigotry. This is what Frist has done. I daresay if half the country leaped into same sex marriages it would have no real impact on Mr. Frist and his lovely spouse and family. Unless of course, he's a closet 'mo and he fears he'll end up running off to get hitched to the pool boy or something.

I honestly do not see any secular, civil (in all senses) argument that makes sense, unless you consider that giving everyone equal rights would have costs in tax revenue, etc. But that makes the refusal to acknowledge gay's right to union even more egregiously oppressive.
posted by umberto at 9:50 PM on June 29, 2003


I suppose it depends on what you see as truth. But this is the typical wordplay used by anti-gay Chistians in complaining about intolerance. The church is expressing "the truth" those who publicly express an alternative view of the truth are "intolerant."

Well, yes. If Christians didn't think they had some hold on the Truth, what would be the point in being a Christian? Salvation and Truth is not wordplay to many people.

But I think you're still missing one of my points -- I think we are all intolerant in some way to some degree.
posted by alethe at 9:52 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid.

My objection with this sentence is the word "or." I'd remove it.

Maybe not everyone who's against it is just plain stupid, but I'd need to see the counterexample first. I've already met and talked to enough of those who fit the tripartite description.

If you're offering yourself as that counterexample, alethe, you'll have to try harder. Making an idiotic analogy between calling someone a "bigot" (a judgment of how someone's behavior fits a pattern) and calling them a "nigger" (a slur applying to a class of people based on their skin color) and pretending you don't know the difference - either you think we're stupid or you really are that clueless. And you also might want to avoid howlers like "Condemnation of intolerance is intolerant behaviour." I can't believe no one's hoist you on that stinking petard. "Condemnation of intolerance is intolerant behaviour." Can you even believe you said that? So let's see... tolerant behavior would be... celebrating intolerance!!?? It boggles the mind.

On preview, sheesh:

I do not agree with your lifestyle, I do think it is a sin, just as many many things are sins that Christians engage in,

Yet you and your helpful brethren don't seem to be so keen on stopping all those other sins, as has already been pointed out, and you failed to address. That's what the "pick and choose" thing was about.

Others believe pro-gay views are intolerant and that's also intolerant.

What??? Why would pro-gay views be "intolerant?" Who believes this? Are your fingers on auto-pilot or something?

it may not be very pretty.

No, it sure as hell ain't.
posted by soyjoy at 9:53 PM on June 29, 2003


If you're offering yourself as that counterexample, alethe, you'll have to try harder. Making an idiotic analogy between calling someone a "bigot" (a judgment of how someone's behavior fits a pattern) and calling them a "nigger" (a slur applying to a class of people based on their skin color) and pretending you don't know the difference

I really can't keep explaining myself and defending what I've written to all of those who are misunderstanding what I've written.

All I said about "bigot" and "nigger" was that they were epithets as defined and both offensive -- and that one could reasonably be offended by either and not be considered "whining" about it. That was my point on that and I didn't take it any further.

Now, if people want to ignore that and keep railing against comparisons I haven't made, or definitions I haven't defended then fine, but I can't explain myself every time it happens, so forgive me.


tolerant behavior would be... celebrating intolerance!!?? It boggles the mind.

Let's do this again too, then *sigh*.

Let's take a simple definition of tolerance - "the capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others" -- if one were to be tolerant of others beliefs then that would mean they would be in a sense respecting the intolerance of others. So in a sense, yes, they would be celebrating intolerance.

It may boggle your mind, but it's definitive

Yet you and your helpful brethren don't seem to be so keen on stopping all those other sins, as has already been pointed out, and you failed to address. That's what the "pick and choose" thing was about.

I didn't address the particulars of that objection because they were silly and most of it based on ignorance of the Bible. But in the broader sense, yes Christians need to do a lot of work -- and always need to -- but as sin is our natural state, sometimes we choose battles and ignore others. But since we're not doing all we can and not solving all the word's problems, I suppose we should just give up, eh?
posted by alethe at 10:11 PM on June 29, 2003


They don't have a "problem" with anyone ... they have a "problem" with sin.

very sneaky. they're the ones with the problem, right?

some people are born a certain way and you've decided to have a problem with it in the year 2003. maybe your religion is just a proxy for that, maybe not. you could save yourself a lot of typing.

sure, everyone's a little intolerant, but that doesn't make it OK to use the law to break up people in love. you have every right to think the way you do, but it's still fucked up and archaic.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:14 PM on June 29, 2003


some people are born a certain way and you've decided to have a problem with it in the year 2003

I didn't decide anything -- the Bible says it's sin and that sin is abhorrent to God, it doesn't matter what I think about it.
posted by alethe at 10:16 PM on June 29, 2003


All I said about "bigot" and "nigger" was that they were epithets as defined and both offensive -- and that one could reasonably be offended by either and not be considered "whining" about it. That was my point on that and I didn't take it any further.

What you keep missing is that it doesn't need to be taken any further because the problem is right there with your attempt to build any analogy whatsoever between them. You call someone a "bigot," they have to think "Am I a bigot? No, I'm not." or "Yes, I am," and the offense they would take is commensurate to the stock they put in the judgment. Call someone a "nigger" and the offense is right there, in your calling that person that. They don't need to ask themselves "Hmmm. Is that what I am?" to be offended.

But look - I agree that we're all bigots to some degree, and we're all "intolerant" to some degree, so I'm going to ignore that mind-boggling defense of "Condemnation of intolerance is intolerant behaviour." Let's just drop the whole "intolerant" question since it leads to such recursive nonsense, and instead move to words that tell it like it is: Banning one class of people from the goods and services enjoyed by the rest of a (supposedly) secular society simply on the basis of a religious phobia is: oppression. Defending this practice by calling the religious phobia "truth" is: fanatacism. See? No more of that pesky "intolerance" stuff to worry about.
posted by soyjoy at 10:21 PM on June 29, 2003


I didn't decide anything -- the Bible says it's sin and that sin is abhorrent to God, it doesn't matter what I think about it.

this pretty much says it all. adieu, monsieur thread.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:22 PM on June 29, 2003


Christians need to do a lot of work -- and always need to -- but as sin is our natural state, sometimes we choose battles and ignore others.

Okay, I can understand, as a Christian, needing to "choose your battles." But: what befuddles me is the apparently widespread choice that this particular battle is the one that needs to be fought most vigorously -- and right away, too.

As ROU_Xenophobe points out, there are more and arguably graver sins than these. Why not focus on some of the real injustice and sin-caused suffering in the world, if battles need to be chosen?
posted by Vidiot at 10:29 PM on June 29, 2003


I wish that were so, but there are many outside forces arguing that the church should accept cultural viewpoints that it should not. And churches either resist, compromise, or throw all doctrine entirely out the window.

Churches should resist people giving each other power of attorney, and holding property jointly, and paying slightly more taxes?

Churches should of course remain free to bless, ignore, or condemn anything they want to.

But what is the principled Christian opposition to two men or women having a boring legal contract between them witnessed by Caesar? There's nothing of the Church in it.

sometimes we choose battles and ignore others. But since we're not doing all we can and not solving all the word's problems, I suppose we should just give up, eh?

But surely the Christ-centered response to the world is to go after the sins we ourselves are most prone to first, recognizing our own need for intercession and placing ourselves in the mob shouting for his crucifixion, and not to run after *those other people* because our sins are more popular. That's dangerously close to considering that their sin is "real" sin and our sin is just piddly sin that doesn't really bother God after all.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:34 PM on June 29, 2003


What you keep missing is that it doesn't need to be taken any further because the problem is right there with your attempt to build any analogy whatsoever between them.

The word was "epithet." Read my explanation again please.

I'm tired. And I'm sick of this "everyone against me in one thread" for now. If you don't agree with me fine, whatever, but please stop mischaracterizing what I said or twisting my statements into something I did not say. - Or arguing things that I did not defend in the first place -.

On preview:

But: what befuddles me is the apparently widespread choice that this particular battle is the one that needs to be fought most vigorously -- and right away, too.

I don't think it's that widespread - at least not the legal campaign. And many churches do focus on "more sinful" sins -- through missions and preaching and in many other ways. (That non-Christians always point out to Christians what they should be doing or should be focusing on or what the right doctrine is ... just seems odd to me). Oh well.

Not on preview:

this pretty much says it all. adieu, monsieur thread.

I don't know what mcsweetie means by saying this, but I suppose that he's dismissing my views. I can only guess that because I acknowledge something outside myself and attribute to God actual God-like qualities, then my views are invalid. So I will say "adieu" for now as well.
posted by alethe at 10:40 PM on June 29, 2003


Not meaning to be snarky and trying to stay even-keeled here, but when you say:
(That non-Christians always point out to Christians what they should be doing or should be focusing on or what the right doctrine is ... just seems odd to me)

I did happen to note that I'm a Christian as well, though I obviously disagree with you about gay marriage. (However, upon re-reading it, I find that I wrote it pretty poorly, and should have said something along the lines of "However, as a Christian I can understand needing to 'choose your battles.'")

And I'd say that it's a pretty widespread focus if the Senate Majority Leader is publicly backing a Constitutional amendment. (Not to mention the huge interest in the recent SCOTUS decision (not related to gay marriage, of course, but rather to gay rights.))
posted by Vidiot at 10:52 PM on June 29, 2003


Demanding that tolerance accept intolerance as a valid viewpoint is just absurd. It's silly, and intellectually dishonest. "Accept my bigotry because that's who I am" is not a valid appeal to claims of tolerance. No one on the other side of the debte is trying to deny you the right to marry a heterosexual.
posted by trondant at 10:57 PM on June 29, 2003


debate, rather. sorry.
posted by trondant at 11:03 PM on June 29, 2003


God told me that it's cool for gay people to get married. God himself is actually G, L, B, and T. He also said that tolerating intolerance is pseudotolerant, and that not tolerating tolerance was intolerantly toleratious. Then we shared a hearty, holy laugh over the fact that people think he wrote a real long list of contradictory rules and that they have to force others to follow them.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:20 PM on June 29, 2003


Because if you're against gay marriage you're automatically a bigot, a homophobe, or just plain stupid. Yes, the tolerant left strikes again.

No, I can think of other reasons why one would oppose gay marriage. I imagine there are a lot of financial interests concerned with the extra cost corporations will incur as many now legal partners qualify for medical insurance under their spouses policy. Selfish and short-sighted, but plausible. Personally, I'm a slight homophobe, but consider the proposed amendment mindboggingly stupid.

Alethe, your whole argument smells like a troll, but I'll point out the flaw anyway. It goes back to the old saying: "Your right to swing your fist ends at my face". I'm tolerant of prejudices, as long as they don't try to inflict them on the unwilling. I suppose if you had a satanic cult that mandated random murder and torture, you would consider it intolerant to want them held in check? Please.
posted by Manjusri at 11:37 PM on June 29, 2003


Manjusri: I imagine there are a lot of financial interests concerned with the extra cost corporations will incur as many now legal partners qualify for medical insurance under their spouses policy

I've always wondered about this, as I've heard even thoughtful people mention it as a concern/issue/pointabout gay marriage being allowed. It just doesn't add up.

Thought Experiment #1: 200 couples, 100 men and 100 women. All of them are heterosexual. They all have decided to get married, thus 200 couples. They get a marriage license, go to a minister, and are legally wed. They enjoy the benefits as well as the difficulties of married life.
Total number of people: 200
Total number of "new" marriages: 100


Thought Experiment #2: 200 people, 100 men and 100 women. All of them are gay. Homosexuality is discovered to be a sinful act of choice, and a pill is created that fixes everything, returning these people to their proper state under God of heterosexuality. Endowed by their newfound freedom from the shackles of evil bum-love and muff-diving, every one of these 200 now-very heterosexual people rush to embrace the normal and healthy heterosexual union witnessed under God.
Total number of people: 200
Total number of "new" marriages: 100


Thought Experiment #3: 200 people, 100 men and 100 women. All of them are gay. Homosexuality is found to be a purely innate state, like eye color or hirsuteness, and not a 'choice' or an 'illness'. Despite Frist's and others' protestations, gay marriage is allowed. All 200 people- 100 gay men and 100 gay women- rush to marry a same sex partner in hopes of causing a coronary in Jesse Helms.
Total number of people: 200
Total number of "new" marriages: 100


Conclusion:
There is no numeric or financial difference between a) allowing gay people to enter civil unions just like any heterosexual couple, and b) transforming all gay people into straight people, thus allowing them to enter civil unions just like any [other] heterosexual couple. In particular the rightie/fundies seem to prefer b, but hadn't considered or aren't concerned by the financial impact of all those newly heterosexual people getting married. The only way in which gay marriages count as "new" marriages is if everyone agrees that it is desirable if homosexuality continues to exist in perpetuity, but that it is also desirable that these people should nevertheless not be given all the privileges of marriage.

Regardless of other arguments for or against, the "financial impact" argument is meaningless and intellectually dishonest.

The only justification to disallow gay marriage then is a) that gay people are innately gay but shouldn't have the rights and privileges others enjoy, through no fault of their own, and for no compelling reason, and/or b) gay people are "broken", and it's wrong/sinful to be gay, but even though we say otherwise we don't really want to fix them, as it is financially more convenient to know that X% of the population will be prevented from enjoying financial benefits.

Overall, it is intellectually bankrupt to suggest gay marriage is problematic because of "new" marriages that might result. By that logic, all new marriages should be disallowed, by anyone, or their should be a quota on marriages and its first come, first served- straight OR gay.
posted by hincandenza at 1:09 AM on June 30, 2003


Demanding that tolerance accept intolerance as a valid viewpoint is just absurd. It's silly, and intellectually dishonest. "Accept my bigotry because that's who I am"

Demanding that tolerance accept intolerance is simply intolerable, and that's something we're all just going to have to accept, I guess.
posted by weston at 1:31 AM on June 30, 2003


The only justification to disallow gay marriage then is a) that gay people are innately gay but shouldn't have the rights and privileges others enjoy, through no fault of their own, and for no compelling reason, and/or b) gay people are "broken", and it's wrong/sinful to be gay, but even though we say otherwise we don't really want to fix them.

There are a whole host of other reasons for actually opposing what amounts to state endorsement of gay marriage, and possibly a bunch for avoiding state endorsement of marriage period. I'm hesitant to even bring them out here, because this whole discussion here has been anything but subtle and the reasoning is.

One of the biggest problem with the dialogue on the issue is that there isn't any. We've got alethe saying things like "I didn't decide anything -- the Bible says it's sin and that sin is abhorrent to God, it doesn't matter what I think about it." And believe me Alethe, I understand your point of view, but the question that automatically goes with that is: how do you live in a society with people who don't believe that? How do you craft policy? This isn't something like babykilling that we can all agree on the underlying morality issues on (and actually, we have trouble with what babykilling is, too, so scratch that...)

But it's equally obvious to me that many folks on the gay side of the issue have zero understanding of others interests and concerns in the matter, either -- and they're completely dismissive of the idea that there might be any.

All that civil marriage is is a form of contract; it says precisely squat about what any faith on this earth might choose to bless, ignore, or condemn. All that it does, with some variations from state to state, is establish conditions to hold property jointly, gives each spouse some power-of-attorney for the other, provides both partners some protections in the case of dissolution, and usually requires that the couple pay slightly more federal income tax...How on earth could anyone take a reasoned stand against allowing people to contract together in those ways, for crying out loud?

If that's the only goal, why not simply avoid the whole charged atmosphere of calling it a "Marriage" or a "civil union" and just form a damn LLC? There's all kinds of options for trusts. Hey, some of them could even help avoid those pesky federal income tax problems associated with the M-word.

It seems obvious for me that joint property rights aren't really all there is to it: the goal is the explicit social endorsement that comes with the blessing of the state. And while there are many conservative and straight folks that can easily and quietly accept that the government shouldn't be declaring what you privately can't do, the afforementioned endorsement precisely what the right does not want. To them, the gay case looks a lot like "It makes us feel bad that you won't say we're just like you."

And without some compeling interest, why should the state endorse it? I think there's a lot stronger case to be made that the state shouldn't be endorsing marriage period than the idea it should be endorsing gay marriage. In the past communities decided they had a moral obligation and a social interest in observing and regulating it -- partly out the property issue, very much largely out of reproductive/child-rearing related issues, and somewhat out of the fact that homes were centers of production -- and state authority descended from that. All of those issues are somehwat less prominent in modern society, so I think if anything the bar for state interest in approval period is higher.

Personally, I think the right solution is to make it easier for people to establish the kinds of joint property/material unions ROU_Xenophobe mentioned outside of traditional marriage, but also leave said traditional marriage alone. It's a conservative institution (and a product of the society/value system most gays left behind when they came out). Being surprised that conservatives get touchy and defensive when you poke at it is like being surprised at the angry buzz when you poke a stick in a hornet's nest.
posted by namespan at 2:30 AM on June 30, 2003


And one more thing: what's this idea that somehow the idea of criticising homosexual behavior as "wrong" is somehow more wrong than criticising the criticisor, or worse, applying ill-fitting epithets like "bigot" to those who make a moral value judgement on some activity that's different than the one you would make. Yes, I know there's differences between this kind of "sin" than others -- it's "victimless", for one thing. They say "sin" and mean behavior they think is bad for spiritual/emotional health in much the same way a bad diet is, while the left often hears "arbitrary judgement of right/wrong that impugnes my personal worth as a human being". In terms of generally acceptable moral high ground for tolerance/intolerance, I don't see that either side has an edge any more than the Aitkins advocates have over the traditional diet folks.

Person A thinks it's wrong to engage in action Z. Person B thinks Person A is wrong to express such an opinion. It's a pretty normal affair, but still amenable to discussion until somebody comes along and declares even the discussion immoral.
posted by namespan at 2:43 AM on June 30, 2003


Alethe: I agree, civil unions would be fine. However, it looks to me as if this is exactly the sort of union that these....forgive me, bigots...are moving heaven and earth to forbid. Of what possible detriment to someone secure in their own relationship and beliefs is the idea of others legally pairing themselves to have secure and supportive lives?

All that civil marriage is is a form of contract; it says precisely squat about what any faith on this earth might choose to bless, ignore, or condemn. All that it does, with some variations from state to state, is establish conditions to hold property jointly, gives each spouse some power-of-attorney for the other, provides both partners some protections in the case of dissolution, and usually requires that the couple pay slightly more federal income tax...How on earth could anyone take a reasoned stand against allowing people to contract together in those ways, for crying out loud?

These two comments emphasize the greatest reason why the conservative Right is against homosexual marriage- the fact that it tears a huge gash in the binding of church law and state law.

The equalizing of the term "marriage" and "civil union" clinches the concept that the legal aspect of a union of two loving, consenting adults- that which oversees tax code, benefits, power-of-attorney, etc. is the only real legal structure of a union, and that marriage is ultimately a cultural window dressing. As another poster said a few days ago, it would relegate the authority of the actual ceremony of marriage to that of a Baptism or Bar Mitzvah.

The United States is, one of few (if any other) industrialized nations that still allow religious influence to overwhelmingly dominate the social fabric of the state and how it affects its laws. A legal binding of civil unions- a legal binding which overrides the moral binding of religious dogma- devestates the authority Christian religious code has over the framing of laws. And a frightening look at how many "this is a Christian nation built on Christian laws" people in this country there truly are shows why, as always, there will be a tooth-and-nail fight to prevent any form of legal equality that overrides the Bible.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:31 AM on June 30, 2003


namespan said: But it's equally obvious to me that many folks on the gay side of the issue have zero understanding of others interests and concerns in the matter, either -- and they're completely dismissive of the idea that there might be any.

But at the end of the day, those who hold those interests and concerns can exercise their right to get married if they want to. That's what it all comes down to. You can play all the word games you want about what does "bigot" mean and what does "intolerant" mean - the whole thing boils down to the fact that one group of people has rights that another group of people doesn't have, in this case the right to get married. I'm not for "special rights" for gays, I'm against special rights for non-gays. If you have other interests and concerns in the matter, well, all I can say is that no matter what label I apply to you or you apply to me, I'm not trying to deprive you of anything. If a gay person wants to get married, it may make you angry, you may not agree with it, but it doesn't infringe on your rights.
posted by RylandDotNet at 5:52 AM on June 30, 2003


namespan:
If Person A is denying Person B rights that A itself enjoys, and B is not denying A those rights, the two positions are not equivalent and not equally valid. The only moral value judgment I make about behavior between consenting adults is the one that says that people should mind their own damned business, because they do not know what's best any more than anyone else does. Declaring a discussion's participants immoral pretty much precludes discussion, don't you think?

weston:
Demanding that tolerance accept intolerance is simply intolerable, and that's something we're all just going to have to accept, I guess.

Walt Whitman just called. He told me he's trying to decide whether or not to tolerate one of his poems being on your homepage, given that he's a notoriously flaming homo himself.
posted by trondant at 6:12 AM on June 30, 2003


These two comments emphasize the greatest reason why the conservative Right is against homosexual marriage

it's not just the "conservative right" that is against homsexual marraige, unless you think that the "conservative right" constitutes roughly 50% of the US. the country is evenly split on the marraige issue (49% in favor - 49% oppossed).

in fact, only in the last 10 years has more than 50% (it's now 60%) thought homosexual behavior should be legal. there has been a significant shift in public opinion on this issue over the last 26 years. in 1977, Americans were evenly divided on the issue (43% said it should legal - 43% said it should not be).

but even today, only 40-something % think it's "morally acceptable"

here are the stats
posted by probablysteve at 6:21 AM on June 30, 2003


disgusting enough yahoos in the south for the Republicans to win the presidency again.

Because that's the only place homophobes are found, right? This thread did not begin well.

Also, I wouldn't presume to speake for alethe, but I'd say that pre-emptively dragging out words like "bigot" "racist" or "homophobe" is often a sign of intellectual laziness and something of a scarlet letter routine, since tossing words like that have the same effect for leftward leaning people as "communist" and "terrorist" do for those on the right--they shut down all rational conversation, since a lot of people view racism and homophobia the same way fanatical Christians view Satan, as an amorphous all powerful creature that sleeps under their bed at night and wants to eat them up.

I agree that this amendment is a stupid idea, mainly because I truly do believe in the gov't butting out wherever possible, but the thread that resulted here, seems to be for the most part, an excuse for people to trot out their personal hobbyhorses yet again.
posted by jonmc at 6:38 AM on June 30, 2003


I'm a Christian and I have a "problem with sin" but I draw the line at telling anyone except myself and my little boy what constitutes acceptable behavior. (I don't do that bit where the woman is supposed to be submissive to the man; Mrs. Alums and I are more of a team.) When it comes to controversies like this one, I keep in mind the parable about "rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." Marriage is more than a social contract; it's a covenant or even a sacrament in the presence of the Almighty, and that is for mere temporal power to trifle with at its own peril.

I think what Frist is doing constitutes abuse of Constitutional machinery, and he desperately needs a serious reality check if he thinks thirty-eight states are going to be sufficiently homophobic and motivated ratify this amendment -- and that's assuming it isn't stillborn in Congress once the mainstream media get through beating up on it.
posted by alumshubby at 7:04 AM on June 30, 2003


an excuse for people to trot out their personal hobbyhorses yet again.

Uh yeah. The personal hobbyhorses about what some people's book tells them they should tell other people to do, and the personal hobbyhorses about state-sanctioned oppression which can personally result in life or death. Ride 'em, cowboys!
posted by soyjoy at 7:23 AM on June 30, 2003


probablysteve writes:
it's not just the "conservative right" that is against homsexual marraige [...] but even today, only 40-something % think it's "morally acceptable"

You seem to be implying that justice depends on majority opinion. I quote from a New York Times editorial on Friday:
The idea that minorities must wait for the majority to recognize their basic rights is as wrong today as it was then. ["then"=1967, in reference to interracial marriage.]
posted by Tin Man at 7:27 AM on June 30, 2003


alethe writes: I didn't decide anything -- the Bible says it's sin and that sin is abhorrent to God, it doesn't matter what I think about it.

This is really really really pointless of me to say, but if there's a God -- which there very well may be -- then the Bible has nothing to do with Him, since it was written by men.

Think for yourself, alethe.
posted by Tin Man at 7:31 AM on June 30, 2003


feel better, soyjoy? had you're righteous indignation fix for today?

Now read the post again. I'm against the amendment too. I also suspect, as does any rational human, that it has no chance of becoming law, hence this has been an excuse to rehash old rhetoric.
posted by jonmc at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2003


they shut down all rational conversation

There's no rational conversation to be had when one side of the argument's only recourse is to point at a passage in Leviticus and shrug.

I wonder if any of the people who use Leviticus as a justification for their world view has ever read it? This is a societal primer for savages, not a moral code for an enlightened society. Among the crimes listed are the rape of slaves, bestiality, incest, and sacrificing children to the god Moloch. It is also a compendium of basic hygeine for people who clearly possessed none: wash your privates; don't menstruate on the carpet; if you come all over yourself, wash. There are dietary restrictions, whose primary purpose appears to be keeping its adherents from killing themselves with food poisoning. In other words, the "point" of the Mosaic law was to keep the Hebrews alive. Homosexuality was abominated for the same reason that masturbation was: wasting seed. Leviticus is all about the seed; what to do with it, where to put it, etc. Because in a fragile civilization beset on all sides by enemies and the ravages of nature, the only smart place to put seed is into fertile young women.

I'd be much more willing to listen to the views of the anti-gay lobby if they had any actual arguments. We have the weak "it's a dangerous, sad lifestyle" canard, but no compelling evidence whatsoever to back it up. Note also that ancient Hebrew didn't even have a word for "homosexuality." What Leviticus decries is the act of man-on-man sex. So, the "gay lifestyle" isn't really an issue anyway.

What's clear to me is that straight, conservative Christians "pick the battle" of homosexuality as their cause, because it's the one of the few "vices" that straight people will never be guilty of. They may be currently or someday become divorced or adultrous; they may whack off in the shower; they love scampi, and cotton/poly blends are so comfy. So they don't "pick" those battles.

When someone can tell me what, exactly, the Defense of Marriage Act defends me against, and what possible social good can come from banning gay marriage, then we can have a reasonable conversation about it. Until then, it's just bigotry. If you'll recall, they used to use the bible to justify slavery, too.
posted by vraxoin at 8:32 AM on June 30, 2003


feel better, soyjoy? had you're righteous indignation fix for today?

Nope, haven't had m'y fix yet. Just pointing out that your attempt to dismiss the thread was lame. And your addition that "it has no chance of becoming law" is even more so. "It," being a ban on gay marriage, already is law in the US; that's what we're talking about. Just like any other thread on Metafilter, we talk about things, argue about them, ride our hobbyhorses, whatever you want to call it. What, is the non-hobbyhorse criterion that the thread is somehow going to change the world?

I'm always entertained by people who feel it's necessary to post to a thread (especially more than once) to mock all the people posting to that thread.
posted by soyjoy at 8:48 AM on June 30, 2003


There are a whole host of other reasons for actually opposing what amounts to state endorsement of gay marriage, and possibly a bunch for avoiding state endorsement of marriage period. I'm hesitant to even bring them out here, because this whole discussion here has been anything but subtle and the reasoning is.

Well, for that matter, discursion of the latter would be helpful. In my view it does not make sense to privilege nuclear family households over single-parent family or extended family households. Especially with an aging population we are likely to see more extended family households as adult children take on the burden of caring for their aging parents.

But it's equally obvious to me that many folks on the gay side of the issue have zero understanding of others interests and concerns in the matter, either -- and they're completely dismissive of the idea that there might be any.

So far, the only interest that has been represented here has been the Biblical one. As a believer in the truth that the bible is a human document that is no more or less valid than the Koran, Egyptian religious manuscripts, Buddhist sutras, de Rerum Natura, Walden and Alice in Wonderland, the elevation of a Biblical definition of marriage is problematic.

If that's the only goal, why not simply avoid the whole charged atmosphere of calling it a "Marriage" or a "civil union" and just form a damn LLC? There's all kinds of options for trusts. Hey, some of them could even help avoid those pesky federal income tax problems associated with the M-word.

It seems obvious for me that joint property rights aren't really all there is to it: the goal is the explicit social endorsement that comes with the blessing of the state. And while there are many conservative and straight folks that can easily and quietly accept that the government shouldn't be declaring what you privately can't do, the aforementioned endorsement precisely what the right does not want. To them, the gay case looks a lot like "It makes us feel bad that you won't say we're just like you."


Well yes, joint property rights are not the sum total of the problem. One part of the problem is that in a conflict, traditional family ties sometimes are given a stronger weight than attempts by some sex couples to establish joint property and medical or legal powers of attorney. Creation of an LLC does very little in regards to some of the other automatic perks of marriage such as health insurance riders. Furthermore, all of those things are granted automatically to heterosexual marriages.

And without some compelling interest, why should the state endorse it? I think there's a lot stronger case to be made that the state shouldn't be endorsing marriage period than the idea it should be endorsing gay marriage.

I see the burden of proof as the other way. Without a compelling interest to discriminate against same-sex couples, why should the discrimination be justified?

Person A thinks it's wrong to engage in action Z. Person B thinks Person A is wrong to express such an opinion. It's a pretty normal affair, but still amenable to discussion until somebody comes along and declares even the discussion immoral.

Which is interesting because I don't think that anti-gay Christians are wrong for expressing their opinion. However, if I disagree with their opinion in public, then for some reason *I*'m the one that is intolerant for engaging in public debate.

In regards to avoiding the entire M-word. Well I'm not certain what the problem here is. Congregations allready have the power to define what is and what is not a marriage within their own churches and temples.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:12 AM on June 30, 2003


If you're against gay marriage, don't have one.
posted by callmejay at 10:34 AM on June 30, 2003


I did happen to note that I'm a Christian as well

Sorry that comment was not directed at you Vidiot -- but as you note they are plenty of differences among Christians to keep us busy too.

Alethe, your whole argument smells like a troll, but I'll point out the flaw anyway.

Again, and I hope for the last time -- I never defended the legal argument; I did not say what Frist was doing was a good thing.

And believe me Alethe, I understand your point of view, but the question that automatically goes with that is: how do you live in a society with people who don't believe that? How do you craft policy?

namespan:
Well, for me - I think it's a matter of letting the civil magistrates decide things through the democratic process -- which means, we don't live in a theocracy, but certainly we can vote and advocate positions. The question of "How then should we live" is more a theological/cultural question to me, rather than a legal/policy question.

XQUZYPHYR:
"this is a Christian nation built on Christian laws" people in this country there truly are shows why, as always, there will be a tooth-and-nail fight to prevent any form of legal equality that overrides the Bible.

It's kind of a fact that this nation was built upon many Christian principles, by many Christians of varying views. And yes, also by atheists, and agnostics, etc. etc.

But my interest is not that gay marriage would override the Bible - but that allowing it, like many sins we allow to become acceptable, will erode the culture and the church itself. But if it becomes illegal or legal, I'll live with it.

This is really really really pointless of me to say, but if there's a God -- which there very well may be -- then the Bible has nothing to do with Him, since it was written by men.

Tin Man:
It was inspired by God - it is God's word - that's what I believe and so it was not just "written by men" or "made up by men." It's of course perfectly fine that you don't agree with me, but do not presume that because I believe this I am not thinking for myself. Please try not to misunderstand the difference between fiction and inspiration.

There's no rational conversation to be had when one side of the argument's only recourse is to point at a passage in Leviticus and shrug.

vraxoin:
I didn't personally point to any verse, but there more verses that deal with this outside of Leviticus, if you cared to look them up or investigate some.

I'm always entertained by people who feel it's necessary to post to a thread (especially more than once) to mock all the people posting to that thread.

soyjoy:
That statement seems to fit you more than anyone else I've read here.
posted by alethe at 10:44 AM on June 30, 2003


Religion should be completely absent from this discussion. The issue at hand is not whether your church should marry same-sex partners. The issue is whether the government has the right to deny currently heterosexual-only 'rights' (insurance, taxes, property, children) to same-sex couples.

A lot of irrelevant side-chatter might be removed if we stop using the term 'marriage' and use 'civil union' instead. For argument's sake, let's define 'marriage' as a union sanctioned by God and 'civil union' is a union sanctioned by the government. In other words, the approval of God (or other deity) is not needed. Nor should it be, since the issues at hand are federally regulated.

Using these terms, I do not see how anyone could deny the aforementioned rights to same-sex couples. If legislators want to impose restrictions on the definition of civil unions (such as cohabitation, age requirements, or minimum commitment time, for example), I could accept that - as long as these restrictions are also applied to heterosexual unions (whether civil or religious). IF such restrictions were deemed to be necessary, of course.
posted by widdershins at 11:18 AM on June 30, 2003


If that's the only goal, why not simply avoid the whole charged atmosphere of calling it a "Marriage" or a "civil union" and just form a damn LLC?

Marriage licenses/certificates are a damn sight cheaper than forming an LLC or trust. Also, it's harder for third parties to meddle their way into legal marriages than it is to screw around with trusts or LLCs.

For that matter, reverse it: all that civil marriage is, is a specialized form of business partnership. That's it. The sum total of what a civil marriage means is the various legal changes. So why are you opposed to homosexuals having business partnerships?

It seems obvious for me that joint property rights aren't really all there is to it: the goal is the explicit social endorsement that comes with the blessing of the state.

Your obvious insight is, to my eye, just as obviously wrong. I've never met any homosexual who yearns for Caesar's blessing about anything, least of all about who they choose to fuck on a regular basis.

I have met homosexuals who are concerned about the many legalities of marriage. I've met homosexuals who wanted to make sure that it was their lover, and not their mother who disowned them years ago and to whom they haven't spoken in years, who gets to make medical decisions on their behalf in the case of their incapacitation. I've met homosexuals who want to bring their spouse-oid into the US, just like I did my wife. I've met homosexuals who'd wished that they'd had recourse to the protections of the law following the dissolution of a long-term coupling.

Personally, I think the right solution is to make it easier for people to establish the kinds of joint property/material unions ROU_Xenophobe mentioned outside of traditional marriage, but also leave said traditional marriage alone.

I'd support that, if you meant the simple abolition of civil marriage and its replacement where a couple goes down to city hall and signs up for Domestic Partners Under Law package or whatever you want to call it. I can't think of any good concrete policy reason to have different legal things for homo- and heterosexuals, and having different things seems to fly in the face of the equal-protection clause in a very Jim Crow way.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:46 AM on June 30, 2003


alethe wrote: my interest is not that gay marriage would override the Bible - but that allowing it, like many sins we allow to become acceptable, will erode the culture and the church itself. But if it becomes illegal or legal, I'll live with it.

Well, of course I'm glad to hear that you wouldn't up and immolate yourself, alethe. That would only add to the stench wafting about from bon mots like "erode the culture".

I referred earlier to your use of overly-broad terms like "the church" and "the people." Now you come out with "the culture." These things don't exist, alethe, not as you use them. You ignore enormous existing differences within society in order to put across the specious idea that "the" society is threatened by gay marriage. As for the substance of that argument... it's so ludicrous, and you are so apparently unwilling to amend your worldview, that I suspect my words would be wasted on you.
posted by stonerose at 11:55 AM on June 30, 2003


If you're against gay marriage, don't have one.

Thats like saying "If you're against killing somebody, don't do it"
posted by jmd82 at 12:21 PM on June 30, 2003


This discussion points up one of the key problems faced by Humanity: we're not all playing by the same rulebook but we expect others to act as if that's true.

namespan: how do you live in a society with people who don't believe that? How do you craft policy?

Precisely. Although stated as a rhetorical question, this is an incredibly important question deserving of it's own separate discussion (IMO). Might help in, say, the current 'clash of civilizations', don't ya think?
posted by billsaysthis at 12:28 PM on June 30, 2003


That statement seems to fit you more than anyone else I've read here.

Oooooh! "I know you are, but what am I?" Excellent point, alethe!

Don't know how you would even attempt to claim I was mocking anyone other than you - and not even you, but your ridiculous positions and ways of putting them forward. (once again: "Condemnation of intolerance is intolerant behaviour" - gotta love it!) But since any disagreement with you and your, uh, personal savior is "intolerant," yeah, I guess it makes a certain amount of sense that you would see it that way.
posted by soyjoy at 12:45 PM on June 30, 2003


Did I miss it? I mean, there are a lot of comments here, but did anyone give a legitimate, secular reason for denying gay marriage, or for stripping the term of marriage off all the the unions and referring to all state sponsored cohabitations as "civil unions"?
posted by benjh at 2:14 PM on June 30, 2003


I referred earlier to your use of overly-broad terms like "the church" and "the people." Now you come out with "the culture." These things don't exist, alethe, not as you use them.

stonerose:
If you had read my posts then you saw what I mean when I say the church and the people. The culture is an amalgamation also -- and of course it's from my point of view -- and of course these things exist. Either that, or you don't live in a culture of any sort, which is impossible. (Now of course you may deny that you live in a culture or at least in a definable one, and that may be an argument you can make -- but I frankly disagree).

You ignore enormous existing differences within society in order to put across the specious idea that "the" society is threatened by gay marriage.

I'm not ignoring anything - I am saying that from my point of view the society is threatened.

and you are so apparently unwilling to amend your worldview, that I suspect my words would be wasted on you

Am I the only one here unwilling to amend my worldview or who is being stubborn? -- sorry but I can't agree with that. The posts "against" my view are evidence in themselves that I'm not the only one who isn't willing to "amend." And the posts which mischaracterize my positions or do not understand them are evidence that my words are wasted on this as well. So I think your statement goes both ways if it has to be accepted at all.

but your ridiculous positions and ways of putting them forward.

soyjoy:
It is not my fault that you are either too lazy or ignorant to be able to grasp my simple comments.
posted by alethe at 2:36 PM on June 30, 2003


Haw! Yeah, I can't grasp your simple comments. Funny how so many other people seem to be "unable to grasp" them. What an extraordinary coincidence. Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe... it's your comments that are the problem, not us?
posted by soyjoy at 2:42 PM on June 30, 2003


it's your comments that are the problem, not us?

Perhaps, but your lack of decency, dialogue, or civility contribute to your particular problem with them.
posted by alethe at 2:45 PM on June 30, 2003


How is society going to be eroded if gay marriage is approved, alethe? I understand that if it is approved, then you lose the ability to live in a society that matches your vision of holiness more closely, and that's unfortunate for you. But is that all? Or should we be worried about other things that follow from approving gay marriage? Please, be more specific in detailing the erosion to which you allude.
posted by stonerose at 2:48 PM on June 30, 2003


If you're against gay marriage, don't have one.

Thats like saying "If you're against killing somebody, don't do it"


Aw come on, marriage isn't that bad...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:22 PM on June 30, 2003


“Hate the sin, love the sinner”

Heh. It's quite amusing in a way, how far people will go to try and rationalize bigotry and excuse it, even though it is also extremely sickening.
posted by bargle at 3:28 PM on June 30, 2003


Hate your own sins, love other sinners.

Bill Frist needs to sit down and prayerfully consider what things are Caesar's and what things are God's. I don't think defining marriage should fit in the former category.
posted by alumshubby at 3:43 PM on June 30, 2003


alethe: how does it harm society?
posted by benjh at 4:33 PM on June 30, 2003


Please just cut to the chase! Just tell us why you consider discrimination against a group of consenting adults to be a good thing!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 PM on July 1, 2003


We're still here, alethe, and MeFi is back online. Time to ante up.
posted by stonerose at 8:59 PM on July 1, 2003


In other news, WalMart is now the ninth of the ten biggest Fortune 500 companies to have a formal anti-discrimination policy. Hurrah for them! Business and government have no place in the bedroom.

Those people who hold the opinion that what occurs between consenting adults within the privacy of their home should be a matter of public concern must read Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country.


posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 AM on July 2, 2003


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