The Agenda Laid Bare
March 2, 2004 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Culture War a-brewin'...git yer ammo here. As territory is staked out in this nascent national struggle, the Independent Gay Forum has a number of articles that provide a more-than-cursory glimpse of the manner in which one side hopes to frame the debate, and a likely response to the frames already in place. Especially notable is John Corvin's Homosexuality and Morality. It appears as if the newest round of the culture wars may be unique in that two sides will be fighting them.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (34 comments total)
 
Heck, I can settle this now.

No gay marriage and no drinking. There. Happy? You ruined it for everyone.
posted by ewkpates at 11:52 AM on March 2, 2004


oh, I was joking about the "agenda" bit. i'm actually quite pleased to see the pro-gay-marriage crowd generating talking points.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:04 PM on March 2, 2004


I think the pictures of newly married gay couples are worth a thousand words each.
posted by callmejay at 12:11 PM on March 2, 2004


i agree with Rosendall that this issue will backfire on the Bush campaign, if they stick with it. think of the 1992 convention, with Buchanan, Robertson, et al. a huge mistake.

the Repubs could have used this issue to sway undecided (homophobic) voters, but a constitutional amendment isn't the way to do it. (unfortunately (for them), court decisions give them no other option ... so far.)

they're going to lose this issue in so many different ways ... hooray!

i fully expect this "wedge" issue to be all but dead by this summer.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2004


IJR: Thanks for the post. I'm sure plenty on MeFi are weary of the issue, but it's one that I'm immersed in, so all discussion helps keep me sharp on the issues. The IGF looks to be a good resource.
posted by divrsional at 12:22 PM on March 2, 2004


After calling for a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage
When was the last time a constitutional amendment passed? Because the ERA amendment was a huge issue back in the 70's & 80's and it seemed it would have already been passed today.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:38 PM on March 2, 2004


When was the last time a constitutional amendment passed?

1992. But that particular amendment was actually put forward by Congress in 1789.

(modern amendments all have "suicide clauses" that render them void if not ratified within foo years)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:46 PM on March 2, 2004


Another front in the culture war which could backfire on them (and which shouldn't be part of it in the first place) is therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on March 2, 2004


aWol is already walking away from this one.

he's already chummed the water with blood enough to excite the fundies for November.

is everyone already familiar with the Jasper, Alabama call to arms?
posted by nofundy at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2004


this issue will backfire on the Bush campaign

Yeah, really looks like it is backfiring...
CBS News Poll. Feb. 24-27, 2004. Nationwide.

"Would you favor or oppose a law that would allow homosexual couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as other married couples?"
  • Favor: 30%
  • Oppose: 62%
  • Don't Know: 8%
"Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow marriage only between a man and a woman, and outlaw marriages between people of the same sex?"
  • Favor: 51%
  • Oppose: 42%
  • Don't Know: 7%
Backfiring? Those disapprove numbers are trending up since the stunts in SanFran, and else where. Oh yeah, what exactly is Kerry's position on this? Against it, but doesn't want to stop it? Boy, that instills decisiveness in the American public.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:15 PM on March 2, 2004


don't believe the hype S_a_L.
If you don't know the demographics of the group that was polled, how can the results mean anything? How many people were polled? 20 or 2,000?

Stunts. Heh heh. Now we're circus performers.
posted by archimago at 1:25 PM on March 2, 2004


Remind me to refer to steve_at_linnwood's marriage (and, for that matter, his right to work toward his civil rights) as "stunts." That way we're sure to have a healthy, respectful dialogue about it.
posted by divrsional at 1:28 PM on March 2, 2004


Those disapprove numbers change greatly when asked if gay and lesbian americans should have the same rights as everyone else. It's all in the wording.
posted by amberglow at 1:30 PM on March 2, 2004


and if you keep this up, Steve, our wedding's off. ; >
posted by amberglow at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2004


I would agree that one of these two pictures is indeed a "stunt," Steve. Question is, which one do you think it is?
posted by scody at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2004


How many people were polled?

1,545 adults.

Remind me to refer to steve_at_linnwood's marriage (and, for that matter, his right to work toward his civil rights) as "stunts."

Hey, that doesn't bother me. Call it what ever you want, but not one of those "marriages" in SanFran have not, and will not be recorded by the State of California since they violate state law, and therefore are not worth the paper they are printed on. The mayor of any city in California has no authority to dictate the state's civil laws.

It's all in the wording
You are right, it is all about the wording.

"same rights" != "marriage"

In fact, "marriage" != right

But I digress, my point was and is that the more Americans see and are no long allowed to ignore "gay marriage" the more the polls move. Just wait till this summer, after Gays are actually married in Massachusetts, legally unlike in San Francisco, and they move back to their states and challenge the state's law regarding marriage. I will predict that you will see a sharp spike.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2004


How much of this debate, on both sides, in couched in deceptive terms?

For example, how many "gay" or "morality" issues are *really* about money? Who has it, who wants it, who is entitled to it, and who has to pay it.

Not just one side, but both sides.

I just wonder how the "typical Americans" would change their opinions if all of these arguments were put in terms of money.

"Would you be willing to have your taxes increased if it would keep gay marriage illegal?"

"If gay people could get married and it wouldn't ever cost you a dime, would it be okay?"

"Should gay people who get married have to pay significantly higher taxes as a 'marriage penalty'?"

"Would you be willing to have your taxes increased if gay marriage could be legal?"
posted by kablam at 1:49 PM on March 2, 2004


this issue will backfire on the Bush campaign

-- Yeah, really looks like it is backfiring...


While the poll Steve cites might be accurate, it doesn't discuss how strongly people feel about the issue or how it will affect their votes for president.

Nevertheless, although I can't stand W, I don't see evidence that this issue is hurting or helping him so far. To say that's it's backfiring against him is to engage in wishful thinking at this point. If anything, it's the issues of jobs, the economy, the environment, and Iraq WMDs that are going to backfire against him.


Oh yeah, what exactly is Kerry's position on this? Against it, but doesn't want to stop it?

Kerry supports a Massachusetts amendment, but he opposes a national amendment and voted against DOMA. There's no inconsistency here -- it's federalism. He's saying that each state should decide for itself and not be dictated to by the federal government.
posted by Tin Man at 1:51 PM on March 2, 2004


On second thought -- reading DOMA, I see that it doesn't tell states what to do. Okay, Kerry's being inconsistent.

Not sure why Steve brought up Kerry when we're talking about the validity of arguments for or against gay marriage, though.
posted by Tin Man at 1:57 PM on March 2, 2004


Scratch that last sentence. I guess Steve's on point, since we're not discussing the validity of the arguments, but rather the arguments in the context of political tactics.

I swear I'm shutting up now.
posted by Tin Man at 2:03 PM on March 2, 2004


I will predict that you will see a sharp spike.
Yup, a sharp spike in the heart of discrimination once and for all. Even Bush stopped talking about it--he threw his bone to the conservatives and that's it.

You really want a culture war? You guys lost the last one--we'll take a rematch anytime.
posted by amberglow at 2:14 PM on March 2, 2004


That's the reassuring silliness of conservatives - by the time they get around to a culture war, they've already long since lost it. And the next five after it. In any case, they seem to have lost the first battle of this one (as well as a skirmish in Georgia).

I think Tin Man has a good point that a big proportion of those who affirm their opposition to gay marriage wouldn't consider it an important electoral issue. It's just something you say to prove you're not weird. A hell of a lot more people profess a belief in god than actively practice their faith, too.
posted by liam at 2:41 PM on March 2, 2004


You really want a culture war? You guys lost the last one--we'll take a rematch anytime.

And I think the devlopment of this attitude is important to the victory. Hell, I'm straight and my heart sank when I heard that Barney Frank was advising Newsom to back off. Frank might be correct about choosing the right time, but it seems like that time is upon us. Come on, gay activists, show us your balls (figuratively)!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2004


That link's not working, but it seems like around 48 Senators are already committed to voting against a constitutional marriage amendment. If you can't get Montana's Senator Conrad Burns to back a conservative measure, you're in trouble.

Meanwhile, the Georgia House of Representatives unexpectedly voted down a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
posted by liam at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2004


But I digress, my point was and is that the more Americans see and are no long allowed to ignore "gay marriage" the more the polls move. Just wait till this summer, after Gays are actually married in Massachusetts, legally unlike in San Francisco, and they move back to their states and challenge the state's law regarding marriage. I will predict that you will see a sharp spike.

30 percent of Alabamans voted against a ceremonious repeal of state law against interracial marriage... in the year 2000. "Sharp spikes" like that are exactly why judges interpret justice and not the mob.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:02 PM on March 2, 2004


Sen. Rick Santorum's comments comparing gay-rights claims to the rights-claims of polygamists and adulterers were indefensible. Yet the tepid defense Santorum got from most fellow Republicans shows progress is being made. Gay Republicans (and their critics) should stay the course.

What's wrong with polygamy and adultey!?
posted by delmoi at 3:06 PM on March 2, 2004


While the poll Steve cites might be accurate, it doesn't discusshow strongly people feel about the issue or how it will affect their votes for president.

No, but the CBS News article about their own poll does discuss "how strongly people feel about the issue or how it will affect their votes for president."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:08 PM on March 2, 2004


Actually, the thing that tends to affect people most directly on gay civil rights issues is when people they know and love come out of the closet. Putting a human face on what some people choose to define as a "problem" invariably moves them toward increasing tolerance.

You don't have to believe it, but I've seen it happen many times.

As for breaking the law in SF or New Paltz, as opposed to upholding the Constitution, and creating a forum for making the law adhere to the Constitution, well . . .

I suppose if a few feisty rebels hadn't broken the law 228 years ago, we wouldn't even be able to discuss this, now would we.
posted by divrsional at 3:19 PM on March 2, 2004


Only 4% of voters see gay marriage as the main issue they would like the candidates to address in this election year, far behind the economy (25%), health care (13%) and the war in Iraq (also 13%).

Keep at it, Steve -- you'll get people really worried about the homos instead of the WMDs yet! After all, the damn gays 'n' lesbos are making it real easy to find them -- it's the jobs and WMDs and affordable health insurance premiums that are just so darn hard to come by.
posted by scody at 3:28 PM on March 2, 2004




but not one of those "marriages" in SanFran have not, and will not be recorded by the State of California since they violate state law

You're right, for the wrong reason: the State of California doesn't record marriages. That's the county clerk's job. Since San Francisco is both a city and a county, the mayor of San Francisco has the authority to instruct the county recorder to accept homosexual marriage.

The only legal question remaining is, will the California Supreme Court agree with San Francisco's position regarding the invalidity of the anti-gay-marriage law?

The mayor of any city in California has no authority to dictate the state's civil laws.

Voters in California have no authority to create laws which violate the state constitution, as the Proposition 22 ban on homosexual marriage (apparently) does.
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:08 PM on March 2, 2004


and in NY, it's actually the State Health Dept. that has power over marriage licenses (god knows why).
posted by amberglow at 4:38 PM on March 2, 2004


Voters in California have no authority to create laws which violate the state constitution, as the Proposition 22 ban on homosexual marriage (apparently) does.

Schwarzenegger could accept gay marriages If voters, courts approve it, he'd have no problem with it, he tells Jay Leno
posted by thomcatspike at 4:50 PM on March 2, 2004


Media Release: Statement on Marriage and the Family from the American Anthropological Association:

"The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples."
posted by kalessin at 6:49 AM on March 3, 2004


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