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Gay man marries in Seattle
April 9, 2004 5:47 AM   Subscribe

Maaawwidgge, dat Bwessed Ewent "I don't know what a guy has to do around here to get the marriage license. But I guess it's some consolation that I can get a meaningless one anytime I like, just so long as I bring along a woman I don't love and my $54. "
posted by GernBlandston (191 comments total)

 
Brilliant.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:28 AM on April 9, 2004


What a riot. Savage gets on my nerves sometimes, but at least the core of this article (three paragraphs ending with '"Sure," the license-department manager said, "If you've got $54, you can have a marriage license."') should be required reading for everyone on the wrong side of this issue.
posted by louie at 6:45 AM on April 9, 2004


I'm still smirking.

I wonder if married couples divorcing in protest of marriage laws would have as much impact?
posted by grefo at 7:28 AM on April 9, 2004


It's a cute article, but didn't we know this all along? A man and a woman can get married.

What, did you expect the clerk to withhold the certificate because of their comments? As if the clerk is going to have that kind of authority. "I'm sorry, but in my opinion, you're not really in love." Right.

I guess it's a more concrete display of the reality of the situation, but it's certainly not anything new.

Not that it doesn't take guts to go down to the administration building and ask for a certificate if you're gay. I admire the move, and it's a clever solution. I just don't see how it would have any more luck convincing those against gay marriage.
posted by ODiV at 7:37 AM on April 9, 2004


I just don't see how it would have any more luck convincing those against gay marriage.

Well yes. But it is a blindingly obvious concrete demonstration to those opposed to same-sex marriage on "defense of marriage" grounds, that if marriage actually needs defneding, it certainly doesn't need defending from those who admire and respect the institution enough to fight for fair access to it (i.e. gay marriage proponents), but from those who already have access to it. It also highlights the fact that there is enormous hypocrisy in allowing opposite-sex homosexuals (who are not in love, have no intention of procreating, and are completely upfront about their reason for marriage being political in nature), to marry, simply because they're of different sexes. I think it suggests that those opposed to same-sex marriage really examine their reasoning: marriage is not intrinsically religious, since atheists are allowed to marry and weddings do not require any religious component, so the religious opposition holds no water; marriage is not intrinsically procreative, since we allow sterile people and those with no intent to have children to marry, so the procreative opposition holds no water; so, other than prejudice, what possible opposition is there?
posted by biscotti at 8:07 AM on April 9, 2004


Dan Savage. My kinda guy. In, you know, the other way. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

You have to admit that the jig is up when religious leaders are arrested for conducting religious ceremonies.

I think people will start seriously coming around to the whole separation of church and state issue when the church of ewkpates starts to field candidates in upcoming elections.
posted by ewkpates at 8:28 AM on April 9, 2004


There is no such thing as gay marriage, and I believe that regardless of whether legal licenses are ever issued for same. You can call it marriage but it doesn't make it marriage. (Under that definition I would include the sham license but I digress.) It takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, just as it takes oil and eggs to make mayonnaise. Leave out one or the other, and you don't have the final product.

Civil unions are another matter. I am against those as well but only because I believe homosexual activity to be sin.

Actually I have known gay men and lesbians who have married, mostly to hide their orientation. I don't know who they thought they were fooling. But that too is a different topic.

I will say that if gay "marriage" ever becomes legal, there will be nothing to stand in the way of plural marriage and other odd groupings.
posted by konolia at 8:32 AM on April 9, 2004


On the one hand I say this makes the point that gay marriage proponents want to make, and I think it would be an interesting act of civil disobedience if every gay/lesbian person who wanted to marry their (true) partner did this.

On the other hand, if they did, it would just be giving more money to the county/state, who would then use the money to defend the law as it stands. Too bad.
posted by vignettist at 8:33 AM on April 9, 2004


Actually I have known gay men and lesbians who have married,

To each other, I meant.
posted by konolia at 8:33 AM on April 9, 2004


So another clerk took care of us--a nice woman who appeared to be a lesbian and who got the joke.

a) I hope he got that statement cleared before publishing.
b) It was that obvious, huh?
c) OldNewsFilter http://www.thestranger.com/2004-03-11/city4.html I'm sure I've read this before, but was it ever linked on MeFi?
d) I thought it was actually a good stunt that needs to be repeated across the pond here in the UK. However, I don't know exactly how our laws on this work, being as i never had the need to look 'em up before..
posted by dash_slot- at 8:44 AM on April 9, 2004


Civil unions are another matter. I am against those as well but only because I believe homosexual activity to be sin.

And that's why I don't think this example with make any difference. Gay marriage is a sin in the eyes of those against it. They can't really filter out straight people who don't love each other effectively, so it's probably seen as a lost cause.

Konolia: Do you think that civil unions or marriages between gays will result in more gay people and thus more gay activity? These gay people will probably be doing whatever it is they do behind closed doors with or without that piece of paper.

I've always wondered why Christians are seemingly so selective with what they believe from the bible. Why is this sin so important, comparatively? You can even work on the sabbath these days without anyone raising too much of a fuss. That rule seems pretty important in the bible. I've had similar discussions with my Christian girlfriend on several occasions. Never really got anywhere and I'm still unsure how people extract their belief sets from the bible.
posted by ODiV at 8:50 AM on April 9, 2004


konolia, can you answer these points directly:

marriage is not intrinsically religious, since atheists are allowed to marry and weddings do not require any religious component, so the religious opposition holds no water;

marriage is not intrinsically procreative, since we allow sterile people and those with no intent to have children to marry, so the procreative opposition holds no water;

so, other than prejudice, what possible opposition is there?

[NB: a longstanding, traditional prejudice is still a prejudice.]

For myself, I would be content with any non-discriminatory institution, open to gays & straights, binding together socially, legally & financially any two consenting adults not closely related.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:53 AM on April 9, 2004


I will say that if gay "marriage" ever becomes legal, there will be nothing to stand in the way of plural marriage and other odd groupings.

And what is wrong with that? What if 2 men and 1 woman (or any combination) love one another and wish to marry? What business is it of yours?

As long as they are of legal age, I don't give a damn who marries. It is ridiculous that so many people are denied the right to marry the person they love because others think it is a sin.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:57 AM on April 9, 2004


There is no such thing as gay marriage, and I believe that regardless of whether legal licenses are ever issued for same.

Nor is there any such thing as God, but you don't see anyone trying to take away your right to pretend there is.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:09 AM on April 9, 2004


appropos of nothing much, never shall i forget the immortal words of al bundy as he paid the refrigerator repairman: "$80 to fix a hulking thing in the corner, and only $20 to marry one".
posted by quonsar at 9:15 AM on April 9, 2004


so, other than prejudice, what possible opposition is there?

Because if consenting same-sex adults are allowed to marry each other then everyone will start marrying their dogs and cucumbers and whatnot. I know I'm late to the party, but I really thought you guys had been over this before.

As for myself, I'm praying (in an atheist sort of way) that gender-nonspecific civil unions become legal somewhere in the US in the next few years. I want to get married someday, but I've always felt vaguely uneasy about the idea of participating in an institution that conveys so many privileges but is only available to those of the 'proper' orientation.
posted by purplemonkie at 9:16 AM on April 9, 2004


There is no such thing as gay marriage, and I believe that regardless of whether legal licenses are ever issued for same. You can call it marriage but it doesn't make it marriage. ...
Civil unions are another matter. I am against those as well but only because I believe homosexual activity to be sin.


I think you misunderstand the purpose of our state. The beauty of a secular state is that you can believe whatever tripe you want about your big man in the sky, etc, and I don't have to be governed by your beliefs, and vice versa. When your irrational, faith-based religious beliefs are used to limit my freedoms, something is seriously wrong, since I don't subscribe to your beliefs.

You strike me as a nice person, konolia, but you don't seem to be different from fundamentalists of many faiths all over the world - many of whom would be happy to restrict your freedoms with the constraints of their faith. Would that be ok by you, if they were in the majority here? Is the awful treatment of women in many Islamic countries ok, because it's based on their interpretation of their faith?
posted by me & my monkey at 9:26 AM on April 9, 2004


I would like to point out you also need vinegar (or possibly lemon juice, though I prefer vinegar), salt and pepper. There are some other ingredients too, and while they can make things a lot nicer they're not strictly necessary. I'm not quite sure what that does for the analogy, but I wouldn't wish bland mayonaise on anyone, whether they'd want to prevent me and the person I love getting the same rights as other couples or not.
posted by fvw at 9:28 AM on April 9, 2004


The license is old news, but Dan and Amy actually tied the knot yesterday in Seattle.
posted by O9scar at 9:31 AM on April 9, 2004


me & my monkey: You don't even have to go overseas to make that comparison. Women haven't been able to vote, publically express themselves, or have a career on this continent for very long. They're still not allowed to be Catholic priests.

If the definition of "Marriage" cannot be changed then why can the definition of "woman".
posted by ODiV at 9:34 AM on April 9, 2004


Marriage is a human universal. All cultures marry. All faiths marry. All races marry.

All sexualities marry.

One of the interesting realities is that the marriage of two people is not contained within them. If it was, there'd be no need for "official" validation -- a simple ceremony, attended by family and friends, would be enough. And it's not simply the legal rights granted by government that are at stake, or else civil unions would be enough. Marriage makes demands on those who interact with the married -- as marriage is a human universal, so is some form of emotional understanding of those who are married. (For example, Christians are not confused if a Muslim mourns the death of his wife more than the death of a friend.)

It's this emotional understanding that's at stake here, and it's what people are fighting having to accept. That does not mean the acceptance is wrong -- people fought accepting the humanity of Africans tooth and nail; we can look back through the history books at the tortuous logic used to deny human rights to dark-skinned humans, it was quite hideous. The logic used to deny marriage to gays is similarly ludicrous -- the overwhelming desire to marry, despite all forces arrayed against them, is more than slightly reminiscent of the stories of Christians of old being thrown to the lions as they refused to renounce their faith.

The irony is hard to miss.
posted by effugas at 9:35 AM on April 9, 2004


I don't mean to come off all intolerant, but...

The more I hear Christians talk about their excuses/reasons for prejudice against gay and lesbian folk, the more I develop a gut-twisting intolerance of Christians. I do not like the feeling, I have spent the better part of my adult life having no difficulty respecting the beliefs of others, but this feels wrong, wrong, wrong. Just patently wrong.

I am confused at why it upsets me to such an extent. I have no loved ones who are gay or lesbian. It just makes me angry whenever I read comments like konolia's. I want to take my peaceful agnotic-y self down to the courthouse and get a divorce just so I am not a member of the club with such intolerant people.

Anyone else experiencing this?
posted by Richat at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2004


Well I think the real answer to konolia is then: so what do you care? You think the whole state marriage thing is bullshit anyways, whether it's man and woman or man and man or woman and mannequin*; in your eyes the reality of marriage is that it's a holy bond recognized by the big G and serves various spiritual purposes. So why you would stand for or against any sort of state-sponsored marriage doesn't make any sense to me.

I think your "slippery slope" argument is a bad idea for you to make, for a couple reasons.
1) a great many people (such as myself) won't care, and so it's not an objection anyways. I know two longstanding (8 years and 10 years) three-person groupings.
2) shouldn't the gay-is-bad line be enough on its own? Or is it really your position that gay marriage is ok but we can't have it because it allows for all these other things which you think are bad?

Actually there's a third reason, which is:
3) if you're suggesting people will all the sudden start boning fluffy the family pet, come on. Now you're just being ridiculous. Humans find humans attractive, not non-humans. And those that have re-tuned their libido to find horses, dogs, and so on to their liking are (generally) the sorts of sad characters that aren't going to be getting married to a person in any event.

If I remember correctly, you're the person that had given up on Leviticus as a source for your interpretations of biblical law. In which case I'll remark that several modern looks at older Latin versions of Paul's letters would seem to more accurately condemn rape rather than "homosexuality" which wasn't really a concept they had back in the day.
posted by kavasa at 9:39 AM on April 9, 2004


There is no such thing as gay marriage, and I believe that regardless of whether legal licenses are ever issued for same.

Nor is there any such thing as God, but you don't see anyone trying to take away your right to pretend there is.

Ignatius: marry me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:45 AM on April 9, 2004


Anyone else experiencing this?

I started to actively dislike them when they started shooting abortion doctors and harassing women getting pap smears at Planned Parenthood. This seems innocuous by comparison.

I just wish that Jesus would get his head out of his ass and come back for his followers like he promised that he would. The day after that is going to be AWESOME!
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:48 AM on April 9, 2004


just as it takes oil and eggs to make mayonnaise

This stuff is also quite tasty:

1 1/2 cups silken tofu
1 1/2 to 2 cups canola or olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tsp sweetener of your choice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
Put in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
posted by teg at 9:59 AM on April 9, 2004


effugas is exactly right. It's the emotional understanding that people are fighting against.

(story) When I was fresh out of college, I worked as an assistant to a fairly senior executive in a major corporation. Shortly after I started working for him, his partner of over 25 years passed away. He wasn't out, and he had to deal with his grief in complete silence. No time off, no public acknowledgement of his loss was ever made at work. It was heartbreaking to see. The unwillingness of people to acknowledge the genuine heartfelt bond of these relationships strikes me as incredibly uncharitable.
posted by ambrosia at 10:00 AM on April 9, 2004


Whoops, that's 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of oil.
posted by teg at 10:02 AM on April 9, 2004


It may be tasty, but don't you DARE call it mayonnaise.
posted by purplemonkie at 10:03 AM on April 9, 2004


I just wish that Jesus would get his head out of his ass and come back for his followers like he promised that he would. The day after that is going to be AWESOME!

We need to prepare though: no more vehicle licenses of any kinds for christians. It is irresponsible for someone to drive or fly a plane when they may be raptured at any moment.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2004


Not that it doesn't take guts to go down to the administration building and ask for a certificate if you're gay.

It actually isn't all that brave or courageous of a thing to do if you live your life openly and without shame.
posted by archimago at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2004


Ignatius: marry me.

I will gladly do my part to insure that the sanctity of this event is maintained by paying $30 to become an ordained minister online and marrying you two abominations! you'll know I'm legit because I'll be wearing my "Clip-on Clergy Badge."
posted by mcsweetie at 10:14 AM on April 9, 2004


I just wish that Jesus would get his head out of his ass and come back for his followers like he promised that he would. The day after that is going to be AWESOME!

Totally. Everyone's going to be all like, "Hey, where'd that Steve guy go?"

archimago: I guess that's the part that seems gutsy to me. Colour me yellow, I suppose.
posted by ODiV at 10:14 AM on April 9, 2004


More worrying for me, the link shows just how easy it is for a man and woman to get married. Here in the UK, it's estimated that 1 in 10 marriages are sham marriages, purely a transaction of money for UK residency status (a business deal).
posted by SpaceCadet at 10:19 AM on April 9, 2004


there will be nothing to stand in the way of plural marriage and other odd groupings

Oh my god! Not the Odd Groupings!

Really, konolia, don't you read what you say and feel kind of silly about it?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on April 9, 2004


I will say that if gay "marriage" ever becomes legal, there will be nothing to stand in the way of plural marriage and other odd groupings.

whats "wrong" with that? "didn't" jacob, abraham, "moses," and king david all take multiple "wives?"
posted by mcsweetie at 10:23 AM on April 9, 2004


Since you are all bagging on kanolia's "Christian" viewpoints ... How do you know konolia is Christian?

I want to take my peaceful agnotic-y self down to the courthouse and get a divorce just so I am not a member of the club with such intolerant people.

Richat: What are you talking about?

Really, konolia, don't you read what you say and feel kind of silly about it?

fffish: Do you feel silly when you read what you write?

whats "wrong" with that? "didn't" jacob, abraham, "moses," and king david all take multiple "wives?"

mcsweetie: I thought we were trying to keep religion out of our decision making process?

I've discussed this before on MeFi and really tried to understand the "left" point of view on this. I finally understood the point of view, but still disagree with it. I'm more inline with the belief that gay "marriage" isn't really marriage at all .. it's like playing dress up.

I know that sounds harsh or whatever, but that's what I believe. Nobody has convinced me that gay "marriage" would benefit society or the homosexual community.

What is the ultimate goal of homosexuals in the pursuit of "marriage"? What benefits are they looking to receive?
posted by jlachapell at 10:34 AM on April 9, 2004


There are 1,138 federal benefits given to married couples, which are unatainable by gays and lesbians.
posted by falconred at 10:41 AM on April 9, 2004


Equality.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2004


How do you know konolia is Christian?

Haven't been reading MetaFilter long, have ya? Konolia is probably the most "out" Christian on here.
posted by kindall at 10:48 AM on April 9, 2004


jl--

Social acceptance -- of their love, and of themselves. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

Marriage is a human universal, and it's a not-so-subtle way of defining a gay person as not-human by saying they're not able to determine their own spouse.

Your statement that gay marriage is "playing dress up" is a bit absurd ... gay people "dress up" all the time, living together for decades at a time, intertwining their lives, families, etc. The fact that this is not enough for them reflects the same thing that women in long-lasting heterosexual relationships experience -- the eventual undeniable yearning for marriage. Just "going through the same motions" doesn't mean it's the same thing. It means something, on a deep, psychological level, to know that someone has openly and publically pair bonded with you. It means something to know that other people will respect that pair bonding. That is what gay people are fighting for -- a recognition of their human nature, because damnit, they're human too.

All this talk about the sacredness of marriage is disingenous. Those who must beg for marriage in the face of such violent opposition have a far greater claim to understanding the sacredness of the institution than those who refuse to understand another human being's simple need for true love.
posted by effugas at 10:49 AM on April 9, 2004


Gee, I dunno, jlachapell- maybe the right to make end-of-life decisions for their loved one? The right to actually be *allowed* in the hospital room when their loved one is ill or injured? And 1,138 benefits that straight couples can avail themselves of, that gay couples can't?

The ultimate goal of homosexuals in the pursuit of marriage is the same goal of heterosexuals- to make a lifelong commitment to the person they love, and to enjoy the same benefits that come along with legally solemnizing a union.
posted by headspace at 10:50 AM on April 9, 2004


How do you know konolia is Christian?

One of the new kids, I see...welcome to the 'filter.


BTW, Duke's is the best storebought mayonnaise. Not sure it has nationwide distribution tho.
posted by konolia at 10:51 AM on April 9, 2004


Ignatius: marry me.

If the dowry checks out, I'm in.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:53 AM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell, how about this Findlaw article. At the bottom line the prohibition against gay marriage is nothing more than discrimination. Discrimination is both bad and illegal and needs to be stopped. To me it's simple.
posted by thecynic at 10:56 AM on April 9, 2004


Many are uncomfortable with the idea of people marrying outside their race or religion, or even social position, but are these valid reasons to withhold the privilege? Law is supposed to be all about justice, and in light of that, this is a prohibition that cannot and will not stand.
posted by taz at 11:02 AM on April 9, 2004


*takes away Konolia's Tolerance Pin*
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:08 AM on April 9, 2004


What makes me nuts is that people irresponsibly STEAL words and REDEFINE them.

My sweet old konolia is not a Christian, and Marriage isn't necessarily between a man a woman any more than it is between a chicken and a frog.

Christian means follower of Jesus of Naz, and he was clearly in favor of his followers keeping their mouths shut. This from the gospels, the only books he can even be remotely associated with.

Marriage, in the state context, is anything the people say it is, given the restrictions of the Constitution. And, my friends, it looks more and more like the State either has to get out of the Marriage Business, or start Spreading the Loving Around.

Amen.
posted by ewkpates at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2004


I think another valid question might also be, what are people trying to achieve by excluding homosexuals from society-at-large, which is what happens symbolically (and otherwise) by claiming special rights for the majority and denying it to a significant minority.
It seems to be that religion is a set of self-ascribed beliefs that reflect what one already believes. People feel uncomfortable with homosexuality and a couple of lines in their religion seems to condemn it so they must be righteous in their feeling. Once you start picking and choosing what you consider valid out of your own holy book there are problems of consistency. (As noted by the GodhatesShrimp site, and many others who have pointed out the impossibility of truly living ones life according to everything set down in the Bible, Koran, Torah... whatever). We are an irrational species and use any justification to support that irrationality.

I understand that people of many religions feel threatened by this issue, it is a big change in society and feels like an affront to them. And I think a lot of the reaction is based in this feeling. But, you know things change, legal secular gay unions will most likely happen at some point, and most likely will not bring about the destruction of civilization. I guess some people should ask how much effort is it worth to try and hold it back, what are their underlying motives and could grater good be accomplished by devoting that energy elsewhere. Expression of identity in public space pisses almost everyone off at one point or another but we learn to live with it or not.

sorry, longish post
posted by edgeways at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2004


OK, konolia, don't answer the question - just avoid it.

Only don't expect your opinions to have the same degree of respect that is accorded those who back up theirs with logic and facts.

can I ask you to perform an empathetic exercise:
if you wonder why folks are so wound up about gay marriage, put yourself in the same position. If you were denied something valuable on the grouds of your sexuality (or some other quality which you did not select for yourself), would you not feel confused, hurt & angry? How exactly would you feel?
posted by dash_slot- at 11:14 AM on April 9, 2004


You don't even have to go overseas to make that comparison. Women haven't been able to vote, publically express themselves, or have a career on this continent for very long. They're still not allowed to be Catholic priests.

No one has been allowed to do anything on this continent for very long, and it's none of the secular state's business who the Catholics allow to be priests. That is why it's to konolia's advantage to live in a secular state - I'm sure she wouldn't want the government controlling her religion. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to understand the notion that what protects her religion from others is the same thing that protects others from her religion.

I've discussed this before on MeFi and really tried to understand the "left" point of view on this. I finally understood the point of view, but still disagree with it. I'm more inline with the belief that gay "marriage" isn't really marriage at all .. it's like playing dress up.

I know that sounds harsh or whatever, but that's what I believe. Nobody has convinced me that gay "marriage" would benefit society or the homosexual community.


Nobody has convinced me that not having you forcibly sterilized wouldn't benefit society and the homosexual community, so can we schedule an appointment? No? Then why should my rights be dependent on what you believe would benefit society?

What is the ultimate goal of homosexuals in the pursuit of "marriage"? What benefits are they looking to receive?

Speaking for myself, I want to be able to be the legal guardian of my partner of fifteen years, and vice versa, without having to see a lawyer. I want my property to become my partner's, if I should die, without having to see a lawyer, so that he'll continue to be able to pay the mortgage on the house that we bought together. I could go on and on, but if you don't get the point already my continued enumeration of the benefits that married couples receive probably won't help.

I can't speak for all the other homosexuals - I'm sure their reasons for wanting to marry are as diverse as those of heterosexuals.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:20 AM on April 9, 2004


The fact that this is not enough for them reflects the same thing that women in long-lasting heterosexual relationships experience -- the eventual undeniable yearning for marriage.

My common-law wife does not, in fact, suffer from any undenial yearnings for formal marriage. And that after some eightteen(?) years of living together.

Speaking for and applied only to myself, I find that whole formal marriage thing rather distasteful. The government is not an organization that I wish to have validating any of my relationships, and as a rock-solid atheist I certainly don't have any religious need for approval.

The only people with any say in a consensual adult relationship should be the adults actually involved in that relationship and, if required, their lawyers. Everyone else should mind their own business.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:30 AM on April 9, 2004


five--

I notice you introduced her as your common law wife.

It's more than subtlely ironic that, given eighteen years of "playing married", the state itself refuses to see you two in any other context but man and wife. Think about that.
posted by effugas at 11:35 AM on April 9, 2004


JChappelle:

What I mean to indicate is that when my wife and I chose to marry, I didn't intend on partaking of an institution that was and would forever be, between man and woman. I do not like the feeling that I have something that others want and were it not for the predominantly (little c?) christian prejudices of the majority of americans (little a?), they would be allowed to have.

I chose to join with my partner for a lifetime spent together, and it bothers me greatly that committed gay and lesbian people are being denied this opportunity. Right now, if it weren't for the cost, I would be suggesting a divorce.

To some extent, I feel as though I just found out that my country club won't allow black people or jewish people to join. I would like my membership fees reimbursed and I would like to go find another club that is more in keeping with my beliefs about equality.
posted by Richat at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2004


Oooh. Interesting: monkey and I have opposite views on the lawyer/government thing.

My view is that I should be able to assign death rights and suchlike through a legal document that is respected by the judicial system and, hence, the government. That's the "everyone else should mind their own business" part: once I've made my intentions understood through a legal document, respect those intentions.

Monkey's view isn't actually quite the opposite, because government law works out to nearly the same thing: assignment of death rights through government-mandated law.

But in Monkey's case, the assignee of those rights is pre-determined. The government would still be interfering in what I see as my right to choose whomever I like as beneficiary of my death rights.

I'd like to see less government control over relationships.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2004


effugas: wife is a convenient term. In most social situations it is just far, far easier to hide the details and go with the conventional terms.

In Canada, we have pretty much the same rights and benefits as formally-married couples. I believe we'd even get much the same death rights, although the post-death tax situation could be a bit sticky (the government would just love to keep my retirement savings.)

I would be perfectly content to see the government get entirely out of the marriage business.

Let's let the legal industry develop a generic life-partners agreement that deals with the standard sort of breaking-up/dying sort of rights and responsibilities and suchlike.

Let's let the churches do whatever they want to formally recognize partnerships. They can restrict that however they wish.

Let's not give the legal life-partners nor churchy life-partners any special benefits. They don't deserve it: they're nothing so special as all that.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:48 AM on April 9, 2004


five--

Exactly. It's convenient for you to be able to describe this person as your wife. In one word, you explain the context in which this person is linked to you, you establish a level of respect that someone else must have for this other person to remain in your good graces, you exclude yourself forcefully from romantic endeavors (well, to most people), you include this other person in every trust relationship you have in any arbitrary social scenario.

If calling her your wife wasn't a big deal, well, you wouldn't do it. After all, you're someone who's actually offended by government's need to define what's between you and your spouse, yet you still cannot deny that the relationship government recognizes reflects something you desire other people to recognize as well.

Regarding your wife's yearning -- start calling her your "friend" for the next six months, and see how happy she is. Heh, see how happy you are. Friend doesn't quite reflect the reality of it :-)

The fact of the matter is, this isn't about government at all. If people said to you that you were a liar and a cheat for claiming this woman to be your wife without having the church or the state stamp their seal of approval on your love, you'd be up in arms. If your wife -- and she is your wife -- was hit by a car, and some nurse told you you couldn't see her because there was no wedding certificate giving you that right -- well, that nurse would probably need a hospital bed of her own soon after.

The point is, you are an active enjoyer of the privileges of marriage, and you frankly earn them through your deep and abiding love for your wife. Nobody -- not government, not church, not the person at the corner store has the right to deny your love, or what it means in a social context.

I'm a straight guy, but it mystifies me that people can so flippantly demand a right to audit the love of another. It's inhuman.
posted by effugas at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2004


mcsweetie: I thought we were trying to keep religion out of our decision making process?

precisely.

I've discussed this before on MeFi and really tried to understand the "left" point of view on this.

interesting...I've been following the debate for a while now and I was unaware the "right" had a viewpoint, beyond cracking the bible, plugging their ears, and shrugging. my apologies if that sounds harsh or whatever.

Nobody has convinced me that gay "marriage" would benefit society or the homosexual community.

define "society."
posted by mcsweetie at 12:13 PM on April 9, 2004


Oooh. Interesting: monkey and I have opposite views on the lawyer/government thing.

...

I'd like to see less government control over relationships.


Actually, we're not that far apart. In an ideal world, I would agree with you. I would like to see the government get out of the marriage business. I just see that as extremely unlikely, and in the absence of that, I want to be treated as a first-class citizen just like everyone else.

There's also something to be said for the convenience of marriage - a formal change of status that affects all kinds of things at once.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2004


Thanks all for the valid points. Also, thanks to falconred and headspace for the link.

Speaking for and applied only to myself, I find that whole formal marriage thing rather distasteful
fffish - but you're a proponent of gay marriage?

I could go on and on, but if you don't get the point already my continued enumeration of the benefits that married couples receive probably won't help
You're probably right, but I have an open mind. :)
Me and my monkey - why not civil unions then, if you are just looking for the benefits?

Social acceptance -- of their love, and of themselves. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
I accept their love for one another without marriage. I just define marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman.

That is what gay people are fighting for -- a recognition of their human nature, because damnit, they're human too.

Gay marriage == human nature?


All this talk about the sacredness of marriage is disingenuous.

Not true, I value marriage and therefore don't want the sacredness taken away.


Those who must beg for marriage in the face of such violent opposition have a far greater claim to understanding the sacredness of the institution than those who refuse to understand another human being's simple need for true love.

Disagree. Sorry. :(

legally solemnizing a union.
Not to make light, but I also read this wrong at first glance.

Right now, if it weren't for the cost, I would be suggesting a divorce.
Not sure how to take that one. I don't want to say anything offensive.

I would be perfectly content to see the government get entirely out of the marriage business.
The government has a vested interest in traditional marriage, so they will never get out.
posted by jlachapell at 12:32 PM on April 9, 2004


I completely disagree with many of the things konolia says. Nevertheless, I *heart* konolia.
posted by SPrintF at 12:35 PM on April 9, 2004


mcsweetie: I thought we were trying to keep religion out of our decision making process?

precisely.

So why was your argument supported by a link to biblical references?

interesting...I've been following the debate for a while now and I was unaware the "right" had a viewpoint, beyond cracking the bible, plugging their ears, and shrugging. my apologies if that sounds harsh or whatever.
Funny, what with the subtle jab and all. Apology accepted.
I probably sway to the right with my beliefs, but that doesn't mean I just shrug, crack the bible and plug my ears. I'm actually pretty open to debate even though I may not agree with you 100%. You aren't very tolerant of the "right" point of view (or a dissenting point of view) I see.

define "society."
Simplified: the persons (collectively) living in the USA.
posted by jlachapell at 12:40 PM on April 9, 2004


Me and my monkey - why not civil unions then, if you are just looking for the benefits?

If civil unions bestow the exact same benefits and rights that civil marriages do, that would be fine with me. Unfortunately, they don't. For example, I and my partner went to Vermont and joined in civil union, but that piece of paper doesn't do much for me where I live.

But if civil unions do bestow the same benefits and rights, what would distinguish a civil union from a civil marriage?

Not true, I value marriage and therefore don't want the sacredness taken away.

What is this sacredness, exactly? Not believing in any big sky men, I don't care much for the idea. Is it bestowed by the state during a civil marriage?

In any case, how can my civil marriage take the sacredness away from your religious ceremony? I'm not asking for your religion to validate my marriage, I'm asking for my secular state to do so. If your religion is so weak and fragile that it would be hurt by what I, a non-believer, do, what good is it exactly?

So why was your argument supported by a link to biblical references?

I'm sure mcsweetie can answer for himself, but my reading of this was that it pointed out the inconsistencies within your big sky man book.

You aren't very tolerant of the "right" point of view (or a dissenting point of view) I see.

Most people who see themselves as being victimized or oppressed by people with a different point of view aren't going to be very tolerant of that view. Your view isn't just an idea within your head, it's fucking up my life. Would you be tolerant of my view that Christians should be sterilized, if I had the power to enforce my view on others? (For the record, I don't actually hold that view, ok?)
posted by me & my monkey at 12:52 PM on April 9, 2004


You know, we keep running around the mulberry bush on this issue...and try as I do to understand where the bible thumpers are coming from...I just can't. Maybe it's because I grew up hearing the bible in Latin and Aramaic, and thus it doesn't have those weird King James 1611 additions like homosexual (original = rape) and witch(original = poisoner).

But all that aside...the basis of our republic is that it is a secular government. As such, nobody's religious belief gets to override anyone else's rights.

I fail to see how person A's choice of whom to share a life with is of any concern to the state as a whole. Why my friends can't enjoy the same legal rights as I can strikes me as just absurd.

This is a civil rights issue...nothing less, nothing more. People made the same arguments about giving Blacks full rights as they make now about giving gays full rights. Imagine the uproar if Bush had proposed a "defense of white people" constitutional amendment.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. But that entitlement stops at the point where your beliefs override someone else's rights. Our constitution guarantees ALL people EQUAL rights under the law. Plain. Simple. Easy to understand.
posted by dejah420 at 1:00 PM on April 9, 2004


Part of me says "Oh, come on! Does Me & My Monkey's relationship to his partner do anything whatsoever to damage my relaltionship with mine?? Give him a marriage license already! For goodness sakes, Britney and Jason's marriage does more to damage the institution!"

The other part of me says "Okay, fine! Government doesn't really have any business in the marriage business anyway. Let states -- or Feds -- issue civil union contracts, perhaps even on an a la carte system (check here for joint ownership of property, check here for joint custody of pre-existing offspring, fill out name change box here). Leave The Sacred Institution Of Marriage to the various churches, and let them issue their own rules and do as they will with it. Joe(sephine) and Alex(is) Average can do neither, either, or both and it's none of my business."
posted by ilsa at 1:00 PM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell:

I find it hard to belive that you don't intend to be offensive. Currently, I am unwilling to spend the money required to not be married anymore. I mean to say that I would like to cancel my subscription to this marriage thing. Your presumptuous definition offends me, and if that is what marriage is, I don't want one.

However, I would like to continue to spend my life with my wife. I am not yet willing to lay out the money to get a divorce in in defense of this principle, and will have to settle for distancing myself philosophically from the bigots who define marriage in a prejudicial way.

Is that clear enough? Also, for the record, I live in Ontario, where gay and lesbian couple are free to marry. This debate still creates a pit in my stomach. I so wish I could find a way to get those who are so prejudiced to see the error of their ways, but I fear that is not likely to happen.
posted by Richat at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2004


You can call it marriage but it doesn't make it marriage.

No, see, that's the problem. Maybe you missed these stories in the newspaper over the last few months, but they can't actually call it marriage, because it is against the law for them to be married to each other. Just off the top of my head, I'd guess that most gay couples could give a flying fuck about whether the churchies considered their union to be a genuine, according-to-Hoyle marriage, so long as they got to call it marriage, and got some of those 1138 "benefits", or as I call them, "rights", that they're being denied.
posted by Hildago at 1:04 PM on April 9, 2004


There are massive leech industries with vested interests in divorce. Personally I think no-fault divorce is more damaging to the sanctity of marriage than allowing gays to marry.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:12 PM on April 9, 2004


what would distinguish a civil union from a civil marriage?
You said it in your question ... marriage vs union. I believe the distinction is important even if the benefits are the same.

Most people who see themselves as being victimized or oppressed by people with a different point of view aren't going to be very tolerant of that view. Your view isn't just an idea within your head, it's fucking up my life
But you don't understand that I think your view is "f*ing up my life". See what I mean? I'm tolerant of your point of view, I just don't agree with it. Some of the comments here show such a hatred for a Christian's point of view. The "left" (not saying you) wants the "right" to be tolerant and accept their beliefs, but won't accept the "right's" point of view.

Would you be tolerant of my view that Christians should be sterilized, if I had the power to enforce my view on others?
Hmm. I (kind of) see what you are trying to say, but I think you are comparing apples and oranges. Maybe a different analogy?

(For the record, I don't actually hold that view, ok?)
Phew! ;)

In any case, how can my civil marriage take the sacredness away from your religious ceremony?
Who said anything about a religious ceremony?

What is this sacredness, exactly?
Maybe that's the difference between your view and mine. I happen to see marriage as something very special ... it's not just about the benefits garnered to me by the state.

If your religion is so weak and fragile that it would be hurt by what I, a non-believer, do, what good is it exactly?
Why do you guys think this is about religion?!?! Man, that is so frustrating. My religion will be just fine, gay marriage or not.
I worry about the effects gay marriage will have on society, not my religion. Sheeesh.
posted by jlachapell at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2004


I've always wondered why Christians are seemingly so selective with what they believe from the bible.

So has this guy, and he's the head of the Michigan state legislature's Bible study group.

From the article linked above:

'Modern society's blithe acceptance of Sunday as a good day to visit the mall leads him to a larger point -- that devout Christians already have adjusted Biblical teachings to fit their needs, which should allow some slack on the issue of homosexuality.

He offers quotes from the Bible to support his point that the Scripture is even more condemning of divorce than homosexuality. Yet divorced and remarried couples are now welcomed at even fundamentalist churches, he said.

Likewise, he said, many denominations, including Christian Reformed, have moved beyond the Biblical teaching against women speaking in church. While he supports the new role of women in the church and greater acceptance of divorce, he said, it shows how "we Christians have decided that parts of the Bible don't apply to us anymore."

"So if we can put aside the teachings on women, on divorce, on the Sabbath -- and those are all things that we choose -- then why not on homosexuality, when we don't choose our sexual orientation?" Wenke said. "Why can't we be as kind and generous in interpreting the Bible for homosexuals as we are for ourselves?"'

I'm going to get a divorce from my husband and marry a gay male stranger if gay marriage is outlawed. And I'm going to write about it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:20 PM on April 9, 2004


Maybe that's the difference between your view and mine. I happen to see marriage as something very special ... it's not just about the benefits garnered to me by the state.

You said earlier: ...I value marriage and therefore don't want the sacredness taken away.

So this sacredness is something that can be taken from you? How does that work? What is the mechanism by which the marriage of others can rob yours of sacredness? Does allowing others to eat rob your food of its nutritional value? Is your enjoyment of music impaired by the fact that others enjoy their music, which isn't your music?

It's been asked here over and over again: how would gay marriages injure your marriage? I ask because I'm married, and if gay marriages are somehow going to hurt, weaken or desanctify my marriage by some mysterious and (you claim) non-religious principle, I think maybe that's something my wife and I would want to know.

What can we do to protect ourselves from this sacredness-sucking phenomenon? Is it elecromagnetic in nature? Should we wrap our marriage in tinfoil as a sacredness retention barrier?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:31 PM on April 9, 2004


dejah420--

Our constitution guarantees ALL people EQUAL rights under the law. Plain. Simple. Easy to understand.
You mean 16 year olds can vote?

Personally I think no-fault divorce is more damaging to the sanctity of marriage than allowing gays to marry.
Right, but two wrongs don't make a right. We should address no-fault divorce, too. There are many issues that are damaging to marriage and I feel they should all be addressed.

Richat --

I find it hard to belive that you don't intend to be offensive
I really am trying to not be offensive.

and will have to settle for distancing myself philosophically from the bigots who define marriage in a prejudicial way.

I hate that argument. "You don't agree with me, so you are a bigot". You define marriage one way, I define it another .. neither of us is a bigot.

Is that clear enough?
Not really. What does marriage mean to you? Why did you get married in the first place?

Here is why I'm confused ... it appears to me that you don't value marriage for what it is and I'm just trying to figure out your definition of marriage. Is it just for benefits?

Again, I'm am really trying to not offend, but this is a very touchy subject.
posted by jlachapell at 1:32 PM on April 9, 2004


Should we wrap our marriage in tinfoil as a sacredness retention barrier?
Good humor. Do you have any extra tinfoil?

So this sacredness is something that can be taken from you? How does that work?
I believe the sacredness can be taken away, not from me, but the perception of marriage from others. Here's an analogy: If I'm a world class runner, but you don't think running is sacred, doesn't that devalue my accomplishments?
posted by jlachapell at 1:38 PM on April 9, 2004


[what would distinguish a civil union from a civil marriage?]

You said it in your question ... marriage vs union. I believe the distinction is important even if the benefits are the same.


If they both mean exactly the same thing in the eyes of the state, what would the distinction be?

But you don't understand that I think your view is "f*ing up my life". See what I mean? I'm tolerant of your point of view, I just don't agree with it.

How can my desire to marry fuck up your life? Do you think I'm going to force you to marry another guy at gunpoint, or something? I'm not asking you to agree with my point of view. I don't give a flying fuck whether you think it's ok for me to marry another guy. I'm asking the state to give me the same rights as its other citizens. You're asking the state not to.

The "left" (not saying you) wants the "right" to be tolerant and accept their beliefs, but won't accept the "right's" point of view.

This isn't about "left" or "right". Many principled conservatives don't think that the government should be telling me that I can't marry. I'd put myself in that category, actually.

You're stretching the meaning of tolerance to the point where it has no meaning left at all. I tolerate your point of view, but I will not tolerate the government imposing your point of view on me. Do you see the difference?

[Would you be tolerant of my view that Christians should be sterilized, if I had the power to enforce my view on others?]

Hmm. I (kind of) see what you are trying to say, but I think you are comparing apples and oranges. Maybe a different analogy?


Would you tolerate being told you can't marry someone of the opposite sex, and that your relationship isn't worthy of recognition by the state? Would you tolerate being told that you can't practice your religion, because it's not that of the majority? One could come up with a million analogies like this.

[In any case, how can my civil marriage take the sacredness away from your religious ceremony?]

Who said anything about a religious ceremony?


You did! You used the word "sacred." What possible meaning could this word have, outside of religion?

I happen to see marriage as something very special ... it's not just about the benefits garnered to me by the state.

Is it marriage itself that is special to you? Or is it the relationship to whom you're married? I consider my relationship with my partner to be very special, even without the recognition of the state. It is more special than I can put into words. Given that, how can you condone the fact that this relationship - the most special part of my life - has no formal recognition?

Why do you guys think this is about religion?!?! Man, that is so frustrating. My religion will be just fine, gay marriage or not.
I worry about the effects gay marriage will have on society, not my religion. Sheeesh.


Perhaps we think this is about religion because our opponents, including you, frame this debate within religious terms, such as "sacredness." Perhaps you should worry more about the effects of state-enforced inequality on society, or the effects of sham marriages on society, and get your nose out of my business.

I hate that argument. "You don't agree with me, so you are a bigot". You define marriage one way, I define it another .. neither of us is a bigot.

Here's a handy bigot-detection algorithm for you.
1. Identify the side that thinks it's ok to use the state to enforce that side's religious beliefs on the other.
2. That's the bigoted side! You're all done!

I believe the sacredness can be taken away, not from me, but the perception of marriage from others. Here's an analogy: If I'm a world class runner, but you don't think running is sacred, doesn't that devalue my accomplishments?

I don't believe your god exists. I don't believe anything is sacred. Does that devalue these things to you?

On second thought, that sterilization thing is sounding good about now.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:44 PM on April 9, 2004


Here's the thing that I want to know, jlachapell & those sharing your point of view;

How is your life being f-ed up by gays/lesbians being able to marry?

How would your life change if gay/lesbian marriage were allowed tomorrow? I am so sincere about this question. What in your life would change?

Hey, the sun would still rise, the coffee would still perk, and I would still have to drag my ass to work to earn a paycheck. In a practical sense, nothing in the heterosexual world would change.

I really just don't get what your beef is.
posted by vignettist at 1:47 PM on April 9, 2004


How can anyone's marriage make anyone else's marriage less "sacred"?

Did Liza Minelli and David Gest's marriage make mine less "sacred"? Did Britney Spears's marriage to her drinking buddy make mine less "sacred"? Does Newt Gingrich's [third] marriage to his former assistant make mine less "sacred"?

If anyone's religious beliefs prohibit gay marriage, then they have every right to observe those beliefs by not marrying someone of the same gender.

Joe Lieberman doesn't have the right to outlaw ham sandwiches; Rick Santorum doesn't have the right to outlaw Sunday baseball games; Mitt Romney (the governor of Massachusetts, and a Mormon bishop) doesn't have the right to outlaw Coca-Cola; the Amish don't have the right to outlaw buttons; and people who believe that gay marriage contravenes their religious beliefs shouldn't have the right to outlaw it for others.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:50 PM on April 9, 2004


Religion is a method of justifying your already held beliefs. And saying gay marriage threatens society is silly. society is adaptable and never is particularly stable to start with. Perhaps it would be a threat if those opposed to it engaged in rioting if it became legal. The same argument was/is used any time a contentious change in public social values is attempted. Why is gay marriage a threat to non religious society?

And what is the bfd? if atheists can marry and people with mental illness can marry and postmenopausal woman can marry where is the argument people who are gay can't marry. Seems to be based in irrationality and emotion mind.

and why can't sacredness be wholly self defined, what I consider sacred is not what you consider sacred
posted by edgeways at 1:51 PM on April 9, 2004


1. marriage vs union. I believe the distinction is important even if the benefits are the same.

2. Why do you guys think this is about religion?!?! Man, that is so frustrating. My religion will be just fine, gay marriage or not. I worry about the effects gay marriage will have on society, not my religion. Sheeesh.

Does not compute, jlachapell.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:52 PM on April 9, 2004


If I'm a world class runner, but you don't think running is sacred, doesn't that devalue my accomplishments?

"Devalue" in what sense? Does my not caring about running make you NOT a world class runner? Does my not caring about running mean YOU no longer value your accomplishments? See where I'm going here? How on earth could my opinion about running have any effect whatsoever on your accomplishments, it may mean I don't appreciate them, but so what? "Not appreciating" != "devaluing", except in a personal sense (I don't value it, you do - it is a personal opinion).

So again, how does someone else's marriage affect yours in any way? How does my (non-religious, civil) marriage affect your marriage? If it does, then why are you only opposed to gay marriage rather than ALL non-religious marriage? What makes gay marriage different, and why and HOW does it affect you.

For the record, if we're going to call anything a civil union, then any non-religious marriage should be a civil union, there should be no difference between hetero- and homosexual marriages in terms of name or benefits.

I'd STILL like a single logically-consistent, concisely-stated objection to gay marriage. Give me specific, concrete reasons why gay marriage should be illegal.
posted by biscotti at 1:54 PM on April 9, 2004


Biscotti, I would add that those "specific, concrete reasons" should not have to do with religion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:59 PM on April 9, 2004


You did! You used the word "sacred." What possible meaning could this word have, outside of religion?
Actually, effugus said it, I was responding. But, since you asked ..
sacred: Worthy of respect; venerable.

While we are at it:
bigot: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

That would be you, not me.

and get your nose out of my business.
ok, bye.

vignettist:

How would your life change if gay/lesbian marriage were allowed tomorrow? I am so sincere about this question. What in your life would change?

That argument doesn't hold water. Why? Because that is too narrow of a viewpoint. My life (directly) won't change a bit if adults can have sex with children? No. Would my life be affected indirectly? I'd say yes.
posted by jlachapell at 2:04 PM on April 9, 2004


sacred: Worthy of respect; venerable.

I noticed that you chose the fifth definition in the list. How about 1-4 and 6?

Most people, when they use the word "sacred", use it within the context of religion, because that's really what the word is all about. The word "venerable" has religious significance, as well.

bigot: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

That would be you, not me.


How is my intolerance limiting your freedom?

I am perfectly willing to tolerate your beliefs. I am not willing to tolerate the enforcement of your beliefs on my behavior by the state. If our places were reversed, would it be acceptable for me to enforce my beliefs upon you using the power of the state? You seem to be fundamentally incapable of making this distinction, but this is the crux of our difference.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:13 PM on April 9, 2004


If I'm a world class runner, but you don't think running is sacred, doesn't that devalue my accomplishments?

I can't resist addressing this because I think it's a terrible argument. So let's talk about runners. I have the number that was pinned on me for my first 10K race. My time was awful. I still have the number. It's trash. It doesn't even represent a "good performance" on my part. It is literally meaningless to anyone besides me. And if you tried to take it from me, I'd be pissed because I find value in it. What you think does not devalue it, nor me, nor my accomplishment in finishing the race.

The value of your marriage is determined by you. Gay people can never change that. The reverse is not equal though. I imagine that gay people do not care if you do not value their marriages. However, you want your values APPLIED to their lives so that they can not get married at all. There's a fundamental imbalance there.
posted by synapse at 2:19 PM on April 9, 2004


You seem to be fundamentally incapable of making this distinction
I understand the difference.


The word "venerable" has religious significance, as well.

By your rules, venerable means religious. So if I (or someone before me) say venerable, I mean something religious?

How is my intolerance limiting your freedom?
Where is limiting freedom in the definition of bigot? Oh, nowhere? Ok.

I am not willing to tolerate the enforcement of your beliefs on my behavior by the state. If our places were reversed, would it be acceptable for me to enforce my beliefs upon you using the power of the state?
Welcome to democracy. There are many rules that are enforced upon me because the majority of people voted in favor of it. I just sack up and deal with it.
posted by jlachapell at 2:20 PM on April 9, 2004


"Sacred" has religious connotations in Western culture, jlachapell, and it is mere logic-chopping for you to find one secular definition of the word.

What is "sacred" about your marriage, in a non-religious sense of the word?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:27 PM on April 9, 2004


re: my use of the word "wife"

Last weekend I met a lesbian acquaintance I hadn't seen in years. Wasn't actually entirely sure she's a lesbian: it's not like she's tatooed with a pink triangle. Kind of surmised it from her awkward use of the word "partner" when asked about motorcycling and the like.

IMO, it would have been better for her to use the word "wife." Co-opt that word. Feel good about it. Make it mean what it means: a long-term female partner.

That's part of the reason I use it: to own it. And because it's less awkward than a stilted "partner." And because it makes people STFU about things that aren't their business.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:27 PM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell, you've yet to give us a rational argument. You just keep stating your biased opinion, sans any sort of logic.

Why should anyone run their lives by your values and opinions?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:28 PM on April 9, 2004


I can't resist addressing this because I think it's a terrible argument
LOL. I think you might be right.

I imagine that gay people do not care if you do not value their marriages
That's why they line up to get marriage licenses from the govt?

The value of your marriage is determined by you
Yep, but the value of the institute of marriage is determined by society. That's what I was trying to say in my running example. There are two values 1) personal value and 2) social value. We are trying to redifine social values which I believe should remain how they are. Is that explained better than my bad example above?

However, you want your values APPLIED to their lives
And "they" want their values applied to my life.
posted by jlachapell at 2:30 PM on April 9, 2004


Britney and Jason's marriage does more to damage the institution!"
Thought reality Tv marriage shows did well showing that.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2004


But you don't understand that I think your view is "f*ing up my life". See what I mean? I'm tolerant of your point of view, I just don't agree with it. Some of the comments here show such a hatred for a Christian's point of view. The "left" (not saying you) wants the "right" to be tolerant and accept their beliefs, but won't accept the "right's" point of view.

The difference here, like others have pointed out, is that we're not trying to take any rights away from you, but you're depriving us of fundamental rights. Do you just not get this?

Personally, I think it should be civil unions for everyone. Then if you want a religous ceremony, then go get a cleric / witch / rabbi / etc to "sanctify it".

If I'm a world class runner, but you don't think running is sacred, doesn't that devalue my accomplishments?

That's very nearly the dumbest argument I've ever heard. What do you care what other people think of your accomplishments? You'll never be able to control what other s think of you. Never. The only thing you can do is live your life the way you want to live it (as long as you don't go around violating the rights of others).
posted by bshort at 2:34 PM on April 9, 2004


five fresh fish ...

jlachapell, you've yet to give us a rational argument. You just keep stating your biased opinion, sans any sort of logic.
Here's a link to help explain .. it's a pretty long essay, but a good read for the open minded.
And here is another
posted by jlachapell at 2:35 PM on April 9, 2004


That argument doesn't hold water. Why? Because that is too narrow of a viewpoint. My life (directly) won't change a bit if adults can have sex with children? No. Would my life be affected indirectly? I'd say yes.

You were complaining about analogies, and I'm going to complain about this one. Children cannot legally form consent; it is just as spurious to use pedophilia as an exemplar for this argument as it is to use bestiality. Gay marriages, like straight marriages could only be performed for consenting adults, and dragging kids, dogs and waffle irons into it is, at the very least, disingenuous.

What exactly will gay marriage between consenting adults do to society? In what way will it change the way society functions? Because it's not sanctioning a crime, it's not sanctioning something that is unhealthy for the body, it's not sanctioning something that is intoxicating (besides, of course, the metaphorically intoxicating pleasure of being a newlywed,) it is not sanctioning something that will damage the environment, it's not sanctioning something that will cause disease. It will not raise taxes (and in fact, it will generate more income for the government, because gays and lesbians are signing up for the marriage penalty too, here,) it will not inflate the value of the dollar, but will improve local economies in generating marriage license fees, and all the attendant costs of hosting a wedding and reception. It promotes monogamy, devalues promiscuity, and while marriage bonds certainly don't prevent sexually transmitted diseases, having your love legally solemnized is a probably pretty likely to encourage young gays and lesbians to realize they don't have to spend their lives covertly bouncing from partner to partner because what they're doing is somehow, mysteriously wrong. Married couples live longer, they have better health insurance, and they're less likely to need government subsidies just to survive.

So, how, exactly, is the act of two people pledging to forsake all others a bad thing for society? How is two people pledging to take care of one another, to provide for one another, a bad thing for society? That is not a question you have answered yet.
posted by headspace at 2:35 PM on April 9, 2004


Gay people would like the same legal rights as straight people in a life partnership--such as, for example, the right to make health-care decisions about their partners.

The government's according those rights to gay people would not take away any rights from straight people.

Therefore, how does it infringe upon you, jlachapell?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:35 PM on April 9, 2004


How would your life change if gay/lesbian marriage were allowed tomorrow? I am so sincere about this question. What in your life would change?

That argument doesn't hold water. Why? Because that is too narrow of a viewpoint. My life (directly) won't change a bit if adults can have sex with children? No. Would my life be affected indirectly? I'd say yes.


I'd argue the narrow viewpoint is to concern yourself with which adults are having sex with which other adults. Because that's what we're really talking about here; marriage is (among the other obvious things) a public acknowledment of the fact that two adults are sleeping together.

The truth is gay marriage wouldn't change one thing about your life.
posted by vignettist at 2:36 PM on April 9, 2004


Do you just not get this?
I guess not.

but you're depriving us of fundamental rights
How is marriage a fundamental right for anybody?

That's very nearly the dumbest argument I've ever heard
LOL. Yes, yes, I realize that now. Didn't come across like I wanted it to. But thanks for putting it so mildly. ;)
posted by jlachapell at 2:40 PM on April 9, 2004


That Orson Scott Card article (astonishingly disingenuous for a Mormon, BTW, to talk about the "long tradition of marriage" as between one man and one woman!) was no more logical than your blather, jlachapell.

Card is basically saying "Kids might get the idea that homosexual marriage was good and heterosexual marriage bad from the 'ideologues'" (sufficiently creepy word for the People Card Does Not Agree With).

This is a load of crap. Orthodox Jewish children see advertisements for double-bacon cheeseburgers on TV without it ruining their faith; Quaker children see "McHale's Navy" and "M*A*S*H*" without rejecting the path of pacifism; and Card somehow let the entire 20th century pass him by without moving out of the 19th.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:41 PM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell - child abuse is a bad example because the child doesn't have the legal capacity to make an informed consent. The child is a victim, and society has a compelling interest in protecting victims from predators.

In the case of gay marriage, who is being victimized? You say you aren't, and your marriage in the specific isn't. So, what is the compelling reason that society should be free to restrict activities of one consenting group when it condones the same activities for another consenting group? Who are what is harmed, and specifically in what way are they harmed?
posted by willnot at 2:42 PM on April 9, 2004


Marriage isn't a "fundamental right" for anyone. However, it's no more a fundamental right for Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander than it is for my friends Andrew and Martin, who have been together for eighteen years and are the fathers of two lovely children.

Deciding that Britney and Jason can be "married" because she has a vagina and he has a penis, but Andrew and Martin can't because they both have penises, is bizarre doublethink.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:43 PM on April 9, 2004


You were complaining about analogies, and I'm going to complain about this one
headspace...
The argument was that my life won't be affected by what others do. I say BS, it certainly will. The pedophilia example dispells the argument that I'm not affected by the actions of others.

Why do you all say that my life won't be affected? Since I'm a US citizen, public policy for US citizens affects my life. No?

The links I provided above might help you see where I'm coming from. If I'm way off .. sorry, you might just have to concede that I'm not going to agree with you. I'm allowed to disagree, right?
posted by jlachapell at 2:48 PM on April 9, 2004


How is marriage a fundamental right for anybody?

Loving V. Virginia, or, alternatively, Progress V. Strawman.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:52 PM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell - child abuse is a bad example because the child doesn't have the legal capacity to make an informed consent. The child is a victim, and society has a compelling interest in protecting victims from predators.

Maybe you guys didn't follow the conversation, but the argument was that my life won't be affected by what others do. I say BS, it certainly will. The pedophilia example dispells the argument that I'm not affected by the actions of others.
You guys are telling me, "it doesn't affect you, so you should be ok with gay marriage".
That's like saying, "it doesn't affect you, so you should be ok with pedophilia".
posted by jlachapell at 2:53 PM on April 9, 2004


Ignatius J. Reilly --
Loving V. Virginia was about interracial marriage .. not a blanket decree of a fundamental right of marriage.
posted by jlachapell at 2:57 PM on April 9, 2004


I'm late to this party, but have to chime in anyway--
konolia: You really disappoint me, especially during the holidays. Your religion is not the law of the land, nor will it ever be--It's why you and your kind will lose this fight. If government calls it "marriage," then that same marriage is what we'll have. Otherwise, tear up your government-issued marriage license, and refuse to partake of those rights and benefits you enjoy by virtue of being married, if marriage is solely a religious rite.

jlachapell: We're part of the same society you are. We share the same social values, and it's sad (and weird) that you don't recognize that. It's natural for us--being brought up in the same society as you--to want, expect, and finally, demand the same rights you enjoy, if denied them for no good reason.
posted by amberglow at 2:57 PM on April 9, 2004


We share the same social values,
Apparently not.
posted by jlachapell at 3:06 PM on April 9, 2004


I. Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

II. These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.


- LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

I would like to point out that the court case that spawned Loving v. Virginia was predicated on the argument that because of God's laws, intermixing of the races was bad for society, to wit specifically:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

Virginia v Loving also states that just because both groups are equally discriminated against (ie, a white person wishing to marry a black person was denied that right, as was a black person wishing to marry a white person,) I think the Supreme Court has already made a pretty firm stand on both separate-but-equal marriages, and the Hobson's Choice marriage indicated in jlachapell's article.

Banning gay marriage means that no person in the United States may marry someone of the same sex, regardless of their orientation. Just because you don't want to exercise your right to do something doesn't mean you shouldn't be entitled to it. (I haven't used my right to a free press lately, but that doesn't mean I don't have a vested interest in maintaining it.)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... if you believe that God forbids gay marriages, then you are absolutely in no way obligated to acknowledge them, participate in them, or have one. I, on the other hand, belong to a religion which both celebrates and sanctifies gay marriage- and Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Atheists have no religion at all, and Congress shall make no law establishing a religion for them.

I have yet to hear a single, wholly secular reason why gay marriages should be prohibited, but I'm all ears if somebody comes up with one.
posted by headspace at 3:08 PM on April 9, 2004


Banning gay marriage
[climbs in time machine, goes back 50 years in time]
[climbs out, looks at above words, scratches head]
posted by thomcatspike at 3:15 PM on April 9, 2004


Look, I think gay marriage is bad, you think it is good. End of story. Maybe there is something better I should be doing with my Friday afternoon than arguing this point.

Thanks all for the debate.
posted by jlachapell at 3:18 PM on April 9, 2004


Loving V. Virginia was about interracial marriage .. not a blanket decree of a fundamental right of marriage.

I think you need to read the decision. Brown V. Board of Ed. was about schools, not lunch counters or water fountains.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:34 PM on April 9, 2004


[You seem to be fundamentally incapable of making this distinction]

I understand the difference


It doesn't seem that you place much importance in this difference.

[The word "venerable" has religious significance, as well.]

By your rules, venerable means religious. So if I (or someone before me) say venerable, I mean something religious?


They're hardly my rules. I have little say over the English language. The simple fact is, both "sacred" and "venerable" have their roots in religious ideas. My suspicion is that you used them because those ideas resonate with you, or else you'd have used other words with more secular connotations.

[How is my intolerance limiting your freedom?]

Where is limiting freedom in the definition of bigot? Oh, nowhere? Ok.


Unfortunately, at some point you'll find that dictionary.com is insufficient to provide enough meaning to words. To the extent that your beliefs don't affect me, I really don't care about them at all. In fact, I would defend your right to hold those beliefs to the death. I might think your beliefs are stupid and ridiculous, but that's ok with me.

Here's your problem with your definition of intolerance:

Joe: I can't stand those people with red hair.
Bob: What's wrong with you? They're just like everyone else!
Joe: Me and my friends got together, and we decided we're just not going to tolerate red-headedness, and if they can't shave their heads, we're going to make them wish they had.
Bob: That's awful! I won't stand for it!
Joe: What's wrong? You must be one of those bigots who can't tolerate the views of others!

Welcome to democracy. There are many rules that are enforced upon me because the majority of people voted in favor of it. I just sack up and deal with it.

Where would you draw the line? If the majority decided to persecute Christians, would that be fine and dandy with you?

That, in fact, is why we have a republic instead of a democracy - pure democracy is unchecked mob rule.

[I imagine that gay people do not care if you do not value their marriages]

That's why they line up to get marriage licenses from the govt?


What does a piece of paper given by the government to someone else have to do with whether you value their marriages. There are plenty of marriages that I don't value, for various reasons, despite their government imprimatur.

Look, I think gay marriage is bad, you think it is good. End of story.

I don't know if it's good or bad. I do know that I want the same rights as everyone else. Good, bad, I don't give a damn. I think Christianity is bad, but that doesn't mean I'm going to prevent Christians from worshiping.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:48 PM on April 9, 2004



Look, I think gay marriage is bad, you think it is good. End of story.


If only that were the end of the story, but you take it further to say it is correct of the state to restrict it based on what you think of it. That's the problem. It's OK that you think it's bad. That causes me to think less of you, but whatever. You're welcome to any opinion you want. You can't then extend your opinion into control without first demonstrating cause.

We're saying if you're going to restrict something, you have to show cause for why it should be restricted. What is the social harm of allowing it. What is the social benefit of restricting it. It's not enough to simply say well a majority of the people disapprove because our democracy has a long and legal tradition of protecting the minority from the capriciousness of the majority. If you're going to restrict one group (even a minority) but not restrict a similar group (even a majority) you must show cause.
posted by willnot at 3:58 PM on April 9, 2004


I'd buy the "marriage must be preserved for the good of society" thing if the state issued compatibility tests, or mandatory engagement periods or pre-wedding counseling. But we don't.

All the state needs to "sanctify" a marriage is the assurance that "tab A fits into slot B" and a check. And I think that attitude devalues marriage a lot more than gay weddings.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:00 PM on April 9, 2004


I'm allowed to disagree, right?

Absolutely, but with utmost respect (and I mean that sincerely), I suggest to you that you might want to examine why exactly it is that you disagree, without linking to essays by other people, what exactly is it that you think gay marriage will do (to you, or society) that is negative enough that you feel strongly enough about it to agree with the ban on gay marriage (not "why do you, personally, not like it" (because that's your opinion and is nobody's business but your own), but "why is it bad enough that legislated discrimination is acceptable in this one area, when it's unacceptable most everywhere else")? I urge you to consider, just consider, for yourself what effects you think this will have, and why they will necessarily be negative, and why the identifiable positive effects (like equality, for one) are so vastly outweighed by those negative ones (which nobody seems to be able to enumerate for some reason). You have linked to other sources, you have made vague allusions to "sanctity" and "devaluation", but you have not made a single, specific, fact- or logic-based argument against gay marriage in this entire thread. I'm not calling you on that for any reason other than to point out that maybe, just maybe, your opinion about this isn't really your opinion after all, and if you really considered it, you might just find you can't actually come up with a valid reason to be against it, other than your personal distaste for it, with you are most certainly entitled to, but which I'm sure you'll agree isn't a very good basis for legislation. This is about discrimination, that is not an opinion - if ANYONE could PLEASE give me a single rational, logical argument against legislating gay marriage (and this is the third or fourth time I've asked on this site, and I have yet to hear one) please do so (and note that "logical" excludes arguments based on religion - nothing wrong with religion, but religion is not a good basis for laws in a secular society). Nobody is asking you to like it, respect it or accept it, they are just asking that you not stop others from having the freedom to choose it, why is that wrong?
posted by biscotti at 4:39 PM on April 9, 2004


Progress vs Strawman

/me doggedly cleans cookie crumb spray from monitor, keyboard, and general cubical area between fits of giggling.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:46 PM on April 9, 2004


biscotti,

No offense taken ... you articulated your point very well. I feel like I did point out valid points, they were just expressed better in the articles I linked to, so I see no point in citing specifics on this. I can't say them better than the articles do. thread and I think the articles do make specific reasons against it.

It's funny, tho. When I link to articles, somebody (in this case you) tells me to not link to articles, but when I say something I believe, I always get "links please?". Weird, hey?
posted by jlachapell at 4:51 PM on April 9, 2004


me & my monkey --
Joe: I can't stand those people with red hair.
Bob: What's wrong with you? They're just like everyone else!
Joe: Me and my friends got together, and we decided we're just not going to tolerate red-headedness, and if they can't shave their heads, we're going to make them wish they had.
Bob: That's awful! I won't stand for it!
Joe: What's wrong? You must be one of those bigots who can't tolerate the views of others!

Look back in the thread ... I was called the bigot. Nice try.

The simple fact is, both "sacred" and "venerable" have their roots in religious ideas
Right, but they can still be used in a non-religious context.


That, in fact, is why we have a republic instead of a democracy - pure democracy is unchecked mob rule.

Amen.

In fact, I would defend your right to hold those beliefs to the death
Ditto. :)
posted by jlachapell at 4:58 PM on April 9, 2004


Look back in the thread ... I was called the bigot. Nice try.

In the "Joe & Bob" sketch, you'd play the part of Joe. Perhaps that's why you were called the bigot. Essentially, I interpret what you're saying as, "for reasons I can't really articulate, I support the restriction of your rights." That smacks of bigotry.

Right, but they can still be used in a non-religious context.

I suppose they can, but it remains to be seen why you'd choose those specific words, when there are plenty of others that don't carry the religious connotations that those words do. You and Humpty Dumpty seem to hold a similar view about words meaning exactly what you want them to mean - no more and no less. You should expect that when you use words that carry a certain freight in common usage, people will interpret your statements using that freight.

No offense taken ... you articulated your point very well. I feel like I did point out valid points, they were just expressed better in the articles I linked to, so I see no point in citing specifics on this.

You've done your best to avoid citing religious reasons for your position, yet Card has no problem relying on his conception of "Judeo-Christian" values for his justifications. I doubt that Mr. Card would've distanced himself from a religious concept of the word "sacred" within this discussion.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:09 PM on April 9, 2004


me & my monkey ...

I smell a troll. That or you don't read the previous posts.

I didn't start using 'sacred' effugas DID!! I didn't "choose" the word, I just used it because s/he did.

people will interpret your statements using that freight.
So, I'm supposed to know you have a limited vocabulary?

I doubt that Mr. Card would've distanced himself from a religious concept of the word "sacred" within this discussion.
Good for Mr. Card. I did.

Now before you post to me again, can you please read the friggin' thread?
posted by jlachapell at 5:21 PM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell: your Card link was the subject of a recent post here.
posted by amberglow at 5:23 PM on April 9, 2004


The article that jlachapell linked to, can basically be reduced to the idea that children get their gender and familial identities from their parents in the specific and society in general.

The author, and I assume by extrapolation jlachapell, is concerned that if homosexual marriage is recognized as acceptable by society then children will feel less pressure to conform to traditional sexual roles and will feel more free to experiment with alternate lifestyle choices. They further feel (or at least the author further feels) that this would be a dangerous experiment to undertake without a great deal of reflection. The author offers paragraph after paragraph of the damage that has already been done by accepting divorce as natural and acceptable.

Most people who favor (or at least who are not opposed to) homosexual marriage would probably say that homosexuality is a largely a product of nature not nurture and that the sheer fact that we have homosexuals and have always had homosexuals despite significant societal pressures against it invalidates "think of the children" as a concern. They might also take issue with the idea that homosexuality is any less valid than heterosexuality, and may be offended by the presumption that children must be protected from this.

The author and jlachapell and I assume many others who oppose homosexual marriage would argue that it is nurture and choice rather than nature.

It seems entirely obvious to me that it is mostly nature and not nurture, but I'm not sure how to present that in a way that the author and jlachapell will accept.

There's the logical basis jlachapell offers for a restriction. It obviously flows from a different starting point of assumptions. The key then is to find a way to bridge that divide. Any takers?
posted by willnot at 5:25 PM on April 9, 2004


The key then is to find a way to bridge that divide. Any takers?
Equal rights? That it discriminates against us? That denying us what you're entitled to is wrong? That straight people don't treat marriage with respect (i.e. vegas quickies, the situations like Savage's in the link, etc), so their words ring very hollow and are mockable? That religious beliefs do not belong in a discussion of what our government is doing with regard to laws, and benefits? etc...
posted by amberglow at 5:30 PM on April 9, 2004


The key then is to find a way to bridge that divide. Any takers?

In addition to what amberglow said, how about a single shred of proof, even an indication that acceptance of, or exposure to, homosexuality creates homosexuals or is in any way harmful to children. "there's no existing data to support the widely held belief that there are negative outcomes" for children raised by gay parents... and children raised by gay couples are no more likely to be homosexual than children raised by straight couples.
posted by biscotti at 5:37 PM on April 9, 2004


I smell a troll. That or you don't read the previous posts.

I'm sorry you're having nasal problems. If you want to call "being pissed off by everyone who thinks it's ok to treat me as a second-class citizen" a "troll," well then, guilty as charged. I'm just saying all of this stuff to get you going. This obviously doesn't have anything to do with how this single issue affects me personally, I'm clearly just getting my jollies off of taunting a buffoon. There, do you feel better now?

I didn't start using 'sacred' effugas DID!! I didn't "choose" the word, I just used it because s/he did.

I'm not sure I see the relevance of that. If I start using the word "blue", and you use it too, how should I know that you really mean "green?"

So, I'm supposed to know you have a limited vocabulary?

You're supposed to use common sense when saying things, so that people can correctly interpret your statements. This is just a suggestion, though. You're free to disregard it and continue on in the same vein.

[I doubt that Mr. Card would've distanced himself from a religious concept of the word "sacred" within this discussion.]

Good for Mr. Card. I did.


Then what is the point of directing us to Card's arguments, if they don't agree with your own beliefs? You say this doesn't have anything to do with religion. Card feels otherwise - he thinks religion is essential for society. Which is it?

Now before you post to me again, can you please read the friggin' thread?

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

In other words, I think my reading and comprehension skills are working just fine, thank you very much.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:39 PM on April 9, 2004


willnot ..

You are right on the head! That is exactly what I should I written in the first place.

me & my monkey ..

You make no sense and I am going to stop responding to your posts.
posted by jlachapell at 5:45 PM on April 9, 2004


amberglow - I would agree with you, but none of that really addresses the issue. If homosexuality is a choice, then laws against it aren't discriminatory -- just as laws against people who choose to speed or choose to cheat on their taxes or choose to do any number of other things aren't descriminatory. In this context, to make an equal protection argument, I think you need to establish that homosexuality is nature rather than choice.

That straight people don't treat their marriage with respect is also a problem that the writer of the article identifies as a problem. From the writers perspective, they're fighting a war of attrition in which each step degrades the traditional family unit. From that perspective, you're telling them well you already let that guy steal your milk, so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to take your sandwich.
posted by willnot at 5:45 PM on April 9, 2004


willnot,

I can't articulate like you (obviously), but you are saying exactly what I'm feeling.

I couldn't have come up with a better analogy than the sandwich one.

I appreciate you trying to understand my point of view. Thanks.
posted by jlachapell at 5:49 PM on April 9, 2004


jlachapell - I would genuinely like to find a way to persuade you away from that point of view. You and people who share your point of view are doing a tremendous disservice to people with a profound love and affection for each other. I really don't see any reason for getting up in their business. I personally reject the idea that children or society or endangered by exposure or tolerance of homosexuality.

I feel that most people who are opposed are opposed out of discomfort with something that seems gross, and they typically hide that behind their professed religious beliefs. If there's a logical argument against marriage to be made though, it's important to understand and articulate it. Otherwise, there's no way to expose it as false.
posted by willnot at 5:58 PM on April 9, 2004


You make no sense and I am going to stop responding to your posts.

Can you point out, in plain English, what I'm saying that doesn't make sense? I'm trying to communicate, so it's in my interest to make as much sense as I can. This issue is especially important to me, because it affects me directly.

If homosexuality is a choice, then laws against it aren't discriminatory -- just as laws against people who choose to speed or choose to cheat on their taxes or choose to do any number of other things aren't descriminatory.

Laws against it certainly are discriminatory. The question is, is that discrimination good?

Speeders and tax cheats are criminals because we can clearly see the harm in their actions. We criminalize things because of this discernable harm. On the other hand, it would be silly to argue that parting your hair on one side or the other should be criminalized, because it does no harm.

There are plenty of things that we, as a society, support even though they are clearly choices, such as religion. Would it be ok to criminalize those things?
posted by me & my monkey at 5:58 PM on April 9, 2004


From that perspective, you're telling them well you already let that guy steal your milk, so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to take your sandwich.

(the sandwich thing is a bad analogy because we're not asking for anything different from what straight people get--we're asking for the same milk)
I'm saying you guys are pissing in your own milk, and giving me milk doesn't mean that you still won't have your own milk to piss in. ; >

People can believe what they want, re: choice, but why can't they ever explain homosexuality's persistence throughout human history, and in most if not all animal species? All us gay people came from straight people. And we keep coming. And we're not going anywhere.
posted by amberglow at 5:59 PM on April 9, 2004


konolia: You really disappoint me, especially during the holidays. Your religion is not the law of the land, nor will it ever be--It's why you and your kind will lose this fight.

I hate making you sad, amberglow, I really do.

But my opinion doesn't count. What I mean by that is that even if you were to persuade me that gayness and gay marriage were a good idea, all you did is change MY mind. God has an opinion, and His is the only one that ever mattered or ever will matter. When I chose to give my life to Him, I also chose His will in all things. (Not that I will ever claim to follow that perfectly. I'd be a fool to say that.)
Marriage is something that He planned for a purpose-and it has purposes both practical and symbolic. Marriage is a mystery-where two become one. Yes, it is a physical union, but it is also a spiritual one-and the spritual connections exist whether or not one is a Christian. ("spirit" and "imaginary" are not the same thing although I suspect in most people's minds they parse out that way.)

Please understand I don't hold my view just to be obstinate. I do it out of obedience, trusting that the Creator of the Universe understands His creation, and understands what is good for it-and what isn't.

A little off topic: I just got back from seeing " The Passion." Compared to that, having a minority opinion on Mefi is a piece of cake. Chocolate cake, with sprinkles.
posted by konolia at 6:14 PM on April 9, 2004


I think you need to establish that homosexuality is nature rather than choice.

I think the world we live in pretty much verifies that it's nature rather than choice. Until the last thirty years or so, virtually no one grew up as the child of a gay couple, virtually no one grew up in a society where homosexuality was considered the norm, and yet, since the beginning of recorded history, homosexuals have existed. There was no one to model the behavior for them, no one to indoctrinate them- some societies tolerated it better than others, but even in ancient Greece and Rome, the acceptance of homosexuality did not dissolve the societal value of heterosexual unions. Furthermore, that homosexuality exists in nearly all animal species, not just homo sapiens, should indicate that it's part of the design rather than a sexual construct that human beings created.

Since the advent of sexual polling with Shere Hite, Kinsey, and Masters and Johnsonfrom the early 50s on, the general percentage of the population that is homosexual has remained fairly steady. Even as we grow more progressive as a society, there aren't statistically more homosexuals in the population- we just happen to *know* about more of them.

Can you think of a single thing that would make you sexually attracted to someone of the same sex? Is there some situation in which you believe your sexuality could become fluid and flow in the opposite direction? It doesn't seem to be a malleable point unless you happen to be bisexual. Gays and lesbians are attracted to the same sex, heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite sex. Despite all the jokes about getting a toaster for converting somebody, you can't make a guy enjoy having sex with another guy if the innate attraction isn't there. Likewise, you can't make a guy enjoy having sex with a woman, if the innate attraction is not there.
posted by headspace at 6:16 PM on April 9, 2004


In my analogy, I was looking at the totality of the meal as the "traditional family unit". which the author wishes to protect. Just because somebody has taken a piece of the meal doesn't mean that somebody else should be able to take an additional piece of the meal.

It was a bad analogy because it introduced the concept of your (your marriage versus my marriage), when it should have been our (as a society).

If you want to stick with just the milk, it would be like saying you already let them piss in the community's milk, so I should be able to piss in the community's milk too (again from the perspective of somebody who views homosexual marriage as altering the concept of the traditional family unit in a way that will cause children to be so confused that they can't form a traditional family unit when they grow up, and which will as a consequence lead to more societal problems like anti-social behavior, crime, poverty or whatever crazy shit they feel will come through that erosion of the traditional unit).
posted by willnot at 6:20 PM on April 9, 2004


konolia - well then it's simple for you because we're talking about the laws of man, not the laws of god. God may send the dirty homos to burn in the pits of hell for eternity, but it's not your place to enforce gods law. It's gods (let he who is without sin and all that), and it's not your place to try to influence the governement of man (to Ceaser what is Ceaser's and all that). So you can pray for your fallen brothers, and you can even witness to them so that they can know the joy of god's grace (though i'd find that as annoying as hell), but god's law is outside of this discussion, and it doesn't matter.
posted by willnot at 6:24 PM on April 9, 2004


konolia, God created me too, and in my religion I can marry, in a temple with a rabbi and everything--exactly like straight people. What I can't have has nothing to do with religion--it has to do with laws and rights and benefits bestowed on us by government, not God. Your beliefs are not the law of the land, yet you benefit from the laws, while I'm not allowed to.

was the Passion as violent as everyone says? also, you're needed in AskMe--a Jesus on Sunday q

willnot, do you realize how idiotic that makes people seem? "children will be so confused that they can't form..." Ridiculous--all of us were children, and we knew which sex we were attracted to as soon as our hormones started kicking in.
posted by amberglow at 6:27 PM on April 9, 2004


But my opinion doesn't count. What I mean by that is that even if you were to persuade me that gayness and gay marriage were a good idea, all you did is change MY mind. God has an opinion, and His is the only one that ever mattered or ever will matter. When I chose to give my life to Him, I also chose His will in all things. (Not that I will ever claim to follow that perfectly. I'd be a fool to say that.)

How does He communicate His will to you? Does He talk to you directly? Has He ever communicated His feelings about the homosexuals He created? Can you ask Him why he bothered, if He didn't want us to live our lives with the same fullness as everyone else?

Marriage is something that He planned for a purpose-and it has purposes both practical and symbolic. Marriage is a mystery-where two become one. Yes, it is a physical union, but it is also a spiritual one-and the spritual connections exist whether or not one is a Christian.

There are faiths which recognize the validity of homosexual marriages. They also believe in a Creator. How do you reconcile this? Are they wrong?

There are people, such as myself, who don't buy this spirituality stuff at all. For me, whether I'm gay or straight, there is no mystery in marriage beyond the general mystery of love and affection. Should these people not be allowed to marry?

Please understand I don't hold my view just to be obstinate. I do it out of obedience, trusting that the Creator of the Universe understands His creation, and understands what is good for it-and what isn't.

Didn't Jesus say, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's?" Why should your obedience to your God affect the government that we share?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:29 PM on April 9, 2004


I hate that argument. "You don't agree with me, so you are a bigot". You define marriage one way, I define it another .. neither of us is a bigot.

That was not my argument. It is not our disagreement that makes me say that, however, I would suggest that we define bigotry differently. Nevertheless, I believe that you feel safe in saying you are not a bigot. I will not succeed in convincing you, nor am I willing.

I have not yet been able to understand your reasons for denying gay and lesbian the opportunity to marry. I expect I will not see your point any more than I would have understood the point of those opposed to civil rights.

I have enjoyed the discussions here today. I am glad to know of mefi.
posted by Richat at 6:32 PM on April 9, 2004


willnot, do you realize how idiotic that makes people seem?

Completely, but I'm not sure if insulting them helps in convincing them that they're wrong (not that I don't fully understand the urge mind you).

I think that you and headspace made a good case for nature as opposed to nurture though. So, unless jlachapell or somebody else would like to offer proof of the alternative argument, equal protection seems to answer this question. Now maybe we should find a way to solve the whole mideast problem.
posted by willnot at 6:38 PM on April 9, 2004


Wilnot, I would only disagree to say that I have as much right as the next person to try to influence government. I'm a voter and a citizen. Like any voter and like any citizen, I have the right and the duty to participate in the political process. But I do disagree with those who think that spiritual change is effected at the ballot box.

To put that in English-as a matter of conscience I could never vote for gay marriage. But I do not think for one minute that homosexuality could be legislated out of existence.

How does He communicate His will to you? Does He talk to you directly? The Bible as interpreted by the Holy Spirit. And btw, God does still directly talk to people. Including me.


(amberglow, it was pretty violent, but I don't think it was gratuitous. I was worried about that going in. What made me cry the most was other stuff.)
posted by konolia at 6:43 PM on April 9, 2004


anytime willnot : >
(and it just gets exasperating explaining the same stuff over and over whenever this subject pops up)

and konolia, did you read the article I posted the other day about the pledge? please do--it's important re: god/government. and what other stuff? I thought it didn't go into his teachings or anything. I hope you didn't buy into Gibson's blaming of us.
posted by amberglow at 6:46 PM on April 9, 2004


oh, and welcome Richat
posted by amberglow at 6:49 PM on April 9, 2004


To put that in English-as a matter of conscience I could never vote for gay marriage. But I do not think for one minute that homosexuality could be legislated out of existence.

Do you think that it could be treated more severely? Should homosexuals be punished, or put to death? Would that be ok with you?

[How does He communicate His will to you? Does He talk to you directly?]

The Bible as interpreted by the Holy Spirit.


That's a lot of intermediaries. Do you remember playing that game in school where the teacher would whisper something to a person up front, and each student would pass it to the next until it got to the back?

More to the point, do you think that your interpretation of the Holy Spirit's interpretation of the Bible - a book written by many men over a long period of time - should be used to constrain my freedom? If Islam becomes the dominant religion, would you be ok with living under its constraints, even though you don't accept them as based on truths?

And btw, God does still directly talk to people. Including me.

So, what did He say about the whole gay thing? Why did He make us, if He didn't want us to be treated equally?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:56 PM on April 9, 2004


Thanks Amberglow.

I wish I could make this pit in my stomach go away. In 34 years, I have never felt so frustrated with the beliefs of others. I guess I should consider myself lucky. I just cannot believe that this is something that can be written off to a differing of "opinion". I can't shake the feeling that denying marriage rights to those gay and lesbian people who wish to marry is wrong. Just plain ol' wrong.

And, the arguments presented are so weak, and usually (not always mind you, thank you will not :go like:
Joe: "Marriage is between a man and a woman"
Bob: "Why do you think that?
Joe: "because marriage is between a man and a woman"

Again though, great discussion today. Thanks.
posted by Richat at 7:10 PM on April 9, 2004


Good article, Amberglow. Quite a few points in there that I agree with, actually.

(Oh, the other stuff-the interaction between Jesus and his mother was heartwrenching to me. And watching the Roman soldiers taking an unholy glee in whipping the crap out of him...and watching the mocking, from Pharisees, from Herod, and from the soldiers...the sorrow of seeing how totally misunderstood Jesus was...but again, mostly watching the perspective of a mother watching her Son go thru hell. As to blaming the Jews-rather say the Religious Establishment, I think. In the film a number of Pharisees objected to Jesus' railroading and were thrown out of the meeting for their trouble. In all it was a thoughtprovoking film, and I think even Skallas should go see it. In fact, I would love to know his thoughts on it if he ever did. )
posted by konolia at 7:13 PM on April 9, 2004


konolia: I think Skallas might agree with me in not wanting any money to go into Gibson's pocket--i'm repelled by his views on many many subjects and don't wish to patronize him, and Skallas may be too.

Richat: I know how you feel...you're lucky you're in Canada, where at least the government cares about equality and rights (or so it seems from down here).
posted by amberglow at 7:21 PM on April 9, 2004


Do you think that it could be treated more severely? Should homosexuals be punished, or put to death? Would that be ok with you?

No. We don't live under a theocracy, and I don't think a secular theocracy is going to happen until Jesus comes back. What happens now is that homosexuals and adulterers, etc. are excluded from the kingdom of God, period. The New Testament does state that some who were formerly in those categories left those categories to follow the Lord, and were changed accordingly.

Why did He make us, if He didn't want us to be treated equally?

All of us were born in a state of original sin-in other words, with a bent to sin. In that aspect, yes, people are born homosexual, just as some are born with a bent to commit fornication or adultery, or to be chronic liars, or chronic thieves, or having a ton of pride or arrogance, etc. If we were sitting down with a cup of coffee I could tell you what Jesus cleaned me up from. I was a mess.

We all have stuff. Not all the same stuff, but stuff nontheless. We all need to be changed in the very core of our being. No exceptions.
posted by konolia at 7:22 PM on April 9, 2004



Gay marriage == human nature?

Marriage is human nature. All cultures marry, all races marry, all sexualities marry. It's not even limited to humans; many, many animals pair bond for life (and many of them cheat on their "spouse"). There's something very wrong when pigeons are granted an understanding that gay humans are not.

It's been asked here over and over again: how would gay marriages injure your marriage? I ask because I'm married, and if gay marriages are somehow going to hurt, weaken or desanctify my marriage by some mysterious and (you claim) non-religious principle, I think maybe that's something my wife and I would want to know.

There's a large set of psychological reactions we have to an associate's mate. Take the earlier example of a male corporate executive's partner of twenty five years dying, and the guy having to suffer in silence. It's not about the time off. It really is about condolences, the understanding, the empathy. You can't use semantics to erase this; this is a fight for empathy. Gay people are insisting that other humans respect their capacity for deep, abiding love -- and those other humans are protesting, because "they'd never marry such a person".

We cannot have an honest debate without admitting openly that it's not just about legal rights and that it's not merely about what a church feels. You can't legislate condolences -- but you can remove the legal rubric that says it's OK to ignore the love of another.


Last weekend I met a lesbian acquaintance I hadn't seen in years. Wasn't actually entirely sure she's a lesbian: it's not like she's tatooed with a pink triangle. Kind of surmised it from her awkward use of the word "partner" when asked about motorcycling and the like.

IMO, it would have been better for her to use the word "wife." Co-opt that word. Feel good about it. Make it mean what it means: a long-term female partner.


There is a taking -- a redefining going on here. It's very much homosexual humans making claim to a word, a concept, a meme, a set of instincts, a set of emotions and sensations and perceptual obligations that other people very desperately don't want to see in them. We see this all the time -- most societies throughout history have had second class citizens that eventually needed to band together and protest loudly before given the same set of rights and priveleges as the majority sect.

Gay people would like the same legal rights as straight people in a life partnership--such as, for example, the right to make health-care decisions about their partners.


It really isn't about legal rights. Opposition to civil unions is pretty low. It's about the little things -- happy anniversary, dinner with your coworker's husband, being invited to gay weddings, etc. It might make for a more compelling argument to say that it's just about legal rights, but that doesn't make it true.


Marriage isn't a "fundamental right" for anyone.


Why not? It's certainly a fundamental aspect of human psychology, since you can't find a society on the planet that doesn't a) practice it and b) understand it.

The pedophilia example dispells the argument that I'm not affected by the actions of others.

Do you have a child?

After your child grows up, would you like the social authority to veto his or her choice of spouse? Would you like your own mother or father to have that veto privelege? Its existed in other societies, btw.

Notice how that whole "After your child grows up" bit changes things.


I didn't start using 'sacred' effugas DID!! I didn't "choose" the word, I just used it because s/he did.


Agreed. Sacredness exists independent of religion -- respect for love exists amongst athiests. People are using the religiousness thing as a shield, somewhat unfairly.


Please understand I don't hold my view just to be obstinate. I do it out of obedience, trusting that the Creator of the Universe understands His creation, and understands what is good for it-and what isn't.


If you really want to talk religion, The Creator of the Universe saw fit to breathe the binding fire of love into all mankind -- He did not restrict it as a special gift to straights, any more than he did for whites (which would make whites more special) or English speakers (which would make English speakers more special) or the rich. You are familiar with the phrase that God is Love. You need to take a good long hard look at the fact that every time you reject gay marriage, you are denying a love so powerful it is willing to be martyred. That's far more God-rejecting than anything two people in Love could ever do.

But I don't really want to talk religion here. Look. I know my viewpoint doesn't fall into the nice, neat categories of "keep your religion out of my life" vs. "that's unholy". But we really need to be honest here -- this is a fight for the tiny respects, not just the grandiose ones. It's a fight for humanization, and it's one that naturally fought by every single second class citizen throughout history.
posted by effugas at 7:26 PM on April 9, 2004


very well said, effugas.
posted by amberglow at 7:36 PM on April 9, 2004


What happens now is that homosexuals and adulterers, etc. are excluded from the kingdom of God, period.

That's no where in my Bible. Everyone sins, and preusmably someone gets into heaven, right? They haven't reached the Calvinist quota yet, have they? Are your sins better than the sins of gay people?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:20 PM on April 9, 2004


Ignatius, you can go to heaven with me, but you have to get the ticket the same way I did. Just sayin'.
posted by konolia at 8:37 PM on April 9, 2004


God has an opinion, and His is the only one that ever mattered or ever will matter. When I chose to give my life to Him, I also chose His will in all things.

Oh, Konolia honey...bless your heart, I don't think that any of us have the ability to define or understand the ineffable plan...assuming, of course as you do, that God exists in the first place.

with a bent to sin. In that aspect, yes, people are born homosexual, just as some are born with a bent to commit fornication or adultery,

Where....in any version of the bible written before the King James loonies got their hands on it...does it say that homosexuality is a sin? Cause it doesn't say it in the Aramaic version, it doesn't say it in the Greek version, it doesn't even say it in the Latin version that was the basis of the 1611 translation into English. I mean, frankly, the planet hasn't heard from any of the gods in a few thousand years...all you're going on is "faith"...and your faith is based on a document written by men...not God.

It's always sort of offended me when people claim to be speaking "for God". I mean, he's God...I'm pretty sure he could do his own talking if he wanted to send a message.

At the very least, he'd hire a good PR agent. Oh, wait...some people believe he did. Jewish kid...great message, brilliant viral marketing strategy...perhaps you've heard it's major talking points...Peace, love one another, render unto ceaser, what you do to the least of them you do unto me...he was a chatty guy.

You know, come to think of it...he looked good in a robe, travelled around with a bunch of other guys, was big on cleanliness and hair presence, had some pretty wicked female friends, never married, changed water into wine for a party...did the dramatic big arms thing at Passover. I'm just saying...how do you know Jesu wasn't the Queer Eye for the Jewish Guy?

In all seriousness, the gay rights arguments have moved me further and further away from organized western churches, because I can't reconcile the concepts of Christianity as they were taught to me with the actions and beliefs of those who claim to be it's adherents.

But even with all that aside, your personal faith should have no bearing on how much your neighbors are allowed to participate in the state. You can believe in the Cosmic Blueberry Muffin for all I care, (they have the *best* communion), but your belief that butter should be unsalted shouldn't mean that your neighbors should be forbidden by law to use lightly salted instead.

State sponsored discrimination, using religion as an excuse, is never ok. It's theocratic and should be stomped out like a bad weed.
posted by dejah420 at 8:59 PM on April 9, 2004


Konolia, I'm sorry but the original sin argument has a tendency to make me ill. It totally denies the Christian God's merciful nature that is emphasized by the son of God in the gospels. If babies and children who are not old enough to chose Jesus are automatically sent to hell, if folks who have never ben told of the Christian God are automatically sent to hell then this is not a religion that I want to be associated with, and, of course, I'm not.

I'm with the rest of the folks who want to see a reasoned argument against same sex marriage that does not refer to religion, I don't believe that I have seen one yet. I believe that it was headspace who quoted several of the constitutional amendments, I will ask again, someone, anyone, can you come up with any secular, non religious legal type reasons that same sex marriages should be banned?
posted by thecynic at 9:34 PM on April 9, 2004


1 1/2 cups silken tofu

The idea of "silken tofu" offends me far more than gay marraige ever could.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 PM on April 9, 2004


Ignatius, you can go to heaven with me, but you have to get the ticket the same way I did. Just sayin'.

But not if I were gay, right?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:00 PM on April 9, 2004



"The clerk said, 'Yes, of course because you are a man and a woman,'" Savage explained. "The sanctity of marriage is all about a matched set of genitals."

So, Savage and Jennigs got a marriage license, got married by a minister of the Universal Life Church and plan to file their license with King County, making the marriage legal.

Afterwards the plan an immediate divorce.

"We are going to try and stay married for about 55 hours and 10 minutes. We are going to just best Britney Spears," he laughed."

posted by Feisty at 12:14 AM on April 10, 2004


Having read the entire thread again, the issues appear to boil down thusly:

- some people feel that gay marriage will create calamitous, disruptive social change. They are against it.

- some people feel that gay marriage won't change any social change. They are for it.

- some people feel that gay marriage is Verboten by God, and believe God's Will should be enacted by government. They are against it.

In case #3, they're nuts. They know fully well our government(s) do nothing even approaching the upholding of Biblical law. Why they'd choose this as an issue to fight over, say, the appalling lack of social support for the impoverished is a mystery to me. Must be nuts.

In case #1, they're nuts. There's never been anything to even hint at a sign of disruption. It's insane to think the country's children are going to become swinging sex maniacs. Nutty.

Obviously, I'm a case #2er, the only sane position. Of course we're not going to self-destruct if we, gasp, let already co-habitating gays get a pretty little piece of paper to hang on their walls! And regardless whether they've got that paper, if God's gonna fry gays, he's gonna fry 'em whether they're co-habitating or married.

#2 is the only logical position to hold. It's the one that causes the least harm to our earth-bound life. More equality is more good.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:42 AM on April 10, 2004


c/won't change any social change/won't cause any significant social change./
posted by five fresh fish at 12:43 AM on April 10, 2004


There have been been so many cogent and eloquent arguments in this discussion that I can't add anything except to say that I agree with thomcatspike completely, and that I think that it will not be so very long before, looking back, the arguments for outlawing the institution of gay marriage will be viewed similarly to the old (passionate and absolute) arguments supporting the institution of slavery; with utter amazement.
posted by taz at 3:03 AM on April 10, 2004


Marriage is a mystery-where two become one. Yes, it is a physical union, but it is also a spiritual one-and the spritual connections exist whether or not one is a Christian. ("spirit" and "imaginary" are not the same thing although I suspect in most people's minds they parse out that way.)

konolia, OK, this is the ideal/romantic view - but what are your views on the reality of marriage between a man and a woman today? As the original link showed, it's so easy to get married these days....two people of the opposite sex who have a few dollars can get married. Nothing mysterious there. Then, what of no-fault divorce? As easily as you can get married, you can get divorced. What are your views on that?

Sorry, but if you're interested in the sanctity of marriage, there are more pertinent issues at hand.

People who marry (gay/straight) should have to prove their commitment to one another beyond a few dollars and the ability to turn up at a registry office at the same time. All the current laws do is allow things like sham marriages, where people actually make a business out of marriage where one person takes several thousand dollars and the other gets residency status of the country they married in - a pure business transaction.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:24 AM on April 10, 2004


A lot of you are missing a lot of the basic premises...

Marriage, in our society means benefits, for the individuals financially ( dual tax burden ), and being able to effect each other ( make decisions on health treatment if one is incapacitated ), and for children... The last one is a big argument by many anti gay marriage folk... yet gay couples have been allowed to adopt for some time now, and many (female *and* male) couples have had their own children, yet they can *not* have the benefits many married couples have when it comes to raising children (even if they are divorced!!!), when it comes to taxes, health-care, and many other social dilemmas that affect the child, even if they don't know it yet...

David Gerrold, a well known author, has put together an amazing 6 part summary on Gay Marriage if anyone has the patience to truely try and grasp that it is more than just a stupid religious issue...

http://www.gerrold.com/samizdat/page.htm

I include here:

Why Same-Sex Marriage Is Inevitable - Part I

Here's why:

Gay and lesbian couples want and need the legal recognition of their relationships. In some cases, it is a matter of life and death -- because where married couples can make medical decisions for each other, unmarried couples cannot. Gay people will never give up on this issue, they can't. They can demonstrate in a court of law that they are harmed emotionally, financially, legally. On the other side of the issue, the advocates of "traditional marriage" have been unable (so far) to demonstrate why the state has a compelling interest in denying the right of same-sex couples to marry. Eventually the issue will end up in the Supreme Court of the United States where overwhelming legal precedents exist. The foundation for legal recognition already exists, and it's overwhelming.

The short version:

Brown v. The Board of Education (1954) establishes that "separate-but-equal" is not equal. Although that case was about segregated schools, the same principle has already been applied in MA where that state's Supreme Judicial Court has stated that civil unions are not equal to marriage.

Loving v. Virginia (1966) and Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). Both Supreme Court rulings establish that "marriage is a fundamental and sacred right" and cannot be compromised by the states. In the aptly-named Loving v. Virginia, the state of Virginia's laws against miscegenation were overturned and the state was forced to recognize the marriage of a mixed race couple.

Romer v. Evans (1996) overturned Colorado's Amendment 2. That was an amendment to the state constitution which defined gay people as a class for the purpose of saying that gay people could not be defined as a class for political purposes. (The irony in that is inescapable.) The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, because it would deny citizens access to the political process, based on class.

Lawrence v. Texas (2003) established that the disapproval of the majority is insufficient for the denial of rights, and furthermore that sexual orientation is not grounds for the denial of rights. This overturned Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and invalidated sodomy laws in the 9 remaining states that still had them on the books. The court ruled 6-3 against the state of Texas, with dissenting justice Antonin Scalia pointing out that this ruling would lead inevitably to same-sex marriage.

The court will also have to consider whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional. DOMA was hastily passed by congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, in response to the possibility that Hawaii might legalize same-sex marriages. Unfortunately, it violates the full-faith-and-credit clause of the United States Constitution which requires states to honor each other's contracts, including marriage and adoption. (And ultimately divorce.) While there have been exceptions to full-faith-and-credit, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court of the United States will carve a marriage exception into full-faith-and-credit. That would create a nightmare of other challenges to full-faith-and-credit.

Ultimately, the entire question rests on whether or not "liberty and justice for all" means all or "all -- except for gay people." The marriage spree in San Francisco is a direct challenge to the voter initiative, Proposition 22, which defined marriage as "one man and one woman." Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco believes that Prop 22 is unconstitutional in state law, and probably in federal law as well, because it is discriminatory. Well, yes -- it was designed to be discriminatory. That was the whole point of it.

Sidebar: The same-sex marriage issue moved from the realm of theoretical to possible in 1996, when a Hawaiian court ruled against the state in Baer v. Lewin. In that case, three same-sex couples sued for the right to marry, charging that the state Constitution prohibited gender discrimination, therefore the denial of a marriage license was unconstitutional. The lower court agreed. The state supreme court was expected to uphold the lower court ruling, but delayed their ruling until after a Mormon-funded initiative was passed authorizing the legislature to define marriage as one man and one woman. In the face of that referendum, the court decided not to rule on the case. That lawsuit triggered DOMA. But it also galvanized others across the United States to challenge existing laws in their own states. Serious challenges have been made in Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and now, California.

Those opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage are going to lose the war. They have to win every battle. They can't afford to let any case get to the Supreme Court, so they have to fight tooth and nail everywhere the issue raises its head.

But -- the advocates of same-sex marriage only have to win once, in one state, any state. Once there are legal same-sex marriages, DOMA can be challenged in the Supreme Court. If DOMA is found unconstitutional, then all states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. From there, the next step is to sue the US government, demanding that it recognize joint tax returns from same-sex couples. Eventually, whether it happens on a federal level or state-by-state, same-sex marriage will be legal in the United States. Very likely, before the end of the decade but possibly as early as 2006. A large part of it depends on the ferocity of the religious organizations that are funding the opposition: the Mormon Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and religious-political organizations like the Christian Coalition.

Ultimately, I believe that the Supreme Court of the United States will have to acknowledge the legal rights of gay couples for one very simple reason -- there is simply no compelling interest on the part of the state to deny such recognition, and there is enormous compelling interest for providing the rights, benefits, privileges, and obligations of marriage to committed same-sex couples who have joined their lives together.

There is one argument that "traditional marriage" proponents have made that does deserve some attention in the court. They have said that marriage is for the children. Well, no -- it isn't. But let's assume for the sake of this discussion that marriage is for the children. The American Bar Association* estimates that between 6 and 10 million children are already living with an openly gay parent or parents. Other agencies estimate the number could be as high as 13 million. Recent studies show that 25% of all same-sex couples are already raising children. Over 7500 children a year are adopted by gay people, and gay adoptions have been legal for nearly a quarter century, with nearly a quarter-million children having been adopted by gay parents. Hundreds of studies of gay parents have been made, and Roberta Achtenberg (who served in the Clinton administration) wrote an excellent report, listing the 12 myths of gay parenting and citing the various studies that rebutted the myths. In short, we know for a proven fact that gay parents are every bit as good as straight parents in providing loving and nurturing homes. Plus, as one local wag points out, gay people don't have accidental or unwanted pregnancies, don't abandon babies, don't toss them into dumpsters, and don't have abortions. When a gay person has a baby, it's a wanted child.

So, if the welfare of the children is an issue -- and I believe it is -- then the denial of legal recognition to same sex couples is also the denial of rights to the children of gay couples. It is the denial of legal protection, the denial of inheritance, the denial of the essential parental relationship. If the court considers the welfare of the children as a significant issue, and it must, then the court has a compelling interest to protect the children of same-sex couples by recognizing the committed relationship of those couples.


__________________________
* The American Bar Association endorsed same-sex marriage earlier this month. In my more cynical moments, I might suspect that some of these folks are merely thinking about a new revenue stream, but I'm not always cynical. These folks are officers of the court, sworn to uphold the law of the land. They have looked at the nuts and bolts of the issue, and their endorsement is recognition that this is an idea whose time is now.


Same-Sex Marriage, Part II

My bad. I forgot to mention the one event that caused me to write the previous essay.

According to Yahoo.News, Laura Bush says gay marriages are "a very, very shocking issue" for some people, a subject that should be debated by Americans rather than settled by a Massachusetts court or the mayor of San Francisco.

Well, yes -- I suppose after 8 years of national debate, someone who's never turned on a TV or a radio or picked up a newspaper or magazine, might very well be shocked. Someone who's never seen Queer Eye For The Straight Guy or Queer As Folk or Will And Grace or even the evening news, might very well be shocked.

But the really shocking part of Laura Bush's incredibly naive statement is the incredibly naive second part of her statement -- that this is a subject that should be debated by Americans rather than settled by a court.

No.

Let me quote That Pesky Dan Goodman, because he says it better than I can: "My civil rights are NOT up for debate! My civil rights are NOT up for negotiation. My civil rights are NOT up for a vote! They are MY civil rights, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and neither I nor any other citizen should ever have to ask politely for equality. It should be assumed as a matter of course."

He's right. This is a civil rights issue. And the fact that so many legal obstacles have been created to stop same-sex couples from equal protection under the law is a national embarrassment.


Same-Sex Marriage, Part III

Responding to questions raised in several e-mails tonight:

1) What's next? Bestiality or pedophilia or people marrying trees? No. What's next is not bestiality or pedophilia or people marrying trees. A marriage has to be between consenting adults. I love my labrador retriever, but he's really not qualified to make deathbed medical decisions for me, is he? And if you can't tell the difference between sex with a consenting adult and the rape of a minor child, then teaching is not a good profession for you. And here in California, we only hug the trees, we don't have relationships with them. Can we get serious, please?

2) What's next? Incest? Polygamy? No. What's next is not incest or polygamy. But perhaps if someone wanted to make the case that the government has no compelling interest in prohibiting incest or polygamy, I'd be interested in hearing the arguments. To my mind, any man courageous enough and/or foolish enough to take on a second wife probably deseves it, and any woman capable of managing two husbands should be given an award. Nevertheless, it could probably be argued that the taking of a second wife diminishes the first wife's share of community property and therefore she can show that she is damaged by polygamy -- but what if that could be addressed in the pre-nuptual agreement, then what? Heinlein wrote about multiple-partner contract marriages, and I have a multiple partner family in an unpublished novel. If it's comprised of consenting adults and if the legal issues can be managed, where's the compelling interest in prohibiting it? This is supposed to be a nation that recognizes and welcomes diverse lifestyles? Ironically, the Mormon Church which once encouraged its members to practice polygamy (and many still do) opposes same-sex marriage; so they obviously don't believe that same-sex marriage will make it easier to legitimize polygamy.

3) The gay rights movement cannot and should not be compared to the black civil rights movement. Black people take offense at this. Being gay is not the same as being black. Yes, that's correct. Being gay is not the same as being black. Black people had it worse, much worse. There's a history of 400 years of slavery on this continent, followed by a hundred years of segregation and discrimination. Even today, black citizens remain economically depressed in comparison to other groups. By comparison, most gays could pass for straight. However, the argument for gay civil rights is NOT that gay and black are equivalent, but that discrimination in any form is wrong, the denial of civil rights for any reason is wrong. That's the equivalence -- what was wrong then is still wrong now. Wrong is wrong.

4) Can't all the same rights and benefits be obtained through civil contracts and powers of attorney? No. I know of one gay couple who obtained family status when the older partner adopted the younger. But that's not practical for most folks. I know of another couple that spent nearly five thousand dollars on powers of attorney, only to have the hospital refuse to recognize the documents when one partner lay dying. I know of several cases where, on the death of one partner, the family overturned the will to deprive the surviving partner of his/her inheritance. These documents can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, but a marriage license in San Francisco costs $82 plus a $13 filing fee.


Same-Sex Marriage, Part IV

An e-mail from That Pesky Dan Goodman:



A few years ago, same-sex marriage wasn't the high-priority in the gay community, probably because most folks felt it was out of reach. Then came that lawsuit in Hawaii and it caused a catalytic change in the thinking of many gay people.

See, when the anti-gay folks talk about homosexuality, they talk about the sex act; but when gay folks talk about themselves, they talk about their relationships. There's a fundamental difference of perception; we're talking in two different worlds.

Of all the anti-gay battles, this is the one that the fobes (short for homophobes) most need to win. Because once the government says that same-sex marriages are equal to opposite-sex marriages, it will be acknowledging equivalency. And that's what the fobes can't stand -- the idea that same-sex relationships are equal. Think about the black civil rights movement, or the women's suffrage movement. The opposition in both those cases needed to feel superior. Women were too flaky to be trusted with the responsibility of the vote; they needed men to take care of them. And blacks weren't equal to whites, no way. The same kind of thinking holds here. For the bigot, it isn't about race or sex or gender, it's really about power. It's about having control -- the implicit authority to define other people's roles.

Even among our 'friends' -- the limousine liberals -- there's an arrogance, a patronizing attitude, a condescension that even at its very very best, homosexuality is still second-best, second to heterosexuality, and therefore, same-sex relationships aren't as good as heterosexual ones, they're just shabby imitations, and the best we're entitled to is 'civil unions.' Among those who aren't our 'friends,' the attitude is that gay people are just blinded by lust, behaving like animals. But it's the same attitude in both cases -- gay people aren't good enough. Aren't equal.

When the law finally recognizes the equality of same-sex relationships it will take away the last secular justification for discrimination and prejudice in this arena. It won't stop the prejudice, but it will take away the last legal justification for it. That's the core issue here -- having the state recognize that same-sex relationships are every bit as joyous, enthusiastic, committed, and loving as straight ones. And possibly even more so. Because committed gay lovers have no marriage license to keep them together, only their own commitment in a society that still (mostly) refuses to recognize that such a commitment can exist.

This is why the thinking of the gay community has shifted so dramatically in the last few years. It's a recognition that this is the big battle. This is the core issue. Once same-sex marriages are legal, all the other discriminations can be dismantled a lot easier.

Thanks for listening.



Same-Sex Marriage, Part V

E-mail from Jonathan Andrew Sheen:



Here's my big issue about the whole "Same Sex Marriage" debate:

Defend from WHAT, Exactly?

I'm not up in arms about the Catholic Church's position on Gay Marriage. I'd have to be painfully naive not to have expected them to hold exactly the official position they hold. I'm not even shocked or outraged by their attempts to bully secular political authorities. Again, hardly unexpected.

But, when this translates back into secular politics -- and it will, of course, with blinding speed -- I promise you that a phrase you're going to hear a lot is, "Defense of Marriage."

The Federal Law in support of this bigotry is, you'll recall, called "The Defense of Marriage Act." And each and every person I've ever heard speaking out against the rights of gays to marry has invoked the desparate need to "Defend Traditional Marriage."

So that leads me inexorably to a very important question...

Defend from WHAT, exactly?

Are there homosexual brute squads roaming the countryside, waiting for the legalization of gay marriage to force straights to marry members of their own sex?

Is there some data I'm unaware of that shows that if people weren't shackled by laws limiting their spousal opportunities exclusively to the opposite sex, people would just abandon the whole heterosexual thing, marry within their own genders in droves?

Did I miss a meeting?

See, personally, I'm married to a member of a Gender Not My Own, and like it that way. Even were I legally allowed to marry into my own gender, I really can't see that I'd do so. Yes, the vast improvement in my sense of style and home decor is tempting, but not enough to get me to abandon the pleasures of being married to someone with all those fun bits that I and other guys lack. (Although, as I grow older while continuing to be obese, I can simulate a couple to a greater and greater extent. Never mind, Sharing Violation!)

And I can't help but think that the vast majority of Heterosexuals agree with me. And I can't help but think that we like-minded heterosexuals are in the vast majority. The darwinian logic alone is inescapable.

So can someone, anyone, please tell me what "Traditional Marriage" needs to be defended from?


Same-Sex Marriage, Part VI

Okay, I get it that this isn't the number one topic of interest for many (most?) Americans, but in many ways it has become a critical issue for the nation -- especially now that George W. Bush has come out in favor of a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is unlikely to pass, it's certainly not going to get put into play before the election; but more important, it's a badly written amendment. It consists of two sentences, the second of which is so vaguely worded that if it were law, it would generate lawsuits for decades to come.

Here's the text: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the Constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." That second sentence almost makes marriage illegal -- it would certainly unravel all civil union laws and all domestic partner laws, despite the claims of the amendment's supporters that it would not. But that's the hidden agenda -- simply to deny all legal protections for gay people.

The amendment is mean-spirited. It's rooted in prejudice, fear, and ignorance. It's an ugly piece of work, and ultimately it's going to be regarded as an embarrassment for the Republican party. Why? Because the amendment is an attempt to write discrimination into the United States Constitution. It is an attempt to reduce the definition of civil rights. To be blunt, I can't say enough bad things about this amendment -- or the people who have pushed it forward onto the national stage.

I believe that the Constitution is the most noble document in human history. Okay, on first reading, that's a little hyperbolic, but that's my conviction. Why? Because it represents a transformation of thought about the nature of government. Prior to the United States Constitution, government was ordained by God -- kings were kings because God said so. It was called "the divine right of Kings." Kings were seen as a channel of power between God and the ordinary man.

But in 1776, a group of malcontents, thugs, radicals, and extremists -- liberals all -- declared on this continent that a government had to be accountable to the member population, that an informed electorate were capable of assuming the responsibility of governing themselves. For the first time in history, a government was founded on a charter that was authorized by the people themselves. "We the people of the United States ... do ordain and establish this Constitution." That's not just a paradigm shift -- it's a tectonic upheaval in human thought. Okay, yes, we can trace the roots of the Constitution all the way back to the Magna Carta, but for the first time, a government was actually founded on the principles of self-determination. That's the essence of the Constitution and why I consider it the most important document in human history. (Yes, I know, some Christians think the bible is more important. The Constitution guarantees them the right to think that. And it guarantees non-Christians the right to think otherwise. That's why it's so brilliant.)

The Constitution was ratified in 1789, and it has served us for 215 years. In 1803, in a case called Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court did a nifty hat trick and ruled that the Supreme Court is the final authority on interpreting the Constitution. Since then, the court has been the final word on all matters of constitutional law. When the court rules on cases involving constitutional issues, it not only resolves the case at hand, but it clarifies that area of law for every other court in the nation. The justices of the court are aware of this, and this is often a factor in their choice of cases to review -- that they are defining the fundamental law of the land.

Oftentimes, the court will rely on its own precedents in determining the outcome of a case -- but that's not a hard and fast rule. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the court overturned Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), a case in which some of the sitting judges had voted one way and this time around, now voted to overturn, because they recognized the previous decision as inappropriate. (That's the polite word for wrong.)

My point -- and I apologize for being long-winded, but I don't have time to be brief -- is that throughout the history of the Supreme Court, the general trend has always been to expand the definition of rights in the land. But wait, there's more --

A great many of the rights cases that the court hears are based on what legal scholars call "a collision of rights." Example, Loving v. Virginia was about individual rights versus states' rights. Lawrence v. Texas was about individual rights versus states' rights. Roe v. Wade was about individual rights versus states rights. In all of these cases, the court ruled that the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the states. That's a pretty remarkable principle to be codified into law, but it is the underlying precedent by which the civil rights of Americans have continually been expanded from the basic guarantees of the first ten amendments to the present day where the court has ruled that the 9th amendment also guarantees a right to privacy, a right to privacy in your doctor's office, and a right to privacy in your bedroom. Pretty good stuff, huh?

This is why GWB's advocacy of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man and one woman is not just offensive -- it's practically unconstitutional.

Fortunately, the founding fathers were brilliant. They made it hard to amend the Constitution, to keep the law of the land from being changed according to the momentary mood swings of the nation. So the FMA is unlikely to pass. Certainly not this year. But the mere fact that it has been presented should be a warning sign for the rest of us.

In my never humble opinion, the purpose of the Constitution is to define the essential workings of our government, to guarantee the rights of the people, and to establish the purpose of government. It is not supposed to be specific about the law. It should not codify specific issues like abortion, flag-burning, or marriage. We already made that mistake once, with the 18th amendment, prohibition, and we know how that one worked. It didn't. What it created was a national disrespect for the law. It created an era of lawlessness. Ultimately, it was repealed. And none too soon. Let's drink to the repeal of the 18th amendment.

Any law that deals with specific issues should not be written into our national charter. Let it be a federal law, one that represents the will of the people working through their lawfully elected representatives. The Federal Marriage Amendment is an attempt (like mandatory sentences) to take away the power of the judges to interpret the law fairly and justly. It limits the power of the people to determine our own social contract as times change.

And in this case, the specific denial of equal rights to a minority -- the intention is venal and vile. That a President of the United States would make such an endorsement suggests to me a fundamental ignorance of the essential nature of our American institutions. This is a man who once joked, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."

It's worth noting that almost every editorial I've seen on Bush's endorsement of the FMA has criticized him -- sometimes scathingly. Some of the most important newspapers in the nation have dragged him over the coals on this. And the editorial cartoonists haven't been much kinder. Michelangelo Signorile, one of the gay community's most intelligent and outspoken voices, has called this "wagging the fag." It's about distracting the nation from the missing weapons of mass destruction, the quagmire in the mideast, the staggering national deficit, the broken promises, and the missing days of National Guard service.

The rationale for Bush's endorsement is that he's playing to the evangelical wing of the Republican party. (Say, here's a question -- since when did the Republican party become a religious movement? Why are the Republicans confusing the issues of faith and politics? Whatever happened to separation of church and state?) According to the sabbath gasbags (you know, all those folks on the Sunday afternoon talk shows), the strategy is this -- 4 million evangelicals sat out the last election. Bush hopes to get them out of the house and into the polls on November 2nd.

There's a problem with that strategy. Last time around, one million gay voters voted for Bush. This time around, that number is likely to be a lot closer to zero -- probably the three surviving members of the Log Cabin Club, the gay Republicans. Apparently, the assumption by Bush and his henchman, Karl Rove, is that the four million votes he gains will offset the one million he loses. Well -- maybe. But that thinking assumes that those million gay folks don't have families who love them and care about them. It assumes that those folks exist in a vacuum. Nope. Many of the straight friends and families and coworkers of gay people are mightily appalled. Andrew Sullivan, a columnist, an editor at National Review, a gay man, and a longtime Bush supporter has declared his intention to work against Bush's election. An Ohio GOP committee member has quit in disgust and joined the Democrats to work against Bush. (And Bush really really really needs Ohio. No Republican has ever won the White House without that key state.)

The Republican thinking is that same-sex marriage is a wedge issue -- that by portraying the Democrats as too liberal for the nation, they can win the center of the electorate. And if everything else in the nation were working fine, that might be a winning strategy. It's the "Willie Horton" gambit which worked so well for Bush Sr. But what I'm hearing from a lot of folks who previously voted for Bush or who were thinking about voting for him this time around is a lot of skeptical astonishment. This isn't playing well.

We have 245 days until the election. (If I've counted correctly.) Since Gavin Newsom opened the floodgates in San Francisco, we've seen same-sex marriages in New Mexico (for one day), same-sex marriages in New York state (in a small town whose name escapes me at theThe same-sex issue has surfaced in New Mexico, New York state (New Paltz), the possibility of same-sex weddings in Chicago, Oakland, and Washington DC, and renewed attempts to get same-sex marriage licenses in many urban areas, too many to list -- but each of those is a potential lawsuit.

Something else happened tonight. During the Oscars, there was a quick promo for an upcoming interview with Rosie O'Donnell. (Rosie O'Donnell married Kelli Carpenter in San Francisco -- and also took the opportunity to say 'thpffft' to GWB on national TV.) The interview was promoted as "The O'Donnells -- an interview with Rosie Carpenter-O'Donnell." Notice the phrasing there. It's a tacit recognition of the relationship, that the two women are now an acknowledged partnership with hyphenated names.

The way that television presents an issue not only reflects the national mood, it often affects it. The more that same-sex couples are known as couples, the more that the perception of same-sex marriage will shift in the general populace. At this writing 3500 same-sex couples have been married in San Francisco and the CA supreme court will not be rehearing the issue again until March 5th. There is no guarantee that the court will issue a stop order because the plaintiffs have to demonstrate irreparable harm or damage as the basis for an injunction. And it's to the court's benefit to allow the lower courts to hammer out the first rulings, the foundations of the case. It's less work for the supremes. So it's likely that hundreds more marriages will occur before the courts even rehear the issue. Perhaps thousands of marriages.

Many of those marriages are for couples in other states, even from other countries. Each of those couples goes back to their home states and becomes the center of a web of well-wishers, friends, families, coworkers, and just folks who are thrilled for them. What happens is a national seeding of same-sex couples who will be interviewed in their home towns and often celebrated. The gay marriage spree has become a celebratory event for the gay community -- not just a political statement, but a fabulous party as well. It will have an effect on the electorate.

Yes, I've heard that some of the most sympathetic political leaders in Washington DC think the timing is wrong, that it could generate a serious backlash, that folks should have waited. Yes, I've heard that. But how long should anyone have to wait for an injustice to be righted?

There's a story, I've heard it more than once, that when Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin organized the 1963 March on Washington, the crowd got impatient and stepped off the curb and started marching -- King and Rustin and the others had to scramble to get to the front of the march. That's what has happened here. The crowd, impatient, has stepped off the curb.

Sometimes history happens because the people make it happen, not because the leaders steer it. Heinlein acknowledged this in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. While the architects of the Lunar Revolution were carefully laying their plans, the people started the revolution when they were ready -- not when the leaders decided.

Events are moving, they're moving very fast. In the next eight months, the nation is going to go through some serious changes, and yes, it will affect the election. I think Bush made a mean-spirited mistake. And when the history of this election is written, February 27th could very well be seen as the day Bush lost.

I'll have more to say on same-sex marriage later on. I have a whole bunch of terrific e-mails to quote. Thanks to all who've written.
posted by antimony at 4:56 AM on April 10, 2004


So why was your argument supported by a link to biblical references?

me and my monkey got it.

I probably sway to the right with my beliefs, but that doesn't mean I just shrug, crack the bible and plug my ears. I'm actually pretty open to debate even though I may not agree with you 100%. You aren't very tolerant of the "right" point of view (or a dissenting point of view) I see.

I try to give everyone a fair ear, but this issue fires me up like no other. I've followed the debate for a while now and it seems like every position the "right" or whatever puts forwards is either obviously bunk, or quickly becomes obvious bunk once the counter-point element comes into play. it's either the slippery slope (and anyone with a passing grade in intro to ethics will tell you what a bullshit logical fallacy that is), religion, or some equally unempirical secular hocus pocus (like that it will harm "soceity"). it just blows my mind to hear the lengths people will go rhetorically to justify their anti-gay stances, and I have to keep asking myself if this is really 2004.

in my mind, it's such a clear non-issue and it completely infuriates me that allegedly intelligent people want to defile the sanctity of the constitution with an anti-gay amendment. what a stain that would be on this nation's history. what a vile badge of shame for mankind. it makes me embarassed to be an american. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there's no defensible reason on the planet to keep two consenting adults who love each other apart.

to quote frank black, "t-i-r-e-d spells it!"
posted by mcsweetie at 4:57 AM on April 10, 2004


m30w
posted by bargle at 8:26 AM on April 10, 2004


sweet jesus, antimony, that was a mighty big post.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 AM on April 10, 2004


mcsweet, you give me hope for the future--really.

antimony: you too (but a little long) : >
posted by amberglow at 9:23 AM on April 10, 2004


So what does this recent silence from the opposing side mean? Do they now realize that they've presented no logical argument, and have thus changed their minds? Or do they, out of habit, still oppose? Or is it that after this, they still don't understand how they've failed to win their case, and still somehow think they're in the right?

I hope like heck they've realized the only sane stance is legalization, and are silent only because they're still working through the shock.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:35 PM on April 10, 2004


I'm quiet because I said my piece and counted to three. ;-)
posted by konolia at 5:46 PM on April 10, 2004


It's very difficult to argue a case, when your single supporting pillar is "God told me so".
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:25 PM on April 10, 2004


I'm not arguing a case. Soon enough you all will know for yourselves anyway.
posted by konolia at 6:57 PM on April 10, 2004


I'm sure we will, konolia - I'm waiting impatiently for the gay apocalypse to finally begin. Should be great fun.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:54 PM on April 10, 2004


in my mind, it's such a clear non-issue
In my mind, it's a non-issue, too.


and it completely infuriates me that allegedly intelligent people want to defile the sanctity of the constitution with an anti-gay amendment.

For the record, I oppose a consitutional amendment.

So what does this recent silence from the opposing side mean?
That we have a life. ;)

I hope like heck they've realized the only sane stance is legalization, and are silent only because they're still working through the shock.
Still don't think it should be legalized, but not willing to try to make you understand my point of view when you won't try to understand it. (When I say 'you' I mean the collective 'other side' )

The difference between me and you guys is that you seem to want to convince me to switch my opinion. I don't want to switch yours, I'm merely trying to present an opposite point of view and understand your point of view.
posted by jlachapell at 8:13 PM on April 10, 2004


I understand you perfectly, jlachapell. Here it is in a nutshell, based exactly on your own words:

- you believe the onus is on the equality-seekers to prove that gay marriage would benefit anyone.

- you do not seem to comprehend that restrictive laws need to be proven needed. The onus isn't on the side of those seeking equality!

- you believe the most important thing is the perception of the marriage as a sanctum santorum.

- it isn't the religious sanction that marriage is important.

- it isn't the benefits granted by marriage that is important.

- the only important thing is how others will see your marriage. It's the perception thing.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the entire issue is that you are afraid that if gays get married, people are going to think poorly of the institution of marriage, which you feel will harm others' perception of the sanctum santorum of your marriage.

You certainly have a view, but it is by no stretch of the imagination an actual point of view. There's no logical thought in it.

Your fears are not a sane reason to prevent gays access to marriages.

original words:

Nobody has convinced me that gay "marriage" would benefit society or the homosexual community.

I happen to see marriage as something very special ... it's not just about the benefits garnered to me by the state.

Why do you guys think this is about religion?!?! Man, that is so frustrating. My religion will be just fine, gay marriage or not.

I worry about the effects gay marriage will have on society, not my religion. Sheeesh.

I believe the sacredness can be taken away, not from me, but the perception of marriage from others.

posted by five fresh fish at 9:32 PM on April 10, 2004


I think it's important for you to understand that we would support a ban on homosexual marriages if there were some sort of proof that it would cause the destruction of society.

If legalizing gay marriage was going to result in all our kids becoming queer ...in a shocking increase in broken homes ... in the legalization of intergenerational sex ... in general chaos ... we'd have to be entirely against it. There is no question of that!

So perhaps the fact that we do not feel there's any evidence of harm to society should clue you in a bit. There is a reason why the issue is gathering steam, you're becoming a minority, and the outcome is ultimately inevitable.

Allowing homosexuals to marriage will not harm society, will not harm the sanctity of marriage, and will not alter how others perceive your marriage.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:42 PM on April 10, 2004


not willing to try to make you understand my point of view when you won't try to understand it.

I doubt there's anyone who won't try to understand it if you actually clearly present a logical argument, but I can't see that you have as of yet. Please try again, I'm more than willing to try to see your point of view, but only if you put the effort into explaining in your own words why you feel gay marriage should be illegal. Be specific - what exactly do you think will happen if gay marriage is legal?
posted by biscotti at 10:55 PM on April 10, 2004


Antimony: nice.

biscotti: a lot of the argument is being made ad verecundiam from a source that some of these people consider to be their god, or visions visited upon (a presumably reliable) person by their god (... or whatever). When confronted with this response I usually try to sell such people something shiny.

Also, feel free to appreciate the fact that the quote at the top of the linked page includes the words 'according to'.
posted by snarfodox at 1:57 AM on April 11, 2004


snarfodox: Thanks for both the link and the pointer—I did indeed appreciate it!

Oh, and I join everybody else in utterly failing to see how some gay people getting married is going to have any effect at all on my own marriage (except to give me, perhaps, a subliminal extra layer of comfort in the fact that I'm no longer enjoying a benefit currently denied to others).
posted by languagehat at 5:15 AM on April 11, 2004


mcsweet, you give me hope for the future--really.

same. anyways, just doing my part to help fight the radical anti-gay agenda!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:27 AM on April 11, 2004


biscotti,

Since you failed to read the articles to which I linked to (which have been summarized very well by willnot above), I can see why you don't understand my point of view.

So .. here is what you guys are looking for ...
Gee, you guys are right. What was I thinking?!

Feel better?
posted by jlachapell at 11:07 AM on April 11, 2004


Since you failed to read the articles to which I linked to

No, I read them (or at least I read the Card one when it was posted here earlier). They don't tell me what YOUR objections are, specifically, or do you agree with everything in them, factual errors and all? Surely you can sum up your point of view, no? I've summed up mine. I fail to see how you can condemn me for not trying to understand your point of view when you won't even express it yourself, and you're willing to make two posts now saying that your point of view is expressed in the articles, but still refuse to actually state it for yourself. Please, indulge me.

I don't want you to agree with me, I want to know why you feel the consequences of legal gay marriage are so dire that continuing to making it illegal is warranted. And I want to know why you maintain that gay marriage would be bad for children when all the actual evidence points to the contrary.
posted by biscotti at 11:49 AM on April 11, 2004


Er, didn't I just do a perfectly fine job of summarizing jlachapell's objections? jlachapell didn't object, so I can only presume to have nailed 'em on the head.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:53 AM on April 11, 2004


let me take a shot at it.

Marriage Is Already Open to Everyone.

oh, what bullshit. yes, wouldn't it be great if two people who aren't in love were to marry just for the financial benefits? this is what I was talking about when I referred to the absurd lengths people go to have a problem with homosexuality. he claims that marriage is under attack, but instead of promoting legitamite loving relationships, he recommends sham marriages that resemble "the real thing" in name only.

and what a villianous thing to say. "why, certainly you abomi-er, individuals can marry. just not anyone you're in love with! OH DELICIOUS IRONY GYEHEHE"

Marrying Is Hard to Do.

what I got from this paragraph, after some somewhat painful parsing, is that marriage is already between a man and a woman so that it shouldn't be change because to allow gays to marry would be a change. is that about right?

The War On Marriage

another maze. gay marriage shouldn't be allowed because tons of straight people get divorced? I don't see how anything he talks about here has to do with gay marriage. although he loses points with me for implying that only men can are capable of "laying the groundwork for a sense of moral judgment."

Marriage Is Everybody's Business.

ok? but I don't see how anything in this section relates to gay marriage either. apparently divorce is gonna be marriage's unravelling...so why doesn't he go after that instead?

Civilization Is Rooted in Reproductive Security.

agreed. but he fails to detail how gay marriage will have any effect on that. nobody is saying ONLY gays should be allowed to marry.

America's Anti-Family Experiment

it stills sounds like he's arguing against himself. he gives all these (assumed hypothetical without the benefit of any sort of documenting of sources) examples of how straight people are entering into crappy marriages for the wrong reasons but he never mentions how legitamite gay marriages are gonna make it worse. if marriage is a dying institution, it's straight people's fault.

Humpty Has Struck Before.

more uncited paranoia.

The ideologues have demanded that we stop defining "families" as Dad, Mom, and the kids. Now any grouping of people might be called a "family."

like who? and what do these alleged people have to do with gay marriage?

Just because you give legal sanction to a homosexual couple and call their contract a "marriage" does not make it a marriage.

yeah, that makes sense. if two people into a legally binding and state-sanctioned contract of marriage, it doesn't mean that they are married.

In fact, it will do harm.

for the love of god, can anyone tell me how? I hear this all the way. it's harmful, it's harmful! but no one can tell me how.

But the Massachusetts Supreme Court has made its decision without even a cursory attempt to ascertain the social costs.

not only does he himself not bother to detail any of the social costs, he has no qualification to make this statement.

They'll just be playing dress-up in their parents' clothes.

what an asshole.

The Propaganda Mill

there's no point refuting any of this because it's pure tinfoil territory.

Loss of Trust

The proponents of this anti-family revolution

who's really anti-family? the gay people trying to start families or the straight people trying to stop them?

The pro-family response consists of quietly withdrawing allegiance from the society that is attacking the family.

actually, the "pro-family" response consists of amending the constitution.

If America becomes a place where the laws of the nation declare that marriage no longer exists -- which is what the Massachusetts decision actually does

quite simply: nope.

They Think They Have the Power.

from this section, I gather one thing about orson scott card: he does not follow the news. if the thinks liberals ("barbarians") control anything in this country, he needs to pay his cable bill.

it's fine if you wanna talk it over and put it to a vote, but I get the impression that anti-gay-marriages don't really want that.

That's what the Democratic filibuster in the Senate to block Bush's judicial appointments is all about -- to keep the anti-family values of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in control of our government.

why would he want to silence opposition to bush's judicial appointments if he doesn't want the courts stepping in?

and you're doing the same thing that card is doing. you say it's harmful, but you can't tell us how. do you just have a gut feeling about it? if you can't put it in words, is there some sort of deeper aversion that you have towards homosexuality?
posted by mcsweetie at 12:21 PM on April 11, 2004


jlachapell, if you're still reading this, tell me what's a bigger concern for you:-

1. gay marriage

2. no-fault divorce

I'm interested to hear your opinion on which has a more damaging effect on the sanctity of marriage. Also interested to hear your views on no-fault divorce anyway.
posted by SpaceCadet at 5:22 PM on April 11, 2004


No. We don't live under a theocracy, and I don't think a secular theocracy is going to happen until Jesus comes back. What happens now is that homosexuals and adulterers, etc. are excluded from the kingdom of God, period.

If we don't live under a theocracy, and you don't think we should live under one, how can you justify limiting my rights in conformance with your religious beliefs? Again, I ask, would it be acceptable for people with different beliefs to force your conformance with their beliefs?

In that aspect, yes, people are born homosexual, just as some are born with a bent to commit fornication or adultery, or to be chronic liars, or chronic thieves, or having a ton of pride or arrogance, etc.

With the exception of homosexuality, we would all agree that the things that you mentioned are bad - even people who might be liars, thieves or adulterers. Doesn't that indicate to you that there is some moral distinction between homosexuality and, say, thievery? Who is harmed by my homosexuality? What makes it bad, in your eyes?

Since you failed to read the articles to which I linked to (which have been summarized very well by willnot above), I can see why you don't understand my point of view.

I read those articles well before you pointed them out to me, but I still don't understand your point of view. Card's objections are clearly based upon his religious beliefs - for him, everything stems from that. You, however, claimed that your views had nothing to do with religion. Can you clarify your position for me? Without regard to religion, what makes homosexuality bad in your opinion?
posted by me & my monkey at 5:55 PM on April 11, 2004


YOU are harmed by your homosexuality. You are sinning against your own body (all sexual sin is in that category.) The Bible states that you receive in your body the penalty of your own error. I'm not even bringing AIDS into this conversation, but I am aware there are many diseases and conditions that homosexuals are subject to...the passage may even refer to more than disease. I know that the people that I know are very promiscuous, for example, just have a haggard used look to me.

The worst harm of all is the fact that homosexuality separates you from God. Unfortunately I doubt you agree with me what an awful and sad thing that is.

Many have said here that this ban on gay marriage keeps people who love each other separated...I say that the love of God is such an awesome incredible thing it makes any other form of love miniscule in comparison, and that it is worth casting away ANYTHING that gets in the way with relationship with Him.

I don't know if you have seen The Passion yet. He went thru all that -could have delivered Himself from it at any moment-but endured it all so that He could have us with Him forever. THAT is love.
posted by konolia at 4:33 AM on April 12, 2004


YOU are harmed by your homosexuality. You are sinning against your own body (all sexual sin is in that category.) The Bible states that you receive in your body the penalty of your own error. I'm not even bringing AIDS into this conversation, but I am aware there are many diseases and conditions that homosexuals are subject to...the passage may even refer to more than disease. I know that the people that I know are very promiscuous, for example, just have a haggard used look to me.

My goodness. That's ridiculous. There are plenty of homosexuals in the prime of health. There are plenty of monogamous homosexuals. Heterosexuals are subject to just as wide a variety of STDs as homosexuals. I don't know if homosexuals are, on average, more or less promiscuous than heterosexuals, but in any case promiscuity has nothing to do with homosexuality or heterosexuality.

I wonder if there'd be less promiscuity among homosexuals if their relationships were valued as much as those of heterosexuals?

The worst harm of all is the fact that homosexuality separates you from God. Unfortunately I doubt you agree with me what an awful and sad thing that is.

Many have said here that this ban on gay marriage keeps people who love each other separated...I say that the love of God is such an awesome incredible thing it makes any other form of love miniscule in comparison, and that it is worth casting away ANYTHING that gets in the way with relationship with Him.


Since I don't believe in God, no, this doesn't strike me as that bad. But again, how do you know that it would separate me from God? There are plenty of religious folk who'd disagree with you on that. What makes you right and them wrong?
posted by me & my monkey at 5:32 AM on April 12, 2004


I really like the way the discussion has a times hinged on definitions. Semantics is a root issue.

Another root issue is that many don't seem to understand what equal privilege involves.

Yet another is that some people understand God's will better than everyone else. For the rest of us, let us meditate on this: Those misguided fools who claim to know the Ultimate Will will die, and descend in the blackness of forever, the same as we will. There is no eternal "Gotcha". There's no possibility of them ever discovering they were wrong. We are not to be comforted as they comfort themselves... but maybe, as we joy in the love of each other, we can suspect that in a tiny corner of their minds they know they deceive themselves, and tremble.
posted by ewkpates at 6:04 AM on April 12, 2004


Heterosexuals are subject to just as wide a variety of STDs as homosexuals. I don't know if homosexuals are, on average, more or less promiscuous than heterosexuals, but in any case promiscuity has nothing to do with homosexuality or heterosexuality

My comments were not limited to the sexual sin of homosexuality. All sexual sin is a sin against one's own body.

Ewkpates, those who seek, find.
posted by konolia at 9:06 AM on April 12, 2004


Actually, it was said a little better than that.

Knock, and the door will be opened. Ask, and you shall be given. Seek and you will find. Its the future tense there that's the kicker. When you stop seeking and start preaching, well, then...

Preachy me: But hey, that guy who said it said other things. Like love your neighbor as yourself, and Do not make a show of your religion before men, and When you pray, go into a private room and close the door and Judge not least you be judged.

If you knock on the bible baby you get what you pay for. You are the hell you have made for yourself. When you imagine you understand the love of God, the wisdom of the Christ, or the depth of His forgiveness, you have closed yourself off from Him.

Finally, the same means by which many here have argued for the right of homosexuals to receive the same benefits as other people in a country of equals, these same means should be used to understand God. Reason and Logic are as much a divine creation as anything else. Self Deception, which is the much referred to Faith of American culture, will only, like poor logic, end in failure and misery.

Sorry about the length, but its not the longest here, right?
posted by ewkpates at 10:32 AM on April 12, 2004


Religion is not a good basis for legislation - see "Taliban" for further details.

Everyone is of course perfectly entitled to their personal opinion of the morality or lack thereof of homosexuality, that is not the issue here. The issue isn't "gay marriage makes me uncomfortable because I believe homosexual activity is against my god's wishes", the issue is whether there is any compelling logical reason that same sex couples should be denied the same rights as opposite sex couples.
posted by biscotti at 10:50 AM on April 12, 2004


Throughout the New Testament, the Christ heals lepers, treats whores with respect, touches the unclean, and does not condemn them to hell.

Do you honestly believe the Christ would do anything less than celebrate love?

If anything, God is Love.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Would this Christ of Love deny lovers to marry? In this day and age, so unlike His time on earth?

I think not. A lot of people think He would not. Christ is all about more love.

And importantly:

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's

Our government is supposed to be areligious. The writings of our founders make that exceedingly clear.

So keep your religion out of the workings of government. Your authority is limited to your own church's domain. If you do not want queers getting married in your church, so be it.

But do not presume to use your religion to prevent our government from letting gay lovers get married in a civil ceremony.

Let Love Rule.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:28 AM on April 12, 2004


Jesus talked a lot about hell. In the gospels. The prostitutes and the taxgatherers had the sense to recognise Him when He showed up, and the sense to repent. They knew they were unclean and knew they needed rescuing. The Pharisees thought they were already clean and were too good to need saving. Big mistake.

And the woman He rescued from stoning? He told her to go and sin no more. I personally believe she did just as He told her. He is not a condemning God, but the price He paid for our sin should make us understand without any doubt whatsoever God's opinion of sin.

Love is not fuzzy. The same God who is Love is also just and righteous and holy. REALLY holy. Spend one moment in His presence-any of us-and we will not need anyone to tell us where we are unclean. We will know it to our core, and we will be horrified.

Thank God for Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. We would be totally without hope, horrifyingly so, otherwise.
posted by konolia at 11:46 AM on April 12, 2004


And those people who did not repent? Did he call for them to be treated contemptuously by those around them? Did he call for the Romans to imprison them? Did he suggest the community disallow them from participating in the community?

No, he did not.

Did Jesus do anything to indicate that he wanted life to be unfair, difficult, and prejudiced against those who were not followers?

No, he did not.

Jesus was about Love.

Jesus would not oppose legalistic homosexual marriage. He would never approve but he would not interfere with the earthly political government.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:47 PM on April 12, 2004


You are absolutely right in saying that while he was on earth he left earthly governments alone.

He sits on the right hand of the Father now, and all bets are off.

(Just to be plain, I'm not out picketing against gay marriage. I will vote against it if it comes up. Just like your votes support your viewpoints. )
posted by konolia at 3:30 PM on April 12, 2004


My comments were not limited to the sexual sin of homosexuality. All sexual sin is a sin against one's own body.

What makes it a sin? If I have sex within the boundaries of a loving, monogamous relationship, what's sinful about that? For that matter, if one has sex without love, why is that sinful? I can understand why it might not be as valuable or worthwhile, but not why it's sinful.

And again, konolia, I ask why it's ok for your religious tenets to be written into the law, and not those of, say, Islam. You can talk about Jesus all day long, but that doesn't tell us (believers and nonbelievers alike) how the state should function. I asked you earlier if you'd accept living under the religious restrictions of another religion, if that were the religion of the majority, but don't recall getting an answer. I'm not trying to pick on you - you seem like a nice person, although we strongly disagree - but I would very much like an answer to that question.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:33 PM on April 12, 2004


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