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Adam and Steve Together At Last
May 17, 2004 4:19 AM   Subscribe

Whether you're for it or against it, it looks like we've got it.

March 17, 2004 brings gay marriage to Massachusetts, adding the USA to a short list of countries who recognize this union. Whether we remain on that list for long depends on whether certain people get their way.
posted by CrayDrygu (215 comments total)

 
They're here. They're queer. I'm used to it.

I'm for it.
posted by ColdChef at 4:44 AM on May 17, 2004


paging 111...
posted by niceness at 4:46 AM on May 17, 2004


/me feels homesick.

Go Mass!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:03 AM on May 17, 2004


Helluva time to provoke an anti-Left backlash. Tread lightly. Bush already has enough ammo.
posted by RavinDave at 5:15 AM on May 17, 2004


Well, anything that gives nightmares to the Pope, George Bush, and Jerry Falwell is all right by me.
posted by Optamystic at 5:16 AM on May 17, 2004


My daughter and I were going to watch last night, but you can't schedule the late night intentions of a 19-month old. We're going this morning instead: the first marriages are probably happening at around 9:30.

Wow.
posted by andreaazure at 5:31 AM on May 17, 2004


But guys, if you vote Democrat or happen to be an activist judge, you can't take communion!

Also, hooray for gays! I'm from north of the border in New Hampshire and our legislature has made it clear that gays won't be allowed up here. We're preserving marriage!
posted by crazy finger at 5:37 AM on May 17, 2004


One point. The USA does not recognize the union. Massachusetts does, but the federal government does not.
posted by paddbear at 5:48 AM on May 17, 2004


I think it's a little more complicated than that, paddbear, though I see your point.

It's complicated mostly because of varying state laws regarding how and whether that state recognizes out-of-state marriages. It's been largely accurate to say that they all do, though these recent events are clouding the issue.

I made that claim based on the fact that, at least for now, the unions being made in Massachusetts have a legal bearing on most of the rest of the country.
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:54 AM on May 17, 2004


the unions being made in Massachusetts have a legal bearing on most of the rest of the country.

Well, Maine's statutes are make it pretty clear that the marriages won't be recognized in Maine: "Any marriage performed in another state that would violate any provisions of subsections 2 to 5 if performed in this State is not recognized in this State and is considered void if the parties take up residence in this State." (Subsection 5 is the one that states that same-sex marriages are illegal. )
posted by JanetLand at 6:02 AM on May 17, 2004


Also, since it is a marriage, the couples could then file both state and federal taxes jointly. Because the determination of marriage is made by the state for the purposes of definition of marriage for federal taxes, won't this create a whole new mess at the IRS next year?

I'm enjoying the whole thing, frankly. Why can't people just accept social change, and acknowledge that things are not as they were in 1954?
posted by benjh at 6:03 AM on May 17, 2004


After 4 years of back sliding on so many important human and civil rights issues, it's nice to see something positive and progressive.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:12 AM on May 17, 2004


I think it's fitting that this is occuring on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Hooray!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:22 AM on May 17, 2004


vote Democrat or happen to be an activist judge, you can't take communion!

What if you happen to be a Republican member of congress and pass laws that you know will be overthrown in the Supreme Court....does this mean you are an 'activist congress-kritter' and you should also not have communion?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:36 AM on May 17, 2004


Two first person accounts here and here.

I'll simply quote the favorite sign mentioned in one of those accounts...

"Yay!"
posted by VulcanMike at 6:39 AM on May 17, 2004


Now that there are two states finally extending basic civil rights to all [Oregon and Mass] I do hope this will be a continuing trend. It is about damn time [I say]. I just don't know where/when the Defense of Marriage Act will be challenged, and how that affects the current marriages [IANAL].
posted by plemeljr at 6:40 AM on May 17, 2004


This is a great day. A great day.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:48 AM on May 17, 2004


plemeljr, I think eventually the DOMA will get to the Supreme Court, and found to be blatantly unconstitutional. Which is A Good Thing (tm)

To a point, I'd almost prefer this not be right away, as the longer these have been going on in one place without civilization collapsing, the much harder it'll be to pass an amendment against it in the fallout of such a major move.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:50 AM on May 17, 2004


I must admit I nearly cried when I saw this on tv today - hopefully it won't be too long before equality reaches the UK too.

My view on this stuff is: give gays & lesbians equality. That means either
1) lesbians & gays should have the right to marry; or
2) Heterosexuals should have the right to register Civil Unions under the new legislation currently going through UK Parliament.

Of course, the easiest way to do this would be to simply allow Registrars to permit Civil Marriages between same sex couples. Then, if the religion of choice wishes to bless the union, all is well - if not, then the couple have the choice of finding a different religion. Either way, the state has an even, impartial hand in the matter, and religious feelings are respected.

So why are we [in the UK] getting long-winded, discriminatory laws which only apply to gays, and will be seen by the majority of voters as behind the times and prejudiced within a very short time?

I really don't know. My correspondence with the government says that the new arrangements are not discriminatory just because they are different. I disagree strongly - separate but equal is a philosophy which inevitably leads to a perception of inferiority of one or other party, and also perpetuated discrimination and harsher treatment.

It's time for equality - the country is ready for it.

posted by dash_slot- at 6:59 AM on May 17, 2004


Some pictures from the celebration in Cambridge, Mass last night when City Hall opened at 12:01am. Several blocks of Mass Ave had been closed off. There were music and dancing groups performing in the center of the street, and a solid crowd filled the block from the slopes in front of City Hall to the steps of the Post Office across the street.

Just after midnight, the doors of City Hall opened regularly, and each time, a couple would come out holding a license. They all stopped at the top of the stairs, held it out, and everyone would cheer. As they walked down towards the street, the applause followed them down the hill. The couples getting the biggest response were inevitably older, and you could tell watching them they'd been together forever.

By a quarter after, there were more people going in! Apparently the area inside had been filled to capacity before closing, and more people were waiting outside still.

It's also worth noting that the police presence was minimal. Several police and a steel barricade kept the protestors (at most, 50) separated from the celebration. A few police were lined up along the aisle where people left. That's it.
posted by whatzit at 7:53 AM on May 17, 2004


I think eventually the DOMA will get to the Supreme Court, and found to be blatantly unconstitutional.

Unless somehow that court happens to be packed for the next generation with a solid majority of GOP ideolgues -- a distinctly probable result of the inevitable backlash sweeping Bush into office. Wouldn't that be ironic?

Careful what you wish for.
posted by RavinDave at 7:58 AM on May 17, 2004


*cough*

it's may. see? those homos don't even know what month it is!
posted by quonsar at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2004


Bush was swept into office? Cough, mumble, mumble, Florida.
posted by benjh at 8:06 AM on May 17, 2004


the unions being made in Massachusetts have a legal bearing on most of the rest of the country

Some conservatives are arguing that this is the case (and therefore a bad thing because states are being forced to recognize unions they otherwise wouldn't ), but at least one legal expert disagrees.

And congrats to those newly-married and soon-to-be married gay couples in Mass. It's a great day.
posted by mw at 8:11 AM on May 17, 2004


Also, since it is a marriage, the couples could then file both state and federal taxes jointly. Because the determination of marriage is made by the state for the purposes of definition of marriage for federal taxes, won't this create a whole new mess at the IRS next year?

I'm enjoying the whole thing, frankly. Why can't people just accept social change, and acknowledge that things are not as they were in 1954?


State taxes, certainly, but not federal taxes. In Vermont, civil union partners can file the same as married couples for state income taxes, but for federal taxes, you still file as single. The IRS just will not recognize a civil union or gay marriage.
posted by paddbear at 8:11 AM on May 17, 2004


Helluva time to provoke an anti-Left backlash. Tread lightly. Bush already has enough ammo.

Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Find Tepid Response in Pews.
posted by gwint at 8:12 AM on May 17, 2004


Legalities and fine print aside, I just really don't understand the anti gay stance. If gays pose no direct effects on others' lifestyles, what the f**k difference does it make [to those opposed to the lifestyle] that they're gay? It's not like anti gays can't go to the bank, or dentist, or realtor, or church, or library they want to, or their individual tax returns fluctuate b/c *gasp* there is a gay person in their town.

As for the Bush sitch/ammo, if he so chooses to use this, he'll just dig his own hole like he always has. Maybe it will get the couch voters off their butts if the flame is turned up a notch.
posted by yoga at 8:25 AM on May 17, 2004


I'm gay. I'm married. It's wonderful. It's the future.
posted by digaman at 8:41 AM on May 17, 2004


Keep in mind, CrayDrygu, that the governor has dredged up an 1913 law, written to prevent interracial couples from marrying, that states that Massachusetts will not and cannot perform marriages if said marriage is illegal in their state. So no one outside of Mass is allowed to marry there- and Romney has issued strict orders demanding total compliance with this.

But I'm so pleased that we actually made it to today. I really thought that someone would have found a way to overturn it. I'm going to go watch the world not fall apart now.
posted by Ruki at 8:44 AM on May 17, 2004


Congrats, digaman.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:47 AM on May 17, 2004


The following is a first-person piece I submitted to the San Francisco Chronicle after the first marriages here. It was never published. Enjoy!


Our Traditional Non-traditional Wedding
by Steve Silberman


My sweetheart and I got married last July. In many ways, it was a very traditional ceremony. Our families and friends joined us from all over the world to celebrate; we took a vow to love, honor, and cherish one another till death do us part; and my Jewish mother wept with joy. There was an exchange of gold rings, dinner for 105 people at a beautiful restaurant, a cake, dancing, and champagne toasts.

But in one obvious way our wedding was a non-traditional event: My beloved is a bright, softspoken, handsome man named Keith.

We may go down to City Hall and get a license this week, as many of our friends have done. I’m proud of San Francisco’s brave mayor, Gavin Newsom – who I voted against -- for taking seriously the notion that all people have the right to equal protection under the California constitution. But in our minds, we’re already married. And no press release from the White House, no judge, no injunction, no Constitutional amendment, can take that away from us.

Keith and I are not political activists. His family has traditionally voted Republican. Until recently, Keith’s father was the mayor of a small town in the Midwest. The first time I met him, Keith’s father took me aside and said, "I know that you are very special to Keith, so that means you are very special to us." There was such simple, human, Midwestern forthrightness in that statement. No banner-waving, no Biblical injunctions, no soapboxing. Just a clear and compassionate message: We love our son and trust his ability to make the most personal decision of all.

Keith and I didn't get married to commit a pioneering act of civil disobedience, to “redefine marriage” as President Bush claims, or outrage the religious right. We took our vows because we've been building our life together for ten years now, and getting married seemed like the next step of our commitment to one another. We figured the best way to defend the sanctity of marriage was to have one.

A few days before our ceremony, Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, drew a parallel between our desire to declare our love and "prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home." And Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, in a heated dissent from a decision that repealed a sodomy law in Texas, unleashed a 21-page torrent of Deuteronymical warnings from the highest bench in the land, comparing homosexuality to "fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality and obscenity." And this morning, the President declared his support for a Constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage by raising the specter of "activist judges" attempting to "change the most fundamental institution of civilization."

These grave declarations from the supposed guardians of our public welfare have a familiar ring. They bring to mind the statements made in support of laws against misecegenation that were on the books in 16 states until 1967, when the Supreme Court overturned them in a case memorably named Loving v.Virginia. The couple in question, a white man named Richard Loving and a black woman, Mildred Jeter, drove to Washington to say their vows, because their home state of Virginia had banned interracial marriages. For this offense, they were exiled from Virginia for 25 years by a trial judge who declared, "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."

Overturning the judge's decision, the High Court ruled, "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... Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival."

A lot has changed since Loving v. Virginia. In 2004, the judge's statements seem a little silly and more than a little sad. I'm confident that in 20 years, the fulminations of those attempting now to exploit marriage as a hot-button political issue will seem equally silly and sad, as will the nervous circumlocutions from timid Democrats like Barbara Boxer. If Republicans from the Midwest are already able to welcome their new son-in-law into the family with open hearts, the "culture war" that Judge Scalia referred to in his opinion is already over. The loving people won.

They won again in San Francisco last week, in the faces of all those beautiful couples – many of whom had been quietly living their lives together for decades -- dancing down the steps of City Hall.

My advice to gay people: keep getting married, proudly and publicly, in the face of the Republicans’ cynical attempt to exploit this issue to distract the American electorate from the troubled state of the economy and the situation in Baghdad. A sane, compassionate world has to start somewhere.

Our country was founded on the principle that certain truths and liberties are self-evident. If there’s anything in human life that's self-evident, it's love, particularly on a wedding day. But when Keith and I said our vows, we weren't thinking of overturning laws and changing society. We were thinking of our families, our friends, and most of all, our love for one another -- a rare and precious thing between any two people.

What could be more traditional?
posted by digaman at 8:49 AM on May 17, 2004


benjh, RavinDave is talking about a potential sweep this November, not the 2000 debacle.
posted by zsazsa at 8:55 AM on May 17, 2004


It's academic though as nothing can save Bush's sorry ass. He's toast.
posted by filchyboy at 9:18 AM on May 17, 2004


digaman, congratulations and best wishes! I think [and hope] when more people stop and think that *gasp* gay people are *people* who love and cherish their partners, and who want to do that forever, this issue will finally go away, and we will just have *people* marrying each other. I wait for the day this does not become a front page story.
posted by plemeljr at 9:30 AM on May 17, 2004


amazing how people will come out of the woodwork screaming at how gays are ruining the traditional marriage, but you don't see any of these people screaming bloody murder when a marriage is performed outside of a church, by a judge or other civil servant. and you don't see them jumping up and down holding protest signs when anyone gets a divorce. hey, fundies, i thought god says marriage is only by him and it lasts forever. so either god is a lying hypocrite, or all of you holding the gay marriage protest signs are. take your pick. you can't have it both ways, see - if you take away the Jesus from the marriage, then you're left with no logical reason why same-sex couples can't marry. and if same-sex couples can't marry because god says so, well, then any marriage performed outside of a church is null and void, and pretty much any divorce performed ever is null and void, and anyone who got divorced and then got remarried is a bigamist and will burn in hell...

as a straight married guy, i have to ask myself why these people feel so threatened by the idea of gay marriage in the first place. if a same-sex couple promising before everyone they care about to love each other forever is demeaning and takes away from a straight person's own marriage, then they really ought to stop and think about why they got married in the first place. see, i promised my wife to love her despite anything. and no other person's marriage can take that away. how can the feelings of two people i don't even know affect me and my feelings towards my wife? well, if i'm a normal, sane, secure person, it doesn't.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:36 AM on May 17, 2004


Vermont's lessons on gay marriage
-- Howard Dean's OpEd in today's Boston Globe.
posted by anastasiav at 9:39 AM on May 17, 2004


I am so thrilled about today! Congratulations Massachusetts!! And not only is this the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Ed, it is also Norwegian National Independence day! Hurra for søttende mai!

A whole bunch of us, gay and straight, went to Hartford, our state's capital, yesterday for a rally for wedding equality in Connecticut. There were also about 50 protesters who trickled away pretty damn quickly when they saw how completely outnumbered they were. Times they are a-changing! Probably not in time for our wedding on August 8th, but hey - we can do it again... ; )
posted by widdershins at 9:46 AM on May 17, 2004


Congratulations digaman.
yoga: for many puritanical extremists, morals are an abstract quality, not related to the actual well being of any human being, that have to be upheld (as defined by some arbitrary authority) regardless of any real-world effects on people, or else all hell wil break loose (literally, in their minds).
Hard to argue with that kind of logic.
posted by signal at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2004


Why is a two-month-old news report just now getting posted to MeFi?
posted by kindall at 9:57 AM on May 17, 2004


State taxes, certainly, but not federal taxes. In Vermont, civil union partners can file the same as married couples for state income taxes, but for federal taxes, you still file as single. The IRS just will not recognize a civil union or gay marriage.

But isn't that the difference between marriage and civil unions? The marriage certificate is identical in this case to a straight marriage in Mass., so it would be indistiguishable from a straight marriage. It is one of the main arguments that a marriage by another name (civil unions) is no marriage at all.

It seems the IRS would not be able to prevent lawfully wedded people from filing joint returns, because they would not make any determination, other than the marriage being filed.
posted by benjh at 10:03 AM on May 17, 2004


I'm so pleased for you & Keith, digiman - and proud of your courage when you posted the letter to the paper.

Loads of love and best wishes,
posted by dash_slot- at 10:05 AM on May 17, 2004


"Gay"? "Marriage"? That's a sad day for Massachusetts. On the other hand, Morrissey's new album is out today (May 17), so I'm not paying any attention to grotesque news such as unnatural laws etc etc.
posted by 111 at 10:08 AM on May 17, 2004


What, you can't see the joy in these stories?

You are one very sad person. Very sad. What would Mozzer say?

ps: coldchef - heheheh.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:13 AM on May 17, 2004


Bravo, 111: very funny.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:19 AM on May 17, 2004


It seems the IRS would not be able to prevent lawfully wedded people from filing joint returns, because they would not make any determination, other than the marriage being filed.

Well, I work at the IRS, and I have seen married returns come across my desk that clearly had two female or two male names on them. Nothing was done (in my area, I can't speak for others) to separate or flag them in any way.

I don't know what would happen if they happened to get audited, however.

Perhaps someone will get dinged for it, and have to file a lawsuit against the IRS to have their marriage recognized, I don't know...
posted by beth at 10:30 AM on May 17, 2004


But isn't that the difference between marriage and civil unions? The marriage certificate is identical in this case to a straight marriage in Mass., so it would be indistiguishable from a straight marriage. It is one of the main arguments that a marriage by another name (civil unions) is no marriage at all.

It seems the IRS would not be able to prevent lawfully wedded people from filing joint returns, because they would not make any determination, other than the marriage being filed.


I'm not sure. As I understand it, civil unions were enacted by the Vermont legislature to give same sex couples the same state rights as married couples. In that way, a civil union is supposed to be legally the same (statewise) as a marriage. (Some longtime Vermonter correct me if I'm wrong!)

The IRS can and will prevent a gay couple who are legally married in Massachusetts from filing jointly, because the marriage does not conform to federal law. Now, I know a gay couple who file jointly for their federal return, but they're probably successful because the IRS doesn't really bother to check--I mean, the Form 1040 doesn't ask for sex on it.

We're going to head to MA to get married this year, but I don't expect the full benefits for quite a while...
posted by paddbear at 10:31 AM on May 17, 2004


111 -

If you actually feel that way, after reading stories like digaman's, then you are truly the embodiment of evil.

Look closely at the idol you worship - perhaps you have been deceived. The bible says that Satan will appear to many as if he were God. "And ye shall know them by their fruits."

Your fruits reveal you to be truly evil. No god worthy of worship would spawn a vile creature such as yourself.

Turn to God, it's not too late. You evil heartless bitch.
posted by yesster at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2004


From the Dean op/ed:

The fallout was the least civil public debate in the state in over a century, since the "wets" and "dries" battled in the middle of the 1800s.

Let's hope that the point in time between this issue being discussed and it not being an issue is shorter than the timespan between prohibition being an issue and then seeming silly (general consensus caveat, of course).

Gay Americans are patriotic, serve in the armed forces, and die in the service of their country. One of the most extraordinary people I met when I was running for President was an 80-year-old gay veteran who had served on the beach in Normandy during D-day.

Shhhhhhh! *pokes fingers in ears* LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!

Thanks for that link, anastasiav, it was very well written.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:55 AM on May 17, 2004


Congrats digaman -- and to all Mefites and their partners for whom this has opened the door! I hope with all my heart that this is just the beginning.

NYTimes slideshow here (scroll down the right-hand sidebar to click on the link). Such joy to behold!
posted by scody at 11:04 AM on May 17, 2004


"Gay"? "Marriage"? That's a sad day for Massachusetts. On the other hand, Morrissey's new album is out today (May 17), so I'm not paying any attention to grotesque news such as unnatural laws etc etc.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony in being a rabidly anti-gay Morrissey fan?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:07 AM on May 17, 2004


Yay for Mass! And I am glad that the Supreme Court chose not to stop it...

I too hope this is just the beginning. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 11:08 AM on May 17, 2004


Is it just me, or does anyone else see the irony in being a rabidly anti-gay Morrissey fan?

He's also a fan of a well-known obscene novel, written by a heretical pervert who lived in sin with his own lover for decades. The ironies abound!
posted by scody at 11:15 AM on May 17, 2004


How this gets to the US Supreme Court by next May 17th in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: May 17, 2004 happens. People from IN THE STATE get married.
Step 2: They file for federal married tax status next April 15. (Us queers are soooo slow dealing with taxes.)
Step 3: The IRS says "nuh uh"
Step 4: Taken to federal court
Step 5: Advanced almost overnight to the top.

Step 5 happened at the end of last week when Pat Robertson et. al. tried to stop history ...
posted by andreaazure at 11:24 AM on May 17, 2004


See above. I wouldn't count on Step 3, necessarily. I mean, maybe they'll be on the lookout for people to persecute from Massachusetts next year, but I doubt it.
posted by beth at 11:40 AM on May 17, 2004


w00t!

I say we all go to Massachussetts and randomly marry eachother. Just for the hell of it!

Also, (and I'm only half-kidding here) I'm a little surprised Nevada hasn't taken a whack at this gay marraige thing. Everything else is legal there. And it would make for some great "What happens here, stays here," ads.
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2004


Please, just this once, can we ignore the troll? Would be shame for such a happy thread to be wrecked with poo-smears.
posted by casarkos at 11:47 AM on May 17, 2004


awesome. between the prisoner abuse photos and the "kill'm all attitude!" I was embarassed to see so many times following nick berg's killing, my national pride had taken a double-shot of shame. news like this makes me think that maybe we aren't so backwards after all.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2004


Please, just this once, can we ignore the troll?

Oh, alright. But if any gay Mefichussians get married this weekend, throw the bouqet in 111's direction. He's always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
posted by jonmc at 11:51 AM on May 17, 2004


ps, is this post title a reference to the song, Adam & Steve by The Frogs?
posted by mcsweetie at 11:51 AM on May 17, 2004


Cheers everyone! And my offer to be the MeFite flowergirl for any MeFites getting married still stands [dons Bjork-style orange swan tutu, throws orange rose petals, hums Wagner].
posted by orange swan at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2004


civil unions were enacted by the Vermont legislature to give same sex couples the same state rights as married couples. In that way, a civil union is supposed to be legally the same (statewise) as a marriage.

That's correct mostly. It was a Supreme Court decision basically saying "Our Constitution says we can't discriminate, so we must give equal state rights to committed gay couples the same as we do for married straight couples." While there are many federal benefits denied civilly unified couples here in Vermont, they file state taxes the same as married people. They can't file federal taxes jointly. There are a host of other weirdnesses about civil unions too, that make marriage seem like a more useful option, if available. That said, the few years of civil unions we've had up here -- a lot of initial tumult followed by people just behaving like people -- make me more hopeful that other places with fierce initial resistance will be able to see that letting more people have legal committed relationships is really the way to go, for all sorts of reasons.

Mcsweetie, the line is from a hateful thing Anita Bryant and a host of other homophobes used to say "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"
posted by jessamyn at 12:09 PM on May 17, 2004


I won't speak for CrayDrygu, mcsweetie, but I've heard many anti-homosexual groups use the phrase "God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve!" in an attempt to do whatever the hell it is/was they're trying to do.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2004


Why can't people just accept social change, and acknowledge that things are not as they were in 1954?

They sustain this head-up-the-assedness by the proud belief that the world is just going to hell in a handbasket and that's all there is to it. This belief doesn't accomplish much, but it does have one immediate and dramatic effect: it alienates the person who holds it from the rest of the world. It excludes them from participating in the forward evolution of our society out of the dark ages, out of the rape, starvation, and brutality that characterize the animal world.

While the rest of us move forward (albeit slowly) toward an evolved society of peace and understanding where we can achieve more than the sum of our parts, these bigots make islands of themselves, residing in the houses of fear, disgust, and blame they build themselves. And it's thus that, ironically enough, anyone who believes that social change is the harbinger of hell on earth makes a hell of their personal world, and closes himself up in that hell while the rest of us keep reaching toward heaven. It's sad.
posted by scarabic at 12:15 PM on May 17, 2004


I will not reopen this discussion since well, it's boring. Being anti-gay "marriage" does not mean being anti-gay. These are two separate things. It's not as if you people will start reproducing and forming family units after you get "married".
digaman, you did not "get married". I understand your happiness and I wish you well, but you use "marriage" perhaps for lack of a better word. Unless there's a man and a woman, it's not a couple.
posted by 111 at 12:32 PM on May 17, 2004


Why can't people just accept social change, and acknowledge that things are not as they were in 1954?

As much as I agree with gay marriage, I have to say this comment is silly. "Social change" is always good? It should always be accepted as inevitable? Every social phenomenon is better now than it was in 1954? Please. The better opponents of gay marriage have arguments (none of them is right, but still...) and those arguments need to be answered in order to convince them. Telling people to "just accept" a position is something I expect a religious zealot to do.
posted by mw at 12:34 PM on May 17, 2004


And the award for the most non-sequiturs goes to . . . . 111! Yay!
posted by yesster at 12:39 PM on May 17, 2004


This belief doesn't accomplish much, but it does have one immediate and dramatic effect: it alienates the person who holds it from the rest of the world.

That's why I don't feel hatred for homophobes (as opposed to homo-haters, there's a difference), but pity of a sort. I sense that if they could just find a way to reconcile themselves with the undeniable beauty and happiness of these couples, they'd want to join in the celebration.

To anyone listening, let me assure you: gay people don't want to make you gay, rape your children, or give you a makeover at gunpoint. Not all gay people are swishes, S&M freaks, man-haters, or Morrisey fans. They don't hate you or wanna take anything away from you. Except for who they're attracted to, they're more or less just like you. Relax, go find a gay person and bitch about sports or politics or music. You'll be surprised to see...yourself more or less. And you'll be better for it.

Unless there's a man and a woman, it's not a couple.

Then what is there? a few? Tying yourself in knots to defend an irrational belief will eventually leave you very twisted, dude.
posted by jonmc at 12:41 PM on May 17, 2004


...and not all Morrissey fans are gay.











Or are they?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:51 PM on May 17, 2004


I will not reopen this discussion

Oops.

...you use "marriage" perhaps for lack of a better word. Unless there's a man and a woman, it's not a couple.

Reality would seem to contradict this opinion of yours. I see pairs of men and women declaring publicly their love for and committment to one another. I see them raising children, getting mortgages, and growing old together. The one big difference from traditional marriages is that the parties are of the same sex. If you think that's an important point (as little as I think it helps to understand their relationship qua married couple), call it "gay marriage" to make it perfectly clear, if you like. Refusing to call it marriage, however, just looks like an effort to obfuscate the truth. Or rewrite reality to one's liking.
posted by mw at 12:54 PM on May 17, 2004


Unless there's a man and a woman, it's not a couple.

I think there's a serious lack of English comprehension going on here.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:11 PM on May 17, 2004


Not all gay people are swishes, S&M freaks, man-haters, or Morrisey fans.

Ha. It's Morrissey though. And you know, not many homosexuals seem to like Morrissey. Apparently, he was harshly criticized by the "gay community" (whatever that means) for not being militant enough or something. Ironically, if there's one person in the world who made me have any respect for homosexuals and their plight, that was Steven Patrick Morrissey, whose beautiful lyrics for "Dial-A-Cliche"
("But the person underneath
Where does he go ?
Does he slide by the wayside ?
Or ... does he just die ? ")
are perhaps the best description of the sadness of social repression ever written.

About the couple thing, I insist: a couple means a man and a woman. Sure, you can go ahead and call a pig and a starfish a "couple", or describe two fully bearded accountants from Milwaukee as a "couple", but male and female He made them, and everything else belongs to another class altogether. So I do not associate words like couple and marriage to homosexual relations.
posted by 111 at 1:24 PM on May 17, 2004


So I do not associate words like couple and marriage to homosexual relations.

is this because you aren't anti-gay?
posted by mcsweetie at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2004


11 - He ? You mean the guy who told the Israelites so many times to "Go down into the land of _____ and kill every man woman and child" ?

Or were you refering to the guy who talked of love, and forgiveness ?

According to the first guy, it was OK to molest one's daughter or to offer her up to a gang of strangers to be gang raped.

The "love and foregiveness" guy I have respect for. But I think the vengeful older guy is an ass.

_______________________________________

What if they threw a "culture war" and nobody came? -

"Religious right confused by lack of traction from gay-marriage issue"
posted by troutfishing at 1:43 PM on May 17, 2004


quoth 111, "Unless there's a man and a woman, it's not a couple."

And unless something shows that it adapts to its environment, it's not classified as "living." And yet, here you are.

In all seriousness though, language changes, morphs, and adapts constantly. Misuse becomes common use, slang gets into the OED, new words are invented, and most importantly, existing ones are redefined.

You can't argue that this isn't marriage anymore, 111. Because in Massachusetts, as of 12:01am today, it most certainly is.

Also, I can't believe I said March instead of May. That's what I get for pulling an all-nighter and posting to MeFi at the end of it. And yes, the title is a reference to the Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve thing.
posted by CrayDrygu at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2004


Sure, you can go ahead and call a pig and a starfish a "couple",

No, a pig and a starfish is makin's for pork sushi.

or describe two fully bearded accountants from Milwaukee as a "couple",

Well, that's one couple that would have a simpler time with all the tax issues people were bringing up earlier.

but male and female He made them, and everything else belongs to another class altogether. So I do not associate words like couple and marriage to homosexual relations.

And gay & straight He made them, too.
posted by jonmc at 1:48 PM on May 17, 2004


111: Marriage doesn't enforce a romantic relationship - a male and female "couple" who are romantically indifferent or even overall averse to one another can marry for tax purposes, and it's sometimes done. Marriage today serves to tie together peoples assets and perhaps encourage raising children. It stipulates nothing about the nature of the relationship, so at this point there's no point in making qualifications about what sort of duo (I darenot say couple! ;) ) can marry, as it's just a contract! Which is why my idea is to eliminate marriage, and give everyone civil unions.
posted by abcde at 1:52 PM on May 17, 2004


fucking beautiful. anyone against should be shot in the face. The French Revolution was genius! (kindof)
posted by Satapher at 1:55 PM on May 17, 2004


Cray - so when's your wedding? ;)
posted by kavasa at 2:05 PM on May 17, 2004


A hearty & sincere congratulations to digaman & Keith, and all the happy couples who are going to be legitimized by this decision.
posted by chicobangs at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2004


As much as I agree with gay marriage, I have to say this comment is silly. "Social change" is always good? It should always be accepted as inevitable? Every social phenomenon is better now than it was in 1954? Please. The better opponents of gay marriage have arguments (none of them is right, but still...) and those arguments need to be answered in order to convince them. Telling people to "just accept" a position is something I expect a religious zealot to do.

Let me clarify. People need to accept that everything is "for now". Life is fluid, and the need to stand still in time should not be acceptable behavior in any person. Part of living is being in linear time, and accepting the changes that come, good or bad.
posted by benjh at 2:17 PM on May 17, 2004


I just saw on BBC News24 the celebrations in Cambridge and Boston, where a health worker and an estate agent (realtor) got married in tuxes.

The gay marriage opponent stated that "these people want to tear down the established order...the opposite of hierarchy is anarchy".

The only appropriate response is..."Bwa-ha-haa!!!"
posted by dash_slot- at 2:23 PM on May 17, 2004


ohme, the flaws in mans love of logic. you dont need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
posted by Satapher at 2:32 PM on May 17, 2004


About the couple thing, I insist: a couple means a man and a woman. Sure, you can go ahead and call a pig and a starfish a "couple", or describe two fully bearded accountants from Milwaukee as a "couple", but male and female He made them, and everything else belongs to another class altogether. So I do not associate words like couple and marriage to homosexual relations.

Unfortunately for you, those words are not yours to define. Do you, like Humpty Dumpty, say that words mean what you want them to mean, neither more nor less? Neither do they belong to your god: "male and female He made them" is not to be found in our Constitution. No, they belong to our secular state and society, not to you or your church.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:43 PM on May 17, 2004


Congratulations to Massachusetts., and to all the happy couples making commitments of love.

You new couples: consider adopting some kids. We need more children brought up in relationships based upon love.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:00 PM on May 17, 2004


Absolutely, m&mmm.

111 can be perfectly right: this is not a doctrinally permissible marriage, according to whatever religious principles inform 111's views. Marriage itself, however, is and always has been a private, civil arrangement. The church didn't even get in on it officially until the Council of Trent, in the 16th century.

Congratulations to digaman and Keith!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:39 PM on May 17, 2004


I was there, on the steps of City Hall in Cambridge last night. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

And the image that will stick with me more than any of the rest is my student Zachary, a sixth grader, who I saw flushed with sheer joy, jumping around excitedly because his moms were about to get their marriage license. Anyone who could see such a sight and not be moved has put their politics above their humanity.

I'd also like to offer my congrats to digaman on the occasion of his marriage.
posted by Chanther at 3:40 PM on May 17, 2004


Somebody's a little nervous!
posted by modofo at 3:48 PM on May 17, 2004


You can't argue that this isn't marriage anymore, 111.

I'm doing just that, otherwise you'd have nothing to reply to.

marry for tax purposes

Now that's a sad idea.

why my idea is to eliminate marriage, and give everyone civil unions.

How about we keep marriage as an institution destined to celebrate the union between man and woman, usually with the prospect of reproduction, raising a family etc etc?

Unfortunately for you, those words are not yours to define.

Sure, but they don't belong to you gays either. So to each his own. For instance, let's suppose there are two homosexuals (let's call them Mr[Ms]. Fold and Mr[Ms].Mutilate) who happen to know me and decide to go to Massachusetts and get this thing. I will not refer to them as a "couple", I'll not ever say they're "married" and I'd never ever tell them to go ahead and adopt children.

"male and female He made them" is not to be found in our Constitution.

It is to be found in a Higher Law, given to humankind by God. Both work fine within their respective spheres, and both guide most common citizens in perfect harmony.

joes spleen, that's wrong. Judaism and Christianity have performed religious ceremonies destined to celebrate the union between a man and a woman centuries before "a health worker and an estate agent (realtor) got married in tuxes"...
posted by 111 at 3:55 PM on May 17, 2004


Everybody stop talking to or about 111. He hasn't proved himself worthy of response, and certainly not worthy of our wasted time.

Congratulations all who are having their surely long-awaited ceremonies today. I'm still waiting for the common sense to spread from ONtario to other provinces so we won't feel so backwards.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:59 PM on May 17, 2004


the image that will stick with me more than any of the rest is my student Zachary, a sixth grader, who I saw flushed with sheer joy, jumping around excitedly because his moms were about to get their marriage license

Again, I am moved by the natural joys that reforms we have waited too long for can bring.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:02 PM on May 17, 2004


Being anti-gay "marriage" does not mean being anti-gay.
Heh, that's right, we all know how compassionate you are.

It's not as if you people will start reproducing and forming family units after you get "married".
What makes you say that? I'd love to see your "evidence," I'm sure it'll be just as entertaing as the last bit of evidence you presented.
posted by badstone at 4:03 PM on May 17, 2004


Please listen to Space Coyote, this thread coud be joyous, not another trollfest.
posted by signal at 4:18 PM on May 17, 2004


Sisters, stop talking to 111! Talk to the coyote instead! It's an order! He feels "backwards"!

It's not as if you people will start reproducing and forming family units after you get "married".
What makes you say that? I'd love to see your "evidence," I'm sure it'll be just as entertaing as the last bit of evidence you presented.

Well, I was under the impression that you people didn't not enjoy heterosexual intercourse. You mean you'll have kids even though these infants will grow up without the benefit of having adults performing normal, loving parental roles etc? Because that's a shame.
(BTW, look close enough and you'll see that the evidence I presented was ultimately from the CDC no less)
posted by 111 at 4:20 PM on May 17, 2004


right, no heterosexual intercourse. and how exactly does your next sentence follow from that?

(and, although I'm honored to be distanced as "you people" from someone like yourself, I am in fact straight. I'm just a human being with a conscience, compassion, and a soul.)
posted by badstone at 4:24 PM on May 17, 2004


How about we keep marriage as an institution destined to celebrate the union between man and woman, usually with the prospect of reproduction, raising a family etc etc?

A court can't determine if a man and a woman are abusing that design. My point is at the moment it doesn't help at all to encourage ("celebrate?") romantic relationships, so it really doesn't even remotely resemble its original purpose anyway.

Point is, if roommates (or not) who are merely friends can marry arbitrarily, then it's not actually enforcing anything. So by your plan, which says marriage has to have anything to do with romantic relationships, we'd have change marriage back to something like Covenant marriage, which does kinda enforce a traditional romantic/mating style "family unit" relationship (which have in some states, and I don't feel any need to stand up for covenant gay marriage anyway ;) ) or accept that marriage has turned into a financial contract and move it in that direction.

For more evidence, the courts seem enforce the "original terms of the relationship," not society's standards for a relationship - even further showing that the social model of married life has nothing to do with legal marriage, except the name.
posted by abcde at 4:24 PM on May 17, 2004


At one time arranged marriages were the norm...and a dowry was often involved....romance leading to marriage is a recent phenomenon!
posted by SweetIceT at 4:40 PM on May 17, 2004


adults performing normal, loving parental roles etc?

As it happens, many gay people have children, 111.

- biologically (as I did)
- by adoption (as many do, after they meet partners with existing children)
- fostering (as many public spirited folk of all walks in life do)

Some lesbian & gay folk have relationships resulting in children before settling down. So do straights. We do things a little differently, but no less effectively. Some of us have remained as a major part of our kids lives, even after we moved out of the mothers house - we have shared the upbringing.

We gay folks are successful parents. Where do you go with your barmy arguments when the 'gays can't do parenting' model fails?

I don't know what's the point in telling this. Nothing will change your mind. Thats what makes you bigoted. [nb: This is a description, not a label]

You should feel sadder about that than I do.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:41 PM on May 17, 2004


I will not refer to them as a "couple", I'll not ever say they're "married" and I'd never ever tell them to go ahead and adopt children.

Well, guess what? It will all go on anyway, with or without your approval.
posted by jonmc at 4:43 PM on May 17, 2004


marriage has turned into a financial contract

Marriage has always been a financial contract, and historically, that has been the predominant aspect of it, 111's protestations notwithstanding.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:49 PM on May 17, 2004


Yeah, and I coulda sworn the Church, in the Middle Ages, performed gay marriages. I thought that the whole idea of Marriage As Act Of Love is recent, and that, for most of human history, it's been all about the benjamins.

Congrats, Massachusetts. Why California can't get its act together, toss Pete Knight's law into the Pacific, and just follow SF's suit, I dunno. Takes time, I guess.
posted by RakDaddy at 4:52 PM on May 17, 2004


Speaking of Pete Knight, I didn't realize that he died recently.

And, no, that's not a gloat. Pity on him, compassion for him, beer and skittles for everyone else.
posted by RakDaddy at 4:54 PM on May 17, 2004


That's sad, but someone of far greater consequence (NTM more pleasant) passed away as well.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on May 17, 2004


badstone, you never fooled me. Fess up, you play for the hometeam! Everybody knows it!
Now seriously, that may well be true, but the fact that you make it a point to mention that you're not gay (just as the attempts from some of the homosexuals here to describe me as a secretly gay or something) reveals that homophobia can sometimes be detected among those who are supposedly enlightened sympathizers of the homosexual cause...

As to your previous comments, I don't get it. The family unit usually includes real children, not Chihuahuas or china collections. I think gay people should not ever adopt or have children.

We gay folks are successful parents.

dash_slot, not even most heterosexual people are entirely successful parents. The fact that you have a kid should be an exception to homosexuals. The thing is, nobody can have it all. It's not easy for me to see how a person can be a father and have a boyfriend or something. If that idea is strange for an adult, it's probably outright incomprehensible for a kid.

A court can't determine if a man and a woman are abusing that design. My point is at the moment it doesn't help at all to encourage ("celebrate?") romantic relationships, so it really doesn't even remotely resemble its original purpose anyway.

abcde, that's true, and that's why marriage is such a complex and multi-layered word. But the fact that some people misuse the institution of marriage shouldn't serve as an argument to dismiss the classic notion of marriage altogether.

romance leading to marriage is a recent phenomenon!

Unless you're a royal, the idea of marriage as a celebration of romantic love is a few centuries old at the very least.

jonmc, it's not about me. Life is different outside the stifling, artificial, delusional confines of MetaFilter. I often smile silently to myself when I'm accused of hating gays or being a bigot or whatever, because people who say that clearly do not know what gay bashing is. I hope to God they never run across a real homophobe, because these people, unlike yours truly, are quite unwilling to debate gay rights and assorted issues.
posted by 111 at 5:05 PM on May 17, 2004


I will not reopen this discussion since well, it's boring.

All right! Didja hear that everybody? The conversation is not--I repeat: not--open. Conversation closed. Thank god.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:08 PM on May 17, 2004


ok, I give up 111. i guess you're trying to play some bizarre quonsar-esque word game but with your signature right wing hate slant. unsurprisingly, it's not all that funny. apologies to Space Coyote for taking away from the happiness that this thread ought to have been about.
posted by badstone at 5:13 PM on May 17, 2004


Mazel tov to all the happy couples. Today, Massachusetts; tomorrow, the entire country, god willing.

Now to the shit being smeared all over this thread, like so many others 111 gets involved in. 111, You're not debating anything--just repeating lies and misinformation, and the same shit coming out of your mouth i've heard before (from those bashers you seem to think we don't know of). Disgusting. And if it's so stifling, artificial and delusional here, then leave. If you think you're showing us the error of our ways by your presence, think again.


Back to the joy: here's a little more on out-of-state couples that went to Provincetown to marry today. (A couple from Alabama was first in line) : >
posted by amberglow at 5:19 PM on May 17, 2004


As much as I may disagree with 111 (and wonder if it's a troll account or whatever), I must say...

The family unit usually includes real children, not Chihuahuas or china collections.

...made me laugh out loud. It was the alliteration. Kudos!

MetaFilter: Not Chihuahuas or china collections.
posted by tittergrrl at 5:26 PM on May 17, 2004


Or perhaps We're not Chihuahuas or china collections.
posted by tittergrrl at 5:28 PM on May 17, 2004


The fact that you have a kid should be an exception to homosexuals. The thing is, nobody can have it all. It's not easy for me to see how a person can be a father and have a boyfriend or something. If that idea is strange for an adult, it's probably outright incomprehensible for a kid.

111, know what? I haven't bothered to mention this before in any of the previous discussions, but the woman whom I am going to marry has a gay dad. He came out when she was 21 and that was 10 years ago.

Despite the fact that he had (and has) the gay, he's been a very good father-- he raised a woman of incredible warmth and compassion. And he would have done that regardless of who he elected to have a family with.

Obviously, if he, as a young man, had been able to ignore the stigma that people like you want to preserve, my life would be a lot different now. However, objectively a world that lets people live their lives without prejudice or discrimination would have saved a few people a lot of hurt 10 years ago and spared him a lot of shame and secrets for 21 before that. And he and my fiancee's mother would have raised stellar kids with other people.

A gay person made a big difference in my life and I can only hope that his home state has the same sense of fair play that mine does.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:35 PM on May 17, 2004


dash_slot...The fact that you have a kid should* be an exception to homosexuals...... It's not easy for me to see how a person can be a father and have a boyfriend or something. If that idea is strange for an adult, it's probably outright incomprehensible for a kid.

Which just confirms to me the relative positions taken by my little 'un and 111 on the IQ spectrum.

*Who died and made you the Lord High CouldaWouldaShoulda? Aren't you supposed to be in favour of freedom?
posted by dash_slot- at 5:36 PM on May 17, 2004


jonmc, it's not about me.

Well, you seem to have gone out of your way to make it about you.

Life is different outside the stifling, artificial, delusional confines of MetaFilter.

You don't have to tell us. We live there too.

I often smile silently to myself when I'm accused of hating gays or being a bigot or whatever, because people who say that clearly do not know what gay bashing is. I hope to God they never run across a real homophobe, because these people, unlike yours truly, are quite unwilling to debate gay rights and assorted issues.

First of all, I've dealt with people so right-wing that they make you look like a head-shop clerk in the Haight-Ashbury. What, you thought we were the little pixel people who live in your computer.

What, you're not lurking in the alley behind a gay bar with a baseball bat, so you're not a homophobe? Sorry, that dosen't wash. Your calm politely stated bigotry gives tacit support to those who do. Plus attitudes like yours lend support to the lawmakers who make discriminatory law.

Plus, you have made this particular issue your personal crusade. You don't approve of gay marriage, that's your prerogative, I don't belive in brotherhood by force. But to keep insistently shouting your disapproval from the rooftops the way you do, can only lead me to one conclusion: that this is a deep seated difficulty with you, not just a difference of opinion. The world is full of people who do things I morally disapprove of. But I do not make it my personal raison d'etre to deny any of them full citizenship. You do. And yes, full citizenship in this country includes the right to choose who to love, who to live with and who to start a family with.

I fail to see how you can claim any moral ground to stand on, when you are forcing your beliefs on people whose actions do not affect you.
posted by jonmc at 5:36 PM on May 17, 2004


If you look at the photos from Massachussetts and the earlier photos from SF, you'll see amidst all the rejoicing and happiness the IRL equivalent of 111: waving placards which disgrace Christianity and make you feel sorry for them. They've become almost as much part of the scene as bouquets or confetti. Think of them as being part of a new wedding custom - a symbol of what these couples have triumphed over. Think of them as being like a chained fiend under the heel of a saint in a mediaeval painting. They are there in the picture to remind people of what has been overcome- even if only temporarily- to allow these marriages to go ahead.

Let them be part of the celebrations - a small ugly part in the corner, reminding people how far things have come. Let them have a useful role after all, reminding us how lucky we are, that we don't believe that sort of thing anymore. Congratulations and joy to all these couples :-)
posted by Flitcraft at 5:49 PM on May 17, 2004


And on that note, I'd like to send flowers to some of these great folks who have proudly and publicly declared their commitment to the partners they have chosen to love. I know there were a number of florists in San Francisco who were accepting online orders for out-of-towners to buy bouquets for random couples -- anyone know of businesses/sites doing the same in Mass.? (I'd particularly like to buy flowers for couples who may be getting married in some of the smaller towns -- I have the sense that not every town in the state is going to be as celebratory as Cambridge and Provincetown.)
posted by scody at 5:50 PM on May 17, 2004


I'd particularly like to buy flowers for couples who may be getting married in some of the smaller towns

Word on the street is that most people are travelling to metro Boston or even Worcester for their paperwork and giving small town clerks time to adjust.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:02 PM on May 17, 2004


You know, there is a nice little passage in Beloved, a novel about the experiences of ex-slaves in Cincinnati, in which one of the protagonists finds herself in the home of an abolitionist white family, who just happens to have one of those Jim Crow groom statues as decoration. A nice scene in which Morrison makes the point clear, there are ranges of bigotry from the violent sort who get their kicks out of physical violence, to the more insidious kind in which you want the best for a minority because they just can't help it that they are inferior.

Of course, I've experienced the full range, from somone promising to throw my balls in a blender, to the nice men who will say they don't hate gays, but then argue for routine and systematic discrimination. So I'm well aware that the person who argues I should not be interviewing 3rd grade boys as part of my job, is a harbringer, a shadow of the man with a baseball bat. The person who swings the baseball bat is more honest than the person who shuffles my resume to the bottom of the stack.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:03 PM on May 17, 2004


one of the couples quoted in this story run a flower shop in Northampton, scody...maybe them? (it's one of these, i guess
posted by amberglow at 6:11 PM on May 17, 2004


I try to understand those you who feel degraded by same-sex marriage, but frankly, you just don't interest me. Why aren't you all getting married and living happily after? Why are you thinking about me sucking my boyfriend's dick?

You don't like gay weddings? Fine, show us what a real relationship is. I suspect that a lot of certain troll's animosity towards us has a little bit to do with his own unpopularity than it does with us.

Personally, I'm a little worried about the sanctity of good honest sodomy between people who don't really care what internet-trolls and tv preachers think about them. I personally like living a life unsanctioned by Hallmark and George Bush.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:18 PM on May 17, 2004


gesamtkunstwerk talks a big game of counterculture, but he's really just saving up to buy me that big honkin' ring at Tiffany on Bloor St.

That is what you're doing, isn't it?

Hey, where did he go?

posted by stonerose at 6:28 PM on May 17, 2004


gesamtkunstwerk, get an estate diamond, and have it set at tiffany's. : >
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on May 17, 2004


"Let them be part of the celebrations - a small ugly part in the corner, reminding people how far things have come. Let them have a useful role after all, reminding us how lucky we are, that we don't believe that sort of thing anymore. Congratulations and joy to all these couples :-)"

Exactly. And I'd like gay couples to hold up signs of congratulations for nice straight couples. I'm happy for Mayor Curly, not threatened.

I'd even be happy if we could find someone for 111. Anyone interested?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2004


no, get a .357 magnum, knock over Tiffany's, fence the ice to the syndicate, and run off to Barbados, ya palooka.
posted by jonmc at 6:44 PM on May 17, 2004


more flower places listed here
posted by amberglow at 7:11 PM on May 17, 2004


Aw, I'd marry him with a cubic zirconium from the Home Shopping Channel. (Although that does lack the romance of jonmc's proposal.... jon, have you ever seen the film Burnt Money?)

I think we actually would get married if we lived somewhere that was in need of exemplars of stable, boring, monogamous, respectable, state-sanctioned couplehood of the homo variant. But we live in Toronto, so we'll just continue being stable, boring, monogamous, quasi-respectable, coupled, and unsanctioned.

What "red" North America needs is married gay immigrants from "blue" North America. That would quickly pave the way for safe gay families, married or not. To me, the issue isn't social sanction: it's whatever makes it safe for us to live together and raise happy kids (if we wish), wherever we want. That's freedom. It isn't gay parents that threaten the kids of gay parents: it's homophobes. If gay marriage helps people overcome homophobia or homo-hatred or whatever you want to call it, great. But that, IMHO, has to be the main plank of the "Gay Agenda."
posted by stonerose at 7:16 PM on May 17, 2004


My condolences to all you gay folks who are getting hitched. Marriage is a venerable institution, like Alcatraz.
posted by Hildago at 7:32 PM on May 17, 2004


I still like Lileks' take on gay marriage the best: "If you're opposed to gay marriage, don't have one. If you want to defend traditional marriage, stay married."
posted by mw at 8:18 PM on May 17, 2004


I said "yey!" today, out loud, at least a dozen times to people who were newly-wed, soon-to-be-wed, or just supporters wearing a GLAD shirt or a "I agree with the SJC" sticker. MassEquality was out (pun intended) in force and it was great to see.

Wow.
posted by andreaazure at 8:29 PM on May 17, 2004


I'll be looking forward to the studies comparing gay vs straight divorce stats.

When it comes to gay marriage, history will show that the big winners here are matrimonial attorneys.
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:39 PM on May 17, 2004


and caterers, and florists, and tuxedo rentals, and reception halls, etc : > (it would actually help the economy if it was legal everywhere--weddings are a gigantic business)
posted by amberglow at 8:48 PM on May 17, 2004


Well, Fupped Duck, we don't have divorce statistics on gay marriage yet, but there is a Professor at the University of Washington who does marriage research and wrote a book called "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail."

I heard him interviewed on NPR last month and he said that the research they did on same-sex couples showed that they had better communication and stronger relationships, generally, and tended to stay together longer than straight relationships!

His argument was that it was all about communication. Women ARE from Venus and men are from MARS, so two men or two women are much better at communicating with each other than a straight couple.
posted by PigAlien at 9:06 PM on May 17, 2004


Oh, and he gave a hysterical example. He said he was recording a conversation between a gay couple and the couple was discussing their sex life. The one man said to the other, "Who was responsible for our not having sex this morning?" The other guy responded, "Well, you know you're not really my type and I'm not turned on by your body." The first one responded, "Yes, I know that, but who was responsible?"

Can you imagine if a man had said that to a woman? Instant divorce! But the men were very frank with each other. I don't know how it works for lesbians... :) Obviously, I think women would be much more emotionally in tune with each other and better able to communicate their emotions.
posted by PigAlien at 9:13 PM on May 17, 2004


John Gottman interview on 'This American Life'. During the interview he talks about gay relationship research he's done (briefly).
posted by PigAlien at 9:18 PM on May 17, 2004


111, just to clarify your position: If a straight couple has absolutely no intention of having children, and they get married in a civil ceremony, do you consider them to really be married?
posted by bingo at 9:35 PM on May 17, 2004


a male and female "couple" who are romantically indifferent or even overall averse to one another can marry for tax purposes...

Well, it's not like gay marriages will make phony marriage tax abuse go away... or phony marriage immigration policy abuse, for that matter. If anything, they'll make both far easier. I do wonder about that.

That aside, however, I feel indifferent towards gay marriages. As long as no one is getting hurt, why not? However, I believe the real priority of the gay movement should be ending violence against gays, in the States and in other parts of the world. Otherwise, how can people expect such rights as marriage to start to include gays, when so many examples abound of the failure to recognize their far more basic right to exist in peace and safety? With the foundation in place, other rights will come easier.

I do however, take issue with those in the gay movement who flaunt and impose their sexual orientation on whoever they can find, getting a rise out of making people uncomfortable. This is not a gay issue -- it is offensive in the same way that an obsessed frat boy incessantly trying to prove his "virility" is offensive, humping the leg of any female-type thing he can find and generally being a boor. I appreciate people who are civil enough to keep it in their pants, whatever "it" is.

Not sure about child adoption, though. I'm sure some gay couples would make excellent parents, and other would make horrendous ones, but there are unanswered questions here. Humans are animals, after all... do animals that never procreate rear young? How will this affect the adopted kids? I haven't a clue, but it'd be nice to know before such adoptions are encouraged.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:11 PM on May 17, 2004


I don't understand why anyone is arguing with 111. He/she thinks homosexuality is morally wrong. He/she thinks that "marriage" is inherently a heterosexual institution.

Others of us don't.

This isn't a subtle difference of opinion, folks. These are differences that are axiomatic. There's nothing to be argued.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:42 PM on May 17, 2004


bingo: you and I both are of a mind to allow 111 plenty of space to express his views, but s/he does not always respond to direct questions. In this respect, s/he is more of a classic troll, hit & run type, not willing to address his/her own inconsistencies.

Eg, s/he has a general freedom-loving conservative outlook, but does not see how that contradicts phrases like"...I think gay people should not ever adopt or have children....The fact that you have a kid should be an exception to homosexuals."

A genuine conservative outlook, which respects each others privacy, freedom and family life (all good tory principles, no?) is expressed by Lileks so: "Say what you will about gay marriage, it's nice to see someone taking the institution seriously...If you're opposed to gay marriage, don't have one. If you want to defend traditional marriage, stay married." Thanks mw - worth repeating, methinks.

The disrespect shown here by 111 is tantamount to abuse ["you people"..."you gays"...111 expects that the Higher Law, referred to vaguely so as to avoid challenge, applies universally - though surely principles of religious freedom allow me to dissent on any or no grounds whatsoever. This also is disrespectful].

However, s/he is careful not to risk losing his/her licence to comment in this widely read forum. Our best tactic is to test his/her opinions with logic:, eg:
It's not easy for me to see how a person can be a father and have a boyfriend or something. If that idea is strange for an adult, it's probably outright incomprehensible for a kid.

- i have difficulty with conceptualising gay fathers;
- i am a human;
- therefore all humans will have this difficulty with gay fathers.


The fallacy is that not all of us have your learning difficulties, 111, so we don't all get stuck where you do.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:12 AM on May 18, 2004


and caterers, and florists, and tuxedo rentals, and reception halls, etc : > (it would actually help the economy if it was legal everywhere--weddings are a gigantic business)

Actually at a gay male wedding you'd need two tuxes. I think the formal wear people are behind all this.
posted by jonmc at 5:36 AM on May 18, 2004


I think the formal wear people are behind all this.

I'd say an average wedding dress, which is usually purchased, is going to contribute more to the cost of a wedding than a rented (or even purchased) tux.

Although I'm sure the wedding industry will try to figure out a way to make this as expensive as possible, regardless of the gender(s) involved in the ceremony.
posted by deadcowdan at 6:05 AM on May 18, 2004


I'm sure the wedding industry will try to figure out a way to make this as expensive as possible,
Equality in action : >

Krrrlson, we don't have the luxury of picking and choosing our battles. Non-discrimination laws in work (ENDA) and housing are far more important, as well as of course, ending violence (that one can't be solved through laws or court decisions). This has been bubbling up since the early 90s (remember Hawaii?), and was made a campaign issue by Bush.
posted by amberglow at 6:11 AM on May 18, 2004


However, I believe the real priority of the gay movement should be ending violence against gays, in the States and in other parts of the world. Otherwise, how can people expect such rights as marriage to start to include gays, when so many examples abound of the failure to recognize their far more basic right to exist in peace and safety? With the foundation in place, other rights will come easier.

So, it's the responsibility of gays to end violence against gays? You can't have meant that. I agree that we cannot take another Matthew Shepard or Brandon Teena

Surely it's necessary for us all to combat violence (against anyone), thus making full expression of human rights for all much easier to achieve. I would stop & ask if someone shared my orientation to assit if they were in danger, nor - I'm sure - would you.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:36 AM on May 18, 2004


If that idea is strange for an adult, it's probably outright incomprehensible for a kid.

A child who grows up in a loving household with two moms or dads isn't going to think it's strange at all. It's all they'll ever know, and they'll be lucky to have two parents, as there are many out there with one because of divorce.
posted by agregoli at 6:59 AM on May 18, 2004


I would *not*stop & ask if someone shared my orientation to assist if they were in danger, nor - I'm sure - would you.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:20 AM on May 18, 2004


I believe the real priority of the gay movement should be ending violence against gays, in the States and in other parts of the world.

Gay marriage is one way to go about this. As soon as people start looking at gay people as just, well, people, then that is a step toward ending the violence. Will it ever end? Probably not. Man is violent by nature. Wasn't it just a few years ago that a black man in Texas was dragged from behind a pick up truck?
posted by archimago at 7:22 AM on May 18, 2004


And please stop talking to 111 about this issue. S/he posts a FPP about the dangerous sexual behavior of gay men, but then in this post disregards such things as a "gay community." So it's okay to lump us into a group ans generalize when you want to denegrate us, but it's not okay when we lump ourselves into a group to celebrate our unity.

S/he's the worst kind of bigot. The one who can't see the real image in the mirror.
posted by archimago at 7:26 AM on May 18, 2004


I think it's worth pointing out that 111 had a really good point:

It's May, not March.

Let's not forget that.
posted by soyjoy at 9:56 AM on May 18, 2004


So, it's the responsibility of gays to end violence against gays? You can't have meant that. I agree that we cannot take another Matthew Shepard or Brandon Teena

You are correct, I didn't. Priority != responsibility. Also, you have mentioned incidents involving individuals. Let's take a look at this century... gays have shared the Nazi death camps with the Jews and other "subhumans," they shared the Russian gulags with the dissidents, and even today they are hated and routinely savaged in numerous parts of the world. This is widespread discrimination and abuse. Should we "take" that? Shouldn't the drive to help gay people be expanded beyond North America and Europe?


Gay marriage is one way to go about this. As soon as people start looking at gay people as just, well, people, then that is a step toward ending the violence.

I think the effect will be limited. Did discrimination against gays end after it was prohibited by law? Why would sanctioning homosexuality via marriage be any different? In my opinion, the right to marry will help gays themselves stop feeling like second-class citizens, but I doubt it will change the perception of most of the rest of the population.


A child who grows up in a loving household with two moms or dads isn't going to think it's strange at all. It's all they'll ever know, and they'll be lucky to have two parents, as there are many out there with one because of divorce.

How about adoption of children who are old enough to know the difference? I also don't see how having loving gay parents is somehow better than having a loving divorced parent. I don't know that it's worse, but what is your basis for the claim?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2004


The person who swings the baseball bat is more honest than the person who shuffles my resume to the bottom of the stack.

This point forms the basis of Bruce Graham's play Belmont Avenue Social Club.
posted by soyjoy at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2004


I'm gay. I'm married. It's wonderful. It's the future.
posted by digaman


Oh, Congrats angel! Yay y'all!

And congrats to the rest of the happy couples! A bunch of my RL friends were there, handing out bouquets and snacks for the folks in line. Wish I could have been there too.

And as a personal note, I just got an email from my "maiden aunts". They've been together since WWII. They are both in their 80's. They've asked my cousin to come pick them up in North Carolina and drive them to Mass, so they can take the public vow that the world has forbidden them to take for 50 years. Gods bless them. How can anyone see that as wrong? I'm teary just thinking about how happy this has made them, and what it means to them to be able to finally stand before everyone and declare themselves wife and wife. Bless their little grey heads. :) When find out when they're going to be there, I may have to get the man to stay home from with the boy for a couple of days so I can fly up and be there for it.

I really am weepy about what this means to so many people. It's beautiful, it was a long time in coming, and gods willing, the rest of the states will come to their senses and allow people to live their lives unmolested by other people's religious hangups.
posted by dejah420 at 10:11 AM on May 18, 2004


Your calm politely stated bigotry gives tacit support to those who do. Plus attitudes like yours lend support to the lawmakers who make discriminatory law.

No. Just as your calm, polite gayness has probably nothing to do with the antics of militant homosexuals who oppose the Church and shout "bring back the lions" whenever they're in direct conflict with Christians, my own views are no endorsement of violence towards gays. That's a stupid assumption. I do support legislating against gay "marriage", but this is the way democracy works. It's a free world. I offer no compromise other than offering my POV on this issue.

I'd even be happy if we could find someone for 111. Anyone interested?

Sure, since I oppose gay "marriage" I must be a lonely, heartless trollish curmudgeon or something like that. How cruel! I'm trying to spoil the herdlike fun of a couple of homosexuals unaccustomed to different opinions! How tragic! How dramatic! How utterly bewildering!

If a straight couple has absolutely no intention of having children, and they get married in a civil ceremony, do you consider them to really be married?

bingo, yes, although the religious ceremony (in my case, the Catholic wedding) is more important than the civil marriage, and eventually having children should be a natural expectation for most couples.
posted by 111 at 10:49 AM on May 18, 2004


Congratulations, dejah -- what wonderful news for your family! All warm wishes to your aunts.

Also, thanks to everyone for florist suggestions -- much obliged.
posted by scody at 11:14 AM on May 18, 2004


Sure, since I oppose gay "marriage" I must be a lonely, heartless trollish curmudgeon or something like that.

So prove them wrong.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:20 AM on May 18, 2004


I do support legislating against gay "marriage", but this is the way democracy works.

So if you supported legislation that supported segregation, would that be how democracy worked?

bingo, yes, although the religious ceremony (in my case, the Catholic wedding) is more important than the civil marriage, and eventually having children should be a natural expectation for most couples.

What of non-religious heterosexual couples? They don't want a religious ceremony.

In fact, in a secular society, the most important part of marriage is the civil one, not the religious one.

But I'm really just wasting my breath. Because no matter how justified you think you our in your espoused belief system, there will be people who disagree with you. A lot of them. Because this is a civil rights issue, plain and simple. People are born gay, and gay people accept that. But we don't want to be treated as second class citizens anymore than you do.

You talk about people calling for the lions. It's no different than you calling for the restriction of civil rights. I am sick of people claiming the "Oppressed Christian" thing, while at the same time, condemning others in exactly the same fashion.
posted by benjh at 11:35 AM on May 18, 2004


Just as your calm, polite gayness has probably nothing to do with the antics of militant homosexuals who oppose the Church and shout "bring back the lions" whenever they're in direct conflict with Christians, my own views are no endorsement of violence towards gays.

You neglected to mention that the reason these "militant homosexuals" oppose your church is because it opposes homosexuals. If your church weren't working against my rights, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Would you have an objection to non-Christians working against the rights of Christians in this country? How would you feel about having religious ideas woven into civil society when Christianity becomes a minority religion?

How much violence is there against Christians in this country, anyway? Can you point me to one case of Christian-bashing? Who's the Christian equivalent of Matthew Shepard? You can accrue bonus points if it was committed by a gay person, ok?

With regard to your stance on gay marriage, if the religious ceremony is what's important to you, why do you care about the civil marriage itself?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2004


I'm gay. I'm married. It's wonderful. It's the future.

I only wish you'd've given me more warning. I would've jumped out of a cake at your bachelor party. Oreaten my out. or something.

All joking aside, congrats, digaman.
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on May 18, 2004


No. Just as your calm, polite gayness has probably nothing to do with the antics of militant homosexuals who oppose the Church and shout "bring back the lions" whenever they're in direct conflict with Christians, my own views are no endorsement of violence towards gays.

and, oh yeah. I'm straight, genius. Not all of us think like you.
posted by jonmc at 11:43 AM on May 18, 2004


111: If the religious ceremony is what's really important, then it sounds like your objection is more based in a basic religious definition of marriage as a hetero institution than in concerns over the legal definition of the civil arrangement. In that case, though, I could understand your objections to gays wanting to be married in the eyes of the Catholic church. But why do you care whether or not they're allowed to have the legal status of a married to couple? Do you see it as part of a slippery slope that could threaten the religious idea of marriage? Or maybe you just don't like the idea of gay couples getting tax breaks for being married?

I'm for gays being allowed to call their couplehood whatever they want, and allowing that to be a civil marriage certainly makes sense in light of issues like one member of a couple allowing the other to make medical decisions in the event of incapacitation, just for example.

But I don't think that those legal relationships should be restricted to marriage to begin with, and the tax break thing has always bothered me. What is it about romantic/sexual couplehood, regardless of orientation, that should allow those couples legal benefits not applicable to people who are not involved in a romantic relationship? What about friends who live together, share expenses, and trust each other? Why shouldn't they be able to get all the same benefits as married couples?

To me, that seems like a much bigger issue. My country doesn't need to bestow its mark of legitimacy on my relationship with a significant other. Sure, it's easy for me to say because I'm straight, but not religious, and I don't see the point of getting married unless it's to reap those legal benefits that I see as being bestowed upon the institution of marriage fairly arbitrarily.
posted by bingo at 11:45 AM on May 18, 2004


How about adoption of children who are old enough to know the difference? I also don't see how having loving gay parents is somehow better than having a loving divorced parent. I don't know that it's worse, but what is your basis for the claim?

If a child old enough to object to such a thing spoke up, what adoption agency would place them with two gay parents? I find it hard to imagine your scenario. Two loving GAY parents aren't necessarily better - but two parents are definitely better than one.
posted by agregoli at 11:48 AM on May 18, 2004


P.S. Adoptions of children by gay parents has been happening for years now. Hopefully equal rights for adopting kids will soon follow after gay marriages are legal everywhere.
posted by agregoli at 11:50 AM on May 18, 2004


So if you supported legislation that supported segregation, would that be how democracy worked?

Yes. But 1) contemporary democracy has rejected segregationist constraints and 2)homosexuals are segregated only in backward countries.

You talk about people calling for the lions. It's no different than you calling for the restriction of civil rights.

Of course it's different. Seriously, you homosexuals are a little bit too dramatic some times.

You neglected to mention that the reason these "militant homosexuals" oppose your church is because it opposes homosexuals.

Wrong. It opposes homosexuality.

How would you feel about having religious ideas woven into civil society when Christianity becomes a minority religion?

Listen, everything good about Western society has Christian and Jewish roots. I do not think civilization would resist one single day without Christianity.

How much violence is there against Christians in this country, anyway? Can you point me to one case of Christian-bashing?

Well, I don't see organized violence against homosexuals either.Is there an anti-gay Klan secretly killing hairdressers and decorators?

With regard to your stance on gay marriage, if the religious ceremony is what's important to you, why do you care about the civil marriage itself?

I oppose usage of the word "marriage" and I find equating homosexual duos and heterosexual couples unacceptable.

jonmc, you're not gay? You're sure? Well, what do you know.

But why do you care whether or not they're allowed to have the legal status of a married to couple? Do you see it as part of a slippery slope that could threaten the religious idea of marriage?

Exactly, it threatens and diminishes the institution of marriage. If it's tax breaks and wills and whatnot we're talking about, let's keep it on another level, devoid of the higher religious and social meaning inherent to marriage.
posted by 111 at 12:23 PM on May 18, 2004


One more thing - adoptions could have been going to single parents who were gay for ages - what is the difference between a single parent who is gay to have a kid, or a gay couple to have a kid?
posted by agregoli at 12:41 PM on May 18, 2004


wow 111, I actually used to think that you were an intelligent person despite our differences of opinion. All you've done here is reduce this to lame stereotypes. So, you are either a really good troll or just a really big moron. If it's the first, bravo! The second? We'll all be here, married and holding hands, when you decide to join us in the 21st century.
posted by archimago at 12:50 PM on May 18, 2004


Wrong. It opposes homosexuality.

I'm sorry if I can't tell the difference. I'm the one being deprived of my rights. I suppose if our state and society persecuted Christians, we could comfort ourselves by saying we opposed Christianity, rather than Christians. Would that make it ok for you?

Listen, everything good about Western society has Christian and Jewish roots. I do not think civilization would resist one single day without Christianity.

I don't think civilization would resist a day, or an eternity, without Christianity. I know I wouldn't! As GWB would say, bring it on! To paraphrase Andrei Codrescu, I eagerly await the Rapture, so you'll leave us in peace.

Seriously, though, is our Judeo-Christian heritage responsible for democracy? Capitalism? Civil rights? I don't think you can safely make such a broad claim. It's good that you remember the lessons of such grand Christian accomplishments as the Inquisition, though.

Well, I don't see organized violence against homosexuals either. Is there an anti-gay Klan secretly killing hairdressers and decorators?

I'm sorry, you must be using a special browser which inserts words at random within the text you read. I wrote "violence," period. Not "organized violence." Again, are a lot of Christians being beaten up across the country? You can look it up.

You really love the stereotypes, though, don't you? "Hairdressers and decorators." "You homosexuals are a little bit too dramatic sometimes." You're just a laugh riot, you know that?

Exactly, it threatens and diminishes the institution of marriage.

How can the actions of the state threaten a religious institution? Is your religion that puny and fragile, that it will blow over like a reed when two men get married? Tell us now what other religious beliefs of yours need the protection of law - we wouldn't want your precious religion to be damaged in the pursuit of equality, freedom and civil rights, you know.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:53 PM on May 18, 2004


111: How would you feel about marriage being eliminated from the civil sphere altogether, and left solely as a religious ceremony and arrangement? I think it might be a good idea, myself.
posted by bingo at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2004


jonmc, you're not gay? You're sure?

Yeah, I'm sure. But you're welcome to blow me.
posted by jonmc at 1:05 PM on May 18, 2004


and th-th-th-that's all, folks!
posted by scody at 1:18 PM on May 18, 2004


it threatens and diminishes the institution of marriage.

SO WHAT?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:36 PM on May 18, 2004


That "threatens and diminishes marriage" canard has been parroted by the bigots over and over again, but not a single one of them can step up to the challenge to explain how. They cannot explain it personally, naming a single way in which their own marriages are changed by gays finally grasping equality. They cannot explain it on the whole, naming a single negative tangible change that will occur in society due to gay marriage. There's a lot of talk about "attitudes" and "impact" which only apply in the highly unlikely event that gay marriage suddenly makes millions of people decide to "become" gay or suddenly makes millions of heterosexual people decide that marriage is now a useless institution in which they want no part. Even the most dimwitted of self-proclaimed social scientists can't legitimately claim that either will occur.

Really, that alleged argument is such a meaningless, specious bit of fluff that it doesn't even deserve repetition anymore. It's nonsense. You may as well say "I oppose gay marriage because of blagawaga jimmajoojoobee." That has as much import.
posted by Dreama at 2:24 PM on May 18, 2004


It opposes homosexuality.

Dude, that's like saying your church doesn't oppose black people, it opposes having dark skin.
posted by kindall at 2:47 PM on May 18, 2004


Is there an anti-gay Klan secretly killing hairdressers and decorators?

111, it's such a shame that you go to such lengths to alienate those who disagree with you by your ill-chosen words. You clearly insult whole groups with your use of stereotypes - with no trace of added humour, it's gratuitously targetted. That is deeply unchristian, surely. That shows how deeply hypocrisy runs in you.

the higher religious and social meaning inherent to marriage. like Britney in Vegas? The holes in your argument, a camel can pass through. Why do you bother?

I shan't be bothering with you anymore.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:56 PM on May 18, 2004


I suppose if our state and society persecuted Christians, we could comfort ourselves by saying we opposed Christianity, rather than Christians. Would that make it ok for you?

What do you mean, suppose? Christianity is daily attacked within certain circles. Atheists open advocate the uselessness of religion etc etc. They're entitled! Richard Dawkins may ramble on until he's blue in the face, and that's democracy.

111: How would you feel about marriage being eliminated from the civil sphere altogether, and left solely as a religious ceremony and arrangement? I think it might be a good idea, myself.

bingo, I think that would be unfair in the sense of discarding an institution that works fairly well for most people. I wouldn't oppose enhancing, for instance, partnership rights for those willing to have better tax deductions and so on. But marriage is much more important than that.
posted by 111 at 3:04 PM on May 18, 2004


What do you mean, suppose? Christianity is daily attacked within certain circles. Atheists open advocate the uselessness of religion etc etc. They're entitled! Richard Dawkins may ramble on until he's blue in the face, and that's democracy.

What rights are denied you, as a Christian? What persecution do you face? Do you know what persecution means? It's not having Richard Dawkins disagree with you, formidable as that might sound. You may feel persecuted on Metafilter, but again, that's not persecution either. How many Christians have been beaten to death lately?

But marriage is much more important than that.

I don't know how important it is, exactly, but I know it's too important to be defined by fundamentalist wackos. We don't live in a theocracy, but a secular state that promises separation of church and state.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:37 PM on May 18, 2004


bingo, yes, although the religious ceremony (in my case, the Catholic wedding) is more important than the civil marriage, and eventually having children should be a natural expectation for most couples.
posted by 111 at 12:49 PM CST on May 18

Your personal life is no one's business when it comes to their thinking. See your personal problem why you may feel attacked by others?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:50 PM on May 18, 2004


Your personal life is no one's business when it comes to their thinking.

Wait a minute, Jar-Jar: I didn't refuse to take into account personal examples from homosexuals mentioned above. Why shouldn't I clarify the individual POV from which I'm speaking? That's a double standard.
posted by 111 at 4:04 PM on May 18, 2004


We were couple 243
posted by amberglow at 4:11 PM on May 18, 2004


111: I wouldn't oppose enhancing, for instance, partnership rights for those willing to have better tax deductions and so on.

This is interesting. So what if there were a proposal on the table to grant gay couples (who were cohabitating and making a serious long term commitment to each other), that was, in terms of its legal benefits, exactly the same as marriage, but was called something else? Like, say, "civil unions."..?
posted by bingo at 4:14 PM on May 18, 2004


Wait a minute, Jar-Jar: I didn't refuse to take into account personal examples from homosexuals mentioned above. Why shouldn't I clarify the individual POV from which I'm speaking? That's a double standard.

Hardly. No one but you is attempting to use their personal feelings as a justification for limiting the civil rights of others. That's really my central problem with your argument. If you think it's ok to enforce your religious beliefs by law, would it be ok for Muslims to do the same, if they become the majority? Do you not understand the value to you, as a Christian, of the separation of church and state?

And what's with the "Jar-Jar" crap? Have you discarded the last remnants of civility in your zeal to defend your faith from nonexistent assaults?
posted by me & my monkey at 4:35 PM on May 18, 2004


Okay, I've fucking had it. I swore I wouldn't respond to 111 anymore, but I just have to say this: you think marriage is being undermined? Not only can you not point to a single marriage that's been hurt or prevented by the Mass. ruling, I'll give you a little proof that the opposite is true. Because reading the link that amberglow posted and listening to this last night on NPR actually made me want to get married again. My ex-husband and I parted amicably; we had married for a bunch of semi-good reasons that, at the time, seemed to add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. It didn't. Our marriage was a mistake and we ended it as pleasantly as we could within four years. I moved on to a new relationship with the man I believed (and still, in certain moments, believe) was (is?) the love of my life. It didn't work out, and we broke up about a year ago. I still miss him, every day; there's a space where I feel he should be but isn't. But I go on with my life -- with my friends and family and career and hobbies, all of which I cherish. I travel and write; I listen to music and read and cook; I laugh and cry, whether alone or with my loved ones. I have a good life, a full life, and one that I figured -- regardless of any future relationship status -- will likely not involve marriage again.

But I have realized, in the past couple of days, how much I want to share it with someone again -- officially. With a best friend and lover and partner. With someone who's name I might even take, who's name I would give to our kids (if we chose to have them). I want to get up in front the world and declare my commitment with someone who will declare the same to me, and be recognized by all and sundry as a unit, as family, as partners in life. I want that more now than I did a week ago. I respect that more than I did a week ago. And if I ever do get married again, it will be in part because of what happened in Massachusetts this week and in San Francisco in February.

Marriage hasn't been weakened, you fool. The only thing that has been weakened is the wall that people like you have built to keep certain segments of the population from enjoying full civil rights. And I will count the days till the rest of the wall comes tumbling down.
posted by scody at 4:37 PM on May 18, 2004


argh! For "who's," read "whose." My passions are getting the best of my proofreading! [/obsessive-compulsive editor]
posted by scody at 4:55 PM on May 18, 2004


Aside from the hysterical sanctimonious elation, is there a reliable way to ascertain whether "same-sex" couples are actually homosexual, because that does not seem to be a prerequisite for "marriage", only that the couples are of the same sex.

Certainly two heterosexual friends could "marry" under the current guidelines, because there is no mandatory test for homosexuality, and if there were what would it be? A demonstration of sexual acts before the judge? Does that determine that sexuality of the participants?

How about heterosexual college roommates who decide to marry to get more spacious "couple" housing? How about a fraternity hazing prank which demands that all fraternity applicants must "marry" other applicants and get a subsequent annulment? Is there any rhyme or reason to the determination of who gets to marry whom? How about a heterosexual elderly father and younger son who decide to marry for reasons of convenience so that their tax benefits might increase?

Do you not see this for what it is: a destruction of the very concept of marriage, which has nothing to do with behavior? Marriage is not a civil right as the browbeating followers of dictatorial harassment might have you believe, it's a cultural institution which is being ignorantly destroyed in the name of bullying political correctness.
posted by hama7 at 5:03 PM on May 18, 2004


Actually, according to the Supreme Court in the Loving decision, it most certainly is a civil right and a human right.

But other than that pesky fact: yes, yes, you're correct, cats and dogs living together, it'll be anarachy. Why, the pig might even lie down with the starfish.
posted by scody at 5:07 PM on May 18, 2004


111: Yes, it is the same thing. It's not about 'being dramatic'. It's about being deprived civil rights by narrow minded people like you who think their religious beliefs should be the end all and be all of this countries fundamental systems.
posted by benjh at 5:09 PM on May 18, 2004


Aside from the hysterical sanctimonious elation, is there a reliable way to ascertain whether "same-sex" couples are actually homosexual, because that does not seem to be a prerequisite for "marriage", only that the couples are of the same sex.

How is that different from the situation with opposite-sex couples? Do opposite-sex couples ever marry now for reasons which might not live up to your ideals? Should that be prevented by law?

In any case, I'd wager good money that the same-sex couples getting married right now are, in fact, gay couples. Maybe in a few years, we'll have the same-sex equivalent of Britney Spears, but not yet.

Do you not see this for what it is: a destruction of the very concept of marriage, which has nothing to do with behavior? Marriage is not a civil right as the browbeating followers of dictatorial harassment might have you believe, it's a cultural institution which is being ignorantly destroyed in the name of bullying political correctness.

I'm afraid we obviously don't share the same concept of marriage. Civil marriage is, in fact, a civil right, and nothing more. You may conflate the ideas of civil marriage and religious ceremonies in your head, but that is your error, not ours.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:14 PM on May 18, 2004


I can tell you, hama7, that I personally know couples (hetero) who have married to obtain immigration and social welfare benefits, so your argument actually suggests that there be no special recognition in law for marriage of any kind, between anyone.

On a slightly less ludicrous note, I would presume that onerous legal obligations incurred through marriage, which we see in the enormous costs of divorce, will provide adequate deterrence to bogus marriages, no matter what the constitution of the couple.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:18 PM on May 18, 2004


hama: as opposed to impulsively getting married over a drunk weekend in Vegas a la Britney Spears? There's nothing you cited above that isn't already plausible (and has probably happened, for all I know) for non-same-sex couples. Nobody actually checks for love when they issue a marriage license. If you want to think that way, the destruction of the concept of marriage has already happened. This just lets gay and lesbian couples in on the fun.

Listen, everything good about Western society has Christian and Jewish roots. I do not think civilization would resist one single day without Christianity.

Sure; hexadecimals look so much more awesome in Roman numerals.
posted by casarkos at 5:22 PM on May 18, 2004


hama, your suggestions are ridiculous. Everywhere in the world, a man and a woman, who meet the basic requirements of their particular jurisdiction, may marry for any reason whatsoever, or no reason at all. They can go to a chapel in Vegas at 2 a.m. and get an annulment 48 hours later when they sober up.

A man and woman can marry for health insurance, better housing at college or in the military or because together they can afford a larger place in a conservative co-op building that doesn't cotton to cohabiting couples or for immigration, tax or business purposes. They can marry because other people arranged it and paid a dowry and demand that the marriage happen even though the bride and groom have never even met with one another.

No one asks, there is no litmus test. There is no rhyme nor reason in the determination of who gets to marry whom now. And yet, and yet, despite arranged marriages, romantic marriages continue. Despite marriages of convenience, true marriages of devotion happen every day. Despite Britney Spears, Elizabeth Taylor or Newt Gingrich, there are people who marry once and stay married for their entire lives.

Forced marriages, joke marriages, fraudulent marriages, no-fault divorce, domestic violence and rampant adultery have not destroyed marriage, conceptually or in reality. The drive and will for people to want to publicly join their lives together has not been diminished despite all of these factors. So why, why on earth would the desire of more people to join into marriage have a negative impact when all of the truly destructive influences on marriage have not made the institution fall apart?

It's an illogical argument on its face. If marriage is diminished in your eyes because people who you clearly have a problem with can now take part in it just like you can, that's your problem. It isn't an excuse to deny others the pleasure and privileges that you enjoy.

And hama, before you start dictating what is and isn't a right, you might want to consult with the courts who are charged with deciding such things. The SCOTUS has said that marriage is, indeed, a right. They will eventually clarify that it cannot be abridged based upon class or gender. And you'll have to live with that, and if you're having this much difficulty doing so, you might want to consider seeking some help in the process.
posted by Dreama at 5:33 PM on May 18, 2004


scody: when I see a couple, I do not see just partners who sleep together and benefit from IRS discounts. I see the image of the Sacred Family; these people have chosen to share a life in common and to help uphold society and mankind though an established social unit. This beautiful unit will eventually bear fruit and their children will also find partners and so it goes. That's the beauty of getting married. People who are sentimentally attracted to each other are but one of the many aspects of marriage.
posted by 111 at 5:55 PM on May 18, 2004


I see the image of the Sacred Family; these people have chosen to share a life in common and to help uphold society and mankind though an established social unit.

Like this one, or this one? or this one? this one?

If you chose to stereotype traditional families, the way you're doing with gay families we could assume that "normal families" are dangerous and must be stopped.

Andrew Vachss, one of the strongest children's advocates in America, once said that family of choice is far more important than family of biology. he's right.
posted by jonmc at 6:15 PM on May 18, 2004


The American Family Association (hah!) is doing an action alert to have their supporters call for the constitutional amendment. Call the number listed instead and demand they vote against it. Call 202-224-3121 and ask to speak with your Representative and Senators today. Demand that they vote for against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Demand a clear yes or no response.

After all, it's just as they say: Federal judge upholds homosexual marriage. Marriage laws in other 49 states expected to be struck down

posted by amberglow at 6:40 PM on May 18, 2004


111, what about couples who cannot have children? Are they not married? Not an image of the Sacred Family (whatever in hell that is.) Is my dear friend -- who was born without a uterus -- not really "married" (since you're so fond of the scare quotes) to her husband because they won't have a child of their union, at least not one of their own? What about couples who marry late in life? Was the marriage of my grandfather and his high school sweetheart invalid because they were both in their late 60s at the time and children weren't a possibility? Is having kids the only way a couple can "uphold society and mankind?" How exactly does that little platitude mean, in plain language, and why is that something only heterosexuals who marry and have children can do?
posted by Dreama at 7:42 PM on May 18, 2004


when I see a couple, I do not see just partners who sleep together and benefit from IRS discounts. I see the image of the Sacred Family

Now I get it. Two Gods in a family could never work. Which one would the others worship? Best to have only one God in the family, so the chain of command is clear.
posted by kindall at 8:09 PM on May 18, 2004


when I see a couple, I do not see just partners who sleep together and benefit from IRS discounts.

Neither do I - I often see two people bound together by mutual love.

I see the image of the Sacred Family

I'm sorry, but can you explain the importance of that within our secular state and society? For example, I'm an atheist - what does the Sacred Family mean to me? Why should it be enshrined by law?

these people have chosen to share a life in common and to help uphold society and mankind though an established social unit.

I suspect that most people marry from love, not to "help uphold society." Out of curiosity, if overpopulation turns out to be a serious problem, would you then advocate heterosexual celibacy for the good of society?

But in any case, you haven't demonstrated one bit how my marriage to my partner would do anything but uphold society. You haven't done this because you can't without resorting to religious mumbo-jumbo. You're free to believe whatever ridiculous BS you want, but you're not free to force me to abide by your inane beliefs.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:24 PM on May 18, 2004


One more thing - adoptions could have been going to single parents who were gay for ages - what is the difference between a single parent who is gay to have a kid, or a gay couple to have a kid?

There are obviously differences... is the single parent openly gay, for example? The question is, do these differences have an effect on the proper upbringing of a child? I don't know, do you?
posted by Krrrlson at 11:33 PM on May 18, 2004


The question is, do these differences have an effect on the proper upbringing of a child? I don't know, do you?

I don't think anyone can even quantify what goes into the "proper upbringing of a child." We have general ideas about two parents being better than one, and the like, but that's about it. Given that, do you think that the state should restrict the rights of gays to adopt children based on some unproven speculation of harm?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:43 PM on May 18, 2004


I don't think anyone can even quantify what goes into the "proper upbringing of a child." We have general ideas about two parents being better than one, and the like, but that's about it. Given that, do you think that the state should restrict the rights of gays to adopt children based on some unproven speculation of harm?

The fact that no one can quantify it is the very problem which needs to be addressed. Given the lack of studies and evidence, do you think the state should give gays unrestricted rights to adopt children based on some unproven speculation of safety? As far as the life of a little human being is concerned, the burden of proof should be on those who argue on behalf of the potential parents.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:37 AM on May 19, 2004


Krrrlson, you're sounding a lot like some of the people who didn't want to allow my parents to adopt because they were an interracial couple. (Personally, I think I turned out great.)

Anyway, there has actually been a lot of credible research indicating that children raised by same-sex parents are no worse off than any other kids. Based on this, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced its support of same-sex adoption back in February 2002. The full text of the Academy's statement is here, and it contains nine references to the original journal articles if you're interested.
posted by purplemonkie at 8:37 AM on May 19, 2004


There are studies about children adopted and/or raised by gay parents, going back 25+ years already. They've shown no harm. (and even insinuating that safety is an issue is beyond weird)
posted by amberglow at 8:38 AM on May 19, 2004


Wonderful link, amberglow - thanks!
posted by dash_slot- at 8:39 AM on May 19, 2004


The fact that no one can quantify it is the very problem which needs to be addressed. Given the lack of studies and evidence, do you think the state should give gays unrestricted rights to adopt children based on some unproven speculation of safety? As far as the life of a little human being is concerned, the burden of proof should be on those who argue on behalf of the potential parents.

Setting aside the fact that there are studies and evidence, why would you assume that gays are any different from any other group when it comes to adoption? Do straight people bear any additional burden of proof? How about fundamentalist Christians? We have no reason to think they make better parents than gays, and as far as the life of a little human being is concerned, the burden of proof should be on them, I'm sure you'll agree.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:32 AM on May 19, 2004


Krrrlson, you're sounding a lot like some of the people who didn't want to allow my parents to adopt because they were an interracial couple.

An unfounded insult. Thanks. You know nothing of me or people I keep company with.


There are studies about children adopted and/or raised by gay parents, going back 25+ years already. They've shown no harm.

Thanks for the link - I have not heard a lot about these studies previously. Although the surveyed demographics and the participant numbers are often limited, this is the kind of evidence I was wondering about.


(and even insinuating that safety is an issue is beyond weird)

I was not insinuating harm. On the contrary, I think I've made an extra effort to let people know I'm ignorant on the issue and was merely asking questions, so I don't see the need to get defensive. Besides, if anything is beyond weird, it is prematurely discounting any possibilities in an unknown and relatively new area.


on preview:

Setting aside the fact that there are studies and evidence, why would you assume that gays are any different from any other group when it comes to adoption?

Why would you assume anything? This is a case for citing credible studies as people did above, not for assuming.


Do straight people bear any additional burden of proof? How about fundamentalist Christians?

Yes. Every prospective parents holds the burden of proof as to whether he/she is capable of raising an adopted child. Frankly, I believe that in some cases, heterosexual couples should not be allowed to conceive (sadly, I don't believe that the courts can be relied upon to make those decisions accurately).
posted by Krrrlson at 9:50 AM on May 19, 2004


An unfounded insult. Thanks. You know nothing of me or people I keep company with.

How in the world did I insult you? You're using the same arguments against same-sex adoption that I've heard people use against interracial adoption -- think of the children, you can't prove it's safe, etc. -- and that's a fact. I didn't call you a racist or accuse you of being against interracial adoption if that's what you're implying. I merely saw a parallel and pointed it out.
posted by purplemonkie at 10:32 AM on May 19, 2004


Every prospective parent holds the burden of proof as to whether he/she is capable of raising an adopted child.

But the argument I heard being made was that gay people as a class need special attention when it comes to determining their fitness as adoptive parents. A case needs to be made for that contention. Otherwise, it sounds like pure prejudice. Why is sexual orientation different from race? Or hair color? Or religious affiliation? I'm not even contending there aren't factors that make gay people less suitable. But anyone who is positively saying that gays need special attention, needs to say why that is.
posted by mw at 10:42 AM on May 19, 2004


What mw said. And Krrrlson, I'd like to further clarify that I mentioned interracial adoption with the hope that you might say to yourself, "Hey, those arguments don't make much sense when I consider them in regard to race, so why do I feel that they're relevant to same-sex adoption?" and proceed to think about it some more. That's all.
posted by purplemonkie at 11:04 AM on May 19, 2004


Hm. This is about where I came in. Two years later, it's Equal rights to marriage 1, Haterz 0. Hurrah!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:33 AM on May 19, 2004


You're using the same arguments against same-sex adoption that I've heard people use against interracial adoption

If you read my comments you'll note I was more asking than arguing.


But the argument I heard being made was that gay people as a class need special attention when it comes to determining their fitness as adoptive parents. A case needs to be made for that contention. Otherwise, it sounds like pure prejudice. Why is sexual orientation different from race? Or hair color? Or religious affiliation? I'm not even contending there aren't factors that make gay people less suitable. But anyone who is positively saying that gays need special attention, needs to say why that is.

*My* reason is the simple fact that human children throughout history have predominantly been raised by male-female couples and occasionally single parents. It is ridiculous to equate this to hair colour or religious belief. What you are arguing is equivalent to arguing for women's rights by claiming women are physiologically equal to men. It is prejudice to say that because gay couples are obviously different from heterosexual couples, this should have a bearing on whether or not they should raise children? This is misguided at best and intolerant of dissenting opinion at worst.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:27 PM on May 19, 2004


It is prejudice to say that because gay couples are obviously different from heterosexual couples, this should have a bearing on whether or not they should raise children? This is misguided at best and intolerant of dissenting opinion at worst.

It's just ridiculous on its face. There is no way of knowing what any child's upbringing will be, no matter how that child comes into the custody of his parents. To presume that a gay couple's ability to successfully raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children is somehow compromised in comparison to a straight couple's ability to do likewise is an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts based upon a preconceived preference or idea. That's prejudice by definition.
posted by Dreama at 7:07 PM on May 19, 2004


Krrrlson, here's where the logic breaks down. Let's accept as a given, for the moment, the proposition that the best place for a child is in a family with a man and a woman. Now, single parenting is legal - even though according to our proposition, it's not ideal, it's still legal.

A gay couple who have a child means the child has two parents rather than one. This would seem to be a better situation for a child than being with a single parent. Given our proposition, you could still say it's not ideal, but if single parenting is legal, gay parenting should be, too ...

... unless there's some other reason why people don't want children raised by gay couples. And that's where we gay folk get suspicious of prejudice - if people really cared about "one mother and one father" there'd be a mass movement to disallow single parenthood. The fact that there's not stands out.

I really don't care in the slightest what studies say, though. At this point in my teaching career, I've seen at least 20 or so kids who are being raised by gay parents. Most of the parents are wonderful, caring, giving fantastic people. Some of them are awful and make me shake my head in despair. That's equally true of the straight parents and the single parents, though. I can't see any difference in the academic success or the social adjustment of their kids.

I mentioned my student Zachary in a post above - he was the kid who was jumping around excitedly as him moms were inside City Hall getting their marriage license. You know what his classmates said to him the next day when he told them about it? "Cool." (Although I suspect, being fifth and sixth graders, they were more impressed by his being at City Hall until 1:00 am on a school night).

All of this is the moment's tempest in a teapot. I look at my students, and their total acceptance of Zachary, and know that by the time they are adults, no one is going to blink an eye at any of this. Do they still all too frequently say 'fag' out on the playground? Sure. It's not all shiny-perfect, and I still have to come down on them for saying it. But their use of it is as an all-purpose insult - they don't use it to target Zachary or any of the other kids in my school who are from gay families.

I don't have to try to convince people like 111. The point of view he/she espouses is dying. It will put up a good fight. It might even get a constitutional amendment to pass. But it will die out eventually. I don't need to convert the unconvertable - I just need to keep advocating and keep working for a more just world, and retain my patience as views like that slide into irrelevance.
posted by Chanther at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2004


To presume that a gay couple's ability to successfully raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children is somehow compromised in comparison to a straight couple's ability to do likewise is an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts based upon a preconceived preference or idea. That's prejudice by definition.

The only presumption here is yours, regarding what I said. Re-read my comments and find someone else to quote a dictionary to. Good try though, I'm sure it works on everyone else.


Chanther -- same as what I said to Dreama, except since your tone was polite I am obliged to respond in kind. I never suggested that gay parents are inferior to heterosexual parents. What I said was this: given that a gay parent is inherently different from a heterosexual parent, it is not an unreasonable question to ask whether they are equally fit to raise a child. I was not suggesting an answer to that question. Given that parenthood is intrinsically tied to procreation, forbidding the question itself amounts to suppression of opinion and expression.


... unless there's some other reason why people don't want children raised by gay couples. And that's where we gay folk get suspicious of prejudice

If your hints are directed at me, I assure you that you are wrong.


I really don't care in the slightest what studies say, though.

I, by contrast, believe that a credible study is worth paying attention to. The papers posted above went a substantial way towards convincing me about gay parenthood.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:58 PM on May 19, 2004


Mass. Senate Repeals Gay Marriage Barrier (the out-of-state thing)
posted by amberglow at 9:28 AM on May 20, 2004


Max Boot:
The Right Can't Win This Fight
With gay marriage on a roll, it's time to move on to another battle.

Since the ultimate concern of conservatives is to preserve the institution of marriage, they would probably be better off caving on gay marriage rather than acceding to the most popular alternative: civil union. Gay marriages won't affect straights. But if civil union laws were to catch on, as Jonathan Rauch argues in his provocative new book, "Gay Marriage," many heterosexuals would probably eschew marriage altogether. That would be worse for society than seeing Rosie O'Donnell get hitched.

http://www.latimes.com

reg: buttafucco
p/w: demanteca
posted by dash_slot- at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2004


Krrrlson, I agree that such studies are useful for dispelling some of the fears people may have. Or, if the studies had come out with the opposite results, they might have raised concerns. But no matter the findings, social science research is of only limited utility when you're talking about a civil rights issue.

Social science research could easily show that children raised in single parent families do worse overall - and in fact, it does. However, most people would balk at the idea of the state saying that single parent families are to be outlawed. The specter of taking children and putting them into foster care, or of forcing marriage on the single parent, would rightly be construed as bad for the child and a violation of the parent's civil rights.

More insidiously, social science research could be used to show that children raised in African-American households do worse. This has nothing to do with the fitness of African-American parents; it has everything to do with economics, with the legacy of racism, and a pernicious cultural theme that causes many urban black young men to equate "academic success" with "not really being black."

Anyone who suggested that African-Americans should lose their children because of such research would rightly be denounced.

For both single parent families and African-Americans, there are no decisions made about them as a class of people. Their fitness for parenting is not decided on the basis of their demographic category. Only when a specific child, whether that child has two parents or one, regardless of race or economics, has been found to be suffering from abuse or neglect does the state make negative judgments about the fitness of a parent.

What I said was this: given that a gay parent is inherently different from a heterosexual parent, it is not an unreasonable question to ask whether they are equally fit to raise a child. I was not suggesting an answer to that question. Given that parenthood is intrinsically tied to procreation ...

I'm not sure I can agree that a gay parent is inherently different from a heterosexual parent, though, nor that parenthood is intrinsically tied to procreation. Many children being raised in gay and lesbian households are being raised by a biological parent. The fact that the other parent is not a biological parent is no different from a child living with a step-parent. And if we are concerned about children being raised by parents who have no biological relationship to them, we would have to be concerned about all adoptive families, and not just about gay and lesbian adoptions.

... forbidding the question itself amounts to suppression of opinion and expression.

I wouldn't want to forbid the question - I am perfectly comfortable with you or others raising it, and with research being done.

My point, though, is that the answer to the question is irrelevant as far as social policy is concerned. For all other family types, the state makes no assumptions about the fitness of parents as a class, but only intervenes if a specific child is abused or neglected. This is true even for family structures for which children, on average, do not have outcomes that are as successful. Just as I do not think that it's legitimate to put the question of gay marriage to a popular vote (any more than it would be to put interracial marriage to such a vote), I don't think it would be legitimate to deny an entire class of citizens their right to be a parent. Gay and lesbian parents deserve to be judged as everyone else is judged - on their personal merits as parents, and not by their membership in a demographic category.
posted by Chanther at 1:37 PM on May 20, 2004


*applauds Chanther*
posted by agregoli at 7:37 AM on May 21, 2004


also applauds Chanther...but regrets that the burden of proof of no harm has to always fall on us, when it should be up to the people making the accusations or questioning fitness to prove their point.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on May 21, 2004


Social science research could easily show that children raised in single parent families do worse overall - and in fact, it does... More insidiously, social science research could be used to show that children raised in African-American households do worse.

Obviously, one must consider the larger circumstances surrounding the study or studies.


I'm not sure I can agree that a gay parent is inherently different from a heterosexual parent, though, nor that parenthood is intrinsically tied to procreation.

Then we must disagree. Children come from reproduction, and a gay couple cannot reproduce by itself. I think the connection is indeed intrinsic and obvious.


My point, though, is that the answer to the question is irrelevant as far as social policy is concerned... I don't think it would be legitimate to deny an entire class of citizens their right to be a parent.

Okay, let's say conclusive evidence were to show that gay parenting results in unsuccessful outcomes for most cases, regardless of quality of parenting or status of the parents. Considering that gay couples obtain children in nontraditional ways (adoption, surrogate parents, etc.), this should definitely have a bearing on social policy. Although the actual answer to my question appears to be nothing like this, I fail to see why social policy is independent of these considerations. It would not be discriminatory to deny a blind man a driving job, would it?
posted by Krrrlson at 1:48 PM on May 21, 2004


Children come from reproduction, and a gay couple cannot reproduce by itself. I think the connection is indeed intrinsic and obvious.

But again, if what's crucial is the biological connection to the parent, we would need to be concerned about all adoptive families, and not just gay and lesbian adoptions. Not to mention that a very sizeable chunk of children in gay or lesbian families does have a biological relationship with one parent - much as they would in a family where they lived with one step-parent.

In other words, what's different about gay and lesbian families isn't the connection of child to parent, it's the connection of parent to parent - solely the fact that the parents are of the same gender. The unstated hypothesis behind people's worries about gay and lesbian parenting is that being gay somehow changes one's capacity for parenting - that a gay parent with a biological child can't care for their own child the way a straight parent could, and that a gay parent with an adopted child can't care for their adopted child the way a straight step-parent could. The hypothesis, then, starts with an assumption of gay and lesbian inferiority.

Okay, let's say conclusive evidence were to show that gay parenting results in unsuccessful outcomes for most cases, regardless of quality of parenting or status of the parents ... It would not be discriminatory to deny a blind man a driving job, would it?

For me, the key word in the above is most. In social science research, people tend to look at averages without looking at variation. In the "conclusive evidence" scenario you're proposing, even if the average outcome were negative, my question would be what the range of outcomes was. If there were some gay and lesbian families who raised successful and happy children, and yet a social policy was enacted taking their children away because most gay and lesbian families were unsuccessful, that means those families would be abridged by the state not on their own individual merits but on their membership in a class. Their families would be judged by the mistakes or misfortunes of others. I would, indeed, find that discriminatory.

That's why I think the "blind man / driving job" analogy doesn't hold. The reason a blind individual couldn't be hired for a driving job is because they by definition lack a skill that is necessary for the job. There's zero variation there - every person who is blind cannot see. The denial of parenting rights to gay and lesbian families I would see as more akin to denying a driving job to a diabetic person. Because diabetic individuals on average have more problems with vision in later life than non-diabetic individuals, someone could make the argument that since the outcomes are worse on average, people with diabetes should be denied driving jobs. This would be discriminatory, because most people with diabetes are perfectly suited for a driving job. It would be a mistake to judge an individual by an overall average of a class of which he or she is a member. And so it should be with gay and lesbian couples: judgment on their own merits.

And that's why I said earlier that studies don't matter to me, given that I've encountered so many examples of kids who are thriving in gay and lesbian households. Because I know already that there is variation in outcomes, I know I can never judge gay and lesbian families by average results derived from social science research.

All of this, by the way, is an argument for why discrimination would not be legitimate even if the research came out unfavorably to gay and lesbian families. If negative outcomes were found, I'd want to know why - and there would be many other potential explanations besides the "gay people make bad parents" hypothesis. Chief among these explanations would be that some gay and lesbian families have difficulties because they face discrimination. It would be the height of injustice to discriminate against gay and lesbian families on the basis of negative outcomes that were themselves a result of discrimination.

Happily, though, the research that has been done paints no such negative picture, which makes much of this debate merely academic.

Finally, I'd like to underscore what amberglow said about the burden of proof. All other families are left to live their lives, unless specific harm to a child could be demonstrated in a specific family - not across a large demographic category. I'd like to think that the default assumption in a free society would be to afford the same courtesy to gay and lesbian families, rather than lumping them together and giving them a society-wide thumbs up or thumbs down.
posted by Chanther at 5:18 AM on May 22, 2004


"Social change" is always good? It should always be accepted as inevitable? Every social phenomenon is better now than it was in 1954? Please. The better opponents of gay marriage have arguments (none of them is right, but still...) and those arguments need to be answered in order to convince them. Telling people to "just accept" a position is something I expect a religious zealot to do.

As much as I appreciate where you're coming from, you're wrong. We're not talking about concepts, principles, strategies, or logic. We're talking about people. The best single argument for gay marriage is to know a gay couple who exemplifies in every way the best qualities in a partnership, a family, a home. That's the counter-argument. This is about re-defining a socially-constructed institution, not out-reasoning the bad guys. There are no bad guys. Just those who are slow to change, and would rather impinge upon the lives of others who are trying to live than make a mental leap themselves, and get the fuck on with life.

No, not all social change is good. But this is a salient issue that has been fighting for air for centuries, fighting for official status for decades. They're not going anywhere. How much convincing, how much *existing* is required before we can acknowledge them and move on with our lives?
posted by scarabic at 1:02 AM on May 28, 2004


I fail to see why social policy is independent of these considerations.

Try applying your "public policy" solutions to the heterosexuals before you even think about doing on a study to find out whether gay parents usually succeed or fail.

To quote a film: "You need a license to own a dog. You need a license to catch a fish. But any asshole can be a father."

This happens to be true for the heteros. Would you say they're "succeeding" or "failing" Krrrlson? How are those literacy rates? Crime? Drug use? Everything all rosy in the hetero world? Cool. I guess we can continue to allow them to raise children.

You presume to be protecting the interests of children, but if you really cared about them, you'd care about them, not their parents' lifestyle. It's obvious that all you're really willing to get up out of your chair for is restricting the rights of gays. Hypocrisy. And you do it in the name of the kids. Classy. Very classy.

/tired of pointing out the obvious to you
posted by scarabic at 1:10 AM on May 28, 2004


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