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Advertising bigotry
November 21, 2004 12:37 PM   Subscribe

The Washington Post decided to publish this advertising insert. Basically, it is political propoganda aimed at blacks speaking against gay rights. The problem is that it is filled with so much questionable information, and is so obviously intended to inflame one minority group towards another, that I seriously question The Washington Post's judgment in publishing it. It tries to destroy comparisons with the black civil rights movement by claiming homosexuality can't be genetic since they don't reproduce and conveniently ignores events like the Stonewall riots. Will we see advertising supplements from holocaust deniers next?
posted by McBain (164 comments total)

 
The insert also repeats the lie of life expectancy for gay men being 41. A lie long since debunked.

Is it really okay for the Washington Post to publish this stuff? I mean sure, it's legal, but shouldn't they be held to a higher standard? That this insert comes in the paper lends it an air of credibility rightly or wrongly.
posted by McBain at 12:42 PM on November 21, 2004


Comic quote #1:

Q: What's wrong with letting homosexuals marry?
A: Everything.

posted by beniamino at 12:49 PM on November 21, 2004


If this was a web site I would immediately declare it a massive troll attempt, like Landover Baptist but without the humour. If it's in print (which costs real money) then I am totally boggled. I've said it before, I'll say it again: We like to think we're living in the future where such things as bigotry, hate and intolerance have no place, but we are so, so wrong.

I'm no longer sure what I mean by 'we'
posted by chrid at 12:51 PM on November 21, 2004


isnt the washington post owned and operated by the moonies?
posted by quonsar at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2004


And who put together that fun little Q & A?
Pediatric psychologist turned evangelical lobbyist, James Dobson.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2004


joseph raz, in his book the authority of law said the following about `rights':
it may be thought surprising that one should have a right to do that which one ought not.

is it not better to confine rights to that which it is right or at least permissible to do?

but to say this is to misunderstand the nature of rights. one needs no right to be entitled to do the right thing. that it is right gives one all the title one needs. but one needs a right to be entitled to do that which one should not. it is an essential element of rights to action that they entitle one to do that which one should not. to say this is not, of course, to say that the purpose of rights of action is to increase wrong-doing. their purpose is to develop and protect the autonomy of the agent. they entitle him to choose for himself rightly or wrongly.

but they cannot do that unless they entitle him to choose wrongly.
so i'm curious what your argument is. do you think that newspapers should not have a right to free speech? or do you disagree with the argument above (and think that free speech should only apply to people who say things that are "ok")?

given the political importance of investigative journalism, i don't think you can safely block free speech for newspapers. maybe there's an angle in paid advertisement? but that could easily remove free speech from any organised political movement.

since you clearly have moral and scientific right on your side, i'd say you're better going out and arguing against them rather than trying to impose censorship. win the argument, in other words.

(i'd say the same thing if it was a holocaust denier, incidentally. and while i'm not particular well-informed about gay rights, i agree that the contents are offensive and incorrect.)
posted by andrew cooke at 12:53 PM on November 21, 2004


That's the Washington Times, quonsar.
posted by interrobang at 12:54 PM on November 21, 2004


andrew, my hunch is this convuluted logic is meant to provide true believers with grounds to deny the need for any Constitutional rights, while at the same time giving Dobson the kind of plausable denialability he needs to assert that of course, he is not against the Constitution.
posted by expriest at 12:58 PM on November 21, 2004


I'm going to side with the Washington Post -- you can't silence another's speech simply because you don't like what they say. You can't criticize them for excercising a right you freely exercise yourself.

It's why that though I can't stand this guy (he writes from personal experience in the same vein) -- I'll defend his right to say what he does.
posted by nospecialfx at 12:58 PM on November 21, 2004


Andrew, I'm only arguing that the Washington Post erred in lending their paper to disseminate such propoganda. Let these bigots print up and distribute their information themselves. Media sources make judgments about what is acceptable to advertise all the time.
posted by McBain at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2004


Choosing not to run the ad is not censorship or "silencing" the group. See, CBS and Moveon.org.
posted by McBain at 1:01 PM on November 21, 2004


I'm going to side with the Washington Post -- you can't silence another's speech simply because you don't like what they say. You can't criticize them for excercising a right you freely exercise yourself.

But this isn't a news story or an editorial: it's a paid advertising insert; the Washington Post has specifically chosen to take money from bigots and liars.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:02 PM on November 21, 2004


I agree...it's commercial speech...but your judgement of the message doesn't mean it's not protected speech. There are lots things out there that I wish people weren't allowed to say, but they are. Doesn't mean I or anyone else needs to buy into it.

If we only let the majority speak, well...this'd be a pretty boring world.
posted by nospecialfx at 1:04 PM on November 21, 2004


andrew cooke:
so i'm curious what your argument is. do you think that newspapers should not have a right to free speech?

I think newspapers should be able to publish just about anything they want (there are of course a few limits, but this does not bump up against them).

I also think they should bear the full brunt of whatever reaction their speech should cause. Free speech is no shield against bigotry.

So for me, the WaPo is a major national newspaper, and they have published (as an "add") the kind of thing you would expect from a nutty little sight on some dark corner of the internet. For that, let them live with the consequences -- like a lot of cancelled subscriptions. And being treated like said nutty, dark corner of the internet.

I might quit visiting their sight, except I don't go there already, because of their broken handling of cookies.
posted by teece at 1:04 PM on November 21, 2004


i'm a gay guy but even i'm not comfortable with the way gay marriage is being forced on everyone. let's first try to come to terms with what marriage means today, if anything at all, and then see if it's what gays should strive for. marriage is an inherently heterosexual institution. gays should have legally and socially recognized unions but let's not call it marriage, at least for now, and at the very least for the sake of peace.
posted by yedgar at 1:04 PM on November 21, 2004


The LA Times did something similar not long ago -- lots of people complained I'm sure -- but lots of people supported the content, too.
posted by nospecialfx at 1:07 PM on November 21, 2004


Nice post andrew cooke. I think the problem for me is not that such people should or shouldn't have the right to say such things - of course they should, free speech is (or should be) an inalienable right - but the fact that they say and think such things and that they are willing to spend a lot of money to do so.

What I'm saying is, it doesn't totally shock me that such attitudes and opinions exist, but it does shock me that such an insert should appear in the Washington Post. As a Brit I don't know how 'big' this paper is so I might have things totally out of proportion.

It's like the Time Cube guy got a posse and somehow bought a shitload of space in 'respectable' papers.

on preview, what a lot of other people said
posted by chrid at 1:07 PM on November 21, 2004


I know of former homosexuals but not any former African Americans.

Am I the only person who immediately thought of Michael Jackson?
posted by heatherann at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2004


The greatest flaw in the argument presented in the insert is, I think, that if one accepts that civil rights may only be based on immutable aspects of one's life such as race, gender or disability, one must come to the conclusion that freedom of religion is not a civil right, as one's religion is not immutable.

Since freedom of religion is a civil right, then immutability is not a necessary component of a civil right. QED.

Besides, didn't the 'twins study' provide ample evidence of a genetic predisposition to homosexuality, lending credence to the idea that it's based on both nature and nurture? I'm sure that nobody's found a genetic predisposition towards Christianity...
posted by solid-one-love at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2004


No one's forcing anything on anyone, yedgar--people want rights, and are entitled to them.

Let's see the Post (2nd only to the NYTimes in status, i believe) accept a supplement from the Klan, or from a eugenicist group,--i'm sure they wouldn't. This is just repulsive and hateful. They should have known that Cameron is completely and utterly discredited, and that his "statistics" are hateful bullshit.

People are canceling their subscriptions over this, and they should. You can contact the Post's ombudsman if you want to complain: Mike Getler:
- ombudsman@washpost.com
- (202) 334-7582

More at Americablog(at top, and scroll down)--including the text of a recent speech by Coretta Scott King--in the supplement are words about MLK and how he would be appalled, which is bullshit.
posted by amberglow at 1:21 PM on November 21, 2004


chrid: It's the second most important "Paper-Of-Record" in the nation, behind the New York Times (at least in the sense that most other media outlets defer to these papers as the arbiters of what stories are important, or can preface stories they run with "As reported in the Washington Post,...".).
posted by hincandenza at 1:23 PM on November 21, 2004


The genetic argument in the piece is so ridiculous:

If homosexuality is a genetic trait and homosexuals were true to their orientation, the trait would die in the first generation.

I suppose they can explain then the multiple and continuing occurences of gay-unions in the animal world. Genetics is not so cut and dry. And as mentioned above, it most likely is a combination of nurture and nature, but in my view it's all irrelavent in the face of this bigotry.

Also, the paper has the right to publish this, sure. But paid advertisements can be rejected on basically any grounds, and I think the paper would have done well to reject this little hate-insert.
posted by rooftop secrets at 1:30 PM on November 21, 2004


Homosexuals cannot reproduce.

I am so tired of this canard. Homosexuality does not equate with sterility and there's always a turkey baster handy, especially at this time of year. By the homosexuals cannot reproduce, thus the "gene" is not passed on argument, you deny, comfortably, perhaps, that heterosexual parents have anything to do with their gay kids. Like their blue eyes, or pouting mouth, or upbringing as a Mormon, etc.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2004


Andrew, it's an ad. The WaPo should surely take care that ads only include factual information, not stuff cooked up by guys kicked out of the American Psycholgical Association.

Alternatively, if you want to go down the free press route, shouldn't they provide balance, and a chance for human rights groups to respond?

A sad day for a great paper.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:35 PM on November 21, 2004


This whole issue of, "It's a choice!" has always just struck me as totally ridiculous. (But then again, that's how the entire argument strikes me, too.) By this logic, civil rights should only be guaranteed to groups which are defined biologically. So discrimination based on religion, ideology and the like is perfectly OK? Unfortunately, I'm sure that's exactly how all too many people see it...
posted by idontlikewords at 1:36 PM on November 21, 2004


WolfDaddy -- Yeah, that was the line that popped out at me, too. What about all those married couples that have kids and ten years later one of the partners catches Gay?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:41 PM on November 21, 2004


the Post has run anti-gay ads before. You'd think that if they were so worried about their drops in circulation, they'd think twice before alienating readers.
posted by amberglow at 1:42 PM on November 21, 2004


Actually, freedom of religion isn't a civil right. It's a civil liberty, and those aren't generally based on class. It's an important legal distinction -- and the class argument is a strong one. We have standards for what constitutes a class and what doesn't.
posted by nospecialfx at 1:42 PM on November 21, 2004


Then again, they spread the administration's lies for the past 4 years, so why not spread these people's lies? : <
posted by amberglow at 1:43 PM on November 21, 2004


"What about all those married couples that have kids and ten years later one of the partners catches Gay?"

Yes, there must be what, millions and millions of those right? We need to qualify the arguments here.
posted by nospecialfx at 1:44 PM on November 21, 2004


So discrimination based on religion, ideology and the like is perfectly OK?

Actually, that's exactly right. In fact, the two little provisions left out of Title IX are discrimination based on religion or sexuality.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:44 PM on November 21, 2004


"civil liberties
n. rights or freedoms given to the people by the First Amendment to the Constitution, by Common Law, or legislation, allowing the individual to be free to speak, think, assemble, organize, worship, or petition without government (or even private) interference or restraints. These liberties are protective in nature, while civil rights form a broader concept and include positive elements such as the right to use facilities, the right to an equal education, or the right to participate in government."

from dictionary.law.com
posted by nospecialfx at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2004


Yeah, I didn't make it past the claim "I know former homosexuals." (and yes heatherann I was with you there).
That and the whole thing is so disdainfully obvious in its attempt to prey on one people's collective suffering to turn them against another. I can only hope that D.C. blacks (and others) will see right through this and call it out. Maybe a counter-supplement from some respectable organization. The comparison between racial and sexual politics can yield a lot of fertile ground for discussion and progress, but I guess also lends itself to cloaking hate speech.
yedgar, there was an interesting piece in the Village Voice about gay marriage as a questionable goal itself, but I can't find it in the archives right now.
posted by ism at 1:47 PM on November 21, 2004


As a free speech zealot, I think the Washington Post had a certain obligation to print the ad. Yes, the WaPo is a private corporation and print, or not print, whatever they want, but they are also a semi-public organization and have something of an obligation to print just about anything [1] as long as the price is paid. I recall a similar incident a few years back when a smaller newspaper got an ad from the KKK. The newspaper accepted the ad, donated the fee to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and donated an equal sized space to the SPLC for a rebuttal. More speech is the answer, not less.

As for the ad itself, its vile hate-mongering tripe of course; but what else do you expect from "Doctor" James Dobson? Personally I've always been leery of the idea that homosexuality should get equal rights because it isn't a choice. Why should choice even enter the equation? I choose to drive a Ford, does that mean that my city can deny me certain rights because they like Dodge better? The whole "homosexuality is/isn't a choice" line is a distraction from the central issue.

I'm personally part of the "get the State out of marriage" camp. If the Christian Taliban wants to define marriage as a religious institution than we need to get the government out of that religious institution. Give any group of adults who wants one a civil union that grants them all the same rights that marriage does; then let 'em find whatever shaman/priest/holyman/godshouter/minister/etc they want to perform a "marriage". But right now homosexuals are being denied rights that hetrosexuals get. Its that simple.

[1] With certain exceptions for slander, etc.
posted by sotonohito at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2004


The genetic arguments the people who paid for this advertisement are making are a red herring, because they don't care one way or the other whether those arguments are correct. You could definitively prove their genetics arguments to be incorrect and they wouldn't budge a bit because those arguments are just rhetoric to them. They are basically distractions to get you to argue the gay marriage issue on terms that don't threaten to question their core ideology that drives their opposition to gay marriage. IMHO, the real issue here is that they believe certain groups should be able to grant themselves rights and benefits under law and then deny those rights to minority groups of which they disapprove. They further believe that it is okay or even imperative that the government privilege their religious understanding over that of others. These are the real issues at play; genetics is just a Chewbacca defense.

Yedgar, your question has already been answered legally. Marriage is a legally recognized relationship conferring something like 1600 federal benefits and however many state and private benefits. I started to read this to see if there was anything worth fisking in detail, but I just couldn't. I'm willing to bet, though, that not a single argument in there applies to the law or the Constitution. Basically, evangelicals are making a bunch of arguments that are more properly characterized as "why churches shouldn't recognize gay marriage" as opposed "why it is okay to allow special privileges to one group of people but deny it to others," particularly since the arguments against gay marriage are just as valid when made against a number of straight married couples (e.g., not gonna have kids). The whole "meaning of marriage" thing doesn't belong in the discussion of what should be law.

I don't think it is appropriate to call opponents of gay marriage bigots, although I think they are completely wrong (and although I have slipped and done it myself in fits of pique). I know gay marriage opponents who I know to be sincerely basing their positions on their theology. And I know at least some of them would have no problem with legally recognized civil unions that confer all the legal benefits of marriage but under a different name, in large part because they don't believe the government should be involved in defining what they believe is a sacred relationship. Calling them bigots isn't going to make them too enthusiastic about sharing that with their other religious friends.

And, for the record, I find it despicable (but sadly predictable) that civil rights leaders would be so eager to cut the rope for others struggling for their rights now that they feel like they're safely ensconced in the treehouse.
posted by Planter at 1:55 PM on November 21, 2004


In the first paragraph, add after the last sentence: For that matter, even gay marriage itself isn't really the issue- it's just a conveniently polarizing issue to get people to accept an outcome based on their ideology.
posted by Planter at 1:57 PM on November 21, 2004


My favorite quote:
The most loving mother in the world cannot teach a little boy how to be a man. Likewise, the most loving man cannot teach a little girl how to be a woman. A gay man cannot teach his son how to love and care for a woman, nor can a lesbian teach her daughter how to love a man or know what to look for in a husband."

What, children of gay couples can't learn all that from the playground, like the rest of us?
posted by muddgirl at 2:03 PM on November 21, 2004


With regard to homosexual breeding, this struck me as interesting, if not conclusive. I'd be inclined to doubt the Washington Post ran it, mind.

And Yedgar - we (almost) have gay civil unions in the UK, and it's a bitter victory to some of us because we're still being treated as a second/other class of human being. It's about having options... If you consider marriage a hetero institution, then fine - have a civil union and leave marriage to those who want it. That's no reason for it to be the only option, or for us to pander to the bigots and possibly set back actual equality by a generation or more.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:09 PM on November 21, 2004


Just brainstorming here, so forgive me if this has been brought up before, but what would happen if a religion were founded that made gay marriage a explicit part of it's "teachings?" Clearly for the government to invalidate this would be in violation of the members' right to worship in a manner of their choosing, but I'd imagine there are limits in place somewhere to prevent things like cannibalism, pedophilia, etc. Anyone know the specifics here?
posted by idontlikewords at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2004


My favorite quote:
The most loving mother in the world cannot teach a little boy how to be a man. Likewise, the most loving man cannot teach a little girl how to be a woman. A gay man cannot teach his son how to love and care for a woman, nor can a lesbian teach her daughter how to love a man or know what to look for in a husband."

What, children of gay couples can't learn all that from the playground, like the rest of us?


Yeah, I don't remember my straight dad telling me how to love and care for a woman. C'mon, people, we have instructional videos on Anal Massage, now. There's no WAY we can't make one for Loving and Caring for a Woman! In fact, they may actually be the SAME VIDEO.
posted by 235w103 at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2004


(1954)Nigger = (2004)Faggot
posted by four panels at 2:19 PM on November 21, 2004


The Washington Times is free to print whatever advertisements they want, but presenting an ad that is for a brochure containing erroneous information to incite hate against gays is not cool.

It's not illegal, but this paper should not let an advertiser abuse their credibility. No, the paper does not have an obligation to print "anything" if a fee is paid. See any porn ads on the Washington Times?

Please don't make me work. Show me a Washington Times web page linking to this filth, and post the email address of who to contact to complain.
posted by xammerboy at 2:19 PM on November 21, 2004


Subject: re: bothsides
Date: November 21, 2004 5:19:48 PM EST
To: ombudsman@washpost.com

Dear WaPo,

Your decision to add the BothSides insert was a disgusting endorsement of bigotry. Your once-respectable company should be ashamed of itself.

While the inevitable defense for this garbage will be free speech, I plan never to purchase your paper or browse your website in the future.

Further I will be encouraging my friends and family to boycott your product for the same reason.

Many others feel the same way, and you won't be making profits off our backs much longer. Just because Bush is in power doesn't mean there is a mandate for this garbage.

Without respect until there are apologies--
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:19 PM on November 21, 2004


i'm a gay guy but even i'm not comfortable with the way gay marriage is being forced on everyone. let's first try to come to terms with what marriage means today, if anything at all, and then see if it's what gays should strive for. marriage is an inherently heterosexual institution. gays should have legally and socially recognized unions but let's not call it marriage, at least for now, and at the very least for the sake of peace.

I don't get how it's being forced on anyone. Who exactly has been forced to marry their same-sex partner against their will, anyway? I should have the same rights as anyone else, whether I choose to live my life with someone of the same sex or the opposite sex. I don't care what marriage means today, and the fact that it's currently an "inherently heterosexual institution" is as irrelevant as saying that citizenship and freedom were inherently white male institutions in the US two hundred years ago.

I'm personally part of the "get the State out of marriage" camp. If the Christian Taliban wants to define marriage as a religious institution than we need to get the government out of that religious institution. Give any group of adults who wants one a civil union that grants them all the same rights that marriage does; then let 'em find whatever shaman/priest/holyman/godshouter/minister/etc they want to perform a "marriage".

While I find that position very intellectually appealing, I don't think it's very pragmatic.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:22 PM on November 21, 2004


"...[E]very once in a while the economy takes a dive, the world begins to geopolitically reorder itself and the lumpen masses run to a church for some reassurance and sense of order. this gives spiritual carpetbaggers the chance to whip the mob into a frenzy then point them at the most economically expedient target - gay people, black people, asian people, other religious people, &c. much like an opportunistic virus or parasite, it lays dormant until the host becomes immunocompromised then ravages the system.

the war on christianity has to be fought at the same level and with the same intensity and moral flexibility that the republicans have already brought to bear on us. the focus will be on pederast priests, the klan and polygamist mormon fundamentalists. by logical extension, all christians are the same as these worst case scenarios, simply at a different stage of progression in the disease that is evangelical christianity. the people who voted for the incumbent in this election are not all necessarily evil or hateful, but many of them are infected with a false faith that gives them temporary solace in a fearful and uncertain world. cleansing fire isn't the ideal metaphor, but it's the one that springs to mind.

they've already come for the poor and the homosexuals. which one of us is next? this is no longer a political disagreement, it is a moral war. we have to find a way to cast the first stone directly at the disease-blackened heart of christianity.

- jhn"
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:25 PM on November 21, 2004


xammerboy to ombudsman@washpost.com

Dear Washington Post,

I have forwarded the BothSides insert included with your paper to my
friends and family to show them how far out of whack this country has
become.

- I will never read your paper again. I will never visit it's website.
- I will spend a significant amount of my time trying to convince
others to do the same.

Shame on you for lending your paper's credibility to a hate and
violence inciting tract full of factual errors.

May the hate you sow be turned against your paper.
posted by xammerboy at 2:34 PM on November 21, 2004


which one of us is next? this is no longer a political disagreement, it is a moral war. we have to find a way to cast the first stone directly at the disease-blackened heart of christianity.
You straight folks better get ready for "covenant marriage" and the elimination of no-fault divorce, too. (Frist is going to be pushing this nationally, i hear.)
posted by amberglow at 2:35 PM on November 21, 2004


I sure wish I could have the ten minutes of my life I spent reading that pamphlet back. Democrats take note, 'cause the other side is getting a REAL early start on this perceived wedge issue to pry some percentage of a traditional stronghold of votes away from the party. If you don't like the Post's choice of advertising revenue, by all means complain, but the real question is, how does one best oppose this message... because the horses these people are backing are winning, folks. That goes for all you libertarian RINOs too. These people are running your show, to a significant degree. Are you satisfied with that?

idontlikewords, plenty of churches already exist that recognize and sanctify gay marriages. Doesn't mean the government has to give those people a license, which is a civil contract. Gays are excluded from civil marriage to one another in the law primarily by ommission (other than the Defense of Marriage Act) - the situation simply isn't covered. Which is why these people are gunning so hard for a consitutional amendment. Cause all it takes is some activist judge to legislate from the bench by asking out loud why it is gays don't get equal protection under this particular law... and the next thing you know the supreme court is ruling and society is being destroyed by the Negras marrying OUR white women! Oh, wait, sorry, by men marrying men and women marrying women.

Alex Reynolds, that quote's logic may appeal to a certain choir but with 75+ percent of people self-identifying as Christians its probably a pretty foolish way to talk if your goal is to actually build a basis of significant, political (rather than merely ideological) resistance against a particular subset of religionists (my guess would be that Muslims will be the next group they attempt to politically mobilize against gays). Holier than thou is the expression that springs to mind. Republicans are pointing the finger at liberals and saying they are elite haters of the common person. Talking smack like that plays directly into their hands. It also talks tall but doesn't really say dick about what the author is really suggesting be done about "christianity" (a word used about as meaningfully in that context as when GW Bush talks about "freedom"). Get specific, maybe bombing is the answer? After all, that is how one conducts a "war."
posted by nanojath at 2:39 PM on November 21, 2004


Seriously though, how many times are they gonna print that terribly clever picture of the little wooden people hugging?
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:53 PM on November 21, 2004


Comic quote #2

About the Author, Dr. Derek Grier:

Dr Derek Grier, while a student at Howard University in Washington DC, had a supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ.

posted by derbs at 2:59 PM on November 21, 2004


A correction: the moonies own not the Washibngton Post but the Washington Times (as well as Insight Magazine and UPI news).
A paper has the right to accept or decline ads if it wants..they are not required to run an ad if they choose not to. In this instance they took the money, as do so many papers and magazines, because--heck folks, that's capitalism--and you have the right not to support or read that paper. Recall but a short ime ago the post about a pharmacist who would not fill a birth control perscription? that is a much more questionable activity.
posted by Postroad at 3:14 PM on November 21, 2004


The WaPo should surely take care that ads only include factual information

Such a policy would exclude most ads, if you wanted to get really literal about that. Yeah, this advertisement is garbage, but we can also exercise the right to free speech by complaining to the paper and/or helping to finance a counter campaign. Censorship is a flawed solution because it doesn't address the fact that many people really do hold these opinions.

Bigotry is a common human trait and it's not going to magically disappear anytime soon. Last month a Republican congressional candidate in west Tennessee, James Hart, ran radio ads promoting his eugenics platform that used phrases like "it's time to declare a nonviolent war on the less favored races." These ads ran repeatedly on the largest rock station in Memphis.

Nearly 60,000 people voted for Hart, which was 26% of the total. Should we blame the radio station for running the ads, or recognize that each vote is a person who wanted Hart to win? Isn't it better to know your enemies and face them in a truthful light than to pretend they don't exist? Silencing their voices will not change their minds.

In a way, letting the anti-gay extremists have their say is a good thing for the gay rights movement. It's hard to deny or soft-pedal the bigotry when it's right there in the Washington Post, in black and white, so to speak.
posted by naomi at 3:15 PM on November 21, 2004


Alex Reynolds, that quote's logic may appeal to a certain choir but with 75+ percent of people self-identifying as Christians its probably a pretty foolish way to talk if your goal is to actually build a basis of significant, political (rather than merely ideological) resistance against a particular subset of religionists (my guess would be that Muslims will be the next group they attempt to politically mobilize against gays).

How do you build a base from people who choose to just Not Listen?

I hear this all the time now: "You need to be more accomodating."

How about this? How about those who claim to be "Christian"-but-misunderstood stand up and walk the fucking talk about their Christ for once? How about that?
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:19 PM on November 21, 2004


In a way, letting the anti-gay extremists have their say is a good thing for the gay rights movement. It's hard to deny or soft-pedal the bigotry when it's right there in the Washington Post, in black and white, so to speak.

The fact is that for all intents and purposes, the entire GOP, and 51% of the country, are all in effect anti-gay extremists now--Language that separates what's in this supplement from the larger anti-gay platform the GOP ran on is meaningless. There's really no difference, except that it makes some people feel better about themselves because Dobson (and Phelps, etc) are louder and more visible--When Congressmen say that gay marriage is a bigger threat to the country than terrorists, any distinction is really a crock.
posted by amberglow at 3:26 PM on November 21, 2004


Wow, that was . . . interesting. It's not as though I read the WaPo anyway, but seriously, are they that in need of money that they would publish this sort of self-gratifying misinformation? I am constantly amazed at the sort of opinions getting press today, and the incredibly strong degree to which they are held. When did "lunatic fringe" become equal to "suppressed minority"?

On preview, that's probably not fair. Just because my views are different, doesn't mean they are better, etc. I maintain my weariness and disgust toward this recent Bigotry Renaissance, however. Sad.
posted by jenovus at 3:34 PM on November 21, 2004


51% of the country, are all in effect anti-gay extremists now

C'mon, amberglow, in the same exit polls that said moral issues were important, 61% supported civil unions with equal rights, vs. 27% against even civil unions. While I can't myself fathom going into the voting booth and choosing Bush, plenty of people did so holding their noses re any GOP anti-gay bigotry. I think you should say 27%, not 51%. That these 27% even have their Santorums, etc., in the U.S. Senate, is appalling, but let's not ascribe more import to them than they possess.

P.S. I think the Post screwed up, but I couldn't see boycotting them. Their reporting and editorial content, clearly identified as such, are pretty damn useful to being an informed citizen about this issue & many others.
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:40 PM on November 21, 2004


marriage is an inherently heterosexual institution. gays should have legally and socially recognized unions but let's not call it marriage, at least for now, and at the very least for the sake of peace.


I'm fine with calling my marriage a marriage, because that's what it is. We didn't "force" our wedding on anyone -- we invited both of our families to celebrate with us, and they did. (mathowie already FPP'd that link -- thanks, mh!) Marriage is an inherently human institution. There's no rational reason why we should settle for anything less, and not settling for anything less is the grand American tradition.
posted by digaman at 3:40 PM on November 21, 2004


True, amberglow, maybe I shouldn't suggest that the anti-gay politicos will ever recognize their statements as "bigotry." But I think it's helpful to know for certain where the battle lines are being drawn by the opposition.

I also think there's a difference between Republicans who simply are uncomfortable with (afraid of) the idea of gay marriage and Republicans who equate gay people to terrorists.

The extreme advocates for both sides play a valuable role in driving the debate, but they cannot resolve it. We will only achieve equal civil rights for gays and lesbians when middle America decides to stand with its sons and daughters.
posted by naomi at 3:49 PM on November 21, 2004


in the current political climate gays are clearly fair game. in America and elsewhere. it is so sad.


will we see advertising supplements from holocaust deniers next?

The Passion of Mel Gibson's ads were everywhere, didn't you see them?
posted by matteo at 3:50 PM on November 21, 2004


And, yeah, I agree with digaman. If I can marry a man, why can't he? Civil unions just reek of separate-but-equal and we all know how well that turned out. I understand and respect the rationale of those who urge moderation and caution, but my heart is with the "damn the torpedoes" crowd.

On preview, gays have always been fair game. They just weren't clear targets when they hid in closets. The times, they are a-changing.
posted by naomi at 4:00 PM on November 21, 2004


Ok, what date was this insert published in the Washington Post? I just went through the Saturday and Sunday editions (metro-dc home delivery) and couldn't find the insert. What section is the insert located in? Maybe it was only published in certain regions?
posted by jsonic at 4:01 PM on November 21, 2004


I'm with sotonohito on the "get the State out of marriage" camp. Alexander Cockburn over at Counterpunch (also of The Nation) made a good argument on this. Maybe some feel that this isn't very "pragmatic," but it seems to me that it's the best of both worlds for all concerned. Because at the moment in the US, marriage is both a religious and state institution, and I think that's where so much confusion arises. Obviously marriage confers some legal status/rights, but it's also a fundamentally religious institution. So why not make marriage completely separate from any legal status? Then any religion can make whatever silly rules they want (within the law) about marriage, and have the state only recognize civil unions as having any sort of legal bearing. And of course require that all states grant civil unions. Is that pragmatic? Well how pragmatic was it to allow blacks to marry whites? Pragmatism had nothing to do with it. It was simply the right thing to do in a society where we claim to treat all people equally. And Cockburn's assessment offers the only reasonable solution I've seen to date.
posted by Kaigiron at 4:09 PM on November 21, 2004


If Christians are so great at reproducing, how come they have to spend so much time recruiting?
posted by gimonca at 4:09 PM on November 21, 2004


What section is the insert located in? Maybe it was only published in certain regions?
From their website: Our first edition has been distributed through area newspapers to more than five hundred thousand people. It is our goal to increase circulation to over one million quarterly. If you would like to be a part of this vision and/or be listed in our quarterly Partners Pages please read the information below.

I think you should say 27%, not 51%. That these 27% even have their Santorums, etc., in the U.S. Senate, is appalling, but let's not ascribe more import to them than they possess.
These are the same exit polls that were so far off regarding Kerry's lead? When i see 73% of the country voting against this shit, or speaking up, i'll believe it. I'd like to believe it, but unless it's reflected in their votes, or their actions, what's to believe?
posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on November 21, 2004


jsonic. i believe from the americablog comments that it was friday's.
posted by grimley at 4:27 PM on November 21, 2004


Grier himself quotes it at the end:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

That works in more ways than he thinks.
posted by amberglow at 4:34 PM on November 21, 2004


And a little more on what else is planned for "protecting marriage"
posted by amberglow at 4:38 PM on November 21, 2004


Straight people are going to get more than they bargained for with this bunch of clowns.

Better hope you husbands really love your wives and vice versa or one day you'll be joining the rest of us in the ovens.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:54 PM on November 21, 2004


The most loving mother in the world cannot teach a little boy how to be a man. Likewise, the most loving man cannot teach a little girl how to be a woman.

I found that quote to be one of the ones that most annoyed me as it did others here. I suppose then they also believe that kids raised in single parent homes can't learn to be men and women from their opposite sex parents either. I'd have to call bullshit. My husband was raised by a divorced working mom, and I have to say that he turned out just fine ... better than anyone else I'd ever dated who'd been raised in a typical nuclear family (which actually could just mean I had bad taste in men when I was younger).

And I don't recall my mom teaching me how to be a woman either, aside from the mechanics of owning a female body and that knowing how to cook, sew and keep house was a good thing ... nothing that my dad wouldn't have or couldn't have taught me had she not been in the picture.
posted by Orb at 4:56 PM on November 21, 2004


Quite a fiery openening edition for "Both Sides" magazine!

Any bets on what issue #2 has in store for us?

a) something on the need for the highest moral integrity when committing a nation to a war that could kill more innocent civilians than 30 WTCs?

- or -

b) the evils of abortion?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:56 PM on November 21, 2004


D'oh! *opening*
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 PM on November 21, 2004


Better hope you husbands really love your wives and vice versa or one day you'll be joining the rest of us in the ovens.

Everybody's destined for somebody's oven one way or another, it seems like sometimes. If we don't tear eachother apart while we're waiting in line.
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on November 21, 2004


Any bets on what issue #2 has in store for us?
Why yes! it looks like the "ugly white twentysomethings are evil" issue or something...apparently. ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:10 PM on November 21, 2004


The most loving mother in the world cannot teach a little boy how to be a man. Likewise, the most loving man cannot teach a little girl how to be a woman.

You don't learn how to be a grown-up from your parents. If you did, twenty-year-olds wouldn't make so many stupid life choices. You learn how to be a grown-up by being a grown-up. That simple, really.
posted by kindall at 5:16 PM on November 21, 2004


Why yes! it looks like the "ugly white twentysomethings are evil" issue or something...apparently. ; >

*runs and hides*
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2004


"You don't learn how to be a grown-up from your parents. If you did, twenty-year-olds wouldn't make so many stupid life choices."

Uhm...speak for yourself. My parents taught me an awful lot about being a well adjusted adult. They're fairly responsible for the person I am today, and I like to think I'm a pretty good person.
posted by nospecialfx at 5:44 PM on November 21, 2004


I also looked through my edition of today's WaPo to find the so-called magazine, and I couldn't find it. I live in a part of Montgomery County that doesn't have many African American residents, so it's possible that the people who wrote that pamphlet wouldn't bother having it come here, but it's also just possible that there's a hoax going on. The Post has a pretty good editorial policy on gay rights. This is more the sort of insert I'd expect to see in the (Washington) Times.
posted by anapestic at 5:49 PM on November 21, 2004


Hey, I'm loving the screaming going on. You guys try and equate being gay to being black, and then you squeal when those who are black and understand what true discrimination is are offended.

What a laugh. The strident homosexual-agenda pushers are gay men and women's worst enemy right now. You shoved too far attacking marriage and it bit you in the ass. Keep it up.
posted by darren at 5:54 PM on November 21, 2004


Oh, and I'm sure the Washington Post Co. is shaking in it's boots. Please. More laughing.
posted by darren at 5:54 PM on November 21, 2004


darren,

Uh, who's making that equation? This article. Sounds like you read it, and immediately drank the coolaid.
posted by xammerboy at 6:02 PM on November 21, 2004


Oh yeah, and I'll remember you as the bigoted fuck to call out in future posts.
posted by xammerboy at 6:02 PM on November 21, 2004


truly.
posted by amberglow at 6:08 PM on November 21, 2004


A typical darren post:

"So if a gay couple has a child, the non-birthing partner has less legal rights than a grandparent."

"Gay couples shouldn't be having children. It's a selfish act. Study after study has shown that the best environment for a child to grow up in is the traditional intact male-female family. Most homosexuals I know who have adopted children think they're doing something noble, but within a year or two it's apparent it's an ego-gratification action."
posted by darren at 7:20 AM PST on November 3

You make me scared for this country.
posted by xammerboy at 6:16 PM on November 21, 2004


Another gem by Darren picked at random:

"No wonder 80% of Brits oppose the liberation of Iraq. I guess those who forget history really are condemned to repeat it....
posted by darren at 2:34 PM PST on April 5"
posted by xammerboy at 6:27 PM on November 21, 2004


It made the AP: Conservatives Urge Closer Look at Marriage: ...``If those initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they're worthwhile,'' he said. ``If they're isolated -- if we don't address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness -- then I think they're futile and will be brushed aside.''
... Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and author of a new history of marriage, said passing anti-gay amendments in hopes of returning marriage to some bygone traditional status is futile.
``Heterosexuals changed marriage, not gays and lesbians,'' she said. ``None of these measures is going to change the fact that marriage no longer plays the same central economic and political role that it used to. ... People see it as more optional.''

posted by amberglow at 6:31 PM on November 21, 2004


Obviously marriage confers some legal status/rights, but it's also a fundamentally religious institution.

No it isn't, or it wouldn't be possible for atheists to marry. It's important to differentiate between religious and civil marriage, but civil marriage doesn't have anything to do with God, and everything to do with the state.

Hey, I'm loving the screaming going on. You guys try and equate being gay to being black, and then you squeal when those who are black and understand what true discrimination is are offended.

No one needs to try to equate being gay with being black. The plain fact is that gay people are discriminated against, and this would be just as true whether you want to draw analogies with the black civil rights movement or not. I don't give a rat's ass if some black people are offended by my desire for equality.

What a laugh. The strident homosexual-agenda pushers are gay men and women's worst enemy right now. You shoved too far attacking marriage and it bit you in the ass. Keep it up.

Yeah, I'll take your advice, because you obviously have my best interest in mind. I guess we should just all go back into the closet quietly, right Darren? Damn those strident equality pushers, who want the same rights as everyone else. What were they thinking?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:40 PM on November 21, 2004


You guys try and equate being gay to being black, and then you squeal when those who are black and understand what true discrimination is are offended.

"What this means is that when a social conservative argues that discriminating against gay folks is not like discriminating against black folks, because black folks aren't being discriminated against for their behavior, the actual history of racism is being ignored."
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:45 PM on November 21, 2004


Sorry, this is off topic, but worth clarifying, in Darren's defence...

Another gem by Darren picked at random:

"No wonder 80% of Brits oppose the liberation of Iraq. I guess those who forget history really are condemned to repeat it...."


I could not find the original context, but he seems to be alluding to the fact that the Brits were in Iraq earlier this century under the same "liberation" rhetoric, and found themselves bogged down in the same quagmire of insurgency from Iraqis who refused to swallow that line.

Having learned that lesson, they were obviously reluctant to repeat it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:42 PM on November 21, 2004


I'd be as upset as Darren if my job was being an anal wart inspector. Thumbs up, Darren!
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:44 PM on November 21, 2004


me & my monkey:

No it isn't, or it wouldn't be possible for atheists to marry. It's important to differentiate between religious and civil marriage, but civil marriage doesn't have anything to do with God, and everything to do with the state.

My point was that marriage is both civil and religious, at the same time. This makes the issue quite muddled. The state does not make any distinction between "civil" or "religious" marriage -- they are the same thing. Clearly they are intertwined. A religious leader can perform a marriage and it carries the exact same weight as when a judge does it. And don't get me wrong, I'm an atheist (technically agnostic). So if I get married it won't have any connection for me whatsoever with magical cloud beings or commandments. But I do acknowledge that for religious people you can't separate marriage from religion. I think the vast majority of people would consider marriage to be inherently religious, at least in some sense. So wouldn't we all be happier if we just took the legal status away from marriage and gave it only to civil unions? Let the religionists have the word "marriage," and they can decree whatever the hell they want about it.
But short of taking away it's legal status, I'm all for defending the right of any two consenting adults to get married. Saying that gays can have civil unions and heteros can have marriages sounds a bit too "separate but equal" to me. Problem is, they just aren't going to be equal.
posted by Kaigiron at 7:51 PM on November 21, 2004


The state does not make any distinction between "civil" or "religious" marriage -- they are the same thing.
No, they aren't. The state is only in the business of handing out civil marriages. If you want a religious marriage you have to get it from a religious institution, that you can get both at the same time does not mean they aren't two seperate things. Conflating it the way you are is a big part of the reason a lot of otherwise sensible people support such obvious bigotry.
posted by McBain at 8:08 PM on November 21, 2004


Leaving darren aside for a moment,

Letters to the Editor should be e-mailed to Editor@BothSidesMag.com or faxed to 703.652.4370

Only, I don't think I want to engage these people at all.
posted by mmahaffie at 8:10 PM on November 21, 2004


Daren: Another content free strident believe in whatever Oxycontin-Rush happens to say at the moment, yet doesn't have the ability to back up in the face of adversity.

For a while i had some sympathy for the right wingers, with their appeals not to get ganged up on, with their pleas for more even handed postings, and less strident rebuttals. But you know what? They never actually say anything. They never actually have a well thought out response. It is always and everywhere snark and bile. Never links, never logical analysis, never. The only one who comes even close is MidasMulligan. But even his comments are quickly ripped to shreds.

Is there one reason why Gay people shouldn't be allowed to have the same contractual relationship with each other that herterosexual people have in marriage? anything?

Darren:The strident homosexual-agenda pushers are gay men and women's worst enemy right now.

That is a really strong claim, and as such, without any justification, is essentially meaningless. It'd be as if i claimed: Penguins are plotting to take over the earth. And left it at that. Clearly it is nonesense.

I mean really, Darren, I'm hoping that you've got some sort of argument other than "Gay people are icky, and evil, my preacher told me so." Otherwise you're just a troll, dropping a turd in the pond. Increase the signal to noise ratio buddy. Please.

That said, marriage was effectively a totally non-religious event in the christian faith up until the 11th century. The definition of what a marriage construes has changed radically even since then. At first it was an agreement solely between a man and the family of the bride concerning property, the woman he was to marry and the dowery the family was to provide. I personally approve of the changes that have taken place throughout history to the concept of marriage. I'm glad we are where we are today. Are you Darren? Would you have argued against changes in the past concerning marriage on the grounds of traditionalism? I mean, heck i don't really know what grounds you are attacking the most recent evolution in marriage rights, cus you never actually say anything other than snark. But I await your response, as well as anyone elses.....
posted by Freen at 8:16 PM on November 21, 2004


It's all the same rhetoric that can be found repeated by many Christian and "family" organizations. There could be free speech implications by the paper not having allowed the insert to run.
posted by livingsanctuary at 8:17 PM on November 21, 2004


It's pretty funny when members of previously oppressed minority groups try to contribute to the oppression of other minority groups. Do these people have a cultural memory of two seconds?

All this opposition to same-sex marriage just boggles the mind. Although, I shouldn't be surprised that nutjob religious robots would believe that somebody putting their penis in a man's bum could somehow destroy the very fabric of society.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 8:21 PM on November 21, 2004


I wanted to say something about the underlying dilemma in regards to the fine line between morality and legality, about how all laws should be moral but all morals shouldn't be law, as without the option to be immoral one can't possibly be moral, morals vary among individuals and groups and whatnot, choosing one's morality is essential to a state in which there is freedom of beliefs, etc.

But this is my first day here.

And I'm sick.

So I'm going to bed.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:21 PM on November 21, 2004


I mean, not to imply homosexuality is immoral, for it's not in my little bisexual book, but ... understanding that many believe that it is.

Didn't want to offend no one.

Now I'm going to bed.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:25 PM on November 21, 2004


My point was that marriage is both civil and religious, at the same time. This makes the issue quite muddled. The state does not make any distinction between "civil" or "religious" marriage -- they are the same thing. Clearly they are intertwined. A religious leader can perform a marriage and it carries the exact same weight as when a judge does it. ... I do acknowledge that for religious people you can't separate marriage from religion.

While marriage can be civil and religious, it needn't be. The state certainly does distinguish between the two, which is why we have a concept of "common-law marriage" and why polygamy is illegal even for Mormons, among other things. Not only clergy can perform marriages, so can ship captains.

And, I suspect that for many religious people, you can't separate anything from religion - it is the guiding force within their lives. I'm ok with that, as long as I'm not coerced to make it the guiding force in my life as well.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:22 PM on November 21, 2004


There could be free speech implications by the paper not having allowed the insert to run.

No, there are no free speech implications here at all. A newspaper is free to accept or deny advertisements arbitrarily. You have no right to run an advertisement in a newspaper. Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the government, not by commercial entities. "Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
posted by me & my monkey at 9:25 PM on November 21, 2004


digaman, i didn't mean to offend you or anyone else who's gotten married. respect and all the best to you and your mate. but please don't talk to me about grand american traditions. as a non-american, i'm more unpleasantly acquainted with the not-so-grand ones.
posted by yedgar at 9:41 PM on November 21, 2004


Is there one reason why Gay people shouldn't be allowed to have the same contractual relationship with each other that herterosexual people have in marriage? anything?

Yes. The state confers benefits to married people that it ought not to. Right now, two groups of people don't get the (tax and other) benefits of marriage: Single gay people, and single straight people. Now the gay movement says: "We want to fuck over the unmarried people just like the straight people do!"

Great. How principled.


And really, the outrage here is laughable. First, gay people as a class are economically advantaged, and second, (cry about Matthew Shepard and the Stonewall Riots all you want) they haven't been fucked over (in the US, at least) nearly as hard as people of color.

Though no one has done so explicitly in this thread, those who suggest that the atrocities of the three-fifths rule, slavery and Jim Crow are analogous to the present-day struggles of gay Americans need a healthy dose of perspective.
posted by trharlan at 10:24 PM on November 21, 2004


I feel fine being a patriot of the country of Rosa Parks, Allen Ginsberg, Martin Luther King, Walt Whitman, Charlie Parker, Emma Goldman, Frank O'Hara, Huey Long, and Marx (Groucho).
posted by digaman at 10:28 PM on November 21, 2004


those who suggest that the atrocities of the three-fifths rule, slavery and Jim Crow are analogous to the present-day struggles of gay Americans need a healthy dose of perspective.


I'll see you and raise you the Holocaust. Anybody holding Hiroshima? Meanwhile, back in Darfur...

Hopefully that perspective includes the folly of comparing levels of atrocity. "An injury to one is an injury to all."
posted by digaman at 10:31 PM on November 21, 2004


Ah, yes, pure folly!

I got a parking ticket at 5:59 when my watch said 6:01! It's like the fucking cops had dogs and firehoses, man!!!
posted by trharlan at 10:41 PM on November 21, 2004


I am also for the government getting out of the business of "marriage" and providing only civil unions for whomever wants one, and then people can get their "marriage" through whatever religious institution they choose.

But imagine the outcry if this was attempted? People villify the left now for trying to "take God out of government". This would be met with such ridiculous resistance even if, in the end, it's ultimately good for religion (like all separation of church and state).
posted by deafmute at 10:55 PM on November 21, 2004


So, trharlan, are you saying that injustice and discrimination against homosexuals is ok because it's not as bad as injustice and discrimination against other groups in this country's past?

I would agree with you that the situation re: homosexuals today is very much unlike the situation facing African-Americans in the early part of this centure, however, are you unable to find parallels between the two?
posted by deafmute at 11:02 PM on November 21, 2004


Yes. The state confers benefits to married people that it ought not to. Right now, two groups of people don't get the (tax and other) benefits of marriage: Single gay people, and single straight people. Now the gay movement says: "We want to fuck over the unmarried people just like the straight people do!"

Great. How principled.


It doesn't require a lack of principles to think that gay people should have the same rights as straight people. It's as simple as that. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the economic benefits of marriage discarded for straight and gay people, but there are plenty of other benefits which are essential to me, like the ability to visit my spouse in the hospital.

And really, the outrage here is laughable. First, gay people as a class are economically advantaged, and second, (cry about Matthew Shepard and the Stonewall Riots all you want) they haven't been fucked over (in the US, at least) nearly as hard as people of color.

Though no one has done so explicitly in this thread, those who suggest that the atrocities of the three-fifths rule, slavery and Jim Crow are analogous to the present-day struggles of gay Americans need a healthy dose of perspective.


So it comes down to how hard you've been fucked over? Well then, there was no reason to extend the franchise to women, obviously, because they were never slaves. Suddenly, everything is clear to me! I guess it's ok to fuck groups of people over, as long as you don't do it so hard. Thanks, trharlan!
posted by me & my monkey at 11:03 PM on November 21, 2004


to trharlan: it's not a comparison to the 3/5ths rule or Jim Crow. It's a comparison to, for example, the ban on interracial marriage that existed in many of the United States until 1967. In most states, this was a law that was enforced against both participants, (typically) black and white. While the participants' race was not something they could help (as acknowledged by the law in 1954), their "immoral" desire to marry someone of another race was considered just a behavior, and so perfectly legitimate to legislate against. People made the same arguments about how interracial unions would destroy marriage, and how the bible forbade it, and those who sought to follow their hearts and actually get married were castigated from both sides; on the one hand by those who thought it was wrong, and on the other by those who thought it was "too soon," or inviting a backlash.
I'm hard put to see how anyone who fought against that particular type of discrimination can't see the parallel and want to fight against it.
posted by mabelstreet at 11:50 PM on November 21, 2004


You know, re-fighting the gay marriage fight is sort of exactly what the people who put this nasty little rag inside the nasty big rag wanted.

For us to sit here and re-hash the same arguments about gay rights that we've already been through on the whim of James Dobson is exactly like if the KKK did print an insert in the paper and we sat here and debated the superiority of one race over another.

Debating about gay rights is fine, but please let's not do it on James Dobson's terms.

(and no, I'm not saying that historical racism and the current plight of gay people is "equivalent", but I am saying that those who make it their mission to single out and promote prejudice towards some group of people do indeed have a lot in common.)
posted by Space Coyote at 3:11 AM on November 22, 2004


I'd be as upset as Darren if my job was being an anal wart inspector. Thumbs up, Darren!

Is there an extra comma in that sentence?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:24 AM on November 22, 2004


Is there an extra comma in that sentence?

I offer my heartfelt apologies, truly.

trharlan: Though no one has done so explicitly in this thread, those who suggest that the atrocities of the three-fifths rule, slavery and Jim Crow are analogous to the present-day struggles of gay Americans need a healthy dose of perspective.

Wait, even though no one has suggested this, but because some strawman you invented might have suggested this, any discussions we're having about a clear and obvious sponsorship of bigotry are invalid? Thumbs up trharlan.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:35 AM on November 22, 2004


I just now noticed that one of the points that the anti-gay crowd keep using: gays haven't suffered as much as blacks. I find the logic of that, um, unusual to say the least. So the fact that gays do, in fact, suffer from legal discrimination is trumped by the fact that blacks suffered more before they got legal protection, and therefore gays should not get equal protection under the law. That just doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

As for marriage screwing single people even if you scrapped every bit of marriage law that did (and it isn't much, just a few tax breaks), there is still legitimate reason for gays to want the benefits of marriage. As it stands today if one person in a homosexual partnership is hospitalized it is perfectly legal for the hospital to prevent the other partner from visiting. If one partner dies it is perfectly legal for that partner's family to seize the remains, dictate the funeral without consulting the partner, and even exclude the partner from the funeral. Those reasons, and scores of similar reasons, are why homosexuals want marriage.

What bothers me is that all those states amending their constitutions to outlaw gay marriage typically also included clauses outlawing civil unions, or even simple legal contracts that provided equivalent rights.
posted by sotonohito at 4:36 AM on November 22, 2004


Oh, and trharlan, if you want a strawman to fight wrt to comparing black and gay civil rights, check out some of what Coretta Scott King has to say on the subject. Having had her husband take a few bullets, I think she has about as much perspective as you can possibly ask for. Creep.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:38 AM on November 22, 2004


someday people like trharlan will stop mindlessly parroting lies and misinformation.
The Myth of Gay Affluence
posted by amberglow at 4:43 AM on November 22, 2004


me & my monkey -

Sorry to pop another myth, but...

The Straight Dope: "So far as I can tell, sea captains in the United States cannot now and have not ever been able to perform marriages at sea or anywhere else, unless they also happen to be recognized ministers or JPs or something. The same goes for sea captains in Britain and the Soviet Union."

Interestingly - from the POV of gay folk that desire equal marriage rights - TSD goes on to say this:
On the one hand there is a longstanding legal presumption that if two people think they got married, they did get married, even if the proceeding by which this was accomplished was suspect. On the other hand, judges have also felt, jeez, we can't let just anybody solemnize marriages, we gotta have rules.

This ambivalence has resulted in decisions on both sides of the fence. In Fisher vs. Fisher the court ruled a marriage by a ship's captain valid; in an 1898 case in California, Norman vs. Norman, the court ruled the opposite. It's important to note that in Fisher the court did not specifically single out ships' captains (as opposed to say, mailmen) as having the power to perform marriages; rather it ruled that, absent a statute to the contrary, and subject to certain other conditions, an exchange of vows between consenting parties constituted a valid marriage--as I read it, whether there was an officiant or not. In other words, marriage by ship's captain, or by anybody other than a recognized minister, JP, etc., was a type of common-law marriage.

There are still some states that recognize common-law marriage. Typically all that's necessary is that the parties (1) be legally free to marry (e.g., no undissolved prior marriages); (2) properly consent; (3) "cohabit" (do it); (4) live together; and (5) let the neighbors think they're married. (Contrary to common belief, it is not necessary that the couple live together for seven years.)
Some enterprising lawyer might want to look into that.

trharlan: The state confers benefits to married people that it ought not to. Right now, two groups of people don't get the (tax and other) benefits of marriage: Single gay people, and single straight people.
- Did your parents get married for love, or for tax advantages? [or Mr & Mrs Bush, or Mr & Mrs Perfect Couple, if that's not appropriate]
- Have you never met, nor heard of, 2 gay people who considered themselves part of a couple? Is 'gay couple' an oxymoron to you?

Daren: The strident homosexual-agenda pushers are gay men and women's worst enemy right now.

Are we supposed to wait for you to liberate us? I'm sure you can see the paradox there.

Piss off, Darren. I don't mean leave mefi, for those who see persecution everywhere. I'm just angry at his bigotry and can't bring myself to say 'fuck off and rot slowly, lizardbrain'.

Oh, I dunno, maybe I can.


Finally, Coretta Scott King, MLK Jr's widow: We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say “common struggle” because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination. - Coretta Scott King, remarks, Opening Plenary Session, 13th annual Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2000.

&

"For many years now, I have been an outspoken supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people," King said at the 25th Anniversary Luncheon for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.... "Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement," she said. "Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions." - Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998, sec.2, p.4.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:02 AM on November 22, 2004


re: Ship Captians

I did some research on this for another topic. Ship masters are given just enough authority to fulfill the contract associated with their cargo. In terms of other civil and legal authority, captains are bound by the laws of the flag under which their ship is registered. So it does not look like ship captains can issue marriage licenses which is where the legailities come in. Really all the marriage is from a legal point of view is a legal document with a notary (frequently the minister), two people and two witnesses.

re: common law marriage

There is actually a long history of ambivalence about common law marriage. Common law marriage was not always equal to traditional marriage.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:50 AM on November 22, 2004


Morrigan to ombudsman@washpost.com:

Dear Mike Getler:

It was with dismay that I learned of the Washington Post's decision to accept advertising money for the insertion of "Both Sides Magazine." It was with disbelief that I read the contents of that insert.

Not satisfied with sowing discord and hatred for one oppressed group against another via mere opinion, the insert disseminates actual lies, hatred-fueled myths long debunked, about the gay and lesbian community and its members. One must assume that this content was reviewed by--at least--the advertising staff of the Post.

I am interested to learn how much money was accepted by the Post to run this supplement. I am also interested in where the Post draws the line in accepting advertising: the Klan? Holocaust deniers? I am most interested to learn if subscribers will be receiving similarly hate-infused reading material in the future. Should that be the case, I will be hearing of it from a source other than your newspaper as I am canceling my subscription to the paper as of today.

The questions contained in the paragraph above are not rhetorical. They should be addressed in print by the ombudsman.
posted by Morrigan at 7:15 AM on November 22, 2004


trharlan: We shouldn't give gay people the same rights straight people have because straight people should not have those rights. But they do. And gay people shouldn't have those rights cus dammit, they are gay.

Is my paraphrasing correct? I hope not, because that doesn't make any fricken sense at all.... Unless you want to do away with marriage altogether. Do you?
posted by Freen at 8:37 AM on November 22, 2004


Postroad:A paper has the right to accept or decline ads if it wants..they are not required to run an ad if they choose not to. In this instance they took the money, as do so many papers and magazines, because--heck folks, that's capitalism--and you have the right not to support or read that paper.

In that case, you wouldn't mind if, for example, some large, well-moneyed group decided to single you out and took out a full page advert in a national newspaper criticising you. They might argue that you like eating babies, and that you regularly enjoy stealing money from old ladies. They might even have come up with some (dubious) scientific reports "proving" their allegations.

Of course, you can sue the publishers for slander and even get some compensation (assuming you don't actually eat babies). Capitalism doesn't allow you to publish lies about individuals. Unfortunately, we in the gay community don't have any such protection. Our enemies can (and do) make up whatever lies they like about us and repeat them ad nauseum until they re-frame the argument on their terms.
posted by axon at 8:58 AM on November 22, 2004


Alex Reynolds -

How about those who claim to be "Christian"-but-misunderstood stand up and walk the fucking talk about their Christ for once?

Alex, I am not nearly as interested in winning some sort of rhetorical debate I am in sparking some kind of genuine dialog about a serious problem. Complaining about Christians requesting non-Christians be more "accomodating" doesn't make much sense in a practical, political perspective when the former outnumber the latter three to one. My observation is that there are a large number of secular progressives more interested in brandishing the chip on their shoulders than in opening their eyes to the broad, pluralistic range of beliefs and values that exists in the community of people of faith. I am convinced based on the demographic realities of the United States that unless secular progressives realize that the large and diverse progressive Christianity movement shares many of their social goals and values, and recognizes that they need these groups and individuals to help them bulid bridges to the larger Christian community, then progressive politics in this country will continue to fail and a minority of Christians will continue to exert a disproportionate and dangerous influence on political centers of national power.

Furthermore I will acknowledge that Christians carry a burden of making their voices heard and working to reach out to the secular side of the divide. But we cannot do it alone. We cannot make progress with people who are so opposed to certain facets of Christianity that they reject the entire spectrum of those who identify themselves as Christians without discrimination. Many of the groups and individuals expressing progressive ideology are marginalized and attacked within their own broader faith communities. They may want to catalyze greater change but not know how. They may have as much trouble locating the centers of progressive Christianity as secular groups and individuals. I honestly think we need each other. I'm not such a big person that I'm immune to a knee-jerk response but the tone of my original post to this thread aside, if anyone wants to really talk about this in a practical way (I don't have time to sit and bat rhetoric around about whether Christianity is generally a BAD THING or a GOOD THING or if progressive Christianity is really anything of significance - if your answers are BAD and "no," then there's not much point in discussion, is there?) - please feel free to email me. U.S. progressives have less than two years to get their acts together and learn how to fight this trend in a way that is not merely ideologically sound but works
posted by nanojath at 10:55 AM on November 22, 2004


The state does not make any distinction between "civil" or "religious" marriage -- they are the same thing.

There is no such thing as "religious" marriage. All marriages are civil marriages.

If you've attended a church wedding, you'll have noticed that at one point in the proceedings the couple and the minister take a short break. During this break they go sign a few documents. Those documents are what make the marriage legal. They are civil marriage contracts.

The religious ceremony is simply frosting on the cake.

You can be married without the religious ceremony. You can not be married without the signing of the civil contracts. Thus, marriage is not a religious thing: it is a government thing.

in canada, at least
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 AM on November 22, 2004


nanojath, all anyone wants from "you Christians" is that you approach secular (government) policies on secular terms.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:00 AM on November 22, 2004


But don't underestimate the signifigance of the religious ceremony. My husband and I, liberals both, got married by a judge (and the timing of that was largely for the benefits, as I was eight months pregnant) but we both refer to our planned religious ceremony as our "real wedding."

It makes sense to me to seperate the civil and religious aspects. Everyone should be allowed the right to join in a civil union, affording all the rights and benefits that marriage gives, and then, if they so choose, they can also marry in a religious ceremony that validates their partnership in the eyes of their God. And no Roman Catholic church or Orthodox shul, say, would be required to perform marriages that contradict their religious beliefs. It just seems like such a win-win situation.
posted by Ruki at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2004


For those whining that homosexuals weren't persecuted as much as blacks in America, I'd say making it illegal to have sex is pretty mean. On a scale of meanness. Not really comparable, though, I'd suppose.

It's also harder to attack a non-visible minority. If homosexuals were born with some sort of skin pigment, maybe things would have been different. They probably would have been attacked and persecuted fairly severely.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2004


five fresh fish, I'm not certain I understand what you mean. If you're saying, set belief aside when I act in arenas other than the religious, I can't do that, because my faith forms the ideological basis for all my actions. Inasmuch as any action I take is not informed by faith, I consider it to be ill-informed.

What I'm saying is that, to effectively promote change, progressives of whatever underlying belief system need to form effective coalitions based on shared goals and ideals. The attitude many secular progressives express make this impossible.

A person who expresses a goal of increasing social justice, practicing good stewardship for the planet, combatting poverty and disease, increasing access and quality in education, and promoting peace can find politically significant support among Christians, and this support may be leveraged to create political power with the capacity to effect real change. A person who expresses the opinion that no progressive movement in Christianity exists and that it is impossible to argue with a Christian because they are non-rational, who, confronted with the notion of finding common ground with Christians, is capable of recognizing only one variety of that body of believers, then that person is going to have a very difficult time reaching out to that 75+% of Americans (for example) who self-identify as Christians and as a consequence will almost certainly fail in their political goals.
posted by nanojath at 12:00 PM on November 22, 2004


if we don't address . . . deliberate childlessness --

Whoa! WTF??

Someone's going after this as a threat to marriage?

Does anyone know divorce rates on folks who choose not to have kids? (I suspect they might be lower than the norm, but would really like to see that in black and white.)

Meanwhile, I'm always mightily amused at the right-wingers who criticize people for not having children, or even for limiting how many they have. Maybe I'm stereotyping, but I tend to think that those folks are the more highly educated people who are actually concerned about the drain on the planet's (or, even, on their own) resources that having more than two kids might entail. Those tend to be the kind of people (standing up and bowing) that the wingnuts shouldn't want to reproduce in the first place. You'd think they'd be happy to have fewer of the enemy to deal with, while they're breeding up their own small armies.

(lurking for a year, now happy to be here!)
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:00 PM on November 22, 2004


A person who expresses the opinion that no progressive movement in Christianity exists and that it is impossible to argue with a Christian because they are non-rational, who, confronted with the notion of finding common ground with Christians, is capable of recognizing only one variety of that body of believers, then that person is going to have a very difficult time reaching out to that 75+% of Americans (for example) who self-identify as Christians and as a consequence will almost certainly fail in their political goals.

Is it really an opinion?

Show me one who will keep his or her fingers out of the laws and I'll agree with you. So far, every Xtian I've met, progressive or otherwise, who has any political pull has been happy not only to tell me who I should sleep with and what I should believe in, but would be even happier to write it into law.

Even worse, as you aptly put it: "Inasmuch as any action I take is not informed by faith, I consider it to be ill-informed."

And that pretty much is the crux of it all. At the end of the day, your faith compels you to stomp on the rights of others.

"Getting along" is very simply code for "let us Xtians do what we want" to the laws that abide all, non-Xtian and Xtian alike.

Frankly, I see little gain in wasting breath on people who do not want to listen.

People whose basis for rational decision making, by your own words, is the belief in the equivalent of the easter bunny or santa claus just do not want to listen to people who do not share those beliefs.

If there is such a thing as a progressive Christian movement in this country, where was it on November 2nd? I would suggest your 75% number is poor data to refer to.

The election was a referendum on ignorance, and your so-called "75%+" of Americans voiced themselves quite clearly on the matter: the gays are more dangerous than terrorism.

This insert was another symptom of the disease of ignorance plaguing this country. In a "progressive" paper, no less.

I suggest that perhaps it is time to look at the root cause of this disease, before the next equivalent of Nuremberg Laws get passed.

I suggest further that the root cause of this disease is fundamentalist Christianity, and that whether it is called progressive or otherwise is a semantical non sequitor, having no relation to how we need to return to the secular, open foundation of this country.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2004


Can I ask how we know the Washington Post actually published this? All I see is a disclaimer that the content is not from the Post, but this is tucked into the text by the authors, not by the editors.

I'm trying to figure out how incensed I should be at the Post, since I do like reading parts of it.
posted by dness2 at 1:21 PM on November 22, 2004


Can I ask how we know the Washington Post actually published this? All I see is a disclaimer that the content is not from the Post, but this is tucked into the text by the authors, not by the editors.

I have my own doubts on this issue, as noted above. I could not find it in my edition of the Post. I have emailed the Ombudsman to try to determine whether the Post actually distributed the publication in question, but I haven't yet received an answer.

Certainly the Post has something to answer for if they accepted this advertising, but I think we should all be careful of assuming that they did.
posted by anapestic at 1:28 PM on November 22, 2004


AlexReynolds, I guess it ends there. You are the one presuming to tell me what I believe, how my faith instructs me, without knowing the first thing about me. It's obvious you haven't paid the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I offered, and if you believe there is no progressive Christian movement in this country, and that Christians were innactive in liberal activism during the past election, then you are simply choosing to ignore information that doesn't fit with your preconception of Christianity. And this is fine, this is your perogative. Unfortunately I find it unlikely that progressive political action will succeed if the religious and secular components of liberalism fail to reconcile. But I can't argue with you because it is clear that you have decided in advance of any evidence (and in direct contradiction of much evidence I have offered) what I believe. And this is the very attitude I have attempted to make a case against as being a basis for failure in progressive liberal activism in this nation. So you've done a fine job, rhetorically, of proving my point, as I think anyone who pays attention to what I've actually said and is open to the information and examples I've provided will be able to see. Sadly it has not been my intention to acheive a rhetorical victory, it has been my intention to make a case for a new basis of disparate groups with common goals to deal with one another, and in this respect I have, inasmuch as you are a representative of a particular group, clearly failed. I've nothing further to say on this subject.
posted by nanojath at 1:35 PM on November 22, 2004


If you're saying, set belief aside when I act in arenas other than the religious, I can't do that, because my faith forms the ideological basis for all my actions.

If you can't set your faith aside when dealing with secular (government) matters, then keep out of them.

That's pretty easy, eh? I won't interfere with the politics that goes on in your own church, and you don't interfere with the politics that goes on in the government, k? Because, you know, there's this little idea of separation of church and state, and if you can't play by that rule, don't play.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2004


Privatize Marriage
A simple solution to the gay-marriage debate.

posted by oncogenesis at 1:39 PM on November 22, 2004


Sorry, one more thing to say on the subject:

If there is such a thing as a progressive Christian movement in this country, where was it on November 2nd?

"According to Perriello, liberal religious groups registered 500,000 new voters, made 400,000 get-out-the-vote phone calls, and raised $1.75 million for newspaper and radio ads during the campaign. But he said the post-election poll found that 71 percent of voters had heard from the religious right while 38 percent said they had heard from the religious left."

(Irony of news source noted).

Suggesting the groups some refuse to acknowledge exist are working hard but failing in raising their public profile. But I'd balance this against my recent exchanges with Mr. Reynolds, who clearly would never acknowledge that there is a progressive, liberal component of Christianity, no matter how much evidence to the contrary is presented. Pretty hard to acknowlege having heard from what you don't believe exists.
posted by nanojath at 1:57 PM on November 22, 2004


five fresh fish: That's pretty easy, eh? I won't interfere with the politics that goes on in your own church, and you don't interfere with the politics that goes on in the government, k? Because, you know, there's this little idea of separation of church and state, and if you can't play by that rule, don't play.

Well, hrm. I don't think it is quite that easy.

For example, lets take a look at the war in Iraq. There are many religious perspectives on the Iraq war ranging from just war rationales of most mainstream sects to hardcore pacifism. "Establishment," does not mean that a person must avoid voting their consience, whether inspired of religion or secular humanism. As a secular pacifist, I may disagree with pacifist Quakers, Menonites, and Buddhists, but I'm more than glad to have them on my side.

AlexReynolds: What I'm saying is that, to effectively promote change, progressives of whatever underlying belief system need to form effective coalitions based on shared goals and ideals. The attitude many secular progressives express make this impossible.

I've largely decided that MeFi is increasingly dominated by do-nothing critics who would rather piss away any political capital they have than engage in coalition-building. They are not the largest but they are the most dominant. I think if you want to engage in that kind of work, this is not the best place to look for allies.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:59 PM on November 22, 2004


five fresh fish, I'm speaking of my actions as a citizen, as a voter, as an individual in society. I am not advocating against the separation of church and state. I am a firm believer and reliable proponent of that principle. What I'm saying is that, religion is part of the package that comes with who I am. Everybody comes to the table with their ideological basis. The point I keep making (that keeps getting ignored) is that if two people share common political goals, it behooves them to put aside their differences and work towards a common goal. I suggest that people like yourself and AlexReynold may have so unequivocally defined what you believe Christianity is that you are prepared to reject cooperation with a significant body of potential political allies solely on the basis of an ideological label.
posted by nanojath at 2:06 PM on November 22, 2004


and seriously seriously seriously nothing else to say. why do I engage in these pointless exchanges. thanks anyway, though, KirkJobSluder... would you mind if I dropped you a line sometime? (I'm terribly distracted at the moment but I'll get to it by and by or feel free to drop one to me, my email's in my profile) I really would like to start connecting to a real discussion about organizing in pragmatic ways for 2006. I'm really afeard that liberals are getting their asses kicked in the culture wars and if we don't quit wasting our energy scoring off each other or indulging in pointless bashing of our perceived enemies the slide is just going to continue...
posted by nanojath at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2004


You are the one presuming to tell me what I believe, how my faith instructs me, without knowing the first thing about me. It's obvious you haven't paid the slightest bit of attention to any of the information I offered, and if you believe there is no progressive Christian movement in this country, and that Christians were innactive in liberal activism during the past election, then you are simply choosing to ignore information that doesn't fit with your preconception of Christianity.

Where were these so-called progressives on November 2nd? A fraction of a percentage point doesn't count for much when the rest of the American Taliban is in charge. Again: for all intents and purposes, your brand of religion has been coerced. Its not the responsibility of secular people to save your religion from your extremist elements. You choose to ignore the larger reality of what is going on, and that's your perogative. The rest of us do deal with the consequences of the usurpation of everyone's government, however.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2004


There is no such thing as "religious" marriage. All marriages are civil marriages.

Actually, marriage predates the nation-state by many thousands of years.

AlexReynolds, you keep throwing around the 75% figure as if 75% of the country voted to ban gay marriages. But since only about half of the eligible voters voted, and since the referenda appeared only in 1/5 of the states, and since those states, for the most part, have some of the lowest populations, then we're talking about 75% of 20% of 50% of the eligible voters at the most generous estimate, then we're talking about 7.5%, one tenth of the eligible voters.

Plus, AlexReynolds, it helps in being persuasive if you actually read someone's posts before you post yourself. nanojath keeps saying "Don't bunch all the Christians together, and realize the progressive ones can help secular progressives frame thier issues in terms ot the moral imperatives that win votes. Your reply: nanojath is somehow a fundy.
Bill Clinton is a progressive Christian. His understanding of the fact that moral imperatives motivate people of faith is part of why he won two landslide elections. Buit since Clinton is a "born-again" (by his own admission), that'd make him a dirty fundy in your book.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:26 PM on November 22, 2004


Bill Clinton is by no means progressive, nor much of a Christian. He even told Kerry to come out in favor of these anti-gay state amendments. Maybe use someone else as an example?
posted by amberglow at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2004


amberglow: True, Clinton, especially in his presidency, was more of a moderate, and he dropped the ball on gay rights. But I disagree that he's "not much of a Christian." he's certainly more of one than George W. Bush, if we're judging trees by their fruit. I've been reading his autobiography, and his accounts of his religious experiences seem very genuine to me, a religious person. But I think, too there was a mixup of labels - to be Christian and "progressive" means two things - the label has political and theological content. I think Clinton is definitely a pregressive Christian in the theological content, a moderate, politically, and a wuss on gay rights.
But I think my point still stands - Clinton's "born again" experience and his religious life seem to be what equipped him to frame the Deomcrats' platforms as moral imperatives.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:12 PM on November 22, 2004


Actually, marriage predates the nation-state by many thousands of years.

So? You're getting married today, not centuries ago.

Well, hrm. I don't think it is quite that easy.

No, really, it is. The topic under discussion is gay marriage. That is a secular, civil, government matter. There is no need to involve religion with it at all. That's because the issue has nothing to do with faith.

As soon as you bring any sort of religious discussion to the front, the issue is fubared. There will never be agreement between all the religionists about this matter. If it were left to the religious it would remain deadlocked for eternity.

Frame it entirely in secular terms, though, and the matter is no longer deadlocked. It becomes a simple matter of greater equality, greater freedoms, and expanded legal rights and responsibilities.

You might be on the side of gay marriage because you believe Christ would support equality and freedom. You can still tell us you suport greater equality and freedom: just keep the Christ bit out of it (when going on the national stage, at least) and you won't inflame the passions of all those anti-Christ religionists who want to use Leviticus to repress teh gay.

Making more sense now?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:31 PM on November 22, 2004


Clinton's "born again" experience and his religious life seem to be what equipped him to frame the Deomcrats' platforms as moral imperatives.
I don't see it--Hillary had far more moral messages throughout the Clinton years--"it takes a village", the national health care thing, etc.

Clinton "felt our pain" and talked the talk, but except for the Family and Medical Leave Act, did nothing especially moral at all, nor did he frame his actions in moral terms. He was a complete realist/centrist, triangulating to get support and votes from whoever he could, ethics and morals be damned. Carter was the last truly moral president, i think.
posted by amberglow at 4:46 PM on November 22, 2004


five fresh fish: Making more sense now?

Yes, you finally are.

nanojath: No problem. However, most of my energy is going to be on the Indiana 9th District Congressional race that went Republican only by 1,000 votes.

AlexReynolds: Kerry got 48% of Catholics and about 35% of Protestants. In at least one survey, stopping the war and poverty concerns were major issues of faith and social justice. These are not potential allies I'm willing to say FOAD to.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:47 PM on November 22, 2004


Glutton for punishment I apparently am, I feel a need to take one more stab at expressing my point, as I seem to be doing a piss-poor job.

By way of example five fresh fish (and I'm just going to pretend you're a citizen of the USA, bacause this is really an issue of USA politics we're talking about, so forgive the monstrous imposition on your actual identity). On the practical disposition of the issue in question, marriage, I think we happen to be in complete agreement. I believe that civil marriage should be completely secularized. It should be a civil contract between two individuals which is mediated by the government exclusively to establish certain civil legalities - taxation status, powers of attorney, estate disposition, custody precedents of children.

I also believe that the argument made by the Supreme Court in Loving versus Virginia, that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment guarantees equal access to marriage regardless of race, should extend to the civil contract of marriage in the case of same-sex couples. This is unlikely to be established legislatively given the current composition of congress and the historical cowardice of Democratic party legislators over the last decade. So the only way it is likely to be established is if a civil marriage in one state was legally challenged in another state under the Defense of Marriage act, resulting in a court case that went to the Supreme Court. It's impossible to say how that case would be decided because the issue of same-sex marriage and Loving v. Virginia are not exactly equivalent - I'd argue they are legally equivalent but I'm not exactly a constitutional law expert. The reason the opponents of same sex marriage are pushing for a Constitutional amendment outright banning gay marriage is precisely to avoid putting this outcome to the test.

My opinion on this issue appears from polling to be in the minority among Americans and particularly Christians. As I noted before, what I would call truly progressive Christianity is very much a minority viewpoint. As dumb as it seems to me, the numbers looks significantly better if you stop talking about same-sex marriage and instead offer "civil unions." I've got some serious problems with that sort of seperate-but-equal BS but I guess it's worth arguing about whether it might be better than nothing; I think that proponents of civil rights for all people can probably agree it would be better than an amendment banning gay marriage and its equivalents outright, which is what our opponents in this issue (are we in agreement now that we are on the same side of this issue?) are attempting to push forward.

Now, you and I agree on another point, five fresh fish, which is that the intention and precedent of the First Amendment is not merely to forbid the establishment of a state religion but also to create an absolute separation between the church and the state. I do not believe religion has any place in the laws of this nation or their application. When I say something like "faith forms the ideological basis for all my actions," I'm talking about the underlying principles that inform my actions and decisions and opinions, not that I think the fact that I hold (and adhere to) a particular set of beliefs means that these beliefs should somehow be directly represented in the law. Quite the opposite. I don't want my religion dictating secular law and I don't want secular law dictating my religion, and I think that's what the religion language in the First Amendment is all about, end of story. Now in this point of view, I would like to think I am part of something closer to a majority among Americans and Christians, and I also think there is significant potential to craft this principle into a message with broad appeal to attract potential voters to consider the progressive liberal agenda.

Now here, five fresh fish, is where I think our opinions diverge. You say The topic under discussion is gay marriage. That is a secular, civil, government matter. There is no need to involve religion with it at all. I agree with the ideal expressed by this sentiment. And when you win the lotter and buy your island and establish Five Fresh Fishtopia, the world's first Idealocracy, I will be right there in line applying for citizenship, promising to never ever mention Jesus in the town meetings. Unfortunately we live in a democracy, which means the majority rules and you either have to sell your ideas to people wherever they're at ideologically, or else you have to motivate them somehow into your ideological camp.

And this is where we get to the issue of the 75%, the mention of which is where I think I immediately got off on the wrong foot with AlexReynolds. In saying that 75% of Americans self-identify as Christians I'm not trying to make some argument for the ideological superiority of Christianity or suggest that non-Christians have no choice but to get with the program of the Religious Right (or the Mushy Mainstream Middle, for that matter). All I'm doing is pointing at a simple demographic fact of life in America. Roughly, roughly three quarters of Americans say they are Christians. The numbers are actually in decline - but that trend, assuming it continues, will take many, many decades to become demographically significant in the political spectrum.

Given that three quarters of Americans self-identify as Christians, and given that we live in a Democracy, my point, finally - the only real point I'm trying to make in this misbegotten thread - is that if progressive liberals do not craft their message to appeal to Christians they will lose elections and consequently the other side (regressive conservatism) will gain power.

Related to this argument, what I keep trying to say to people in the camps of five fresh fish and AlexReynolds is that if you are coming to the table with the message that "I think what you believe is a load of tooth fairy nonsense that you adhere to because you are irrational" or "please keep your beliefs out of politics" the attempt to build a winning constituency, which must by statistical necessity include a significant majority of Christians overall, will fail. I'm not talking about idealism. I'm not talking about who's right or wrong. I'm not talking about what I personally believe. I'm talking straight numbers. Three quarters of your potential voting pool thinks of themselves as Christians. Include that reality in how you craft your message or fail politically.

AlexReynolds wants to know where the liberal Christians were on November 2nd. If you look at the statistics (basing this on exit polls and an estimate of 118 million total voters), some 41 million of them - about 35% of voters overall - were out voting for Kerry. Myself among them. Those identifying their religion as "none" produced a better percentage response for Kerry (67%) but as they represent only 10% of the population they represented only 7% of voters overall. To put it bluntly, without Christian voters liberals couldn't possibly win any national election.

But what disturbs me about those statistics is how Democratic support among Christians and Jews (a small but significant stronghold for the Democratic party) slipped in 2004. What this tells me is that the Republican message that Democrats didn't represent them is working. This is what I'm trying to point out. If secular progressive liberals fail to connect to Christian voters and deliver a message that convinces them they have a place in progressive, liberal politics, then there is only one direction things are going to go.

You keep saying stuff like this, AlexReynolds: Its not the responsibility of secular people to save your religion from your extremist elements - well fuck, man, I don't think it really matters who's responsibility it is. I'm just an individual. Within my religion I'm a member of a minority. I try my best to exercise as much positive influence within the community of believers as I can. But progressive, liberal Christians are a minority... just like secular people. We can't afford to be fighting each other over who's "responsibility" it is to reach out to the Christian mainstream who comprise the majority of potential voters. We have to cooperate, we have to cooperate, we have to get organized, we have to work together or we will fail. And part of what that means, no matter how distasteful it may be for some, is that if they are serious about shifting the balance of power in this country, they have to take the chip off their shoulder about Christianity in general, they have to leave the contempt and vitriol against Christianity at the door, and focus on issues, focus on common ground, focus on allies wherever they can find them.

I dunno, five fresh fish, am I making more sense now? I'm genuinely afraid that the emotional reaction of American liberals against the 2004 election - with its attendant rural-bashing, south-bashing, and religion-bashing, with its talk of secession and civil war and "The United States of Canada" versus "Jesusland" (try to imagine if the map going around had "The United States of Morality" versus "Faggotland" instead and you have an approximation of how that amusing little graphic is likely to play with the average Christian) is actively eroding the position of progressive liberality further in the USA...

And getting back to the topic of the actual thread, while we liberals snark and scrap with each other, the forces of fundamentalism are actively working and worrying at perceived weaknesses in our voter bases, like black Christians, looking to speed that erosion, looking to solidify and strengthen their hold on power. If progressive liberality does not adapt to this reality (not by abandoning the ideals of equality or justice or separation of Church and State, but by figuring out how to package its messages in a mode that will work with the mainstream voter) then the political character of America is likely to be shaped, possibly for decades to come, bu that failure.

I'm sorry it took a while.
posted by nanojath at 8:43 AM on November 23, 2004


But nanojath, you're conflating the need for court cases/equal rights with demographics and majorities, it seems to me...a vast vast majority of the population was against interracial marriage when Loving was decided--no one took their considerations into account, nor should they have--rights are rights, equal protection is not subject to the will of the majority. Is it court cases/decisions we need, or the approval of the majority? The majority's wishes are never in step with courts--courts have always been ahead of the curve with regard to rights, and the people have followed.
posted by amberglow at 9:03 AM on November 23, 2004


If the word "marriage" is inextricably linked with "religious ceremony" these days then, yes, it would be best if the movement was toward recognizing "civil unions."

What amberglow said. Tyranny of the mob is what happens when the majority is allowed to set the law. One of the roles of government is to manage the society in a way that drives society in a progressive direction. What constitutes "progressive" is subject to debate, of course.

Anyway, sure. You make sense, wrt meeting religionists on common ground.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2004


amberglow: But nanojath, you're conflating the need for court cases/equal rights with demographics and majorities, it seems to me...a vast vast majority of the population was against interracial marriage when Loving was decided--no one took their considerations into account, nor should they have--rights are rights, equal protection is not subject to the will of the majority. Is it court cases/decisions we need, or the approval of the majority? The majority's wishes are never in step with courts--courts have always been ahead of the curve with regard to rights, and the people have followed.

To answer your question. We need both. The courts are necessary but not sufficient to bring about equal rights. And lets get your old tired straw men out of the way. I'm not arguing that we should stop at local activism. I'm not arguing that we should abandon the court cases, and I'm not arguing for compromise.

Court cases work best at dealing with institutional policy on the big scale. They do not deal well with more widespread prejudice. Also, persuing your interests in the courts is expensive, time consuming and a high-risk strategy. Even if the law is on your side, you can't take every case of discrimination to court.

For example, Loving may have legialized "mixed-race" relationships, but that only means that mixed-race couples can get the marriage certificiate from their local courthouse. It does not mean that mixed-race relationships will receive the same social sanctions or benefits as same-race couples in their community. It does not change the fact that mixed-race partnerships is a highly charged political issue even among progressive circles where it is phrased in terms of culture and class rather than race.

Brown vs. Board of Education has FAILED to bring about its stated mandate of equality in education. It failed in NYC, it failed in S.F. it failed in L.A.. Brown stopped formal legal segregation, but the broad systematic inequalities throughout public school systems still exist and are tolerated as long as the nice majority-white schools have a few non-white students and the bad schools have a few Whites so that the school board can say that the schools are, technically, integrated.

African American men are formally the same in the criminal justice system as White men. But white men routinely get lower sentences for the same crimes, and white men are more likely to have their sentences reduced or dismissed entirely, by a court system that "officially" is colorblind in regards to due process.

All of the legal battles are important. Loving and Brown were both critically necessary. (I think it is important to extend Brown to higher education as well.) But they are not sufficient. Equal protection is subject to the will of the majority because bigots can always find a loophole around the law, and the law puts the burden of proving discrimination on oppressed minorities. You can't refuse to serve an African American man, but you can make him wait twice as long before he gets service.

Even if we get those court decisions, we need a visible presence and support networks in every community in the United States. We need to have enough political captial to harm businesses and organizations that discriminate in their pocketbook rather than waiting years for a case to wind its way through the court system. We need the muscle to elect gay leaders into office (three elected in "red states" this year). We need the muscle to remove discriminatory laws from the books (happened in Cincinnati this year).

You keep raising a false delimma. Do we need court cases, or do we need the will of the majority? The only answer to this question that makes sense, the only answer to this question that addresses the actual needs of gay communities throughout the United States, the only answer to this question that learns from history is that we need both.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:07 AM on November 23, 2004


I think i'm not the one raising the false dilemma. One of those things is just not possible. The other is. You guess which one is which.
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on November 23, 2004


And my point, amberglow and five fresh fish, is that to whatever degree fundamentalist christians secured recent victories for the Republican party (and while this degree is subject to debate it is certainly the perception), a large part of the governmental wish list they were buying was to change this balance of power. There are two ways to do this: pass a constitutional amendment, or change the composition of the supreme court. We are in dangers of both these outcomes and they are both imminent. And it is plainly and simply these outcomes fundamentalist Christians were advocating for with talk of "activist judges legislating from the bench"

Our democracy, incidentally, amberglow, has never been about the will of the majority. It is about consolidating 25+ % of the population behind leaders most likely to forward your agenda. The constitution is far from inviolate so if you're not prepared to start working on a winning coalitions now you better not count on the courts to protect rights for much longer.
posted by nanojath at 10:44 AM on November 23, 2004


amberglow: I think i'm not the one raising the false dilemma. One of those things is just not possible. The other is. You guess which one is which.

"Those who say something is impossible should get out of the way of those who are doing it."

Some basic facts for you:

1960s: your home community raided gay bars and published the names of patrons to humiliate them. Some of those patrons killed themselves rather than face the shame of being exposed as gay. Gay men and women were routinely forced into dangerous and ineffective shock and hormone treatment. It was also illegal to talk about homosexuality on any stage in the State of New York, although this law was more and more frequently unenforced.

1970s: years ago, a handful of communities were under fire for just talking about civil rights for lesbigays. Marriage was not even on the radar. The Dade Co. civil rights ordinance results in a massive backlash led by Anita Bryant. Most major cities like Montreal get their first out gay rights organizations.

1980s: we had a President that refused to address the issue in spite of an epidemic sweeping the gay male community. The Supreme Court upholds sodomy laws in Bowers vs. Hardwick.

1990s: the AMA finally declares that treatment for homosexuality is a bad thing. Cincinnati pases an anti-gay ordinance. Increasing numbers of mainstream churches have gay clergy. Gay rights supporters gather millions for political rallies and marches.

Now: Gays and lesbians are on TV, albeit in fairly stereotypical roles. The first action film featuring an explicitly gay character is due to be released. Bush and Cheney are both forced to acknowledge the existence of out gay and lesbian people in their own campaign, and take a public "don't ask/don't tell" stance in regards to gay civil unions. Voters repealed an anti-gay law in Cincinnati after having lost $25 million dollars in convention income. "Red states" elected three out gay politicians. 4/10 Republicans in Illinois reject an explicitly homophobic Senate candidate.

Social change is not only possible, but it's happening. You see just the gay marriage ballot initiatives, I see gay and lesbian youth coming out in increasing numbers bringing supportive straights out with them.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:19 AM on November 23, 2004


amberglow: I also am continually baffled at how unsupportive you are in regards to gay rights battles outside of the courts. I'm not in a same-sex relationship. I'm not a lawyer. I'm more than happy to pitch in $50 to a legal defense fund to fund these legal challenges you feel are so important.

So why do I get so much hostility in regards to me fighting the battles on my turf, the battles I have experience fighting, the battles I know I can win?

I guess, also I disagree that the court fight is possible this season, and the PR battle is impossible. My odds are on another Bowers vs. Hardwick. I think that given the current court, that we are much more likely to see the issue kicked back to the states, than a decision that gays have a legal right to marry.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:33 AM on November 23, 2004


There are two ways to do this: pass a constitutional amendment, or change the composition of the supreme court.
And there are many cases working their way up the pipeline to the supremes right now--Why is it that mainstream organizations are now saying don't go to court with Bush in the white house? Why is it that couples in those 11 states affected just now have no national help fighting these illegal/unconstitutional state amendments? Why are they being advised to wait, when the future holds an even more conservative supreme court, and more of the same?

We've won victories already from this set of supremes, including the groundbreaking sodomy case that in Scalia's own words, will lead to gay marriage. By the time our cases get thru the supreme court (which is soon), a constitutional amendment will not even be close to being passed, and the country will see what Mass. sees--nothing happens--The world doesn't end; the country doesn't collapse, and the haters lose support as their demonizing is shown to be utterly false--again, what was learnt in Mass.

I'm not unsupportive at all--you should read more closely what i've saying, over and over. You're not listening.
posted by amberglow at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2004


The first action film featuring an explicitly gay character is due to be released

I'm going to need some specifics here.

I hope you're right, amberglow. As far as I can see, though, nobody in this discussion is suggesting that the issue of gay marriage should not be taken to the Supreme Court now if it can be. I think what you're saying is that mainstream liberalism is punking out on gays, which wouldn't come as any surprise given the past decade of history...

In any event, I'd appreciate if you dug up some reference links about these issues of specific cases working towards SCOTUS, mainstream opposition to these, as well as there being a state-leve lack of support for those fighting disenfranchisement of gays so I could educate myself about the subject more.
posted by nanojath at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2004


amberglow: I agree with you that the court cases should be persued. So I'm baffled as to why you are arguing with me as if I don't agree. However, I don't have high hopes that the hole that was opened in regards to sodomy, will be pushed open wide enough by the current court to include gay marriage. I'll be happy to be proven wrong. I want to be proven wrong, but even if I'm proven wrong, I think that there will be lots of work to do on the grass-roots level.

I'm not unsupportive at all--you should read more closely what i've saying, over and over. You're not listening.

I am reading, and I'm listening. What I'm hearing is that the activism that scratches your itch is important, necessary, and possible, and the activism that scratches our itch is trivial, optional, and not possible.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2004


nanojath: Alexander is being cross-billed as historical drama and action. Stone decided not to tip-toe around Alexander's sexuality.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:34 PM on November 23, 2004


nanojath: Alexander is being cross-billed as historical drama and action. Stone decided not to tip-toe around Alexander's sexuality.

(vaguely dissapointed...)

That's cool, I guess. I had this sudden vision that there was some up-front gay modern exploding-car machine-gun-strafing-while-skiing-downhill type action hero vehicle coming out that somehow I hadn't heard about.
posted by nanojath at 1:20 PM on November 23, 2004


For the three of you still following this topic:

Anti-Gay Marriage Advertorial Rankles 'Washington Post' Readers

Apparently, they've already received more than 1,000 emails and phone calls, and most were upset at the Post.

Also of note: the ad only ran outside the DC city limits, in 200,000 zoned editions.
posted by owenville at 2:49 PM on November 23, 2004


Here's a word I haven't heard before: "advertorial." I guess I haven't been paying attention.
posted by mmahaffie at 3:10 PM on November 23, 2004


thanks for letting us know, owen--let's see if they comment in the WP ombudsman column as well. It's very sad that they think it's ok to run tho.

I've heard that it's very much downplayed in the movie--one kiss, and a little nudity--and the whole great love of his life is not shown as such.

I am reading, and I'm listening. What I'm hearing is that the activism that scratches your itch is important, necessary, and possible, and the activism that scratches our itch is trivial, optional, and not possible.
That's not what i said, and a perfect example of what i mean. What I said was that what's not possible is getting the will of the majority. You show me a group--any group--that has the will of the majority that doesn't actually consist of that majority. We are a tiny minority in this country (bet. 2 & 5% of the population by most estimates), and we're already visible in greater proportion to our numbers than other minorities, in the news, on tv, and everywhere. We don't have the will of the majority, while that will is actively being energized against us, and succeeding.

nano, i'm talking about OUR groups and people, not mainstream liberals or progressives: Stories like this are popping up everywhere: But gay rights supporters, including gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), said a court decision overturning or weakening the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act could dramatically boost support for a marriage amendment and possibly lead to its passage.
At least four separate lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of DOMA are currently pending in federal courts.
All bets are off, according to Frank and other gay-supportive lawmakers, in the unlikely event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. Frank said he doubts the Supreme Court would issue such a ruling anytime soon.
I posted another similar one the other day.
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on November 23, 2004


Please take my final comments in the light of having to deal with the consequences of religious "piety" as such that motivates this discussion thread.

Morality is not a monopoly of the Christian faith; indeed, the Democrats do need to frame their campaign in moral terms, to win over Red states. See this for an excellent synopsis of the matter. Secular humanism is one demonstration of a moral value system that does not require belief in mumbo-jumbo.

In a representative democracy it is not necessary to enlist the progressive Christian army to this end, although it would be nice to have their support. It is necessary to have a politic body that respects the Constitution of this country and rules accordingly. Are Christians in this country prepared to share the country with everyone else? The numbers you've quoted show that it is not so clear a matter.

If the majority of 75+% of self-identified Christians are ready to turn this country into a fundamentalist fascist state, then they had damn well better be prepared for the consequences, including the rest of the world overthrowing this country's religious leadership, just like the Allies took care of Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini back in the 1940s.

Ultimately, this country was founded on a bedrock of independent thought. And the majority of Christians have shown they sympathize with the American Taliban's plan to rewrite that foundation.

If you care one iota about the future of your faith, and you obviously feel strongly about it, you had better speak to your Christian brothers and sisters, because there is a moral war coming and I and others, minorities we may be, have had just about enough of the hypocritical bullshit.

Either gays and other minorities fight back or we leave to freer countries, but either way, by brain drain and loss of labor pool this country's stability and future is at risk.

Fix your own house, to quote a familiar Biblical thread.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:55 PM on November 23, 2004


Okay, AlexReynolds, okay. I think you're misled if you believe you can achieve the kind of change I think we both want in this country without engaging Christians. There simply are not enough non-Christians to get out the vote. I also still feel like you're hearing something that I'm not saying about what I think needs to happen - but it's clear that either I can't express myself or you can't hear it. So be it. Maybe some day people like us will be able to speak less at cross purposes in a better world.

In the meantime, by all means... I will look to my own house, as I have ever done, while attending to the best of my ability to this place we share as well. And you get to work on those 43% of people who listed "none" as their religious affiliation but still voted for Bush, 'cause they clearly did not get your message. Your job should be so much easier than mine being as how your constituency does not subscribe to "belief in mumbo-jumbo." I know, I know, you've got a majority in your "house" already... but when you're talking about an apparent nationwide majority of a few million votes, every little bit counts.
posted by nanojath at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2004


There simply are not enough non-Christians to get out the vote.

For now, mind you, for now. Trends in this country suggest that in a century or so this could all be a moot point... Sadly we'll all be dead but you know, greater good, long view, all that.
posted by nanojath at 12:42 PM on November 24, 2004


If the Republicans get all gay rights outlawed and abortion banned, what the hell would they scare their base with for the next election?

I doubt they want this issue 'resolved'.

The Democrats are going to abandon gay rights faster than a dubya wink though.
posted by UseyurBrain at 6:58 PM on November 27, 2004


You're right, UseyrBrain--they're gonna ride us for years. And unfortunately, you're prob right about the Dems too.
posted by amberglow at 7:05 PM on November 27, 2004


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