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Prop. 8 is a money boon
September 9, 2008 11:39 AM   Subscribe

While millions are flowing into California on both sides of the gay marriage battle, California's anti-gay leaders are raking it in through their nonprofit orgs.
posted by nospecialfx (80 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.
posted by exogenous at 11:44 AM on September 9, 2008


Logical reason? Republican power-brokers won't be able to keep wealth and power in their hands if there's not a bunch of "moral issues" that get "values voters" to continue to vote against their economic self-interest.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:47 AM on September 9, 2008 [10 favorites]


It proves to one that one's religious beliefs are fallable, and we can't have that.

(ie, the Bible says gay sex is wrong, but if it really does no harm, is gay sex really wrong? is the Bible wrong .... head explodes).
posted by nospecialfx at 11:48 AM on September 9, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage?
No, of course not.
posted by Flunkie at 11:49 AM on September 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


Exogenous, in the tug of war between secular humanists and religious folk over ethics, the acceptance of gay marriage is one of the religious team's strongest members losing his/her grip on the rope of biblical-based moral values.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:50 AM on September 9, 2008


Hate shouldn't be this profitable.

Or I should be a lot richer, because there is a bunch of stuff that really pisses me off. I guess that since I don't get angry about it in the name of god, that it doesn't count as much though.
posted by quin at 11:51 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hate these hateful morans, but are these numbers really as damagins ar the article suggests? 1.1 million divided between two employees over four years amounts to a $137K salary. That's sadly more money than most of CFC's donors will ever see, but it's certainly comparable to CEOs of other large nonprofits.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:53 AM on September 9, 2008


But, according to its federal tax returns, little more than $500,000 of that money has gone to "program services," or expenses directly related to that charitable work.

I'm curious if California has criteria for maintaining non-profit tax status when the organization is not spending funds towards its stated mission.

Perhaps the powers-that-be in California could look into revoking the status of these hate groups, if they are laundering money from their "charities" into the activities of their political organizations, or into promoting candidates in the Republican Party.

If the ACLU has to follow the law, I see no reason why the Family Council shouldn't.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:54 AM on September 9, 2008


really as damaging as the article suggests... I'm a moran
posted by roll truck roll at 11:54 AM on September 9, 2008


I'm perfectly happy that they line their pockets with donations instead of buying air time for antigay ads. Greed is good!
posted by rtha at 11:55 AM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

It might make someone think about butsecks. People have a basic Freduian aversion to thinking about sticking stuff in their butts.
posted by GuyZero at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2008


OK, just making sure I wasn't missing anything. I guess it helps explain the schism between the religious right and the libertarian faction of the Republicans.
posted by exogenous at 12:01 PM on September 9, 2008


Well, it's not necessarily as much as they are receiving (although it is a lot for two people at a nonprofit that's received less than $3 million in four years), but how much they're paying themselves compared to what they spend on their charitable stuff -- which is the reason they were granted tax exempt status in the first place.

18 percent when it should be at least 65 percent.
posted by nospecialfx at 12:02 PM on September 9, 2008


Oh man! I thought this said Prop. Joe is a money boon and I was about to follow up with "Sho' 'Nuff!" Denied.
posted by mrzer0 at 12:02 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

If we legalize this, then what's next? Legalizing pedophilia? Bestiality? Incest?

Note: I personally do not actually believe this. I personally am in favor of legalizing gay marriage. I have just heard this argument frequently.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on September 9, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage?

THE CHILDREN!!!11ELEVEN
posted by DU at 12:04 PM on September 9, 2008


I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

Any particular two adults entering into a consensual, responsible relationship — whether straight or gay — is a threat to the power structure that fundamentalist and dominionist Christians want to impose on everyone from the barrel of a gun.

At the psychological root of this is the simultaneous disgust and obsession with sexual behavior, which yields the according and overwhelming desire to punish people who engage in sex outside of the Church's patriarchal context.

Two guys kissing of their own free will is not only gross — although that is the main, if secret complaint — but must be punished by the State through the use of capital punishment (according to the Constitution Party), because it questions the will of the Church leadership, as well as the core of its anti-freedom ideology.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:07 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think we should leagalize beastiality, but not between man and another animal. Instead, I think we should allow animals to have sex with whatever they want to. If a dog wants to fuck a chicken, who are we to say no? What harm does it do if a earthworm felates a bumblebee! And let monkeys have sex with whatever they want to! It's just fun to watch, people!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:08 PM on September 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

If we allow gay marriage, the traditional understanding of marriage (which was invented by God) will be diluted in our society, thus making us more and more like the ancient Romans: a far-flung global Empire filled that will last for centuries before succumbing to ambitious generals and political corruption.

Or something.
posted by Avenger at 12:10 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


*filled with awesomeness
posted by Avenger at 12:10 PM on September 9, 2008


My cat would thank you AZ, because he walk around the house humping every t-shirt he can get his little teeth into.

I know that it has always bothered him that he can't do this legally, and runs the risk of being arrested, prosecuted, and sprayed with a water bottle every time he engages his passions.
posted by quin at 12:12 PM on September 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think we should allow animals to have sex with whatever they want to

I hear this is how antidepressants are made.

"Really kinky stuff like two dogs making love with a cat... or a bat and a pig."
posted by giraffe at 12:16 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

Note that I am a crazily socially liberal guy putting on his Devil's Advocate hat.

Imagine you're Jewish. (I am!) And there's these assholes running around calling themselves Jews for Jesus. Except, you sputter, Jews can't be for Jesus. I mean, this is a label that is key to your self-identity... and there are people running around co-opting it for something that it is not. The minute you say "The messiah was Jesus of Nazareth," you're a Christian, not a Jew. And yet... these people are trying to steal the name Jew! That's what it's like.

Except it's even worse. It's more like this:

Imagine you want your kids to trust doctors. Then you find out that there are people who want to be legally called doctors... but they believe that modern medicine is a bad thing, and nobody should be vaccinated. You're horrified! These people are associating a label you trust - and that you want your kids to be able to trust - with something you find despicable and bad in every way.

Now, (the real) you may say, but being gay isn't hurting anyone. Well, neither is that doctor giving bad advice, not directly - but the point is that it's about people who you strongly disapprove of getting official recognition and encouragement to do things that you don't like, and that you're trying to teach your kids are bad. And it damages the title/label you hold dear - marriage, which is of religious importance - by associating it with something that, in your eyes, it has no business being near.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:17 PM on September 9, 2008 [8 favorites]


Instead of legalizing gay marriage why not simply do away with hetero marriage? Attack the issue from the other side man!
posted by a3matrix at 12:18 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Imagine you're Jewish. (I am!) And there's these assholes running around calling themselves Jews for Jesus. Except, you sputter, Jews can't be for Jesus. I mean, this is a label that is key to your self-identity... and there are people running around co-opting it for something that it is not. The minute you say "The messiah was Jesus of Nazareth," you're a Christian, not a Jew. And yet... these people are trying to steal the name Jew! That's what it's like.

I think Jews for Jesus is just an organization of Christians that tries to convert Jews. I don't think they claim to be Jewish.
posted by giraffe at 12:19 PM on September 9, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage?

I imagine it goes something like this: "The Bible said Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." That may not sound logical to you or me, but it's probably logical enough to those who subscribe to those beliefs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage

Homosexuality is moral corruption to the Republicans among us.

To the religious right, it is a Satanic cancer that threatens the Divine Providence this nation was founded on, and enjoys to the present:
JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur
Sept 13, 2001.
posted by troy at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2008


I feel very uneasy at the idea that religious conservatives (or anyone else) from Utah (or any place else) can raise money to influence California policy.

I mean, gross. Isn't there some sort of law that prevents this from happening? No? Then there should be.
posted by Wreath Ass at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2008


Not to derail this conversation, and I say this as someone who has been gaymarried more than once, but I'm not sure where the problem is here. Salaried staff are how most non-profits do their work. It's essentially a service industry. So a non-profit spending most if not all of its resources on salaries doesn't raise any flags for me. Especially for a small non-profit with a small staff - most of its costs will be in keeping an office open and paying its staff.

The fact that a 501c3 non-profit is inserting itself into an initiative campaign is a different matter, and THAT raises major flags for me, assuming that this organization is a c3 and not a c4. I haven't looked at their 990s, and have no real interest in doing so, but that is presumably where this information came from.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:26 PM on September 9, 2008


"Not to derail this conversation, and I say this as someone who has been gaymarried more than once, but I'm not sure where the problem is here. Salaried staff are how most non-profits do their work. It's essentially a service industry. So a non-profit spending most if not all of its resources on salaries doesn't raise any flags for me. Especially for a small non-profit with a small staff - most of its costs will be in keeping an office open and paying its staff."

If that were true, then the salaries would be categorized as program service expenses, wouldn't they? But they didn't do that.

Guidelines are guidelines, and any tax exempt organization spending 18 percent on program services raises a helluva lot of red flags. Ask the BBB. And tax exempt entities are allowed to lobby.
posted by nospecialfx at 12:33 PM on September 9, 2008


Two people came to my door early Sunday with pro-Prop. 8 leaflets - despite the 'No Soliciting' decal on my mailbox, clearly their message of hate and divisiveness trumps my desire to be left alone.

What's notable here: I was playing an episode of last week's Daily Show at the time, which featured RNC Coverage live from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Men's Room, and these anti-Prop.8 creeps got an eyeful of a bunch of gay boys on my TV (right around the 2:30 mark). They got off my porch lickety-split.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:45 PM on September 9, 2008


anti- Pro-Prop.8 creeps, that is
posted by porn in the woods at 12:47 PM on September 9, 2008


I hate these hateful morans, but are these numbers really as damagins ar the article suggests? 1.1 million divided between two employees over four years amounts to a $137K salary. That's sadly more money than most of CFC's donors will ever see, but it's certainly comparable to CEOs of other large nonprofits.
I think the problem is they used 2/3 of the money to pay their salary instead of spending it on the stated purpose of the non-profit. $137,000/yr is a pretty generous salary for doing basically nothing.

Not sure how I'm supposed to feel about this: Depressed that people will spend $3 million on this stupid, hateful shit, happy that they got ripped off, angry because ripping people off is unethical, uneasy because they are feeding it? Sigh.
posted by cj_ at 12:55 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think Jews for Jesus is just an organization of Christians that tries to convert Jews. I don't think they claim to be Jewish.

Not to derail, but: Yes, they most definitely do. They've got a pretty large presence around my alma mater in Pittsburgh, and explicitly said that Jesus was not incompatible with being Jewish. Take a look at the website - They sell "Judaica," they have a Star of David in their logo, they have a singing group that performs "Jewish Gospel Music," and there are craploads of references to Jewish life-events (bar/bat mitzvot, for example) all over. In practice, yes, they're a Christian evangelistic group - but they most definitely claim to be Jewish.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:57 PM on September 9, 2008


I also had two people stop by my house early Saturday morning to make sure they had my support on Prop 8.

The area I live in is so overwhelmingly conservative that the woman doing the talking seemed genuinely shocked when I told her I planned on voting against the measure. Instead of just going on her way, her next tactic was to ask me if I wanted to live in a dictatorship where activist judges can overturn the will of the people, of course not realizing the irony of her asking me this question immediately following her trying to ensure my support for a law that allows the state to tell you who you can and cannot marry.
posted by The Gooch at 1:08 PM on September 9, 2008


People have a basic Freduian aversion to thinking about sticking stuff in their butts.

Contrary to popular opinion, "butseks" is not the sine qua non of gay sex. There are other things to do ya know.
posted by binturong at 1:16 PM on September 9, 2008


Any particular two adults entering into a consensual, responsible relationship — whether straight or gay — is a threat to the power structure that fundamentalist and dominionist Christians want to impose on everyone from the barrel of a gun.

Maybe there are dominionists or more rural Christians I'm unacquainted with who feel that way... I definitely don't live in the deep south or Kansas or something. But at least a good chunk of the Christians I do know in California and elsewhere don't think the state should be sending out swat teams to stop buttsecks or otherwise invading the bedrooms of consenting adults. Many of them will still support Prop 8 for pretty much the reasons Tomorrowful gave -- marriage isn't just a domestic arrangement to them, but a specific symbol, and they don't at all appreciate it being radically modified.

You can argue that's backwards, but it's a bit tenous to argue how important one conception of a given symbol is to gays while arguing that another conception shouldn't be important to another part of the national culture. You can argue it's not about the symbol but the legal rights, but going for the term marriage rather than some kind of legally equivalent civil union (which I'm actually somewhat confident a large number of middle-of-the-road religious folks would accept) undercuts that to a good degree.

This isn't to say the reign of Falwell or Phelps is what this country needs -- far from it. Maybe it's as silly to preserve a traditional conception of marriage is it is necessary to keep our flag colors red, white, and blue. But if you tried to go grayscale with it tomorrow, even for totally defensible practical reasons, you can guarantee you'd meet an awful lot of resistance.
posted by namespan at 1:19 PM on September 9, 2008


Also, that party platform for the "Constitution Party" is frightening. Christian Taliban indeed.
posted by cj_ at 1:27 PM on September 9, 2008


Every time we think about same-sex marriage it makes us sick to our guts. I mean, two people who want to commit to a stable monogamous life-long relationship - what are they, nuts? It's unnatural!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:28 PM on September 9, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

I think Tomorrowful is getting there with the doctor analogy.

The tactic of pre-emptively banning gay marriage by pre-emptively defining 'marriage' is and was, of course, a patently political maneuver. As always, though, politics is a trickle-down thing. Make it a big, public issue long enough, and many people will begin to swallow it whole, without doing any analysis or critical thinking of their own. There's a whole discussion to be had about that, but I'm not going there right now. Let's just assume it's true.

So there's been all this talk for a long time now about legally codifying the definition of 'marriage.' Those people who don't think critically -- the straight ones, anyway -- a lot of them start to get worried about whether the word 'marriage' will lose its impact when applied to them.

Think of diploma mills. Say you spend 4 or 5 years working on an advanced degree at an Ivy League school, and you walk away with some nifty letters after your name, as well as a title that makes people respect you at dinner parties. Some other schmo writes a check and spends two months of Tuesday evenings taking online multiple choice tests, then ends up with the same letters and same title. Your degree is hard-fought and respectable; his is phony, but people will still recognize it -- which makes yours somehow less impressive because, hey, anyone can do it! I think that's what a lot of it is about.

There is, of course, an stark, underlying element of homophobia in all this. (The gay marriage thing, not the diploma mill thing.) But the political forces have been very adept at moving the discussion away from that. There is now a large population of people whose objection to gay marriage is genuinely about the definition of marriage. The buttsecks is buried way down below that argument, yes, but that's not their main point. (I'm excluding people who object for religious reasons, because they're a whole 'nother camp.)

That's why you so often hear "Why can't you just be happy with civil unions? Why do you have to call it marriage?"** Which translates as, "Well, if you and your same-sex partner are 'married,' what does that say about how I'm married to my hetero spouse?"

I don't agree with any of this. My getting married to my girlfriend in no way threatens the marriage of my parents, who have been married for 45 years, or her parents, who have been married for 40. The only way we'd damage the 'institution' of marriage is by getting divorced and becoming another mark in the column that demonstrates how shaky marriage is to begin with. I understand why the people who don't think a lot feel threatened, though. The people who feed them this crap have done a very, very good job.

** I heard this from my own mom a few days ago. She's visiting, and it was the first time we'd talked about the CA Supreme Court ruling. She asked me straight up -- "Why can't people be happy with civil unions?" And she wasn't being hostile. She really couldn't understand. I'm not sure my explanation helped, because I don't really understand either. After all, it all comes down to what you call it. I mean, I was as married to my ex as anyone else has ever been married to their spouse, and I was every bit as divorced from her too. The experience was the same, I just didn't get to call it 'marriage.' So, aside from the actual benefits -- financial, health insurance, legal, etc. -- why does being able to call it 'marriage' matter?

I don't know. It just does.

posted by mudpuppie at 1:36 PM on September 9, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

I'll never forget the day gay marriage was legalized here in British Columbia.
posted by Mayor West at 1:37 PM on September 9, 2008


why does being able to call it 'marriage' matter?

Because not being able to call it "marriage" means you are denied a right that everyone else enjoys: the right to call your union "marriage."

You can't pick and choose which rights people have. That's Animal Farm shit right there. If gay folks are equal to straight folks, which they are, you can't run around creating Special Words they are Not Allowed To Use.
posted by Shepherd at 1:47 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Contrary to popular opinion, "butseks" is not the sine qua non of gay sex. There are other things to do ya know.

My point was to explain popular opinion. Bonus points for dropping the latin science with "sine qua non". It may, however, be the ne plus ultra and is the major bone(r) of contention.
posted by GuyZero at 1:49 PM on September 9, 2008


I think Jews for Jesus is just an organization of Christians that tries to convert Jews. I don't think they claim to be Jewish

Messianic Jews (of which that organization has tons) do indeed claim to be Jews AND Christians.

When I "got saved" I was living in Southern Florida. The gal who took me to church was selfidentified as a Born Again Jew. As you can imagine the non-born-again Jews were ...not happy about that.

Theologically, the Bible does teach that the divide is between Jews and Gentiles. To start with the Jews thought that only other Jews could be Christfollowers. If you read the book of Acts you can see that Peter got into hot water with his fellow Jews the first time he preached the Gospel to Gentiles. Part of the deal of the New Covenant was that for the first time, salvation was being preached not only to Jews but also to Gentiles.

By the way, if there had been no Jews, there would be no Christians.
posted by konolia at 1:54 PM on September 9, 2008


Because not being able to call it "marriage" means you are denied a right that everyone else enjoys: the right to call your union "marriage."

Well, in addition to that, the California Supreme Court decision hinged on the principle that once you have "Civil Unions" that legally offer practically all of the same benefits as marriage, holding an arbitrary distinction between the two becomes less and less sensible.

Then you have a whole mess of ambiguity in regards to how existing laws and policies should be interpreted. If I have a policy that was written in 1980 that refers to "marriage" or "spouses" does this automatically apply to Civil Unions and Domestic Partners? When I set up my human resources database should I treat the two as equivalent or not? When I interview a household should Civil Unions and Legal Marriage be considered equivalent or two separate categories?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:00 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


How someone can live with divorce (multiple times!) being fine, but thinking same-sex marriage debases the institution--well that causes my synapses to ache.
posted by maxwelton at 2:13 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


We've tried separate but equal before and it didn't work out so well. Banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Equal Protection Clause says "no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Civil unions don't provide the same benefits as marriage. Option 1: let gays and lesbians get married and have all of the same benefits that they're constitutionally and morally entitled to. Option 2: change all of the laws that say "marriage" to say "civil union."

I believe if it went to the US Supreme Court a ban would be found unconstitutional due to the Equal Protection Clause, Loving v Virginia, and Lawrence v Texas.

Contrary to popular opinion, 'butseks' is not the sine qua non of gay sex. There are other things to do ya know.
Like shopping!

posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


By the way, if there had been no Jews, there would be no Christians.

Hey, don't blame us!
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:21 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


if there had been no Jews, there would be no Christians

that's debatable, given the fitness of the Personal Savior meme and the general milieu of proto-messiahs in the ancient Roman world. Christ just means "anointed one", no?
posted by troy at 2:25 PM on September 9, 2008


How someone can live with divorce (multiple times!) being fine, but thinking same-sex marriage debases the institution--well that causes my synapses to ache.

One changes the platonic concept, what the symbol itself can be and what the institution represents. The impacts to the other one may be limited to opnions on the specific marriage in question (or, they might forever embitter both participants and nearby observers against the institution, but given that people remarry...).
posted by namespan at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2008


Well, in addition to that, the California Supreme Court decision hinged on the principle that once you have "Civil Unions" that legally offer practically all of the same benefits as marriage, holding an arbitrary distinction between the two becomes less and less sensible.

Because if there's one thing we all know, seperate but equal worked sooooo well in the past.

Stan Smith was 100% right when he said "Gays are the new blacks!"
posted by Talez at 2:53 PM on September 9, 2008


The Equal Protection Clause says "no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

As infuriating as the argument that anyone is free to enter into a hetero marriage is, I can't fault the logic that this constitutes equal treatment under the law. I understand not all legal scholars see it this way, but I haven't been exposed to the arguments that back this up, just frustration.

I think you more effectively argue that people *should* be free to enter any particular union if that meets consent standards than you can effectively argue that having a term with a particular meaning is discrimination.

Option 2: change all of the laws that say "marriage" to say "civil union."

That's certainly an option. If the point of contention is this symbol, take it out of the hands of the state entirely.
posted by namespan at 2:57 PM on September 9, 2008


"Really kinky stuff like two dogs making love with a cat... or a bat and a pig."

TWO DOGS, ONE BAT. Reaction videos on youtube before you can say: "So that's how sonar works!"
posted by ob at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2008


Actually my reaction to all of this anti-gay marriage thing is not to get all up in arms, even though I feel marriage should be anyone's right, but rather just to say wearily: "Leave the gays alone."
posted by ob at 3:02 PM on September 9, 2008


One changes the platonic concept, what the symbol itself can be and what the institution represents.

The people who most oppose gay marriage are the ones who believe that marriage is a contract before God: "what God has joined together, let no man put asunder." If you really believed that, it seems to me that one divorce from a religious marriage is worse than a thousand gay couples getting hitched in the courtroom.

As infuriating as the argument that anyone is free to enter into a hetero marriage is, I can't fault the logic that this constitutes equal treatment under the law.

Imagine the silliness of someone arguing that only homosexual marriages should be allowed, and everyone has the right to participate in them. To say that you can marry just anyone is to defile what it means to be married.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:29 PM on September 9, 2008


Option 2: change all of the laws that say "marriage" to say "civil union."

That's certainly an option. If the point of contention is this symbol, take it out of the hands of the state entirely.


No, I don't see why any particular religion should be able to determine how the government defines words. Why not take the legal ramifications of marriage away from churches? They can still have a little ceremony if they want, but just make it meaningless from a legal standpoint.
posted by LionIndex at 3:29 PM on September 9, 2008


I think Tomorrowful has my hat.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:29 PM on September 9, 2008


GuyZero: [Buttsex] may, however, be the ne plus ultra [of gay sex]...

Only to the super tops and nelly bottoms. With the in-between guys, it's highly variable.

Just as there are straight guys who prefer a good blowjob, or anal, rather than the supposed hetero ne plus ultra that is vaginal sex. Ditto women who would rather receive oral.

And then there's lesbians, who aren't thought of as being all about the buttsex.

... and is the major bone(r) of contention.

I doubt that it's the act of anal that's the major societal bone of contention. If it were, "cocksucker" wouldn't have such weight as an insult, and the stronger insults in America would be stuff like "shirt lifter", "pillow biter", "batty boy".

And, again, lesbians.
posted by CKmtl at 3:46 PM on September 9, 2008


marriage isn't just a domestic arrangement to them, but a specific symbol, and they don't at all appreciate it being radically modified

The hidden and false assumption in this statement is that religious people own the term "marriage".

This is false because marriage has been much more than a religious symbol over the many centuries and in the many cultures in which ceremonies have been performed (including those of the same-sex variety):

The practice of same-sex love in antiquity often took the form of formal pairings of men with youths, which had many of the attributes of marriage but were limited in duration.
...
There were also marriage between men, at least among the Romans, as this practice was outlawed in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans... In spite of this, gay unions are believed to have continued until the late Middle Ages.
...
The fact that marriage occurred between two men among the Romans is proved by a law in the Theodosian Code from the Christian emperors Constantius and Constans which was passed on December 16, 342. [5] Martial attests to same-sex marriages between men during the early Roman Empire.[6] The first recorded marriage between two men occurred during the reign of the Emperor Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions.
...
In the Balkans, same-sex marriage survived until modern days, in the form of the Albanian rite of vellameria, "brother bond."


Again, I return to my point:

[non-sanctioned relationships are] a threat to the power structure that fundamentalist and dominionist Christians want to impose on everyone

Fundamentalists are under the false impression that they own the institution of marriage, and feel their control over other people's personal relationships is threatened, so they are trying to coerce the mechanisms of government into punishing by law those who do not comply with their moral expectations.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


And by punishment, at least in this very specific context, we are seeing fundamentalists attempting to coerce the government to strip away rights accorded to gay and lesbian citizens under the equal protection and anti-discrimination clauses of the California Constitution, via Proposition 8.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:04 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


And, again, lesbians.

My theory, which is probably untestable, is that if it was only lesbians trying to get married there would be a lot less fuss.
posted by GuyZero at 4:26 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


These people are geniuses. Start an organization dedicated to opposing something you don't personally care about (or are even in favor of), rake in the cash from gullible and/or easily-scared fools all across the country.

Awesome. C'mon, what other explanation is there?
posted by aramaic at 4:51 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


According to a July 18 poll, Californians oppose the proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality 51%-42%, the same margin as a poll in May (and the trend looks good).

Similar constitutional amendments are also on the ballot in Arizona and Florida (same-sex marriage is already illegal in both states, but not banned in their constitutions). "A new Florida law requires a 60 percent vote to pass a constitutional amendment. The most recent polls show the amendment's support at about 58 percent." A poll last week "found Florida voters support the same-sex marriage ban by 55-41." (I couldn't find any poll info on Arizona.)
posted by kirkaracha at 4:56 PM on September 9, 2008


Imagine the silliness of someone arguing that only homosexual marriages should be allowed

Actually, I think that's an excellent thought experiment for the sake of addressing the "equal protection argument." If the law only recognized homogenous marriages, I'd also say that this constituted equal opportunity under the law, since anyone would be free to enter or not enter into a given recognized marriage.

That doesn't mean it wouldn't be a ridiculous state of affairs. Just that it might not run afoul of the equal protection clause.

The hidden and false assumption in this statement is that religious people own the term "marriage".

I agree that eventually christian fundamentalists will have to face the fact that they are part of a larger community that collectively owns this issue to the extent that anybody can (the alternative is further social balkanization and possibly outright war). But I also think there is an equal and opposite error that can contribute to the same unfortunate ends.
posted by namespan at 5:04 PM on September 9, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

Well, some of these supposed reasons given are straw men, for sure. Some of the ethical arguments get a bit more sophisticated than egos and power structures.

A more sophisticated argument might go something like this (playing devil's advocate here):

If one were to affirm a teleological end to things (i.e., things are created with a specific function in miind), then to operate outside of that given blueprint may bring social, physical, and spiritual consequences that can't be simply written off by appeals to pragmatics: "see, it's working just fine!" Some created things are sophisticated enough that operating outside of the given design may look just fine for awhile, but there may be long term affects that a limited view of history and human nature can't necessarily anticipate; or at the very least, shouldn't be entered into too casually.

Of course, this point of view would require an affirmation that we were designed for something, or to operate in a specific way. If someone is unable to affirm this, of course it's all going to look pretty ridiculous. What then defines what is an appropriate end to something is simply what is, and who is anyone to tell anyone else who they are?

It's worth noting that one can also affirm a teological end for human persons, while also affirming that homosexuality is part of that design. But it's the idea of teleology itself that gives steam to arguments against homosexuality, and an appeal to the design document (so to speak) when trying to determine if there is long term harm possible. Those who are opposed to homosexuality are often trying to affirm the original intent, as they interpret it, which they believe is reflected in cultural traditions that affirm marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Are there egos and power struggles invovled? I'm sure. But this isn't the gyst of the whole argument, as far as I can discern.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:04 PM on September 9, 2008


Homosexuality is moral corruption to the Republicans among us.

whoa whoa WHOA. whoa.
posted by radiosig at 5:31 PM on September 9, 2008


whoa whoa WHOA. whoa.

Keanu?
posted by LionIndex at 5:36 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Homosexuality: sick, illegal and immoral. Two down, one to go.
posted by binturong at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2008


Our school has crazies who come by a few times a year and stand in the middle of campus preaching their anti gay stuff. One of the crazie's argument was demonstrated w/ an electrical cord, the male ends just don't fit together. So I guess the whole reason that gay marriage is illeagal isn't any of the reasons stated above, it's simply an electrical appliance compatability issue.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:28 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


BrnP84: This can't be the case. My spouse is Belgian, I'm American. Our electrical appliances are not compatible. But you know what? They sell adapters that make things work anyway. Marital Bliss!

As far as butsecks goes, I'd like to quote Romoanovsky & Phillips:

"Only an asshole would care
What goes into our assholes
and who puts it there.
And only a person
who's really repressed
Would attempt to decide for the rest."
posted by Goofyy at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2008


For me, KirkjobSluder hit it on the nail.
Then you have a whole mess of ambiguity in regards to how existing laws and policies should be interpreted. If I have a policy that was written in 1980 that refers to "marriage" or "spouses" does this automatically apply to Civil Unions and Domestic Partners? When I set up my human resources database should I treat the two as equivalent or not? When I interview a household should Civil Unions and Legal Marriage be considered equivalent or two separate categories?
Giving gays "civil unions" does not ensure that they have all of the equal rights. Not only that, there is nothing in there that forces insurance companies to include "civil unions" in their coverage. If we call it "marriage", then gay couples are automatically given a host of rights and privileges, including private contractual agreements such as insurance.
posted by Librarygeek at 9:06 AM on September 10, 2008


On a recent trip to New Mexico, I picked up a rental car in Albuquerque in order to drive to Santa Fe, where my spouse-for-life (we're both women) was. I asked the rental car guy what we needed to do in order to get her added as a driver, since she wasn't physically present to sign the paperwork. I used the word partner (I personally find the word wife icky). He said, Oh, you're domestic partners, yeah? Married, even? Yes, I said. No problem, he said. No extra paperwork needed in that case.

See, the privileges you heterosexually married people have that you probably never even think about!

(I'm being flip, but at the time, standing at the....Budget counter (I think it was), I was seriously amazed. And grateful.)
posted by rtha at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2008


namespan writes "But at least a good chunk of the Christians I do know in California and elsewhere don't think the state should be sending out swat teams to stop buttsecks or otherwise invading the bedrooms of consenting adults. "

I get your point but, I read it this way:

"Hey faggots, be grateful we look the other way when you grope each other in the privacy of your bedrooms (unlike Texas, which would arrest you for what you do in your bedrooms except for activist judges)."

"But don't for a moment think you can legally sanctify your perversions in public; just be happy we let you be second-class citizens."

Which of course was the same "generosity" shown to interracial couples until those activist judges ruled in Loving v Virginia.

And the same generosity extended to atheists today. (Bush I: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.")

Of course, this is the same principle behind "Don't Ask Don't Tell": we'll give you the "same rights", as long as you treat your love as a shameful secret. You have Freedom, as long as you promise not to use it.

And why? "Well, no good reason, just we have this ancient book and, man, buttsex is really disgusting. But hey, don't forget, we're the good Christians, not those Fundie wackos!"

"We don't hate your perverted kind, some of our best friends' cousins' roommates are fags, but just live your entire 50 or 70 or 90 years on Earth in secret, OK? If you'll just keep it in your bedrooms like the dirty disgusting perverted thing it is, then when we allow you out of your ghetto, we'll call you a 'credit to your race', uh, I mean, one of those unthreatening faggots it's fun to gossip about. You know, the kind who is fabulous and bitchy and cuts my hair, but is effectively neutered and safe."

"Just turn in your balls and your sexuality and your rights and your human dignity, and we, the good Christians, promise not to send SWAT teams to beat you up and humiliate you and kill you, OK? 'Cause we can really get along, so long as you faggots meekly relegate yourselves to second-class citizenship."

"I mean, that worked for years with the niggers, and they were Christians just like us, but we never had to worship with them or call them "Mr." or let them buy houses in our neighborhoods or goto our schools, and those darkies were perfectly happy with our generous arrangements, because we are the good Christians, not those nasty Fundies. Back in slavery times, we didn't allow them marriage either."

"We're good Christians, and we can prove it: we paid Jemima a whole overly-generous fifty cents a day to clean the church until we caught her trying to register to vote, and we'll let you faggots cut our hair and redecorate our houses (that's all you people do, right?) as long as you don't get uppity."

"Why must you faggots insist on full human rights? Why can't you be satisfied that we're not sending SWAT teams after you? It's almost as if you disgusting butt-fuckers and nasty bull-dykes think you're just as human as we good Christians are!"
posted by orthogonality at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage?
Because if gays are allowed to marry each other (oh the humanity!), then they'll have to allow lesbians to marry each other, and intersexed folk to marry others without regard to gender identity or Officially Sanctioned Sex Designation, and it'll be chaos! Can you imagine? Legally recognized committed relationships between consenting adults without regard to gender? No faux-equality 'separate-but-equal' civil unions or other second-class compromises? No more enshrined legal sex discrimination in committed-couple benefit qualification? It'll no doubt cause hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis even, the likes of which we've never seen before! The erosion of all that is good!


Or, ya know, folks could keep going to work and paying their taxes and standing in line at the DMV and consuming too much HFCS and procrastinating about going to the gym and no one much will notice except when it comes time to file taxes or deal with medical emergencies or school enrollment or other events that are perfectly mundane for most married couples.
posted by notashroom at 11:28 AM on September 10, 2008


Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2008


There's some rationalization, I think, among fundamentalists** that the anti-gay stance is done out of love, not hate. I'll try to explain, through the magic of blockquotes:
If life is finite, and the afterlife is infinite, then getting into heaven (eternal bliss), and evading hell (eternal torture), is waaaaay more important than anything one might do in life. And if you love someone, you should do everything in your power to help *them* get to heaven as well -- even against their (sinful) will.

Clearly, homosexuality is evil; the Bible told me so. [don't argue...] An unrepentent homosexual will burn in hell. Allowing gay marriage to be codified into law is saying "It's okay to be gay" -- which... it's NOT. If we encourage this sinful lifestyle, we're damning untold souls to hell, denying them the bliss heaven, standing at God's side, etc., etc., etc.

So it's not "bigotry" -- it's *love*. So sorry if we're making your lives inconvenient, you sinful heathens, but we're saving souls here, don't you see??
The problem in fighting anti-gay legislation is that so many people who support it really don't think they're doing anything hateful -- they think they're HELPING PEOPLE. And anybody opposing them wants people to be evil and go to hell... and is therefore evil, themselves, not to be trusted.

As a guy who can't even persuade his own fundamentalist family members of the fallacy of this thinking, I certainly don't have a good answer to persuading the public.

** I got out years ago, but most of my family is still devout born-again christian. And while I personally think this is garbage, and that we should help people be happy in this one life WHICH IS ALL THAT YOU GET!!!!!!!....[calm down]... I still enough of it at family gatherings to know where they're coming from.
posted by LordSludge at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2008


If homosexual couples are allowed to legally marry:

1. They may make the heterosexual couples look bad in terms of divorce statistics.

2. Homosexuals will be too busy planning their own weddings to plan weddings for heterosexuals.

3. The idea of legally married homosexual couples adopting children will appear more suitable...and we all know it's better to have orphans remain orphans than be adopted by homosexuals.

4. We will take one step closer to acknowledging the potential legitimacy of polygamous relationships...and you know what happens if we admit that it's possible to love more than one person in a legally binding way.

Sometimes you have to keep certain things a certain way. That's why the RIAA and MPAA are suing people to stop them from downloading music without paying $20 for the entire CD first. If you break down the ideals and values this country was built on, the country will break down.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom and cut the stitches where I sewed my tongue to the inside of my cheek.
posted by deusdiabolus at 2:32 PM on September 10, 2008


2. Homosexuals will be too busy planning their own weddings to plan weddings for heterosexuals.

This.
posted by rtha at 3:01 PM on September 10, 2008


Can someone concisely explain the logical reason (if any) for opposition to gay marriage? I don't understand the alleged "threat" it poses.

You are not a repressed homosexual who has grown up under a conservative fundamentalist religion. If you were, you would have struggled for years to suppress your urges and, being successul, sort of (those few times in the MSP bathroom don't really count), you feel that it is a test of God's strength to resist such urges. You are fearful that if strong sanctions aren't levied against such activity and it becomes acceptable, that everyone will stop having straight sex and go teh Gay. This is because you believe your homosexual urges are the norm, and you want to help all those others out there who to resist these urges. Making marriage of same sex partners illegal is one way to signal to everyone that such pairings are frowned upon. Conversely, making them legal is giving permission and how can you resist once you're given permission? Huh? Just tell me that, you big steaming hunk of manflesh? [Oh, sorry, got to control myself.] Anywho, that's why we gotta keep it down.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:31 PM on September 10, 2008


You can argue it's not about the symbol but the legal rights, but going for the term marriage rather than some kind of legally equivalent civil union

Separate but equal is not equal. I'm fairly certain your Supreme Court made that clear about fifty years ago.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:19 AM on September 11, 2008


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