U.N. DECLARATION FOR GAY RIGHTS OPPOSED
January 15, 2009 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Alone among major Western nations, the United States refused to sign a United Nations declaration calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. The U.S. was joined by China, Russia, the Roman Catholic Church, and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in rejecting the declaration. In 2004, the Vatican and Islamic Conference had lobbied vehemently and successfully to prevent the U.N. Human Rights Commission from outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Nonetheless, in August, despite contentions from UN watchdogs about homosexual organizations' "historical alignment with organizations advocating pedophilia," the United Nations' Economic and Social Council accorded two homosexual groups "consultative status" for standards-making and problem-solving of economic and social issues. Presently, homosexuality remains illegal in 77 countries, in seven of which it is punishable by death. The UN Declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity remains open for signatures.
posted by terranova (98 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Albania signed the fucking thing. Jeez. Cuba signed. Bolivia. Chile. Nicaragua.
posted by Mister_A at 10:37 AM on January 15, 2009


U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction.

Ah, states rights. The bigot's best friend.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:38 AM on January 15, 2009 [28 favorites]


One could talk for 1,000 years about it, but I'll never understand the logic behind the hate for homosexuals, nor the utility of punishing them for their lifestyle. Irrespective of one's dogmatic stance on the subject, there's not a single thread of logic to be found in their circular arguments.

Good on the UN for trying to do something about it, shame on those responsible for trying to block the progression of universal human rights.
posted by revmitcz at 10:39 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, we cannot read minds and know the true intention of the various religion organizations which work hard to "protect the sanctity of marriage" and to "keep to family values," so we cannot call this hate, exactly.

It's just that they're acting exactly like it's hate.
posted by adipocere at 10:39 AM on January 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


FTA: "It's disappointing," said Rama Yade, France's human rights minister, of the U.S. position — which she described as in contradiction with America's long tradition as a defender of human rights.

ha ha ha! ho ho! uh ha! oh! whooo hoooo! eeeeheeeeheeeeee! aiaiaiai!

wait a minute; i'll leave a comment when i can off the floor.
posted by artof.mulata at 10:43 AM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


see? i'm losing it.
i meant 'get off the floor.'
oh ho ho... ack!
posted by artof.mulata at 10:44 AM on January 15, 2009


I wonder what the official reason was for not signing it.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:44 AM on January 15, 2009


oh, duh. i should preview.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:46 AM on January 15, 2009


The resolution was introduced by the French, no less, a favored whipping boy of American conservatives. This should make them extra popular.

More importantly, the declaration is perfectly equal in addressing both sexual orientation and gender identity without placing limitations or definitions. This isn't just about homosexuality. It's about everyone: homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, genderqueer, transsexual, transgendered, cisgendered, et alia.
posted by notashroom at 10:46 AM on January 15, 2009


5 more days 5 more days 5 more days 5 more days
posted by DU at 10:47 AM on January 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


"U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction."

In other words, our official response to the world is that the rights of bigots trumps the rights of homosexuals.
posted by aapep at 10:51 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm a Christian, and I'm disappointed by this decision and doubly so by the Catholic Church's support of this decision.

Christians should not be particularly eager to criminalize something simply because we believe it to be sinful. We don't put people in jail for things like idolatry, failing to keep the Sabbath, or wanting to bone your neighbor's wife.

There's a difference between a sin and a crime. A huge difference.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:52 AM on January 15, 2009 [21 favorites]


One could talk for 1,000 years about it, but I'll never understand the logic behind the hate for homosexuals, nor the utility of punishing them for their lifestyle.

They don't like the buttsecks. The thought of two men humping each other gives them the willies (or a chubby, depending).

Yes, it's irrational.
posted by illiad at 10:55 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


DWRoelands: it's like they never read the whole "render unto caesar" bit of the bible.
posted by Freen at 10:59 AM on January 15, 2009


"The thought of two men humping each other gives them the willies"

As a hetero male it gives me the willies. But that's my problem. "Willies" is not a legal justification for outlawing things. If we get to outlaw things I personally think are icky we can start at the Mormon church. How about that?
posted by aapep at 10:59 AM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


DU, I think you're right in that were this to have been brought forward 6 months from now it would be signed, but... christ, Bush seems bound and determined to fuck up every last thing he possibly can before leaving, doesn't he?
posted by caution live frogs at 11:00 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


5 more days 5 more days 5 more days 5 more days

Until we have another President who thinks queers should ride at the back of the bus?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:00 AM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


artof.mulata, are you suggesting that the United States does not have a history as a defender of human rights? The US does have such a history, which makes the Gulags and torture rooms and legalized brutality of the current administration all the more shameful.
posted by Mister_A at 11:02 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Illiad, it's more than that. I'm a straight guy. I'm absolutely revolted by teh buttsecks, but I realize that it is absolutely not my place to dictate as long as it's consensual.
posted by notsnot at 11:04 AM on January 15, 2009


5 more days 5 more days 5 more days 5 more days

While I feel better about B.O.'s views of homosexuality than his predecessor's, he has still not done enough. His comments on not supporting gay marriage and his invitation of Rick Warren still say loudly, to me, that he's not going to take this debate far enough.

Yeah...what Joe Beese said.
posted by orville sash at 11:05 AM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


One could talk for 1,000 years about it, but I'll never understand the logic behind the hate for homosexuals, nor the utility of punishing them for their lifestyle. Irrespective of one's dogmatic stance on the subject, there's not a single thread of logic to be found in their circular arguments.

It's derived from sexism. Men who violate gender norms by being too much like women (sexually receptive, partnering with men, feminine in mannerisms, dress, behavior, activities, or appearance, all according to stereotyped expectations/gender norms) are punished for the threat they present as underminers of the position of male privelege in the kyriarchy. Women who violate gender norms by being too much like men (in stereotype-based gender norms) are likewise punished for the threat they present, but in recent Western culture, they may also be accorded a certain respect for their audacity. Thus Westerners are typically more appalled by gay men than lesbians and male-to-female transsexuals are at greater risk of violence than female-to-male transsexuals. But if there were no sexual hierarchy to maintain, there would be no basis for homophobia or transphobia.
posted by notashroom at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2009 [34 favorites]


This is a great time to stop voting for George W. Bush or attending Roman Catholic church
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2009


... the US does have such a history ...

If the US has defended Human Rights around the globe, or within its own borders, I am willing to bet it was either a) by accident or b) because it suited some other purpose. Just thinking about the number of despotic regimes the US has propped up, or continues to prop up, makes thinking about them as some human rights crusader laughable.
posted by chunking express at 11:09 AM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also, the US is also one of the few countries that still executes children. It's also one of the few Western countries without national health care. I guess that's what we should call American exceptionalism. USA!
posted by chunking express at 11:10 AM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm a Christian, and I'm disappointed by this decision and doubly so by the Catholic Church's support of this decision.

I'm an agnostic, and I'm infuriated by this decision and doubly so by the Catholic Church's support of this decision.
posted by orange swan at 11:10 AM on January 15, 2009


They want to outlaw it because they think that will somehow prevent their sons from turning into fags, which is their greatest fear.
posted by rocket88 at 11:10 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think we're going to be hearing 'no comment' a lot with the next administration, especially whenever anyone calls them out on not following through with this whole 'change' thing.
I hope I'm wrong.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:13 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


And you know, I just heard a piece on NPR this morning (during a snow-lengthened commute) about the queer band that will be marching--which, apparently, is an important milesetone--in the inaugural parade.

A Vatican spokesman [...] expressed concern that the declaration would be used as pressure against those who believe marriage rights should not be extended to gays.

Oh, so a declaration that says we shouldn't discriminate against gays would get in the way of your discrimination against gays. Got it.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:15 AM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


WHAT
THE
FUCK
AMERICA.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:15 AM on January 15, 2009


If you change the subject matter to the criminalization of underage drinking or some other thing, do you give any credence to the position to the government?

Here is the explanation:
The official American position was based on highly technical legal grounds. The text, by using terminology like “without distinction of any kind,” was too broad because it might be interpreted as an attempt by the federal government to override states’ rights on issues like gay marriage, American diplomats and legal experts said.

“We are opposed to any discrimination, legally or politically, but the nature of our federal system prevents us from undertaking commitments and engagements where federal authorities don’t have jurisdiction,” said Alejandro D. Wolff, the deputy permanent representative.
Besides calling it a "technical" ground--all legal arguments are in the same way "technical"--does anyone have a refutation of that argument?

That is, while you may agree with this resolution and wished it passed, can you address the legal concern articulated here?

In other words, is it fair to say that the US is against gay rights because of this vote? Or is there validity to the concern?
posted by dios at 11:15 AM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Personally, I expect Skittles to rain from the sky.

...what? They will! You'll see.

Everything will become perfect and happy, and nobody will go hungry and nobody will be bad, and all the meanies will become nice and happy too because the only reason they were meanies is because the old Mister President made them be meanies. And everything will be perfect and we'll all get what we want for ever and ever and ever. With ponies.
posted by aramaic at 11:17 AM on January 15, 2009


Also, the US is also one of the few countries that still executes children. It's also one of the few Western countries without national health care. I guess that's what we should call American exceptionalism. USA!

To be fair, we only execute them after they've been born and can be fully aware that we're killing them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:18 AM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


This isn't just about homosexuality. It's about everyone: homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, genderqueer, transsexual, transgendered, cisgendered, et alia.

Hair cream?!
posted by odinsdream at 11:18 AM on January 15, 2009


While I am also baffled by homophobia, the UN resolution is non-binding, which means it means absolutely nothing from a legal standpoint in any country. It's about as effective as all those "UN condemns the genocide in -country of your choice-" declarations and then everyone goes back to ignoring it. I agree it would have been diplomatic to jump on board, but at the same time, why bother supporting yet another toothless piece of bureaucracy?

U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction.

Ah, states rights. The bigot's best friend.


As for things like gay marriage, that IS a state's right (the issuing of marriage licenses), and the Federal govt has absolutely no business meddling in that. I dont like it, but there are no constitutional civil rights that are being violated by the state denying anyone for what is a a strictly civic institution. Being married is not a *right* for the American citizenry.
posted by elendil71 at 11:20 AM on January 15, 2009


Thus Westerners are typically more appalled by gay men than lesbians

Also, homosexual men are harder to commodify and sell for the sexual pleasure of heterosexual men.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:23 AM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


US votes against UN resolution for the 8 millionth time running. Film at 11.

Considering that the US doesn't even pay it's UN dues I wonder why they bother to show up to vote. Their contempt for the UN knows no bounds. (Not that the UN is the best or anything; but everyone else seems to give it at least some respect. Even Albania).
posted by GuyZero at 11:25 AM on January 15, 2009


Guys, you think this is bad? Every nation on earth signed onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, except for Somalia and - you guessed it - the United States.

When it comes to the U.N., you can always, always count on us fucking it up. I don't even know why we helped create it or why we gave them prime New York real estate, since we don't give a shit about paying our dues or cooperating with the international community.

We also voted against the Right to Food, because we are monsters. You think we're going to get off our fat asses (those of us with money for food, that is) for the rights of queers?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:27 AM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Being married is not a *right* for the American citizenry

Other than the blanket "pursuit of life and liberty" wording, I'll admit that I can't think of a definitive "right to marry" granted by the U.S. government.

But, here's what's always confused me :

Richard Ramirez, a convicted serial murderer and serial rapist can and has been married post-incarceration. Why is it okay for someone like that to get married and enjoy the "sanctity" of such an institution, but my neighbors (a law-abiding, taxpaying, community-helping and entirely non-threatening couple) who've been in a committed, loving relationship since I was a mere teenager is somehow threatening and deserving of scorn?

Though, I'm of the possibly-insane minority of people who think that if your argument against gay marriage is to protect the "sanctity of marriage" then you should be against divorce for the same reason. Theoretically, it makes sense, but then real life gets in the way and you have to account for the circumstances of individuals. I see no reason why that cannot apply to gay and lesbian couples.
posted by revmitcz at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ahh.. Good ole States Rights, aka "Let us do what we want"*

*Only applies to racism, slavery and abortion. Does not apply to growing marijuana or anything forward thinking, or remotely related to encouraging a common social good in American society.
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


So many countries only have penalties for male homosexual acts and not female...what the fuck?? Is this really just about people being squicked out by the potential for anal sex? Sex that they will (probably) never, ever even see? It's not like gay people are humping each other on stranger's living room floors.

Because I've got news for you, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, and the Christian Right...straight people and even lesbians have anal sex, too. And some of them like it.

I remember when I was in elementary school, and we learned about Brown v. Board of Education. No one could believe that the governor of a state would enlist the national guard to prohibit students from entering based on their race, and we all agreed that people who held those views were reprehensible bigots. Later, of course, we realized that there were a lot of people who really were bigots, but they hid it well, because being racist is no longer socially acceptable.

One day, probably within a generation or so, there will be kids in elementary school learning about this, and they will be shocked to learn how bigoted their government used to be. I keep that in mind, when things like this happen.
posted by jnaps at 11:31 AM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dream on jnaps, the US is worse than Nazi Germany and always has been (according to the comments in this thread).
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on January 15, 2009


My bad. Down with the establishment.
posted by jnaps at 11:37 AM on January 15, 2009


One day, probably within a generation or so, there will be kids in elementary school learning about this

Hm, maybe I should start saving "God Hates Fags" memorabilia to show to my kids when they ask what the Dark Ages were like.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:41 AM on January 15, 2009


Guys, you think this is bad? Every nation on earth signed onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, except for Somalia and - you guessed it - the United States.

What's kind of amusing about this is that we basically helped write the damn thing and signed it - but didn't ratify. Just a reminder, folks, that the President technically doesn't have the power to deliver on 1/10th of the things he promises. He can make a treaty, but he can't make the Senate ratify it. Good 'ole three-part government and all.
posted by cimbrog at 11:42 AM on January 15, 2009


Mister_A, no one mentions the Nazi's except for you. Did someone hurt your feelings?

LEAVE THE USA ALONE GUYS!
posted by chunking express at 11:46 AM on January 15, 2009


Being married is not a *right* for the American citizenry.

But being treated equally under the law is. The Supreme Court seemed to make this point in Romer. (But, as I am not a lawyer, I have no idea how/why/if access to state-recognized marriage is, legally speaking, a different animal from from access to the political process. Justice Kennedy wrote: "To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.")

Discrimination on the basis of race is, rightfully, a federal no-no, regardless of "states' rights." I guess I don't understand why states' rights is so all-important in the case of marriage discrimination but not in the case of race discrimination.
posted by rtha at 11:47 AM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


You know who else didn't sign a United Nations declaration?
posted by jnaps at 11:49 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've tried to get my mind around the "protect the sanctity of marriage" argument and haven't had great success. Maybe they see the institution of marriage as some sort of country club whose membership must be tightly controlled to preserve its exclusivity (and hence, its desirability). If that's true, however, where are the campaigns to get public schools to teach kids how to choose their partners carefully, to build and maintain healthy relationships (which could reduce the divorce rate)?

When I hear the protect-marriage argument from married people, I'm sorely tempted to put on my Hat of Cattiness and make the argument personal by saying something like "Really? Isn't your marriage strong enough to withstand a gay couple's being married? Maybe you should pray for help with that."

I don't imagine that would go well with me.

But damn, it's tempting.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 11:49 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Besides calling it a "technical" ground--all legal arguments are in the same way "technical"--does anyone have a refutation of that argument?

Yes, the supreme court already legalized gay buttsex in Lawrence v. Texas, so it's obviously not a problem.
posted by delmoi at 11:50 AM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


So many countries only have penalties for male homosexual acts and not female...what the fuck?? Is this really just about people being squicked out by the potential for anal sex?

For a long time lesbianism was legal in the UK because the Queen (Elizabeth? Mary?) was so scandalized by the notion of lesbianism that she refused to acknowledge its existence.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2009


Cisgender

Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh, wow. Gold star.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:56 AM on January 15, 2009


I don't imagine that would go well with me.

Why not? When my mother bemoans the blacks and Indians moving into the neighborhood, I don't pretend like it's okay.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:56 AM on January 15, 2009


Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger: When I hear the protect-marriage argument from married people...

It's even more ridiculous when it comes from people with a couple of divorces under their belt.
posted by quin at 12:12 PM on January 15, 2009


.

When Spain legalized gay marriage, I knew we were well behind.
posted by kalessin at 12:13 PM on January 15, 2009


dios wrote
Besides calling it a "technical" ground--all legal arguments are in the same way "technical"--does anyone have a refutation of that argument?

That is, while you may agree with this resolution and wished it passed, can you address the legal concern articulated here?

In other words, is it fair to say that the US is against gay rights because of this vote? Or is there validity to the concern?
I'm not qualified to address legal concerns as I'm not a lawyer.

I will observe that you *NEVER* hear about anyone winning a case about so-called "state's rights" in any context but bigotry. N-E-V-E-R. Remember when California tried to get medical marijuana under "state's rights"? Remember how all the people who are so fanatic about the topic when it can be applied to bigotry fought (successfully) to undermine California's law? Remember when Oregon passed an assisted suicide law? Remember how the stalwart defenders of "state's rights" were right there to help the federal government overrule that?

So, while I can't address the legal concerns, I can observe that the entire scam of "state's rights" has to the best of my knowledge never, not one single time, been used successfully to cover for anything but bigotry, and that the supporters of the state's rights scam all vanish when the cause is anything but bigotry. Given that history, and given the Bush governments passionate and burning hatred for human rights I find it difficult to believe that the Bush government's vote was motivated by any sincere concern for rights of any sort.

IIRC, you're a lawyer dios, do you have the time to enlighten us?

Oh, and for your last question: "In other words, is it fair to say that the US is against gay rights because of this vote? Or is there validity to the concern?"

I think its fair to say that the US is against gay rights, and against gay people, on the grounds of the "Defense of Marriage Act", on the grounds that most Americans vote to harm their gay fellow citizens, on the grounds that the majority of American states have banned gay marriage in their constitutions and several are working to ban gay adoption. This vote? Its just the icing on the cake of hatred.
posted by sotonohito at 12:14 PM on January 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


For a long time lesbianism was legal in the UK because the Queen (Elizabeth? Mary?) was so scandalized by the notion of lesbianism that she refused to acknowledge its existence.

Queen Victoria.

One thing that no one's mentioned, yet is horrifying, is the possibility that someone will make a mash-up map of the world, clearly identifying the location of the USA. and thus making it possible to be attacked by those with a strident pro-homosexual rights agenda!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:16 PM on January 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


No one hurt my feelings, chunking express, I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole myself there. There is a certain lack of perspective inherent in all the USA-bashing that goes on in these threads. I'll leave it at that.
posted by Mister_A at 12:17 PM on January 15, 2009


eh, it's the UN. all they ever do is park illegaly.
posted by jonmc at 12:20 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


ah, the land of the free & the home of the brave.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:22 PM on January 15, 2009


There is a certain lack of perspective inherent in all the USA-bashing that goes on in these threads. I'll leave it at that.

Fair enough. I am certainly not fair and balanced when it comes to these threads. I think the USA bashing comes from the fact people expect more. I have no idea why.
posted by chunking express at 12:23 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


If we get to outlaw things I personally think are icky we can start at the Mormon church.

You want to talk about disgusting and revolting?? What about chili and meatloaf? I don't understand HOW anyone can eat those things.

Gay sex is peachy keen with me, though. My C: drive attests to that.
posted by desjardins at 12:25 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Albania signed the fucking thing. Jeez.

well, albania's chief export is ferocious political thought, after all.

on the bright side, now that we've gotten rid of bush's little lapdog, john howard, at least australia wasn't the only other western nation siding with the US against most of the rest of the world at the UN yet again.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:28 PM on January 15, 2009


eh, it's the UN. all they ever do is park illegaly.

What? They had their own special parking spots down the street from their offices in Vienna.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:29 PM on January 15, 2009


Being married is not a *right* for the American citizenry.

Actually it is, at least according to the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virgnia ... the question is only if the logic of the decision applies in more than just "to marry, or not marry, a person of another race":
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
Which extends from the 14th Amendment:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
But that's just my take, mind you.
posted by bclark at 12:31 PM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


"U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction."

yeah, because these declarations are legally binding, right? as opposed to being statements of principles that nations should aim towards.

that's exactly why it's possible to raise an action in court directly based on the covenant on civil & political rights.

not that you'd need to, of course, because every article of the UNCCPR has been enshrined in legislation in every signatory nation.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:33 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


There were no laws against female-female sexual intercourse in England for a long time before Victoria. One theory as to why many cultures have condemned and continue to condemn gay males but not gay females is that in an extremely patriarchal culture, lesbianism is largely irrelevant or invisible. Male homosexuality threatens the gendered order and threatens reproduction by taking men out of their proper roles as arbiters of social and moral values and the producers of the next generation. Lesbianism doesn't because frankly the women don't have much say in whether or not they want to be married and pregnant, and lesbian sex doesn't waste that all important fluid, semen, and thus in some sense may not be considered "real" sex.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:35 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Later, of course, we realized that there were a lot of people who really were bigots, but they hid it well, because being racist is no longer socially acceptable.

You write "of course," but I am repeatedly amazed at the number of people who never arrive at this realization, and live in a world in which history is full of bigotry, hate, and injustice that was miraculously done away with right about the time they were born, leaving us with a society so free and just that anyone who seeks to alter it in any way is patently a dangerous radical.
posted by enn at 12:42 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


elendi71 As for things like gay marriage, that IS a state's right (the issuing of marriage licenses), and the Federal govt has absolutely no business meddling in that. I dont like it, but there are no constitutional civil rights that are being violated by the state denying anyone for what is a a strictly civic institution. Being married is not a *right* for the American citizenry.


Yes, start treating it as a right, and, next thing you know, nice white Kansas girls will start marrying Kenyan Negroes....
posted by Skeptic at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think we're going to be hearing 'no comment' a lot with the next administration, especially whenever anyone calls them out on not following through with this whole 'change' thing.

Dude repeatedly confirms he's going to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, has his friend, the first openly-gay bishop, give the invocation for his first inaugural event, supports full civil unions for gay couples, pledges to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, proudly features LGBT groups on his website…

And you seriously can't see any difference between this and a man who literally couldn't bring himself to say the word "gay" or "homosexual" once in 8 years?
posted by designbot at 12:49 PM on January 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


This new president will make gay marriage legal in all the states! He can do that, right?
posted by smackfu at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2009


I will observe that you *NEVER* hear about anyone winning a case about so-called "state's rights" in any context but bigotry.

Never hear about? Maybe. I can't speak to what you have heard. I can tell you that the argument is made all the time outside the context of "bigotry." In fact, you can see an entire list of cases dealing with federalism/states' rights on wikipedia (there's more, these are just notable Supreme Court ones), and the majority do not have anything to do with "bigotry."

I can observe that the entire scam of "state's rights" has to the best of my knowledge never, not one single time, been used successfully to cover for anything but bigotry, and that the supporters of the state's rights scam all vanish when the cause is anything but bigotry.

Now you may not have heard of them because they involve reasoned application of law instead of ham-fisted, hot-button issues of "bigotry." But your lack of knowledge about them does not preclude their existence.

Remember when California tried to get medical marijuana under "state's rights"? Remember how all the people who are so fanatic about the topic when it can be applied to bigotry fought (successfully) to undermine California's law?


You may want to go look at how people voted in the Gonzales v. Raich opinion. You may be surprised to find out that it was a 6-3 decision with O'Connor, Thomas, and Rehnquist in dissent. It was not the case that states rights advocates abandoned the principle. They held strong. But "states rights" lost out to the Commerce Clause.

I find it difficult to believe that the Bush government's vote was motivated by any sincere concern for rights of any sort.

You may be surprised to know that the United States has a long history of abstaining from supporting any legislation that will infringe upon the autonomy of the states or the sovereignty of the law. In other words, this is not a Bush thing.

The proper term is federalism, not the sloppy "states' rights" term.
posted by dios at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh, wow. Gold star.

Gold stars have been discontinued on Metafilter.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:07 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a very specialized, limited focus argument so bear with me here.

I find it ironic that folks outraged at this look to blame groupings of people for this when they're aware it's bigotry at work. I mean this "U.S. is 'x' " stuff. Well, everyone in the U.S. or the Catholic Church aren't all bigots, just as homosexuals aren't all one thing or another.

Certainly enough of them ascribe to this entirely stupid idea that homosexuality should be illegal that they drag influence and labels with them.

But it's a software problem. What people think. Got a flaw with the software you don't kick the computer (far as I know, I'm not an IT specialist here).

I mean, I used to see folks who believe in hatred, intolerance, all that, sing 'patriotic' songs like "God Bless America" and so forth and folks who were in opposition felt alienated like they didn't have the right to sing those songs or they weren't really Americans or patriotic, etc.

And that gave these folks power. I mean, it's playing their game to say "Well, the U.S. doesn't believe in 'x'" or "The U.S. hates homosexuals, etc." - no, it's your country too.
I'd argue it's more your country since we (in the U.S.) are *supposed* to be about ideals and noble values, justice, liberty, all that. And that it's a failure when we don't live up to it.

I'd assert that very often negative attention can support and empower what it seeks to negate.
I'd argue that not allowing the bigots to usurp labels and cloak themselves behind them is a valuable tactic.

Someone thinks some guy was throwing rocks at his house was part of your family just because he was doing it from your lawn you'd probably disabuse them of that notion.

Same deal here. They're not Christians, Americans, Catholics, whatever - they're just intolerant cowardly bigots who happened to get this done by gaming political influence and antiquated religious traditions.

That bit of tactical daemon fighting aside, more broadly I gotta go with jnaps and bclark
(With the caveats that - we're gonna have to work for that in a targeted and relentless manner, and that the decision should (and I think does) apply to more than 'race' which is itself and idea that's getting on in years)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think we're going to be hearing 'no comment' a lot with the next administration, especially whenever anyone calls them out on not following through with this whole 'change' thing.

Reporter: Going back to the campaign, you were asked and talked about the qualifications of your now nominee for Secretary of State and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders, and your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I'm wondering if you could talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring.

Obama: Look, I mean, I think, this is fun for the press, to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign.

posted by Joe Beese at 1:16 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uncleozzy: I don't "pretend its okay" either. I voice my opinions and try to back them up with facts. Insulting my conversation partner would probably derail the conversation.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2009


The following is completely anecdotal:

I've gently talked about this controversy with folks at my church, trying to identify what it is - specifically - that bothers them so much about same-sex marriage.

The most common concern that I encountered is the possibility that churches who oppose same-sex marriages would be forced to perform same-sex weddings. This may sound like a ridiculous idea, but they look at photographers being sued for refusing to photograph gay weddings and worry that they'll be put into the same situation.

I'm trying to discuss this reasonably. Please be gentle. :)
posted by DWRoelands at 1:26 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is the United Nations still in the US anyways? Seems like a huge joke to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2009


I voice my opinions and try to back them up with facts

I don't see how this could be productive with someone who, even fleetingly, thinks his marriage will be somehow damaged by letting someone else also get married.

churches who oppose same-sex marriages would be forced to perform same-sex weddings

Does anybody force Catholic churches to perform Jewish weddings?
posted by uncleozzy at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2009


I've gently talked about this controversy with folks at my church, trying to identify what it is - specifically - that bothers them so much about same-sex marriage.

The most common concern that I encountered is the possibility that churches who oppose same-sex marriages would be forced to perform same-sex weddings.


See, the problem you're going to run into here is that for a lot of people this isn't just about the right to marry but the end of bigotry. So your church members protestations come out sounding like, "But once we can't be bigots through application of public policy, we may have trouble being bigots in our private dealings!" I do understand their point and that they don't consider themselves to be bigots, but most people are going to respond, "Tough shit, bigot!"
posted by cimbrog at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2009


DWReolands, that's a common strawman argument spread, but think of it this way: if two Jewish people showed up at the Church and demanded to be married, or if two Muslims did, your church wouldn't be required to perform that ceramony. In some churches, having a prior civil divorce disqualifies from being married in that church. Even in the furthest stretch of the imagination, the "fearsome" test case would be if by every other test the couple in question would be married by that church, the state in question recognized sexual orientation as a protected class, and then they rejected performing the services solely based upon their objection to them being part of that protected class.

This is why civil ceramonies exist. In some DOMA efforts, like here in Florida, proponants of DOMA went even further by outlawing "anything functionally similar" to marriage, thereby stripping even civil unions of equal recognition -- and civil unions, clearly, wouldn't have any chance at all of creating the situation your church friends describe.

Trying to create a parallelism between commercial services discrimination and church services is extremely specious. In fact, the photographers you cite could have just said "no, we're not going to photograph your event" -- it was the "because I'm opposed to lesbians" that got her in trouble.

These are, though, conversations we can have -- appreciate your bravery and civility in how you raised it.
posted by bclark at 1:45 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction."

yeah, because these declarations are legally binding, right? as opposed to being statements of principles that nations should aim towards.


Don't be too surprised here. The US also wouldn't get behind a UN resolution to clamp down on the small arms trade. And that time, Jon Bolton actually cited the second ammendment to the US constitution for the reason behind his opposition.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:56 PM on January 15, 2009


Albania signed the fucking thing. Jeez.
well, albania's chief export is ferocious political thought, after all.
Even Albania

Perhaps it's because of the alphabetical sorting of these lists that you are picking Albania to reinforce your dismay at the behaviour of the US, but as far as I can tell its record on gay rights is not uncharacteristically negative for the region.
posted by preparat at 2:01 PM on January 15, 2009


bclark: I'm in agreement with you in regards to why that concern probably isn't well-founded. Thank -you- for not screaming in my face that I'm a bigot. :)
posted by DWRoelands at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2009


Actually it is, at least according to the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virgnia

Excellent bclark, I didnt know about that. My bad .. well in principle. I think my point was more that its the states responsibility to manage that part of civic life, not the Feds. An analogy might be gun ownership rights. The Constitution says that we have "a right to bear arms", but it leaves the regulation of those rights to the states, unless, as we have seen recently, it completely removes that right. Now, in the case you referenced, I would argue (IANAL) that the spirit of that decision certainly applies to other disenfranchised groups (such as homosexuals) but the law doesnt specifically address sexual preference and thus is open to interpretation.

Look I'm only being Devils Advocate here. You wont find a bigger advocate of citizens (regardless of creed, color, religion, gender or sexual preference) rights, but I am also a big advocate of a clear distinction between states rights and that of the Federal government. I wish it were different, but as long as the granting of marriage licenses, and marriage itself, remains a state regulated and legally binding institution, the Feds can't, and shouldnt, mess with it.

The key here, I think, is not to gripe about how shallow and bigoted the nebulous entity that is the US Govt, but look a little closer to home and ask why your elected representatives are.
posted by elendil71 at 2:13 PM on January 15, 2009


CHANGE*





* for some.
posted by Legomancer at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


elendil71, I agree with you ... right up to the 14th Amendment's "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." I don't buy into the idea that "states' rights" is just a defense of bigotry, but I also don't buy into the idea that this U.N. declaration would have represented some overstepping of Federal authority. In this case, it just provides convienent and plausible cover for not having to face the political backlash at having done the right thing.

And, Devil's Advocates are always welcome in my world: they help to test the limits of something. Citizens' rights are indeed the issue in my mind, as well.
posted by bclark at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flipping Hades Terwilliger wrote: "I voice my opinions and try to back them up with facts"

Uncleozzy wrote: "I don't see how this could be productive with someone who, even fleetingly, thinks his marriage will be somehow damaged by letting someone else also get married"

This is a good point that makes me consider the issue a little more deeply. Maybe my proposed personal attack was founded on faulty reasoning to begin with. It's possible that the people who argue against marriage equality from a sanctity-of-marriage perspective aren't worried about perserving their marriages specifically, but preserving the institution of marriage.

Christians believe that that institution was handed to them by god. They also believe god says homosexuality is a sin. From their point of view, changing the "rules" of marriage explicitly to allow homosexuals to marry may be a genuinely horrifying idea; it may go beyond just being squicked out by teh buttsecks.

That said, I don't think motivation matters in the face of laws that damage the lives of real individuals and families.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 3:34 PM on January 15, 2009


but I also don't buy into the idea that this U.N. declaration would have represented some overstepping of Federal authority.

You're right. It wouldnt have represented anything. It's a non-binding resolution. Political points only. Nice gesture I grant you, but fundamentally worthless. *Sigh* That's not DA, thats me being cynical.
posted by elendil71 at 4:10 PM on January 15, 2009


They also believe god says homosexuality is a sin. From their point of view, changing the "rules" of marriage explicitly to allow homosexuals to marry may be a genuinely horrifying idea

At which point they should be reminded that it's the laying-with that's the sin, not the predisposition to want to lay-with.

Then they can close their eyes, plug their ears, and pretend that all the gays are enjoying the same sexless marriages as the vast majority of straight stand-up comedians.
posted by CKmtl at 5:22 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


since when is the roman catholic church a member of the UN? they're not a nation...
posted by przxqgl at 6:01 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm an agnostic, and I'm infuriated by this decision and doubly so by the Catholic Church's support of this decision.

I'm a Buddhist and this decision is SERIOUSLY harshing my mellow, doubly so by ANYONE'S support of it.

On a more practical level, I grok the legalities of the US's stance, but I think they're icky.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:16 PM on January 15, 2009


since when is the roman catholic church a member of the UN? they're not a nation...

Looked it up. Here's the word:

While permanent observers, such as the Holy See, cannot vote in the General Assembly, in most UN conferences they are granted the full status enjoyed by UN member states, including not only a voice, but also a vote. During debate, the Holy See, alone among the world’s religions, can make as many interventions as a member state.

Found here.

So, they're not a "member" per se, but they get to vote on stuff. The Vatican is technically a state, which does make it unique among religious organizations.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:20 PM on January 15, 2009


Ugh, America! Sometimes I wonder if I really do live in America, or some strange version of ... never mind. Sign the declaration, already! And while you're at it, switch to the metric system, too.
posted by Xere at 8:01 PM on January 15, 2009


Re notsnot I'm a straight guy. I'm absolutely revolted by teh buttsecks

I'm gay (at least in the sens of not being attracted to women) and I find it revolting. I've never done it and just thinking about doing it makes me vomit.
posted by mike3k at 8:57 PM on January 15, 2009


CHANGE*





* for some.


Google Maps Mash-ups for others.
posted by minifigs at 4:55 AM on January 16, 2009


dios I stand corrected, thanks. I can't say its pleasant to be proven so resoundingly wrong in my basic thesis, but its appreciated nevertheless.

I still don't see how federalism applies in this instance. In the first place it was a non-binding resolution, and in the second place it wasn't about marriage, but about the criminalization of homosexuality. Didn't Lawrence v Texas establish that in the USA homosexuality could not be criminalized? Given that, why would the US vote against a UN resolution that did nothing but go along with already established US law?

I still contend that the vote was just Bush giving the middle finger to homosexuals. While some of the Supremes did indeed hold firm to the idea of federalism, Bush himself obviously does not given that it was his DOJ appointees who crusaded against California and Oregon. Thus his pious invocation of "state's rights" in this instance seems hypocritical to say the least.
posted by sotonohito at 6:15 AM on January 16, 2009


CHANGE*





* for beer?



(Not to turn this into a love festival here, but that’s some exemplary work by DWRoelands, bclark, elendil71, et.al. not knee jerking all over the place and debating the topic civily. Pleasure to read.)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2009


Why is the United Nations still in the US anyways? Seems like a huge joke to me.

They pretend we're nice, and we pretend they matter.
posted by oaf at 8:14 PM on January 16, 2009


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