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March 14, 2000
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A poll on same-sex marriage at ivillage.com. I'm always shocked by how many people oppose it! What's wrong with this country?
posted by veruca (43 comments total)

 
Not everyone is open-minded, and you can't expect them to be. It is a controversial issue, one that isn't going to be agreed upon any time soon. Opinions like these are slow to change, especially when backed by religious beliefs. Be patient, and realistic. (I'm actually pretty surprised the support numbers are that high)
posted by fil! at 2:23 PM on March 14, 2000


Sadly, I am pretty sure that most of the people in this country are far more concerned about what other people are doing than their own actions.
posted by Popstar at 2:51 PM on March 14, 2000


I've talked to a lot of people about this. If I find someone thinks it's "wrong" to be gay or in a same sex marriage, I never just let it drop. I always try to make them explain why it's wrong. Then I pick away at that. From my experience, most people oppose same sex marriage because it's just easier. They don't want to think about it. They just know it's wrong. They can come up with lots of other authorities that have made the decision for them.

If I ask them why THEY think it's so bad, it usually boils down to, "It's gross and they're perverts." This reasoning falls apart rather quickly. I can usually get people to admit that it's a double standard. Hetero couples do the same gross perverted sex acts, and we wouldn't make laws saying they couldn't get married because of it. Most people want to be fair, they just don't want to think about gay issues. Hence they oppose gay marriage without knowing the issues.

Don't let people get away with being lazy. Engage them in polite conversation on this.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:04 PM on March 14, 2000


Ummm, *I* oppose gay marriage, and last time I checked, there was nothing *wrong* with me. Prop 22 came up here in my state and I voted against it. That doesn't make me bad hateful, closed-minded, intolerant, or anything else. Likewise, no moral degradation is implied against those who think otherwise.
I don't care what people do with their private lives, and that isn't what opposing gay marriage is about. People can be gay if that's what they're in to, but I like marriage just the way it is, thanks.
posted by CalvinTheBold at 6:13 PM on March 14, 2000


Why do you think it should be illegal for gays to be married?
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:37 PM on March 14, 2000


Sorry Calvin, that does make you hateful, closed-minded, and intolerant.
posted by alan at 7:44 PM on March 14, 2000


As objectionable as this may sound, why is it that homosexuals want the approval of the status quo? Why is that even neccessary? Why is it an issue? And if it is an issue why do homosexual couples not observe the same ethical considerations that heterosexual couples are obligated to in the workplace? And finally, since when is our orientation and sexual activity an issue of public and open discussion? And how do you arrogant and enlightened folk define 'open minded'? You just accept whatever crap you think up and that is open minded and then tell everyone else they're wrong? Now that is rude, and since your attempt to engage those of us who don't appreciate marriage as an institution was downright rude from the get-go, who do you think you are to impose your weak and deplorable generalizations of the intelligence and considerations of others?
posted by greyscale at 7:54 PM on March 14, 2000


Nobody's asking for the approval of the status quo. Gay couples deserve the same legal benefits as straight couples, just as black families deserve the same rights to getting a loan as white families.

If a church doesn't want to "approve" a gay marriage, fine. They have a right to do that. Just like they have a right to disapprove of contraceptive devices. Separation of church and state, baby. It's beautiful.

Who said anything about gays not having to play nice in the workplace? Straight folks make heterosexual jokes and comments all the time, yet gays are bad-mouthed for acting the same way.

It's funny that you said "since when is our orientation and sexual activity an issue of public discussion?" EXACTLY. It's the religious fanatics that are bringing this issue into the public eye. If the law was enforced the way it's written, we'd be fine -- "created equal". EQUAL.
posted by veruca at 8:13 PM on March 14, 2000


religious fanatics that are bringing this issue into the public eye
Although it may be the "religious fanatics" that bring the issue into the public eye, it seems obvious (given the vote on prop 22) how a majority of people (at least in California) feel about this.

And the people are allowed to vote however they feel like. As far as the constitutionality of the laws, well that is pretty much in the court system's jurisdiction.

I would say that the majority of issues are brought into the public eye by "fanatics," no one else cares enough to write petitions or their to their congressman.
Who said anything about gays not having to play nice in the workplace? Straight folks make heterosexual jokes and comments all the time, yet gays are bad-mouthed for acting the same way.
To the best of my knowledge, sexual harassment laws apply to heterosexuals as well, although they may not be as stringent.


posted by fil! at 8:41 PM on March 14, 2000


I like marriage the way it is. Marriage is something that normally takes place in a church, between a man and woman, before God. I don't care if people live their lives in a different manner and would like the legal benefits that marriage brings. In order to bring about the changes that same sex couples would like, since we are not "created equal" in the face of the law, you should reform the tax code. That would be a start and much easier place to gain acceptance. Why change the meaning of marriage when you really want to change the benefits received?

As for jokes in the office and playing nice at work, people are facing the possibility of "thought crime" and needing "word police" to monitor who said what, about whom, in the presence of the manager, which then makes it a "threatening" place to work. Jokes will continue to make fun of groups no matter what laws are passed no matter if it is about a male/female, black/white, legal/illegal, gay/ straight, rich/poor, thin/fat, Italian/Irish, or whatever you care to classify people into.
posted by brent at 8:58 PM on March 14, 2000


OK, let me see if I can explain this rationally:

To me, marriage is not a basic human "right." That is to say that I can't go out and get married just by virtue of my birth. At the minimum, I need a willing partner. That means that we aren't talking about a natural right open to every individual, we're talking about a social ritual involving multiple participants.

Looking at it in a social context (get ready for a bad analogy...), I look at it as no different than carpool lanes. See, everyone pays taxes to pay for the roads we drive on. We as a society have decided that it is 'good' to utilize more of the capacity of our vehicles, and therefore increase the efficiency of our roads, so we set aside carpool lanes. Even though we all *as individuals* pay for those lanes, we can't use them when we're by ourselves. What we are doing here is making special rules to encourage behaviour that we as a society deem beneficial to all.

To me, marriage is the same way. We set aside certain benefits for those couples who willingly decide to enter a state we call "marriage" because we (collectively) think that it is "good" for our society. Because simple commitment among partners is not specifically what we want to foster, we place even more resrictions; in this case we restrict participation by gender. It all has to do with what we want to hold as our "ideal."

Is it discriminatory? A little--at least in the case that I can't do it by myself, and neither can anyone else. Also, I can't pick whatever partner I want, I'm limited to choosing one of the opposite sex. Those are just criteria for a social institution. I like them the way they are, and it has nothing to do with gays or anyone else. If they had a ballot issue about recognizing common-law marriage among heterosexuals, homosexuals, or otherwise I'd vote against that, too. Like I said, I like marriage just the way it is.

I hope this makes *some* sense to anyone else but me, but ya know what? I voted my conscience--which is a basic and natural right--and the majority of Californains feel the same way I do. You don't see me implying that the're something defective about the people who didn't see things my way. Who's closed-minded, hmmm?
posted by CalvinTheBold at 9:29 PM on March 14, 2000


It's so much more than just a few tax codes, Brent. Here is a (short and very incomplete) list of some of the legal rights of married couples that long-term, same-sexed couples are missing out on because their relationships are not legally recognized: (List taken from the letter written by Stuart Matis, the 32-year-old gay Mormon who committed suicide over his grief of the Prop 22 debate.)

Now, as long as there are rights and privileges granted to those of married status, this debate will continue. As long as certain benefits are not extended to gays (and bis wishing to become married to someone of the same gender) that are extended to straights (and bis wishing to become married to someone of the opposite gender), then the former category is relegated to a lesser status of citizen. That is what the fight is about. If you'd rather call it something else (domestic partnership, legally recognized couple, or whatever) rather than "sully" the institution of marriage, that's fine. Remember, though, that the State can perform a legal marriage, without the Church and without God (though they'll probably say something about Him, just to be polite).

The other option is to truly separate Church and State, removing and revoking all rights and privileges gained by being married. If one is of the stance that marriage is a religious institution first and foremost, one could go one step further and deny recognition of marriage by the state and federal governments altogether. A show of hands: all those in favor?
posted by jason at 9:30 PM on March 14, 2000


Can somebody explain why being accorded the same legal rights is somehow an unfair request?

Can somebody explain the question "why do homosexual couples not observe the same ethical considerations that heterosexual couples are obligated to in the workplace? "

Can someone tell me why, if marriage is strictly a covenant made before God, the government has any business legislating it, or basing property, tax, inheritance, etc. law on it?

Can somone tell me why, in the year 2000, people still believe that bigotry and opression could *POSSIBLY* be righteous in the eyes of God?

Sorry Calvin et al, I'm with Alan on this one. The church has every right to determine which covenants it chooses to recognize - the government does not.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 9:31 PM on March 14, 2000


Alas, but you do want that approval. Allow me to clarify, since you are unable to see through the clouded haze of your own emotion. In your words even: Gay couples deserve the same legal benefits as straight couples. Isn't it a government for the people and by the people? And as far as the obligations I mentioned, you have no idea what I'm talking about. It has far more significance and weight than simple sexual humor. Again, your orientation and that of others is to each her own private business. Take it to the polls if you will, please just save me the knowledge of what you do in the privacy of your own personal space. You do wear clothes don't you? I suppose it's because your modest. Try to exercise that character trait here would you? Pointing the finger at religious fanatics is hardly going to help your cause. We could just as well point the finger at gay fanatics for their imperfections whatever they be. And I'm neither your baby, or a baby to anyone I know, except my mother some time ago.
posted by greyscale at 9:36 PM on March 14, 2000


Damn. Looks like someone needs to get laid. (I do so hope you know enough to take that as a joke -- it would have been much funnier if I had had the guts to omit the disclaimer, but alas.)

And for the record, I'm not a "gay fanatic." I'm not gay...not even bisexual. I believe in love and acceptance, however trite that may sound. Some of our greatest spiritual leaders were all about acceptance. I can quote you a Bible passage or two, but I'm sure you've heard them before.

I just don't understand why, when there are millions of starving and diseased children in this world -- hell, in this country -- WHY do we need to be wasting our energy on something like this? Let gay people marry. It ain't hurtin' you, so what's the problem? What are you afraid of?
posted by veruca at 9:46 PM on March 14, 2000


I'd just like to mention that I never said a word about G-d, or any religious organization or philosophy. If you want to go before a minister/rabbi/priest(ess)/ect and profess your everlasting commitment to another human being, go for it. That kind of thinking has no place in deciding laws for our country. The only consideration I have for the issue as far as laws are concerned is the optimal ordering of our society according to what kinds of behaviour we wish to encourage. There's no moral or religious dimension to my position.
posted by CalvinTheBold at 9:49 PM on March 14, 2000


As wrong as i think some of these comments are (calvin), or right (jason; you're my new hero), i'm just happy to see they're even being debated.

Have a nice day.
posted by milhous at 10:11 PM on March 14, 2000


If there is a behavior that we don't "wish to encourage", why is that? For what reason would we want to discourage loving relationships?

If you can come up with a non-moral or non-religious reason for preventing same-sex unions, please share. This is the first time I've ever heard from someone who had non-moral and non-religious reasons for opposing same-sex marriage...
posted by veruca at 10:26 PM on March 14, 2000


for the record, a large majority of americans can be in favor of a policy [or in favor of not changing an unjust policy, as the case may be] for a long time and still be wrong. [see: slavery, civil rights, women's rights, etc] over the history of this great land of ours it has been proven time and time again that granting more equality to more people is more just, right and better. extending equal rights to minority groups and women was right. extending equal rights to gays is right as well. isn't that obvious? i guess to some people it's not. bummer.
-rja
p.s: i too am wondering what that comment about "why do homosexual couples not observe the same ethical considerations that heterosexual couples are obligated to in the workplace?" is about.
posted by palegirl at 10:33 PM on March 14, 2000


i just read again this quote that grayscale [jimmi?] posted:
your orientation and that of others is to each her own private business. Take it to the polls if you will, please just save me the knowledge of what you do in the privacy of your own personal space. You do wear clothes don't you? I suppose it's because your modest. Try to exercise that character trait here would you?
and it really angered me. i think it's just pure evil for straights to force gays into the closet because they don't want to have to think about it. where the hell do people get off? furthermore, denying someone rights is very unlike and unrelated to your being offended by two men expressing a loving gesture in public [holding hands] or someone mentioning their orientation on a website.
-rja
p.s: i keep my lungs concealed beneath flesh, bone, and skin -- but it's not to spare you having to accept the fact that i breathe, it's just that that's where that particular process goes on. loving relationships exist mostly behind doors, it's true, but that does not mean that occasional displays in public are wholly inappropriate. if a person does not want to encounter persons different from themself [and i suspect that for some people this is the case] they ought to stay isolated in their home -- not demand that everyone else do so.
posted by palegirl at 11:22 PM on March 14, 2000


Damn all them pregnant women. Flaunting their sexuality in the workplace.

I already ranted about prop 22, so I'll save myself some typing.

The only way a democracy works is when it listens to the will of the majority, while protecting the rights of the minority.
posted by alan at 3:42 AM on March 15, 2000


WHY????? Just tell me. Why do you oppose gay marriage? What is the issue for you?
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:12 AM on March 15, 2000


Wow, Alan you have just summed up in one sentence what the decent human beings on the board are trying to say and the bigoted people on the board are trying to deny - protection of the rights of the minority.
Just because the majority say it's right don't make it so, I believe your country learned that many years ago in a town called Salem....
posted by Markb at 5:27 AM on March 15, 2000


One problem is with the stigma of the word 'marriage'. One suggestion to pull this off legally is to create another term, let's say 'intervolution' or 'symphysis'. We'll legally define this as the state of two (I'm not touching polygamy/polyarmory right now) consenting adult humans agreeing to bond together for life (or until irreconcilable differences). We will then define marriage as a subset of this state that is specific to heterosexual unions. Now, all couples that are intervolved share the same rights and all couples that are married still carry the same connotations. In fact, it leaves room for the married set, if they so choose, to tell those not in the married set, "well, you're not really married." and they'll be correct. In other words, no discrimination but room for bigotry (an equitable first balance). This really is a star-bellied sneetches problem and my proposed solution is moons or green clovers or whatever for everyone, but you can have stars in addition.
posted by plinth at 5:32 AM on March 15, 2000


palegirl wrote:
for the record, a large majority of americans can be in favor of a policy [or in favor of not changing an unjust policy, as the case may be] for a long time and still be wrong. [see: slavery, civil rights, women's rights, etc] over the history of this great land of ours it has been proven time and time again that granting more equality to more people is more just, right and better. extending equal rights to minority groups and women was right. extending equal rights to gays is right as well. isn't that obvious? i guess to some people it's not. bummer.
Yes, large majorities of Americans have been wrong before, and it's only natural with a democracy. But that's democracy, you have to accept that with giving everyone the right to vote, you are going to have people who don't agree with your views. And sometimes, those people are in the majority.

I don't think that people don't understand that extending rights to minorities is a good thing, I think that they have some presonal reason for not approving, and are voting based on that. It may not be the correct line of reasoning, but they are allowed to vote any way they want.

It isn't easy for the government to pass laws when the majority of the (voting) population is against it. If the current politicians won't do what they majority wants, voters will elect someone who will. That's why I, until opinions change, I don't see equal rights being fully extended to homosexuals.

It sucks, but that's the way the system works.
posted by fil! at 7:14 AM on March 15, 2000


CalvinBeak wrote: "The only consideration I have for the issue as far as laws are concerned is the optimal ordering of our society according to what kinds of behaviour we wish to encourage."

EngineBeak writes: "Optimal" in order to reach which goal? I know what your next error will be.
posted by EngineBeak at 10:05 PM on March 15, 2000


"Marriage" as far as I'm concerned, is a complete joke. I know plenty of married people that will screw anything that moves and unmarried people that are totally loyal to their significant others. As far as sexual relations go, I only care that it is consentual and doesn't involve children or animals. Otherwise it ain't anyone else's buisness.
posted by spacecoyote at 11:27 AM on March 16, 2000


Procreation for one.
If you can come up with a non-moral or non-religious reason for preventing same-sex unions, please share. This is the first time I've ever heard from someone who had non-moral and non-religious reasons for opposing same-sex marriage...

posted by schlyer at 1:48 PM on March 16, 2000


So are you suggesting that people who marry without procreating should have their marital status revoked? Should we legislate against marriage for the infertile? How about the postmenopausal? Maybe we should change the laws so they favor parents instead of spouses... the more kids you pop out, the more benefits you get. It'd probably work, we could hit that elusive 10 Billion mark if the benefits were good enough.

Can you suggest a non-religious reason for mandating that marriage must include procreation?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:56 PM on March 16, 2000


That's the logically selfish reason for me to be strongly supportive of legalizing/authorizing gay marriage. As half of a non-procreating couple, if public policy starts moving in the wrong direction, WE'RE NEXT!
If I could keep it from looking like I was ridiculing the GLBT portals/weblogs/etc. (and I'm NOT), I'd start up a resource for asexual webloggers... There have to be a few somewhere... We could start with any who attended SXSW but haven't had nude pictures of them posted yet.
posted by wendell at 3:11 PM on March 16, 2000


"Procreation for one."

God knows, if there's one thing this world needs, it's more people. Upon the precipice of extinction sit we, and gay marriage would surely push us over. And stop masturbating so much, too: Go forth and multiply!
posted by luke at 4:15 PM on March 16, 2000


I can't beleive you wrote this entire sentence without realizing that thats exactly what our laws already do. The minute you get married, the first thing the federal government gives you is a 'marriage tax penalty' and the day you have a child, you get an additional deduction plus the new $400 per child tax credit. And we've all heard the stories of women on welfare popping out more babies to get a bigger check.
Maybe we should change the laws so they favor parents instead of spouses... the more kids you pop out, the more benefits you get
Whether you agree with it or not, you are burying your head in the sand to not see that the institution of marriage was started to promote 'families' - i.e. children.

As for population growth - the entire reason we are having a social security crisis at the moment is because the current generation of tax payers is soon to be smaller than the generation that came before us. Population growth is almost a must for the continuation of our current social programs, without it, the tax rates would skyrocket.
posted by schlyer at 5:05 PM on March 16, 2000


So... you're suggesting that the only way to deal with a baby-boom created economic crisis is to create a bigger boom? That's a bit ponzi-esque sounding if you ask me... Wouldn't a huge plague solve the problem more efficiently?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 5:20 PM on March 16, 2000


Gay marriage as threat to social security and low taxes ... an argument that nicely pinpoints the absurdity of trying to defend Prop. 22 on non-religious grounds.

posted by luke at 5:44 PM on March 16, 2000


On a lighter, happier (for some of us, anyway) note, the Vermont House passed the bill allowing gay "civil unions," which would carry the same benefits and responsibilities as marriage. It still needs to get through the state Senate and then receive the Governor's signature, but accounts say that both seem likely.
posted by jason at 5:53 PM on March 16, 2000


Hmmm, so I guess that means when a woman goes through menopause the marriage is null and void.

Don't want to deal with divorce court? Get a vasectomy, instant annulment.

And now for the one that'll get me in trouble . . . when 'god' said be fruitful and multiply, he meant bring your multiplication tables to the gay bar down the street.

And actually, the institution of marriage was started so that men could claim ownership over women.

Regarding the 'marriage tax penalty' . . this is something of a myth. Some married couples end up paying more in taxes. Others end up paying less in taxes. It all depends on individual circumstances and assets.



posted by alan at 7:09 PM on March 16, 2000


Alan's absolutely correct. The "penalty" in fact encourages stay-at-home motherhood, something I would think social conservatives would support.
posted by luke at 7:15 PM on March 16, 2000


Moral debates are so fun, can I play? I think a significant aspect of marriage is being ignored in the supposed compromise of just granting legal rights. Beyond the religious and legal aspects of marriage is the social aspect--the ritual of standing before your community and making the statement "we're settling down now." I have no problem with religions not allowing gay weddings--be as foolish as you want in your church, I care not--but there is more to the institution of marriage than just the legal and religious aspects.

You'd think people would be wanting to encourage as many people as possible to settle down and become boring, mundane middle-class married Americans. Apparently not.
posted by mrmorgan at 10:27 PM on March 16, 2000


all I know is, I ain't never getting married, god bless anyone who's willing to try-- man and man, woman and woman, man and woman, whoever.

What I really mean is, marriage isn't some little thing-- anyone who's got the balls (or ovaries) to go for it deserves our respect. And if it doesn't work out, well that's when you join the majority!
posted by chaz at 11:56 PM on March 16, 2000


If you are hoping for a plague to solve the social security problems in this country, you'd better hope that it kills more old than young people, else it will only make the problem worse.

For the record, I'm not against gay marriage, I just understand the argument against it and am trying to relay it.

Somebody please explain to me how our current social programs can continue to be funded without population growth and without turning the US into a completely socialist state?

The government has an interest in incentivizing procreation. Without it, its tax base will dwindle. Thats not a very PC thing to say, but its absolutely true.
posted by schlyer at 7:40 AM on March 17, 2000


"And actually, the institution of marriage was started so that men could claim ownership over women."

B-b-b-but, that ain't what m' Preecher said! Whatall bout that "to have and to hold, to shove and sherrish" what's that allbout? You tellin me that thisyar Appearance of ripsectability is a thick verneer over sumpin ten times more harrible beeneeth?
posted by EngineBeak at 8:53 AM on March 17, 2000


And the part of me that's moralistic and wants to tell other people how to live their lives (my "Inner FuddyDuddy") beleives that to oppose gay marriage is to endorse and encourage irresponsible promiscuity as the only acceptable "gay lifestyle". (My Inner FuddyDuddy should have a radio talk show)
And then there's the Rodney Dangerfield approach: "You people WANT to be able to get married? DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE IN FOR?!?" (lead into mother-in-law jokes while grabbing at tie and sweating profusely)
Side issue: shouldn't somebody put up a new link for this topic for those of us who are about to have this discussion fall of the current page? Matt&Howie, you guys got a hack for that?
posted by wendell at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2000


I believe I accomplished that with my Jack Cheevers link. ;)
posted by veruca at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2000


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