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February 19, 2004

GAY MARRIAGE....I agree with Atrios: gay marriage may not be the issue I would have picked to fight the 2004 election (although it's close), but it's going to be an issue anyway. So we ought to fight on the side of right.

But while I agree that our candidate should forthrightly come out against a constitutional amendment, the big question is how to frame this opposition. The last thing we need is to fan the flames of the culture war, and there ought to be a good way of doing the right thing but doing it in a way that calms people down and helps defuse the tension rather than making it worse.

I know we won't convince everyone, but what's the best way of convincing fence-sitters that gay marriage just isn't that threatening? "Live and let live" is the idea I have in mind, but how best to say it? I'm not sure.

Posted by Kevin Drum at February 19, 2004 05:44 PM | TrackBack


Comments

Bring 'em on.

Queer Eye.
Will and Grace.
Ophrah.
Moderate Republicans with Gay kids.
10 percent of the voting public.

Good company, IMO. Thanks, Karl!

Posted by: Monkey at February 19, 2004 05:47 PM | PERMALINK

It has to be framed as a states rights issue - and include guns and abortion in there too. Keep the "big government" out of state business. By pushing it down to the states is really the only way some of the people will be happy some of the time.

Posted by: Anybody But. at February 19, 2004 05:50 PM | PERMALINK

Take the issue out of the courts and leave it in the hands of state legislatures.

People hate having huge social issues decided by courts, see Roe v. Wade, some of the justices thought that they were ending a great social debate, right.

Posted by: Ugh at February 19, 2004 05:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure that you can convince people that a cultural shift isn't scary...it's a generational thing. I guess because I live in Canada I cannot imagine gay marriage being a vote determiner (either for or against) for more than a small segment of the population. What the candidate has to do is not fight it on the Bushie's turf...ie a constitutional amendment which is stupid to the nth degree. I'd weasel out and call it a matter for individual states, which in fact it is, no?

Posted by: Jane at February 19, 2004 05:51 PM | PERMALINK

Completely agree with the states' rights approach, I saw Barney Frank do just such a thing on Sunday and he did it brilliantly.

Posted by: Irrational Bush Hatred at February 19, 2004 05:51 PM | PERMALINK

Richard Daley has provided the text of the ad (with an assist from his County Clerk, David Orr):

"They're your doctors, your lawyers, your journalists, your politicians," the mayor said. "They're someone's son or daughter. They're someone's mother or father. . . . I've seen people of the same sex adopt children, have families. [They're] great parents.

"Some people have a difference of opinion -- that only a man and a woman can get married. But in the long run, we have to understand what they're saying. They love each other just as much as anyone else.''

A devout Catholic, Daley scoffed at the suggestion that gay marriage would somehow undermine the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

"Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage. You're not going to lecture me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror. Marriage has been undermined for a number of years if you look at the facts and figures on it. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community. Please don't blame them for it," he said.

"I'm fed up with people being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. We can't even pass a law that eliminates discrimination against gay couples. [But] whatever you do when it comes to challenging laws, you want it to be effective and not knee-jerk," (County Clerk David) Orr said.

Narration to run over these photos.

Posted by: dave at February 19, 2004 05:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gay marriage ranks about 20th on the voters list of priorities, just above gay baseball.

Posted by: Matt Young at February 19, 2004 05:52 PM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean has a good answer on this issue. Sometime after his signing of the civil unions bill in Vermont, an 80-year old gay WWII Army vet who had been part of the D-Day invasion came up to Dean and thanked him for his courage in signing the legislation. Dean then aks, "How are we going to deny basic rights to some one like that?"

Posted by: peter jung at February 19, 2004 05:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm STRONGLY for the No Big Deal approach.

"Yeah, some hate groups are trying to make a big deal out of this -- and even trying to write discrimination INTO the Constitution, can you believe it -- but I think we just need to relax and let the legislative and judicial processes work. They worked just fine in Vermont, and they'll probably work just fine in Massachusetts and California once the dust settles. I haven't seen any marriages fall apart because of this. Let's all just take a deep breath, tell those hate groups to quiet down, and focus on stuff that's really important, like jobs."

Posted by: bleh at February 19, 2004 05:52 PM | PERMALINK

An "editorial" in the USA Today yesterday showed us the conservatives best arguments against gay marriage (or what they think is one of their best):

Children grow into better citizens when they are raised in a home with a man and a woman.

Of course, as is usual, the studies these conservatives cite are studies which indicate that children are more educated, less likely to commit crimes, etc. when they grow up in a home with two parents; gay couples weren't examined in the study - it was a two parent/one parent dichotomy.

I think the one thing we have to make clear is that allowing same-sex marriages does not in any way, shape, or form, force churchs to perform these ceremonies.

Wild as it may be, I think there is a significant part of the population that thinks churchs will have to marry gays and lesbians. That's gotta be debunked as nonsense - the government doesn't force churches to do anything.

Posted by: Edge at February 19, 2004 05:53 PM | PERMALINK

States Rights and the primacy of legislatures - hit them with their own ammo.

In addition to being right, and possessing moral clarity, these are arguments that can win over the libertarians wing of the GOP, who are already on the verge of revolt.

Posted by: Dave L at February 19, 2004 05:54 PM | PERMALINK

You got it, Monkey. The culture war is not going to go away, and I would say that what is going on in San Francisco (and could happen in Chicago, too) is exactly the right thing. By humanizing the story (I know, they were human beings before, but this can be emphasized more), and speaking to ordinary people's empathy for a universal love, those gay couples have completely changed the debate. There are people who will not change their minds, ever. Yet, I wouldn't be surprise if the pictures of these ecstatic couples have changed some minds and made the issue less threatening. And the movement to send those couples standing in line flowers highlights that this is not just a California event.

Posted by: QuickSauce at February 19, 2004 05:56 PM | PERMALINK

States rights is all well and good, but let's not argue that to the exclusion of the equal rights argument. People in close districts and presidential candidates can argue states rights if they have to. But others should argue equal rights, as Newsom has done. And others should argue that we're adults who can look to our own marriages, and not make gay people who want to be responsible for their families scapegoats for problems that we've already had for decades. And other people should make the "you may not like it and you may be right, but we don't amend the constitution to take away people's freedom" argument. And the presidential candidate, most of all, should argue that we have bigger problems.

Posted by: Katherine at February 19, 2004 06:01 PM | PERMALINK

glenn mcdonald has posted today a terrific article on this issue. Not making the argument in any way palatable to those folks entrenched on the other side, but just making the argument in devaststing fashion:

http://www.furia.com/twas/twas0473.html

"History will look no more fondly on the "defenders" of our current marriage laws than it does on the straggler adherents to any other once-entrenched social inequity. Grasp this before you take a side. The arguments formed today will be studied in tomorrow's schools by the smallest children, as elementary examples of how people used to be terrified by the most harmless personal differences, and how even the most fundamental freedoms are only won through heroic dedication and preserved through thankless vigilance and systemic foresight."

Posted by: Charlie Tangora at February 19, 2004 06:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think you frame this by saying that it's absurd to think of ammending the constitution for something like this.

You play up conservatives' basic reverence for the consititution by pointing out that adding this sort of detailed nickle and dime stuff to it has the effect of trivializing a document that should be respected.


Posted by: Bones at February 19, 2004 06:05 PM | PERMALINK

As somebody who doesn't much care either way, and thinks arguments for and against are pretty weak, I agree the states rights approach is the way to go.
The rights argument that gay marriage is a threat to anything is silly. And for the left to pretend this is some great civil rights issue is silly. All the rights of marriage are pretty easily made through contract, and the push for marriage rights is more a push for acceptance and legitimization from society. Nobody suffers from a lack of a right to have the law recognize gay marriage. The right's argument that marriage will be undermined is equally silly, it would have no effect whatsoever.
I think the best approach would be to say its not a big deal either way and let states make up their own approach.

Posted by: Reg at February 19, 2004 06:07 PM | PERMALINK

They used the Constitution to make booze illegal.

Irrationality knows no limits.

Quick Response to anyone you meet who supports this FMA thing:

"Why do you hate gay people so much?"

Get them to admit this is pure bigotry, and they will lose.

People don't LIKE bigots.

Posted by: Monkey at February 19, 2004 06:09 PM | PERMALINK

I favor the state's rights' approach. Admittedly, i live in San Francisco. Anyway, those of us on this side could commission Jacob Levy or Eugene Volokh to draft the admendment so that it will allow any state to create, under its own legal proceedures, gay marriage, allow any state not to recognise gay marriages whether or not entered into in another state, and allow Congress to decide the issue for federal lands, but force the U.S. government to recognise or not such marriages depending if they are valid in the state the couple lives in.

Posted by: Decnavda at February 19, 2004 06:11 PM | PERMALINK

This is OT but:

Have you noticed the Kerry-Edwards ad on the site? Anyone have an explanation for how that would put power in the hands of the people and not the party bosses?

Posted by: Mark S. at February 19, 2004 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

How to frame it--

Amending the Constitution on an issue like this is wrong. The Constitution is a document that should not be altered lightly, particularly on a social issue when slavery has taught us all how what society accepts is always changing. Once, our Constitution relegated black people in America to 3/5ths of a person; do we want future generations to look on us with the same dismay for using the Constitution to delegate up to ten percent of the population as second class citizens simply for committing the egregious "sin" of love?

The proposed Constitutional amendment not only prohibits gay marriage; it also prohibits states from conferring on homosexual couples the benefits that heterosexuals enjoy--the right to inherit from their partner without penalty, the right to share custody, the right to visit one another in the hospital or assume power of attorney, the right to be recognized as committed loyal partners. This is not about forcing churches to go against their teachings and perform weddings for gay couples; they will be free to continue to discriminate if they choose. This is not about forcing homosexuality on anyone. This is merely about allowing those who are homosexual to have the right to form consensual committed relationships with the person of their choosing.

Some have claimed that this is a slippery slope that will usher in polygamy, pedophilia, or bestiality. Animals and children cannot consent and these are crimes of sex and violence, not expressions of love. More evidence surfaces all the time about a genetic basis to homosexuality, which we know now that even penguins and other of God's creatures practice. Polygamy, however, is a choice. There is no genetic component to polygamy. Further, restricting all people to one marriage does not violate the Constitutional Right to equal protection if everyone is entitled to be wed to one person of their choosing. So there is no reason why accepting the right of homosexuals to have legal unions confers the same rights on would-be polygamists.

Some say this is about sin and choosing to act on homosexual inclinations is a "sin" but our Constitution enforces separation of church and state and we do not legislate sin. We legislate against crimes that have victims. There are no victims here--only consenting adults who love one another. Sin is God's province and we should leave it to him to judge who has sinned and who has not. Indeed, some would argue that intolerance and judging others are sins.

The Netherlands and Belgium allow gay marriage. This has not had a detrimental effect on homosexual marriage. Several other countries, such as Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, recognize what we call civil unions and this has not resulted in any erosion of heterosexual marriage.

Indeed, heterosexual marriage has true enemies already--Las Vegas quickie weddings and divorces, adultery, television shows that use cash instead of love as an incentive for two people to wed--when Liz Taylor can have eight husbands in a lifetime and Britney Spears can get married and divorced in 24 hours and Joey Buttafucco can cheat on his wife with a sixteen-year-old girl and over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, one has to ask how marriage can be called sacred in this country.

In a time of children traumatized by the breakup of their nuclear family, increasing domestic violence, the growing poverty of single parents, and the spread of deadly STDs, committed loyal relationships are things to be encouraged, among all peoples. We should not single out the ten percent of the population who are born gay for a life that does not include the very positive aspect of legal unions.

Marriage itself is just a word but it is an important word in our hearts and something many of us take very seriously. Homosexuals are everywhere in our society. They are Americans. They are US. One out of every ten people is estimated to be gay. They are our friends, our sons and daughters, our teachers, our caregivers, our firemen, our soldiers--

It is time to stop pretending they are an aberration and accept that they are normal people who want normal relationships like many of their parents enjoyed.

They do not ask for any special treatment. They only ask for equal treatment because all men were created equal and deserve the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as long as that pursuit does not hamper the rights of others. Giving homosexuals the right to marry in no way removes that right from homosexuals.

Posted by: CatM at February 19, 2004 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

Suggested TV ad:

"Constitutional Amendment: Because Prohibition was a GREAT idea."

I'd say the two cores of the issue that will convince most are (1.) putting the human face on it and (2.) stressing the idea of basic equal rights vs. "separate but equal" -- it's a simple fact that everyone in the United States is entitled to the same legal privileges as every other person. Also, I strongly agree about making it clear that church marriage isn't even remotely touched by anything that goes through the legal system.

I'm very queasy about the states-rights issue; it would defeat a federal Constitutional amendment, yes, but it wouldn't put a stop to even more discriminatory and hate-filled laws being passed into state law. The tyranny of the majority doesn't go away just because you've gone from 50 states to 1...

Posted by: Chris Conroy at February 19, 2004 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

I've not seen Barney Frank's comments. I defer to his eloquence.

To me the threat perceived by those who might be reached is requiring approval of gay marriage. THE massachusettes situation is clearly a state's rights issue interpreting the Massachusettes constitution. Churches will never be required.

By moving this to State's Right's issue also challenges the racist paradigm that such things are best left to states. The attack against this is must challenge state's rights. (Unless there is a constitutional enumeration of marriage in the constitution.)

The question of honoring the marriage from another state is the sticky wicket. Do we allow state not to hoor marriages in other states? Do we allow states to retailiate against states that do not recognize thier marriages?

That is when it becomes a question for the courts. Once the courts have spoken, then it is appropriate to talk about the need for constitutional action.

Nothing novel here, but it is a step by step process that may appeal to those who can be reached. Nothing will convince Pat Robertson that the Dems can do anything right.

Posted by: MacMan at February 19, 2004 06:13 PM | PERMALINK

Don't use states' rights.

Liberals have been decrying the "state's rigths" argument for the last 40 years. It seems hypocrytical to suddenly come out in favor of it now. Now the mayor of San Francisco is making the same arguments that Bull Connor used to make? This won't convince anyone and seems extremely disingenuous.

Also, let's be honest -- we don't actually believe in the states' rights arugmnet. Truth be told, we think that gay people should have the right to marry in every state. Why should Alabama be able to deny a basic civil right to gay people? The answer is that it shouldn't. Don't you think that gay residents of Alabama should be allowed to marry? Of course you do. I do.

Also, I'd go easy on the "Civil Rights Movement, Part II" approach. Like it or not, many people think that homosexuality is a behavior, not an inborn trait. I don't agree with this for the most part, but a lot of people do think that way, and we have to be cognizant of that. Also, let's be honest here, a lot of the spokespeople for issues like gay marriage are rather polarizing figures. Six year-old black schoolgirls in ponytails ebeing escorted to the first grade by armed police officers aroused sympathy in almost everyone during the Civil Rights Movement. Some angry fat lesbian like Rosie O'Donnell is not as sympathetic a figure, and is actually repulsive to some people, including me.

The best argument, it seems to me, is the one mentioned by dave above: we all have gay friends and relatives. Everyone, including the most fervent Christian fundamentalist, has gay friends and relatives whom they love. If we say "your cousin Sue or uncle Joe should not be discriminated against," that's a lot more effective than saying "it is a moral and legal imparative to let Rosie O'Donnell get married on national daytime TV to some equally freakish and repulsive person."

It's best to frame the issue in terms of friends/relatives/other loved ones.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 06:13 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest thing in the whole same-sex marriage issue that should be brought to everyones attention is this: no one is advocating taking away the right of straight people to still get married or to stay married. It is about extending that right to couples of the same sex. That should be the beginning, middle and end of the debate, imo.

Posted by: Alan W at February 19, 2004 06:13 PM | PERMALINK

"States rights is all well and good, but let's not argue that to the exclusion of the equal rights argument. People in close districts and presidential candidates can argue states rights if they have to. But others should argue equal rights, as Newsom has done."

Actually, Newsom is arguing equal rights under the CALIFORNIA constitution. His appraoch is not incompatible with state's rights.

Posted by: Decnavda at February 19, 2004 06:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with bleh on this one.

Better yet, dems could try pointing out all the fanfare about gay marriage to be a smokescreen hiding the administration's failures on all the *real* issues. "Enough about gay marriage, Mr. President.. how about things that actually concern most of America.. like the economy, perhaps?"

I'm a big fan of gay marriage, but the way things are looking.. more people will be getting married in San Fransico, maybe Chicago... Things are looking up. I'm pretty optimistic about gay marriage here in Boston, too. The more faces we see the harder it is to think poorly of it. I don't expect the dems to reach out too much (certainly not Kerry) but they can easily stress that the opposition here is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Posted by: Yopparai Catholic at February 19, 2004 06:14 PM | PERMALINK

"'Why do you hate gay people so much?'"

"Get them to admit this is pure bigotry, and they will lose."

Yes, and that's so easy to do. Why, simply asking them "why do you hate gay people so much?" will convince them. It's a sentiment they'll simply confess to, if brow-beaten sufficiently; anyone who has ever seen an old Perry Mason knows that works.

It's not as if anyone would be upset if confronted with their bigotry. They won't be angry. They won't want to punch out anyone asking them this. They'll be grateful for being brought into the light, and will immediately change their political opinions, amid profuse thanks to the questionner. Everyone, after all, welcomes having their values confronted and denied.

Truly a winning strategy. Genius.

Posted by: Gary Farber at February 19, 2004 06:15 PM | PERMALINK

Also somebody just made an excellent point re: the bigotry thing -- the people who oppose gay marriage are not being asked to make a coherent case for it. Why should pro-marriage activists have to prove why gays deserve the right? The Constitution's pretty clear on it -- they do -- because otherwise, they wouldn't be pushing for an amendment. The issue needs to be turned around in the faces of conservatives, who have to make their case in the public eye -- and call me naive, but I think they're then destined to fail, because the only possible tacks to take are (1) inadequate "studies," (2) religious rhetoric that's legally unsupportable, and (3) sheer, unthinking hate & discrimination. None of those are gonna convince the average person sitting on the fence of the issue...

Posted by: Chris Conroy at February 19, 2004 06:16 PM | PERMALINK

How about pointing out that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act was ironically defended on FOX news Channel the other night by none other than John Warner -- Elizabeth Taylor's seventh husband?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii at February 19, 2004 06:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry my post was so long. Someone earlier said the "best" conservative argument are studies that show children do better raised in a home with two parents.

Of course, they are comparing these children to who? Children whose parents are divorced? Or children who were simply born into and raised by a single caregiver?

I think that's an important question, because certainly it could be the CHANGE of "losing" one of your parents to divorce or separation that results in the poorer outcomes.

Of course two-parent families have advantages but those advantages exist if both parents are gay or straight. They are comparing apples to oranges and trying to pretend they are equal.

To be valid, they need to compare kids born into and raised by heterosexual parents versus children born into and raised by homosexual parents. Studies done on homosexual parents show they are good parents.

And let's point out to them that the Columbine killers came from heterosexual parents as did Jeffrey Dahmer, the Unabomber, Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh and many other people who grew up maladjusted.

I don't even understand why people have a problem with gays getting married. I really don't.

Posted by: CatM at February 19, 2004 06:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hate to point out to you "state's righters" above that your position is a sure route to institutionalized discrimination based on the red-blue divide.

If this idea had any logic, my state would still be herding "coloreds" through fields.

This is not a state's rights issue; it's no different than every other civil right guaranteed by the 14th amendment.

Me and people like me seem to be pissin' in the breeze, but I'm firmly convinced that the only solution to this is taking the guvmint out of the marriage business altogether. Can you imagine an analogous thing done on the basis of race? Some kind of magic racial certificate that provides only certain kinds of people the civil protections marriage confers? It's absolutely unequal on its face.

The argument against FMA is the 14th amendment. I hope Dems are smart enough to start using it. Lord knows the Rethug right doesn't.

Posted by: chrississippi at February 19, 2004 06:24 PM | PERMALINK

Let's get religion out of state sanctioned contracts.

This is only partly about marriage and more about equal benefits and rights. It needs to be framed as a civil rights issue.

Bush brought this on because he has revealed his true colors and Mary Chaney has gone into hiding.
He needs to mobilize the religious right to win and this is one of the ways he intends to do it.
He is also planning a major assault on reproductive rights.

Ask Ed Rendell the gay community was an important part of his election strategy.

Posted by: annie at February 19, 2004 06:24 PM | PERMALINK

Throw me into the camp that says we should personalize it. Pictures of couples marrying in San Francisco. (Carefully selected; I have a number of extreme looking friends that I like a lot, but they aren't good for the ad campaign, because we really do want to emphasize that gays are normal people.) Point out that this is a wonderful thing.

If the Democratic nominee has media people with half a brain, we can frame this issue as the Republicans being opposed to love.

Posted by: J. Michael Neal at February 19, 2004 06:25 PM | PERMALINK

We're already winning this one. On TNT's broadcast of the NBA All Star game, Charles Barkley suddenly interjected, during halftime, that he fully supported gay marriage. In his words, "It's they're own business what they do."

When a black athlete supports it on an NBA broadcast, it's definitely going mainstream.

But if we have to get into a debate, just the equal rights issue is fine. And if the conservatives claim it's a threat to marriage, ask them if it's more of a threat than Britney Spears' 55 minute marriage is. Or Newt Gingrich's divorces.

Posted by: lazarus at February 19, 2004 06:29 PM | PERMALINK

Here's one take:

Our society is based on equality of all individuals before the law. If society is going to grant benefits to individuals who couple, it has to grant them to all who do, regardless of sex.

So we can either (1) let gay people engage in what we call marriage, or (2) transfer the benefits currently associated with "marriage" to "civil unions," let everyone couple thru civil unions, and put "marriage" outside of governmental societal control. If some people wany to "marry" in addition to being in a social union, that's fine, but tehre are no govtal-societal benefits attached. People could marry thru their church or group or whatever and if their church or group refuses to "marry" gay people (or straight people!) that's their right and society doesnt care because there are no govtal-societal benefits involved.

So do we as a democracy prefer to let gay people into "marriage" or drop "marriage" as a fovtal category and replace it with "civil unions" available to all? [or 3, and now that I think about it, this seems best of all, not have any societal-govtal benefits for coupling at all!]

Posted by: nine at February 19, 2004 06:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think the late, great Wesley Clark already nailed it:

What if your child was gay?...Wouldn't you want them to have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else?

This approach really brings it home, make it a real-world issue that everyone can relate to - Cheney has a lesbian daughter - do you still love her, Mr Cheney?

Posted by: Sovok at February 19, 2004 06:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Katherine and Chrississippi: States' rights is wrong. This *is* a 14th-amendment issue.

My personal preference would be to define marriage as a purely religious sacrament in which the state has no business, and make all state-recognized unions civil and open to any pair of consenting adults. That, to me, is the only approach consistent with both the establishment clause and the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment.

As for advertising, I have no idea what would *work*, but I suspect the tagline that would most accurately capture my sentiment would be something like: "What part of ' ... and liberty and justice for all' don't you understand?"

Posted by: Lex at February 19, 2004 06:41 PM | PERMALINK

Appealing to our narcissistic(altruistic) qualities of generousity and acceptance may work here. It's best not to invoke cognative dissonance with deeply held beliefs. This would involve humanizing who is affected, showing examples of respected church leaders who demonstrate christian values (because all of this myopic thinking is based in religious dogma)and reinforcing there will be NO challenge to their belief system.
State rights are too dependent on state's ability to do right thing (highly doubtful in most red states), holding mirror up to hypocratcy too risky.

Posted by: Steve M at February 19, 2004 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Actually, Newsom is arguing equal rights under the CALIFORNIA constitution."

Based on language very similar to the equal protection clause, though...but the arguments are complementary; that's kind of my point. We should argue states rights but we should not ignore the other arguments.

(Gary Farber's right about not calling people bigots, in general. However, some of the leading "pro-family" groups--the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, etc.--really are bigoted, and I don't think they should be given a pass on that. But even with them, it's a question of "show, don't tell"--read some of their lines to President Bush and ask if he agrees and if he's comfortable making common cause with these folks. And that should not be the main strategy, in any case.)

Posted by: Katherine at February 19, 2004 06:43 PM | PERMALINK

Time is on the side of those who favor gay marriage. But in the election year of 2004, we have to tread carefully.

People brought up Barney Frank and Richard Daley, both from big cities where people generally support gay rights. What works there might not work in rural or exurban communities.

Most Americans oppose the constitutional amendment, and also oppose gay marriage. The only issue that need concern Federal officials is the amendment.

Probably the most easily defensible position is the triangulated one that most of the Dem presidential candidates (including those who have dropped out) have staked out: against the amendment, for civil unions, against gay marriage, and in favor of allowing the states to decide.

Posted by: rachelrachel at February 19, 2004 06:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's really quite simple.

The Constitution is there to guarantee our freedom. Any Amendment that attempts to limit our freedom is therefore directly opposed to the spirit of the Constitution.

We've been down this road before, with Prohibition, and it isn't pretty.

What more needs to be said?

Posted by: scarshapedstar at February 19, 2004 06:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bring it on!

Shamless blog whoring alert:

here.

Posted by: lambert strether at February 19, 2004 06:50 PM | PERMALINK

No. We can't be confrontational.

None of this "Dick Cheny, don't you love your own daughter" business (the question clearly implies that he does not), or "...what part of liberty and justice for all don't you understand?" (as if the listener's hatred and bigotry is completely clouding basic judgment.) Nor "you knuckle-dragging bigots opposed to gay marriage hate love!" (they don't.)

This requires a soft touch. We should tell people that we understand that they are uncomfortable with homosexuality, but say that gay marrige is the liberal and humane thing to do.

It should go like this: "Remember that kid you used to play with every day after school? Your good friend from the third grade? The one who turned out to be gay? He shouldn't have to be alone for the rest of his days, should he? He's a great guy, and while his lifestyle makes you more than a little uncomfortable, don't you want to give him a shot at a normal life? He's a good person and should be able to enjoy the same life that you enjoy."

That's the way to do it. Ask people to look within themselves and do the right thing. Acknowledge that they are uncomfortable with homosexuality, tell them that thier discomfort is okay, and then ask them to treat everyone equally and fairly. Don't lecture them about their "hateful bigotry."

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 06:50 PM | PERMALINK

For once, I think that I agree with a majority of the posters here (Oh no, you had better change your positions, quick!). This should be an issue to be decided by the state legislatures. The one thing that could force me into supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage is if gay marriage becomes law by judicial fiat. I will be thoroughly outraged if gay marriage is effectively legalized in my state by a judge declaring that a marriage created by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts (or any other state) must be honored here. The last time I checked, we lived in a democratic republic.

I demand the opportunity to have my voice heard and taken into account by MY elected representatives. If a free and fair vote is taken and the legislature acts in a way I don't like, I will accept the result. If a tyrant in a black robe imposes the result, I will not accept the result as legitimate.

I agree with the previous poster who spoke about Roe v. Wade. If this issue had been left to the states, it would not be an enormously divisive social issue today. Generally, when people have the opportunity to talk about something and believe their voice has been heard, they will accept the outcome of a fair vote.

Posted by: Ben at February 19, 2004 06:53 PM | PERMALINK

Rumor is that the Log Cabin Republicans will go nuclear if a serious effort is made over a constitutional ammendment.

By nuclear I mean outing the gay and bi Republican members of congress.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff at February 19, 2004 06:56 PM | PERMALINK

Initially, I thought we should downplay it.

Now, I think we really CAN convince people. I mean, why is it a big deal? Why shouldn't gay people be able to marry?

I think we need to make sure there are Smart, Articulate, Attractive, and *Normal* GLBT on all the political shows. Every time the Conservatives try to argue against it, they should make them say it to a Gay person's face.

We need more GLBT people as pundits. Why is the most famous GLBT pundit a Libertarian Republican? Why aren't Liberal GLBT people on TV? Is it part of the mass exclusion of Liberals from TV, or is it GLBT specific?

Posted by: MDtoMN at February 19, 2004 06:57 PM | PERMALINK

Also, the seperation of church and state is not a bad argument, but we have to be careful not to look like we are denegrating churches. It would allow someone who has gay friends and relatives to whom he or she is sympathetic, but opposes with gay marriage for religious reasons, to say that "the Democrats aren't forcing my church to marry them, they are just getting married at City Hall."

This is not a bogus or hair-splitting distinction. Many Catholics, for example, don't believe that a civil marriage is a real marriage. Our good friends, who were married at City Hall ten years ago, had a church wedding two years ago. They actually incurred the expense of the dress, the reception, etc. It was that important to them. When my other friend, whose family is Catholic, got married by a judge, his parents got very upset (I did too, having a sleazy Chicago judge perform your wedding is like having Satan perform it.) They invited their parish priest to the wedding (he showed up in his full regalia) in the hope that his mere persence would somehow make things right.

If we say "marriage is the church's business, we aren't forcing a church to marry anyone" there are some devoutly religious people who will actually accept that.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 06:58 PM | PERMALINK

What I would do. It'll never get done, but this is what I would like to see.

I think that the whole "sanctity of marriage" argument should be given a huge wake-up call.

Why gay marriage? Seriously. If one is concerned with stable households, there are MUCH bigger issues not even being talked about.

#1. Lower-wage people not earning enough to support a family on one paycheck.

#2. Jobs with much less benefits, including vacation time to spend with their family. Why not legislation mandating a month's paid vacation for all employees? Give them plenty of time to spend as a family!

#3. Divorce. Divorce is bad for marriage. Very bad. It's trivalizes it. The whole idea of "no-fault divorce" is the biggest problem of all.

In other words, those people that are so "concerned" about gay marriages, better take a very close look at those other issues affecting families. They are MUCH more important and much more urgant.

The Democrats should reclaim the mantle of morality back from the GOP. Morality is more than decrying those that are different. It's about actually being a decent person.

Posted by: Karmakin at February 19, 2004 07:02 PM | PERMALINK

Put the shoe on the other foot. By denying gay marriages, you're denying life-long partners the opportunity to save money on their taxes (remember the removal of the so-called "marriage penalty" from the tax code). Is the right-wing so anti-gay that they won't allow homosexuals to benefit from the tax cuts?

More importantly, however, is that marriage confers a lot of legal protections and responsibilities in all 50 states. Denying these benefits to life-long partners for 50 years while giving them to Liza Minelli and David Gest (insert any clown couple here) is flat out wrong. If you're Kerry at this point, you come out in favor of civil unions which grant these protections and then ask the President if he'll do the same thing. Box Bush in on this issue.

Most people are uncomfortable with gay marriage, but they also know that not extending certain rights and privileges to others is not fair. Play on that. I'm for gay marriage, but Kerry has the easily winnable position on this topic.

Posted by: Double B at February 19, 2004 07:02 PM | PERMALINK

From Balta...

This little cartoon is just too great. I don't know what more can be said about the ridiculousness - and the hatred - from the Right on this issue.

http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/fiore/

Posted by: scarshapedstar at February 19, 2004 07:03 PM | PERMALINK

Joe:Actually, that's the anti-gay marriage forces scaring the beejeebus out of everybody with that. Actually, churches don't have to marry anybody they don't want to.

Try getting a church date after moving to a new area. It's like an interrogation:)

I think that if people think that it's the sole realm of the church to do marriages, nothing is going to change their mind on that.

So you ignore them. It's none of their business anyway.

Posted by: Karmakin at February 19, 2004 07:04 PM | PERMALINK

No, we should not "fight on the side of right." We should do what it takes to win the election.

Gays 2004 = Greens 2000.

Posted by: grytpype at February 19, 2004 07:07 PM | PERMALINK

Reg wrote: "All the rights of marriage are pretty easily made through contract,"

Reg, that's simply not true. Yes, some rights can be achieved through contracts (although why a gay couple should have to spend several hundred bucks to get what you get for free is something you need to address): financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, will, partnership agreement, etc.

Unfortunately, there are far more rights and privileges granted to married couples than just those simple things and those additional items cannot be obtained through contracts or even though civil unions.

For example, child support and child custody often cannot be handled through contracts. Also, there are literally over a thousand federal rights and privileges that cannot be obtained through contracts or through civil unions.

And if the person you love is in the hospital, your first instinct is to rush to their side, not to the safety deposit box where your important documents are located, which might not even be available to you on an evening or weekend.

And if you're traveling on vacation, you'd better remember to take these documents with you, because otherwise, you're screwed.

And if you have a civil union, that is currently honored in no other state, you'd better plan to never move from your home state because if you do, your union is dissolved as though it never existed. You'd better plan on not even traveling to another state, because the same thing will apply.

You're also overlooking things like immigration law, in which a heterosexual man or woman can marry a foreign national and have some confidence that they will be able to live together. Neither contracts nor civil unions will help gay couples do this.

You're smarter than this, Reg. It's just not true that contracts and civil unions provide anywhere near the rights and privileges that are automatically granted by that civil ceremony.

"and the push for marriage rights is more a push for acceptance and legitimization from society."

That may be a factor for some people; it is by no means true for all. I suspect it isn't even true for most.

"Nobody suffers from a lack of a right to have the law recognize gay marriage"

Quite a few do, Reg. Open your eyes and look around. You might be surprised at what you see.

Posted by: PaulB at February 19, 2004 07:08 PM | PERMALINK

Framing is all well and good, but you *know* Lee Atwater is looking for the gay pedophile Willie Horton he can use in the upcoming campaign (when he's not being eaten by worms and/or set afire by demons).

You gotta game these things out. Me, I personally like bringing up Cheney's daughter; how embarrassing she must be! But then their obvious counter is, "How dare you bring up a candidate's family life in political discussion!" Because, as we all know, *their* family lives are untouchable. And many nice voters, who knows why, identify with them.

The best approach, I think, is to be positively non-committal. "I'm very happy for them!" I think this is a case where coming out with a strong ideological position for the candidate is tactically bad (at this point in time). Let Daley and others do the legwork first.

Yes, it smacks of calculation, and we'd all prefer a doubleplusgood gutspeaker to win win win. But some people need to be convinced; some people might *never* be convinced on this issue, but still might vote against the incumbent because the incumbent is the one making a fool of himself over someone else's 'personal habit'.

"I'm very happy for them!" Sure beats being "troubled" by their existence.

C.

Posted by: Carlos at February 19, 2004 07:09 PM | PERMALINK

The best argument is simple: It is the first amendment in the constitution (other than the since-overturned 18th) that restricts the rights of citizens rather than restricting the power of the gov't. It's like having the next constitutional amendment state that "it is henceforth illegal to turn left on a red light." Is that what the constitution, the bedrock of our great republic, was designed for?

Posted by: steve at February 19, 2004 07:16 PM | PERMALINK

Karmakin-

Here is what I am thinking. Tell me what you think.

X is a deeply religious evangelical Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sin. However, X has a spinster aunt whom he loves very much, who is pretty obviously a lesbian. Her "friend Judy," who she brings to all family gatherings, is also a very nice person. X's aunt is getting older and lives all alone. X feels sorry for her. Also, X knows that his aunt will never, ever marry a man. This just isn't going to happen.

One of X's former coworkers is openly gay. He is a great guy. His lifestyle makes X extremely uncomfortable, and when X saw some brochures from a resort that the coworker was planning to travel to on vacation, X was extremely disturbed. (ever seen a gay resort brochure? They actually show guys having sex with one another around the pool.) Nonetheless, X's coworker is an excellent person and a good friend. X would not hesitate to let his children play at the coworker's home.

X firmly believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, and he will never compromise his religion. However, X has a great deal of love and sympathy for his gay friends and relatives. X finds his own marriage extremely fulfilling and wishes that his friends and relatives could enjoy the same happiness.

A civil union will never be the same as a marriage to X, becuase it isn't a religious ceremony. But it's better than living in sin. When the teenaged daughter of X's friend got pregnant, she was married in a civil ceremony, and X thinks it's better than nothing. At least they are sort-of married. Hopefully one day they'll do it "right" and get married in the church.

Along these same lines, if X's coworker wanted to enter into a civil marriage, X wouldn't consider it real. But he'd be glad that his friend was trying to settle down and lead a more normal, less promiscuous life. Similarly, if X's spinster aunt sent him an invitation to her civil union ceremony, X would spit out his beer when he opened the invitation, but would probably show up for the ceremony and wish his aunt the best, even though the whole thing freaks him out.

For these reasons, I think that X might be willing to accept the idea of acivil union. Now, we probably wouldn't get him to vote in favor of it, but if such an arrangement were passed, he'd tolerate it. More importantly, he wouldn't be motivated to vote against it. It wouldn't really affect his vote one way or another during the 2004 election; other issues would be more impotant to him.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 07:17 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, do you think people generally understand that no one can force their church to marry gay people?

I've wondered about that. If not, we'd damn well better make it clear. And then segue into--"that's because of the first amendment, the most important sentence in the Constitution. You know what's the next most important? The fourteenth. Let's not change either one."

Posted by: Katherine at February 19, 2004 07:17 PM | PERMALINK

When my other friend, whose family is Catholic, got married by a judge, his parents got very upset (I did too, having a sleazy Chicago judge perform your wedding is like having Satan perform it.)

I guess it's preferable to have a child molester.

Posted by: rachelrachel at February 19, 2004 07:18 PM | PERMALINK

I like the response I heard from John Kerry, paraphrased here;

"I'm not in favor of gay marriage. I am in favor of gay couples having all the rights of heterosexual couples."

Give everyone some time to work through the logic of that and they'll eventually either have to accept gay marriage, or accept that civil union becomes the law of the land for all couples and marriage is a concept reserved for various churches, many of which will sanctify gay marriage.

As someone else already said time is on the side of gay marriage and I would think most couples immediately affected have to feel good about how rapidly progress is being made.

There may be more danger in setting expectations too high, causing overreach, disappointment, and backlash and then setting back the ultimate victory on this issue.

Some people need time to catch up and Kerry's wording, IMHO, will spur that end not delay it. Then he can easily accept the public's wisdom. In my view civil union or marriage for all it's all the same.

Posted by: dennisS at February 19, 2004 07:24 PM | PERMALINK

Katherine-

Most people probably haven't thought about it. But if they did, they probably would think "does this mean that a gay person can sue my church for discrimination if the pastor doesn't want to marry him or her? It does, right?"

I think that driving the point of seperation home is a very, very good idea.

Rachel-

Take your Catholic bashing and stuff it. The Catholic Church is not perfect, but it's done a lot of good for mankind. If one of your relatives is a Chicago judge, I am sorry. I am originally from Chicago and my overall cynicism and disgust with the fourth-rate political system there sometimes causes me to overgeneralize. I was wrong and I apolotize for the remark.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 07:26 PM | PERMALINK

rachelrachel, not all priests are child molesters.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at February 19, 2004 07:26 PM | PERMALINK

The best way is to allow the Bushites to commit themselves first. Whatever they say is likely to be assailable.

Why commit yourself and then lose the election? How many gay marriages are going to occur then?

Let Bush speak and do first. Whatever that company does is likely more to condemn them than anything the opposition could come up with. These are not intelligent people.

Posted by: doug at February 19, 2004 07:26 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with the "civil union" thing is that it sounds like some weasly political compromise language. It's a way for a duplicitious poltiician to say "I support gay marraige" without saying so. It seems like the politician is redefining the word "is" or calling a piece of legislation which increases logging the "Healthy Forests Act." We can all see through that rhetoric, and when a politician uses it, it seems like they are trying to hide something (and they usually are.)

I would just come out and say something like "civil marriage," or "not married by the church -- that is none of the governmetn's business -- but married by the state in a civil ceremony."

No one will think that John Kerry is opposed to gay marriage if he says "civil unions." They'll think he's a sleazoid politician who is trying to hide that he supports it. If he comes right out and says "civil marriage," it will at least make him look honest.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 07:30 PM | PERMALINK

George Lakoff suggests: "freedom of marriage act"

Posted by: hg at February 19, 2004 07:33 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm not in favor of gay marriage. I am in favor of gay couples having all the rights of heterosexual couples."

This is not bad. If this is Kerry's position, I think it will go a long way toward defusing this issue, which is the only responsible thing to do right now.

Look people, victory is within our grasp. No more Bush. No more Cheney. Gone, both of them. It would be --incredibly-- --stupid-- to wreck our chances by backing some societal revolution, no matter what the merits are.

Understand? Being right will NOT excuse giving Bush and his fascist regime another four years of power.

Posted by: grytpype at February 19, 2004 07:36 PM | PERMALINK

The definition of marriage is a state issue. The President and Congress of the United States have nothing to say about it. That's the way it should be, and I will oppose any attempt to change the Constitution to make it a federal matter.
That said, you're entitled to know my views on the subject even if, strictly speaking, they have nothing to do with being President.
I believe there ought to be some kind of legal status from gay people who want to make a committed life together. I don't know what it should be called, and I certainly don't know what all the details of that status ought to be. We're groping our way through new territory and I'm not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers on something this profound or to want to impose whatever I happen to think right now about it on the country at large. Our states are the laboratories of democracy, and they have to take the lead. Different states will come up with different solutions and we will be able to see what works and what doesn't.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci at February 19, 2004 07:37 PM | PERMALINK

Some good posts in here. I just wanted to say that I think it was a brilliant move for the SF mayor to allow gay marriages.
One, it's a gutsy move, and counters the wingnut idea that gays are weak and sissy.
Second, after a couple of months, people will see that the world doesn't end when gays get married---they won't even be able to tell the difference.

Posted by: marky at February 19, 2004 07:38 PM | PERMALINK

Edge said:
I think the one thing we have to make clear is that allowing same-sex marriages does not in any way, shape, or form, force churchs to perform these ceremonies.

I have been saying this for months. It's also important to remember that it's about separation of church and state - not church from state. The wall works both ways. If the wingnuts want to force religion into governmental matters, it will cut both ways. If they get their way, and knock down the wall between church and state - then leave things up to a popularity contest - it could come back as thier worst nightmare, when popular opinion changes.
I prefer to keep religion out of government and government out of religion. I also belive that people who pay thier taxes and live in peace with thier nieghbors, should have the same deal as anyone else who lives that way.

Posted by: JoeW at February 19, 2004 07:38 PM | PERMALINK

How about the following: "It's about love, respect, and equal treatment in the eyes of the law. No special treatment, just equal treatment."

Francis

Posted by: FDL at February 19, 2004 07:42 PM | PERMALINK

Be bold. Stand on principle.

In 1948 Harry Truman stood up for civil rights, knowing full well that bigoted southerners (and a lot of others) would be outraged. He was right to say to stand up to them. It's called leadership. It's called character.

Well it's once again time to stand up to bigoted southerners (and a lot of others)

As for framing the issue, I say turn the guns unmercifully right back at the Republicans.

ie:

"The American people don't need Republicans telling us who we may consider family"

"The American people don't need Republicans telling us who we can and can not marry"

"The American people don't need Republicans policing our bedrooms"

and how about....

"I refuse to join the Republican Party in bashing gay people"


"

Posted by: Art in RI at February 19, 2004 07:45 PM | PERMALINK

I want to take back the phrase "family values" for Democrats. I think love is a family value. Respect is a family value. Does anybody really think that sex is the only meaningful element in marriage? Aren't love, committment, friendship and support for each other just as important to a marriage? Of course, if all you can think about is the Bible condemns homosexuality as an "abomination" and that is all you need to know about it, I have one question to ask. If being gay is such a heinous sin, then why did God put adultery on his top ten list instead?"

Posted by: planetjanet at February 19, 2004 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

Can you get married in a church and have it be a legal marriage without first obtaining a marriage license?

Your hippie uncle with the theology diploma out of the back of an old Rolling Stone magazine can legally marry you if you already have the marriage license.

Politically, this issue was settled today in Chicago by Daley. If you can politically survive saying, essentially, "Why the hell not?" in Chicago, then this issue is over. It's already mainstreamed, we're just running out the clock until this is the law of the land.

Heterosexuals and homosexuals should both be allowed to get marriage licenses at City Hall, and whoever they want to have join them in a formal ceremony, whether it be church, judge, or cruise ship captain, let no man put asunder (Yes, I'm looking at you, Newt!).

Posted by: David Glynn at February 19, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

why let the enemy frame the question?

How about, do you want to live within the rule of reasoned law or a theocracy?

I want to attack their entire agenda, not react to the fight of their choosing.

Posted by: huck at February 19, 2004 08:03 PM | PERMALINK

Doug has something methinks:

"The best way is to allow the Bushites to commit themselves first. Whatever they say is likely to be assailable.

Why commit yourself and then lose the election? How many gay marriages are going to occur then?

Let Bush speak and do first. Whatever that company does is likely more to condemn them than anything the opposition could come up with. These are not intelligent people."

This is a really good point.  The radical wingnuts are a minority, and given enough rope, routinely hang themselves in the court of public opinion.  A calmly presented, factual, unemotional rebuttal is all that is needed to let them implode on their own vitriol.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 19, 2004 08:03 PM | PERMALINK

I want to attack their entire agenda, not react to the fight of their choosing.

Nobody "wins" a fight. The moment we rise to their level of emotion, we show ourselves no better than they are.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 19, 2004 08:05 PM | PERMALINK

Can you get married in a church and have it be a legal marriage without first obtaining a marriage license?

Wasn't that way in 1980 when I got married. Had to have the license from City Hall 1st. - (at least here in CA)

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 19, 2004 08:07 PM | PERMALINK

He'd be my political approach:

1. Support equal treatment, but not the word marriage .
2. Oppose the amendment and note that it is grossly unnecessary and is a state issue.
3. Refer to Bush's record re: Lawrence v. Texas, both as President and Governor (I believe he threatened to veto a bill repealing the law), and paint him as out of the mainstream.

Posted by: Deej at February 19, 2004 08:09 PM | PERMALINK

I live in Chicago and saw the headline on the Sun Times this morning.
Can't wait to see the floodgates of gay marriage open!

Posted by: Librul at February 19, 2004 08:11 PM | PERMALINK

Gay Marriage: one way to frame the issue is as an equal treatment issue. The government extends hundreds of benefits to married couples, from tax benefits to medical treatment authority, from inheritance to child custody rights. It is fundamentally unfair to extend those benefits to some couples but not to others. Our nation has a proud history of according equal treatment that it has at times dishonored to its lasting shame and more often aspired to honor to its enduring glory.

Posted by: Arthur Benson at February 19, 2004 08:14 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody "wins" a fight. The moment we rise to their level of emotion, we show ourselves no better than they are.

well, we are in a fight, and have been losing steadily, by letting them pick away keeping us on the defensive. It is time we set the terms of debate for a change.

BTW, them=fascists we=progressives. it has nothing to do with straight/gay.

Posted by: huck at February 19, 2004 08:14 PM | PERMALINK

Don't agree that "gay marriage [is] going to be an issue anyway." Doesn't have to be, and we should never allow them to pick the battleground. Two suggested examples:

You care so much about gays? Let's talk about the prison system where countless people are forced into homosexual relations, many through rape rather than just circumstance. In short, the enforced homosexualization of citizens. If you're so moral what do you think about this?

Or, if you're concerned with religious morality: read the Bible! In agreement with all religion the first priority is to help and uplift the poor, unfortunate, down-and-outers. Would you support an Amendment that requires the rich to "sell what they have and give it to the poor" as Christ tells someone who wants to be saved?

How about an Amendment to feed the hungry, house the homeless, tend the ill since this is what Christ demands as a proof of your love for Him?

Or are you just using religion as a mask to divide America for your own gain?

That's how I'd frame it.
Jim P

Posted by: Jim P at February 19, 2004 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

First, a little self-disclosure: I'm a woman who once was married (hetero-style), then divorced relatively amicably after seven years. A few years after that, I hooked up with the lady with whom I'm still living, some seven years later. I believe this one will likely last the remainder of my and/or my partner's natural life.

We are as "married" as is possible given a good attorney and the current slate of California domestic partnership laws. We live in an extremely liberal and progressive area of the U.S., in the Santa Cruz mountains, about 90 minutes south of San Francisco.

Of course, we've watched with mingled amusement and deep satisfaction as one major city mayor throws a monkey wrench into the whole operation, simply by saying that gay and lesbian couples could have marriage licenses, too. (We're not fools. We know the whole thing has been a publicity stunt, but a remarkably effective one. Eventually SF will be told to stop issuing the licenses and the ones issued are certain to be declared null and void. Yes, we've debated going for a license ourselves, and still might, but I doubt it -- only because we're both too busy just now for what is in reality a political statement.)

I noticed in recent remarks that Mr. Bush expresses his consternation, that he's "troubled" by the rush of wedding licenses being given to gay and lesbian couples in SF. (Mrs. Bush goes a step further and calls the whole thing "very, very shocking" -- as if this was akin to barbecued baby-eating or some other vile crime.)

Interestingly though, Bush also says, "Marriage ought to be defined by the people, not by the courts."

Isn't that ironic? More to the point, isn't that exactly what is happening in SF? People, not courts (or the government), deciding what defines a marriage?

The people in this part of the country -- a lot of them anyway -- clearly would like to define marriage as being between any two consenting adults (not otherwise already related by blood relations). Same thing happens to be true in a lot of other places in the U.S., too. Given the influx of couples from all over the U.S. to SF to get married, obviously there's no shortage of people who similarly want to define their loving, committed relationship with another same-gendered human being as a marriage.

Unfortunately, this makes some people recoil in horror, because as THEY all know, marriage is between a man and woman only, and anything else is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. Say Hallelujah and Amen!

It's occurred to me in recent weeks that it is the very fact that the church-state wall fell a long time ago, with respect to marriage in the U.S., that's causing these problems today. Bush himself calls for support for the "sanctity of marriage." Is not the very term, "sanctity", an expression of a religious ideal -- that is, something defined to be sacred?

Perhaps the real problem is that the government has gotten into the business of determining what is and isn't a marriage through this system of issuing civil licenses. Originally, marriage was little more than two people standing before their community and declaring (sometimes with an officiating figure, sometimes not) that they were joined as a couple. What put limits on who could marry whom was the community in which the couple lived? Their families and neighbors, mainly.

The difficulty arises over time, as larger governmental institutions have gotten involved. What might've been a routine filing of paperwork with the local authorities, just for record-keeping purposes, has become a huge self-perpetuating special interest.

Ask any couple which part of their marriage felt more significant and 'real' to them -- the ceremony or signing on the dotted line on the license -- and you'll get the same answer every time: The ceremony.

Moreover, what's happened is that it's the most regressive, backward, and limited "standards" in this large and diverse country that end up holding sway over everybody else, as well as a little good old "tyranny of the majority." Most, or possibly even 2/3 of Americans don't want gays and lesbians to be legally married, so that's that.

In other words, the government has passed many laws "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof" -- every time they've decreed what is and isn't a legal marriage.

Everyone's been missing the point entirely. Gays and lesbians have been quietly getting married for YEARS, decades even. It's been happening in churches, synagogues, and temples; in homes, in gardens, and in the middle of sunny meadows. Lately, in the few states with domestic partnership laws, it sometimes even happens in the county clerk's offices.

Sometimes it's billed as a 'commitment ceremony,' sometimes it goes by another name -- occasionally even daring to use that "M"-word -- but it's always amounted to the same damned thing: We're standing up before our families, friends, and neighbors and affirming that we're a couple.

It's a marriage. Ask any gay or lesbian couple who's gone through such a ceremony whether they feel like they're married and you'll get an answer in the affirmative every time.

So what's missing here? The 'sanctity' thing? Wrong. The sanctity of marriage thing is a red herring designed to get the Fundamentalist right-wing types all frothed and upset, because they figure the next step is group marriages, pedophilia, and mandatory bestiality.

What's missing is just that piece of paper from the government acknowledging the marriage. What's missing is all the rights and privileges that are assigned automatically to any heterosexual couple who goes through the same ceremony. Heck, in some states, after a few years have passed, you don't even need that piece of paper -- just stay together a long enough time, and it's assumed to be so under the term, 'common-law marriage.'

Not for a gay or lesbian couple though. Despite our DP and legal paperwork here in California, if my spouse and I were to travel to a certain unnamed region of this country and one of us was grieviously injured, the other could very well be turned away at the hospital doors because she's neither family nor related by marriage. If we had a child, only one of us could be designated its parent; the other would be merely a long-term housemate. If one of us was killed, the other could not sue for damages due to wrongful death.

The right to shared property. The right to shared insurance. The presumed right to inheritance, even in absence of a formal Will. Presumption of a right to make medical decisions for our spouse, if he or she is disabled. The right to joint parentship of children. The right not to be compelled to testify against our spouse in court. The right to inherited pension and retirement benefits. Etc.

And with this, a number of obligations, including having to file taxes as a couple. Mutual responsibility for debts and other contractural obligations. Joint legal responsibilities. Requirement to go through normal court proceedings to be granted divorce, and so on.

This is the gist of the whole issue. The very crux of the controversy. It has nothing to do with "sanctity" in any form. If it was truly about that, the argument would merely hinge on whether or not some Baptist church in Texas had the right to refuse to marry a couple because they were the same gender (in much the same way many churches today do refuse to marry certain couples, for religious reasons).

The marriage thing is an important symbol, sure. But what Mayor Newsom did and what's been happening in Massachusetts both boil down to the same issue: Whether a gay/lesbian couple can be granted the same legal rights and obligations as a heterosexual couple.

It's not sanctity at all. It's an equal rights issue. We have to wrest control of the issue and to get this very specific point across, before we can have any hope of winning.

Posted by: Technowitch at February 19, 2004 08:18 PM | PERMALINK

ATRIOS IS A GREEDY LITTLE COMMODITY FETISHIST FUCK, WHO DUNS HIS STUPID MINIONS FOR CONSUMER GOODS.

Posted by: . at February 19, 2004 08:20 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps a fitting quote for this debate would be one attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes that frequently sums up the philosophy behind modern libertarianism (not the party, but the Jeffersonian political philsophy):

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."

In other words, you can do whatever you want as long as it affects no one else negatively. I am yet to find someone against gay marriage who can find a legitimate argument that the loving union of two men or two women is actually detrimental to anyone else.

I am planning on writing a full-length piece over at WiredOpinion.com come election time.

As an aside, any WiredOpinion readers in the house? ;)

Posted by: Jonathan at February 19, 2004 08:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jon Stewart on TDS said it best,

"It's not like they want to make gay marriage mandatory"....

or something like that...

Posted by: Joe Momma at February 19, 2004 08:22 PM | PERMALINK

CatM - eloquent argument. I appreciate your posts.

Posted by: Ducktape at February 19, 2004 08:31 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing else is working, Gay Marriage will solidify the mindless bible bangers,

Posted by: Ron In Portland at February 19, 2004 08:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's not as if anyone would be upset if confronted with their bigotry. They won't be angry. They won't want to punch out anyone asking them this. They'll be grateful for being brought into the light, and will immediately change their political opinions, amid profuse thanks to the questionner. Everyone, after all, welcomes having their values confronted and denied.

Truly a winning strategy. Genius.

Bring 'em on. They want a fight? They'll get a fight.

You want to be pushed around, be pushed around.

Me? I'm sick of it. Bring. Them. On.

The Monkey isn't gay, btw. But he loves people who are.

I'm just sick of people being overly nice on this issue.

THEY WANT TO MAKE YOUR LOVED ONES SECOND CLASS CITIZENS, PEOPLE.

This is the thin edge of the wedge. Next thing you know they'll be making gays wear pink triangles on their clothes.

Fuck them and the bigot horse they rode in on. You want to live in a Biblical Theocracy, go start one somewhere. It ain't here, not while I have anything to say about it.

Posted by: Monkey at February 19, 2004 08:38 PM | PERMALINK

Technowitch:  You should be Kerry's spokesperson.   Exellent synopsis.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 19, 2004 08:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with grytpype. Kerry's already on the right side of this issue, and I don't see the advantage of making a bigger point of it right now. It's a change that's already happening all over the world, and it will soon happen here unless Bush gets a new lease on the White House.

If it even gets into the platform, it should be a checklist item, like "a woman's right to choose", rather than a major policy initiative.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 19, 2004 08:40 PM | PERMALINK

I say attack the issue head on .

If I were John K or John E I'd say something like this:

I'm 100 % against gay marriage 100% of the time ... if it involves me.

I promise you I will never enter into a gay marriage.

If someone else wants to, I don't give a damn. It's between them and their state or local government. We've got bigger things to worry about in Washington.

And I'm sick of people who say they love America - it's just Americans they can't stand. You know who I mean - people who get up in the morning and think about how much they hate someone who's gay, or a different color, or from a different part of the country, or political party.

We all got bigger things to wory about. Or else we shouldnt call ourselves Americans.

Posted by: curtis at February 19, 2004 08:48 PM | PERMALINK

Mayor Newsom is an idiot. He is an elected official sworn to uphold the law; by endorsing and encouraging this publicity stunt he is only debasing the office of the mayor. Maybe he doesn't like the anti-gay marriage proposition that was amended into the state constitution -- I happen to agree, I voted against it -- however, as a Mayor, he needs to grow up and stop thumbing his nose at the law. The people voted for that law and he needs to respect that.

If an individual wishes to commit civil disobience and is willing to accept punishment from the justice system, then that's fine, there's an American tradition of speaking out that way. This tradition does not apply to leaders in office. If Newsom doesn't want to uphold the law he was elected to administer, then he should resign.

A mature public official supports and upholds all laws, regardless of whether or not he or she personally likes or dislikes the law in question. It would be far more honorable of Newsom to simply sponsor an initiative to repeal the heterosexual-only amendment. That's the right way to do it.

Posted by: sky at February 19, 2004 08:52 PM | PERMALINK

Can it be not about "gay marriage" but instead about whether or not America wants to pass laws or constitutional amendments to deny its citizens the very rights it cherishes?

Equal rights are always defended in the courts. To believe that it has something to do with votes and legislatures is a joke. And to ever believe that the majority will ever have any interest in helping to protect the minority is simple minded. Noblesse oblige died with the French monarchy.

Americans are about protecting our own; more specifically, my own. The right wing, the apathetic middle, these are the people who believe in slippery slopes. They are willing to believe that letting gays get married will result in all kinds of chaos that somehow -- though they're not sure exactly how -- will affect them.

But what will be the result of our getting away with infringing on the rights of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who have never done anything to warrant retribution from our society or our government?

And once we've done it, how easy will it seem to do? Who's rights will we feel free to revoke next?

Posted by: caj at February 19, 2004 08:58 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhat off-topic, but I am talking to my co-worker, and he is saying: I'm in favor, but I won't do a thing for gay marriage.

So I ask him, if you see an injustice, won't you try to fix it? And he is like: "I know it is not fair, but I just don't care, it does not affect me". So I ask him: if someone beats his wife, does it affect you? At which points, he gets testy and annoyed.

The point being: some people are afraid they might be considered gay (his defensive claim is: it does not affect him) by championing a gay cause. Some rampant hidden closet homophobia that they would have at least to recognize...

Posted by: meredith brody at February 19, 2004 09:01 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, Art:

"The American people don't need Republicans telling us who we may consider family"

"The American people don't need Republicans telling us who we can and can not marry"

"The American people don't need Republicans policing our bedrooms"

and how about....

"I refuse to join the Republican Party in bashing gay people"


Posted by: Boronx at February 19, 2004 09:02 PM | PERMALINK

A mature public official supports and upholds all laws, regardless of whether or not he or she personally likes or dislikes the law in question.

Even the military gives a soldier the right to refuse to obey an "unlawful" order.  He may well be acting against the directive of prop. 22, but the constitution trumps on this one.  He's actually correct; even from a strict military sense.  We were not required to obey an "unlawful" order, and from there it was up to the inquiry court to decide.  We're back to the courts once again, and I suspect newsome is ready for it.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 19, 2004 09:04 PM | PERMALINK

Would it be possible for someone to cite a single argument that allows for gay marriage and yet restricts the right of three consenting adults to get married if they choose?

Posted by: Jon Black at February 19, 2004 09:05 PM | PERMALINK

If gay marriage becomes legal I can see some folks from Utah then asking:

"If gays can get married why can't we have polygamy?"

Then some animal loving kook will ask why he can't marry his dog.

Why not? "Live and let live" right Kevin?

Posted by: Where do you draw the line? at February 19, 2004 09:06 PM | PERMALINK

Dems could also point out that any anti-gay amendment would entail the state dictating doctrine to religious groups. I know few churches perform gay marriages, but the passage of such an amendment would effectively force any that did to rewrite their doctrine. The fundies are already a lost cause so their response won't change (though some of the rabid libertarians might pause a minute), but some of the the mainline churchs might balk at the state dictating doctrine, even if their doctrine disallows gay marriage - after all, there is a big difference between choosing what you think about God and having the government choosing for you.

Posted by: Phalamir at February 19, 2004 09:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Would it be possible for someone to cite a single argument that allows for gay marriage and yet restricts the right of three consenting adults to get married if they choose?"

Since you can be prosecuted for bigamy and polygamy (in many places, if not all, in this country), that would probably do it.

Gay marriage, per se, didn't become illegal until states started passing laws defining marriage as heterosexual only.

Posted by: caj at February 19, 2004 09:10 PM | PERMALINK

Five words:

Would Christ condemn their love?

Posted by: Irfo at February 19, 2004 09:14 PM | PERMALINK

Hey "Where do you draw the line?"

Between two responsible, consenting adults.

Line drawn.

Posted by: Sovok at February 19, 2004 09:18 PM | PERMALINK

Joe:Yeah. That's how it should work. People, even though they might be personally against it, decide that they can live with it. To paraphrase a movie quote "A personal is rational. People are insane, emotional creatures".

It's the group dynamic that's dangerous here. People reinforce one another's bad/negative behavior. That example there he might learn. If the people in his church/workplace didn't tell him that his friend/relative was a freak of nature.

It sounds elitest, but there are some bigger issues that are outside the scope of politics. This bigger one is one of them. American social reinforcement tends to be negative. This is everywhere, but more-so in the US. Positive social reinforcement encourages people into charity, for it's on sake, or into acting morally. However, negative reinforcement can create a sort of social darwinistic enviroment, where winning/getting ahead is put above acting in a moral/honorable fasion. This can be seen as a part of that.

People like being in a community. People also like having targets. It's true. And that's what this is all about.

Posted by: Karmakin at February 19, 2004 09:19 PM | PERMALINK

Where do you draw the line?,

Well, a dog is not a consenting adult.* Since the US requires consent from both parties for a valid marriage (if the Bible-beaters have slipped in a new law allowing for forced marriages, I'm unaware of it), you can't marry your dog; same for marrying your 10 year-old son.

As far as polygamy goes, I'm cool with it. Any dimwit stupid enough to marry 4 women deserves the hell he gets (with synchronized periods, he gets 4 times the PMS); as with gays, I want polygamists to be free to experience the misery us heteros deal with.


* I feel stupid having to point this out because an animal isn't even a person, much less an adult with the ability to give consent.

Posted by: Phalamir at February 19, 2004 09:21 PM | PERMALINK

Being from the armpit of open-mindedness that is Utah, the only caveat with bigamy or polygamy is the fact that it is so entrenched in the religion of the Fund. LDS church. This means that all of the offspring from these polygamous unions are indoctrinated with that thinking and are also abused through being forced to marry relatives while being 13, 14, or 15 years old. If people who wanted to be polygamous did it as a personal life choice, that would be one thing. Most polygamists, however, do this out of religious conviction and expect everyone in their family and community to do the same.

Posted by: Boggs at February 19, 2004 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

With their championing of a Constitutional amendment specifically in order to make it possible to discriminate against a minority, the Republican party has unambiguously become a hate group, just as much as the KKK only much more powerful. We should not back down to hate groups at any time. It would be shameful not to resist them on this issue.

Posted by: Orbitron at February 19, 2004 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

Just curious, but what marriage rights are there that gays can't obtain through other means without legal recognition as a married couple?

I guess if there was any real harm befalling gays I could be more of a supporter, it just has always seemed to me to be rather silly.

Hospitals doesn't work, its based on hospital policy. Somebody mentioned child custody, but I don't see why that can't be accounted for in advance either. So what are gays missing out on?

Posted by: Reg at February 19, 2004 09:40 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't the amendment process pretty long? I'm not sure that the Democrats should allow themselves to be dragged into this frame. Let the Republicans run around and stir up a controversy over gay marriage that noone is joining them in. Champion the "live and let live" philosophy by asserting that this is not a matter for politicans to be getting their paws into.

There's no way they'll get the amendment before the election, so I would concentrate on winning the election, and not getting sucked into the gay marriage bashing talk. Just ignore it, and explain that the court decisions that have come out are an "equal protection of the law" sort of thing and that not even an amendment could be found constitutional (can you have an amendment that contradicts a prior amendment?).

I repeat. There's no way this amendment will go through that fast, and if it's not a big partisan battle, it will have no legs.

The best thing that can be done in opposition to this movement is to win the election, and, to be honest, the amendment won't be constitutional if marriage remains a "racket" in terms of state-sponsored benefits thereby.

The other thing to remember is that California passed an initiative against gay marriage and we're perhaps the most liberal state in the nation. That's not a good sign.

The only way this gay marriage amendment goes anywhere is if it becomes a Republican v. Democrat battle.

To hear Democrats like Atrios say that we should risk the election over this, while other Democrats are ridiculed for standing on principle on their Green votes, is absurd. Everyone has been bashing independents and Greens that they must vote Democrat, anyone but Bush, no matter what or we're fools.

Now you want us to lose to Bush over a gay marriage amendment that will take years to come to fruition, and in an election year bent on beating Bush?

Sorry.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 09:43 PM | PERMALINK

This is NOT a State's Rights issue.

Republicans use "State's Rights" as a code word for segregation and closet racism.

Gay marriage is about equal protection under the law, and MUST be a federal issue.

State's Rights might make the marketing easier, but that is a tactic that Republicans use, not us. A victory on Gay Marriage using the State's Right lede will be a pyrrhic victory, opening States Rights arguments against Affirmative Action, Roe v Wade, Universal Healthcare, Environmental Protection, Union Laws, and nearly every other issue important to the progressive cause.

Let's win this the right way.

Posted by: Patrick Rogers at February 19, 2004 09:44 PM | PERMALINK

Give each side half a loaf. CIVIL UNIONS! With 'civil unions" gays get all the benifits without being an albatross around our progressive necks and risking the future of the planet. Progressives support equal rights 100%. Gays get equal rights under the name "civil union," they need not the name "marriage," merely to stick a finger in the eye of mental case reactionaries to watch them squeal, mobilize, propagandize the ignorant, and jeopardize our future. Neutralize the enemy, hand them the olive branch that you accept "civil unions," and diffuse the issue. Simple and sensible. Don't do a Nader on us. The election is a matter of life and death for the country, and it's outcome cannot be risked over labels.

Posted by: Carswell at February 19, 2004 09:46 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I'd bring up the Equal Rights Amendment again if they do force the gay marriage amendment thing. That would make things very interesting.

You happen to accompany their threat with one of your own. Who in America isn't for the Equal Rights Amendment? Especially in a time when we're fighting for the survival of freedom against the forces of evil and terror?

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/

I'm sick of Democrats allowing themselves to have things framed for them, and being wimps.

Not on my watch. Not anymore.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 09:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why not just borrow a page, and a motto, from conservative New Hampshire -- "live free or die"?

Posted by: Steve Snyder at February 19, 2004 09:47 PM | PERMALINK

You're right Reg. No big deal. Let 'em get married.

Posted by: Boggs at February 19, 2004 09:49 PM | PERMALINK

ERA - 35 out of 38 states. Let's rattle Karl by letting him know the ERA is going through if he pushes his divisive gay marriage bashing amendment.

Our odds are a lot better, and more likely to have an impact while still in the election year.

Support the ERA, and ignore the gay marriage amendment. After all, winning in 2004 will take all the wind out of the gay marriage bashing amendment sails anyway.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 09:49 PM | PERMALINK

35 states (out of 38 needed) states have affirmed the Equal Rights Amendment. These are those left - we only need three (Illinois is getting a lot closer).

Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Louisiana
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
North Carolina
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Utah
Virginia

http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/status.htm

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 09:55 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.cafeshops.com/bettybowers.9924251?zoom=yes#zoom

Yeah. That's harsh.

Posted by: John Lyon at February 19, 2004 09:56 PM | PERMALINK

Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Virginia - these should be easy enough.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 09:56 PM | PERMALINK

You "bring it on" folks are fools. You don't care so much about gay marriage; you just want to fight.

You want to tell those knuckle-dragging bible-thumping southern fundamentalists where they can stick it. You want to make Pat Robertson burst a blood vessel. You want to finally come right out and say what you have been thinking all along - that people who are uncomfortable with gay marriage are just bigoted, igornat fools, and that the rest of the country should listen to morally superior sophistcates like you.

Well, that's dumb. It's going to hurt you at the polls. People who might otherwise agree with you will shun you because they are tired of being lecutred by a bunch of preachy, moralizing liberals. The thing to do is take the high road.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 19, 2004 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Gays in the Military didn't hurt Clinton Joe Schmoe!

Posted by: Erik at February 19, 2004 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Technowitch -

A quick correction to an otherwise excellent post: Mrs. Bush did not say that she found gay marriage "shocking", but that some found it shocking. When pressed for her own opinion, she declined to do so (which is very intriguing).


To progressives -
Do not be afraid to take this issue head on. The Dean candidacy rise showed that advancing "politically incorrect" views can change the debate.

Posted by: Dazir at February 19, 2004 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, Reg, didn't you read the thread? Technowitch laid it all it in terms that even you might understand.

In an ideal world a contract might suffice, but not the reality most of us inhabit.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 19, 2004 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Has everyone forgot about the Defense of Marriage Act in liberal (especially socially) California?

On March 7, 2000, the people of California voted on Proposition 22, a proposal to enact a state "Defense of Marriage Act" as an initiative statute. The text of Prop 22 reads:

?Only marriage between a man and a woman
is valid or recognized in California.?

Proposition 22 was ratified by an overwhelming majority of California voters, prevailing by a 23-point margin. Statewide, 4,618,673 votes were cast in favor of the proposition, comprising 61.4% of the total vote. Opponents garnered 2,909,370 votes, for 38.6% of the vote.

Final vote counts revealed that Proposition 22 won in 52 of California's 58 counties, including all of the major metropolitan areas except for San Francisco. The six counties which did not approve Prop. 22 were all in the immediate San Francisco Bay area, including: Alameda county, Marin county, San Francisco county, Santa Cruz county, Sonoma county, and Yolo county.

Take the high road. The amendment won't go through before the election. Therefore, win the election, and take the wind out of its sails.

Ultimately, this is an "equal protection" thing, not a matter of majority opinion. Like interracial marriages, the "equal protection" laws are here to protect the minority from the "tyranny of the majority".

Since you hear this a lot from conservatives and Republicans, remind them that they are ambivalent about majoritarian democracy, and instead favor our federalist, liberalist republic which respects the rule of law and protects minorities.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Though it would be popular to take on gay marriage, Karl Rove would be crazy to run on a "socially conservative" platform.

Everyone knows the election is won or lost on whoever can best convince the American voter that they are the right balance of "fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal", to whatever degree you favor one or the other.

Also, it's necessary to give the impression that you'll kick anyone's butt who even pretends to not acknowledge our immense military power. With Dean out of the race, I don't think that's going to concern people too much, since both sides like to talk tough.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, it looks as though what Newsom did was pretty savvy. He's showing us what gay marriage looks like, and who can resist a wedding?

It keeps getting coverage on the nightly news in LA, color photos on the front page of both papers, and yet lightning has not struck nor has the earth opened to swallow the evildoers.

I'd bet that if we held a referendum tomorrow, California would not pass an amendment banning gay marriage.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 19, 2004 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

" People who might otherwise agree with you will shun you because they are tired of being lecutred by a bunch of preachy, moralizing liberals"

But being lectured at by preachy, moralizing conservatives is what people love? If you look at the success of the GOP after it caved to the Religious Right and became the party of preachy moralizing, it would be logical to assume the American people want more preachy moralizing, not less; the tactic evidently sells to the American consumer. Reality says Democrats need to rachet up preachy moralizing as that is the way to get votes - just ask the Republicans how much their shares went up after they went whole-hog for the mouth-frothers.

"You want to tell those knuckle-dragging bible-thumping southern fundamentalists ... who are uncomfortable with gay marriage [that they] are just bigoted, igornat [sic] fools." [all parts in brackets are my contribution for purposes of brevity of description. The unedited version is upstream]

They are bigoted, ignorant fools. They also happen to be traitorous, anti-American, blaspheming, idoltrous heathens, who wouldn't know Jesus if He showed up in full-scale Blazing Glory/Son Of God mode; and if they did recognize Him would denounce Him as a tool of Satan and enemy of their god (Mammon or Molech dependingon the week) for being loving and gentle, and holy. But for purposes of this discussion, the "bigoted, ignorant fools" part is sufficent.

Posted by: Phalamir at February 19, 2004 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

This issue might just work for the Democrats, or it might just work for the Republicans, or it may very well make no difference. I'm hoping that San Francisco's Valentine pageant will desensitize the issue, at least for some.

I think we need to take a cool approach. No big deal. Our candidate should say that we certainly don't need a constitutional amendment putting gays in a ghetto, but that's probably as far as we have to go.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 19, 2004 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Equal Rights Amendment

An amendment for an amendment. You champion yours, we'll champion ours. We need 3 states, you need 38.

Good luck.

Meanwhile, we're not going to get involved with your amendment. Too much time needed to spend on our own priorities.

Posted by: jimm at February 19, 2004 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but...

1. Married gay couples who have a child likely will have adopted, thereby providing a new wealth of loving homes for boys and girls whose heterosexual birth parents cannot or will not.

2. Married gay couples will never "accidentally" become pregnant.

3. Married gay couples who choose to have children who are biologically related to them (surrogate parenting, artificial insemination, etc.) are not likely to create large numbers of offspring.

All of this, it seems to me, will ease the strain on government to provide social services, education, welfare, as well as to decrease pressure to create more jobs in the economy of the future, an economy which will require fewer and fewer (at least American) workers.

So why do free-marketing / government-shrinking / family-valued Republicans hate the idea of the married gay couple?

Posted by: QueNoSabe at February 19, 2004 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase a very old military and religous saying, "Marry them all, Let God sort them out."

Here's an interesting commentary on the original first use of "Kill them all, Let God sort them out."
http://straitway.org/2001/03012001.htm

Posted by: Dave Roberts at February 19, 2004 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

"preachy, moralizing liberals"

HAHAHAHA.

Holy crap! How can you be a hellbound sodomite and a moralizer?

I think the Republican cognitive dissonance has become a singularity on this issue, from which no logic can escape.

Posted by: scarshapedstar at February 19, 2004 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

We keep hearing about how gay marriage can work as a wedge issue against the Democrats, and it can, but it can also work against the Republicans:

President Bush left several million evangelical voters "on the table" four years ago and again is having trouble energizing Christian conservatives, prominent leaders on the religious right say.

. . .

"If there is a rerun of 2000, when an estimated 6 million fewer evangelical Christians voted than in the pivotal year of 1994, then the Bush ticket will be in trouble, especially if there is no [Ralph] Nader alternative to draw Democratic votes away from the Democratic candidate," added Mr. Knight, whose organization is an affiliate of Concerned Women for America (CWA).

Their list of grievances is long, but right now social conservatives are mad over what many consider the president's failure to strongly condemn illegal homosexual "marriages" being performed in San Francisco under the authority of Mayor Gavin Newsom.

If he comes out too strong against it, he risks coming across as intolerant and might alienate the swing voters. Not strong enough, he won't energize the base.


Posted by: rachelrachel at February 19, 2004 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

ProMarriage.org

This site of mine isn't done yet, but it's close...enough to get the idea...

Basically, it's all about how to fight this fight - and in a sense it's easy because the other side doesn't really have much of a case...

Posted by: Stranahan at February 19, 2004 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

"They are bigoted, ignorant fools. They also happen to be traitorous, anti-American, blaspheming, idoltrous heathens, who wouldn't know Jesus if He showed up in full-scale Blazing Glory/Son Of God mode; and if they did recognize Him would denounce Him as a tool of Satan and enemy of their god (Mammon or Molech dependingon the week) for being loving and gentle, and holy. But for purposes of this discussion, the "bigoted, ignorant fools" part is sufficent.

Bigotry, ignorant, mammon and molech, tool of satan, and...well, I must say that seems to pretty much describes everyone here on earth. Wow, you must be new here, so let me be the first to welcome you to Earth.

Gay marriage, if that is litmus test for this election...I seriously think it will LD50 the electorate.

People will do what they do regardless of some law. Abortions were around for thousands of years, homosexuality just as long, and the stupid quest for power got it start in the Garden, so what if gay marriage is "legalized," or "repressed."
A thousand years from now nobody is going to care.

Posted by: sheerahkahn at February 20, 2004 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody here, anyway.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 20, 2004 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Bad bad timing for gay rights and the Democratic Party

Hey, as a libertarian I'm all for the right of gays to marry. But what's going on in San Francisco is one of the dumbest moves around. Ratcheting up this issue during a presidential election year will massively backfire.

It is the perfect issue for Bush to frame Kerry as an out of touch, extremist, Massachussetts Liberal. The sad thing is Kerry and gay marriage thus entertwined will go down together.

I'll be happy to see Kerry lose, but there are so many other ways he can lose. And gay rights will suffer a setback..

Posted by: Brad at February 20, 2004 01:09 AM | PERMALINK

What encourages me about the passion that I see on our side is; if there is a cultural war here, (I hate any kind of war, people always get killed.) we are fighting on the side of the angels. Atrios has done some positively great blogging on this by linking to the couples beaming with life within the love of their marital bliss. If you can look at these pictures and hate these folks, you need to uproot the blackness in your own soul and send it to hell. This kind of issue brings out the best in Liberalism; compassion and a willingness to fight for the underdog.

Posted by: Another Bruce at February 20, 2004 01:22 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, I see there are some questions as to what rights gay and lesbian couples lack. Here is an abbreviated list:

- Right to uncontested, tax-free inheritance in the event of the death of one spouse, even in the absence of a prepared Will
- Right to make medical decisions for one's incapacitated spouse, up to and including cessation of life support
- Right to assumed durable power of attorney
- Right to hospital visitation
- Right to conjugal visits in jail (if allowed)
- Right to adopt children jointly, as well as to adopt the children of one's spouse from another marriage
- Right not to be compelled to testify against one's spouse in a court of law
- Right to pension and social security benefits as a married couple
- Right to continued payment of pensions, in cases where the spouse earning
the pension/benefits has passed away
- Right to be covered under one spouse's health and life insurance
- Right to spousal veterans benefits
- Right to presumptive premacy of the marital status over familial
'by-blood' relationships in legal proceedings
- Right to sue on behalf of one's partner, as in the case of accident or wrongful death

And a few responsibilities:
- Mutual responsibility for debts and other legal/contractural obligations
- Taxed as a family
- Presumed responsibility of both parents for the behavior of their children
- The requirement that divorces be handled in a court of law

Some of these can be codified with good legal paperwork, such as can be written up by an attorney. Other parts though are literally impossible -- and what you can and can't count upon varies widely by state. Some states, it's almost routine to grant adoptions for the second parent in a gay/lesbian couple; in others, it's absolutely forbidden.

If anyone's curious as to a really good outline of the current state of California's domestic partnership laws and how they stack up against regular marriage, I offer the following link:

http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=1320

A lot is there, until you scroll down towards the bottom...

Posted by: Technowitch at February 20, 2004 02:16 AM | PERMALINK

How about this sentiment:

I'll sit on my side of the fence,
you sit on your side of the fence,
and no one sits in the middle.

Posted by: Shawn at February 20, 2004 02:24 AM | PERMALINK

I think the best approach is to just sidestep it. If Kerry takes a hard pro-gay-marriage stance, Bush's job will be done; he can then sit back and wait for the fundies to vent their ire on Kerry while the Republicans reap their reward.

On the other hand, if he just shrugs and basically avoids the issue as not that important, it forces Bush to take a more vocal and more conservative position in order to posture himself, clearly, as the guardian of conservative values. The more Bush commits to this position, the more he antagonizes liberals who, no matter how they feel about gays, personally, won't like seeing a president "bashing gays" so openly.

So, lay back, play rope-a-dope for a while, and let Bush show all his cards on this one.

Posted by: dumbo at February 20, 2004 03:41 AM | PERMALINK

San Francisco is out of control and Schwarzenegger should stop being a sissy and send in the national guard to end this chaos. As the leader of the Church of Fandel I am not against gay marriages, but I am against law breakers. Come on GAYS, are you so stupid that you can't see you're damaging your own future? Middle America now thinks you're a bunch of untrustworthy lawbreakers. Yes, untrustworthy. Why should middle America give you more rights, if you show yourself not to be able to follow the LAW. You screwed it up for yourself. All of the goodwill you had gained has vanished. You are trying to pull a fast one on middle America by breaking the law. It will backfire. The mayor of San Francisco is an idiot. He destroyed the moral argument gays had to demand equal treatment before the law. You don't respect the law. Middle America won't respect you.

Posted by: Ricky Vandal at February 20, 2004 04:02 AM | PERMALINK

"States rights" doesn not work because it doesn't help you on Social Security benefits for surviving children and partners or on ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act), which is federal law.

The hard truth:
Whats really needed on this issue to win the public over is something the Democratic Party has worked too hard losing: Trust. The American people do not trust that the Democratic Party honors their values and priorities.

It took a long time to lose that trust and it won't be regained quickly enough, I fear, to stop the Congress from starting the process on a Constitutional amendment in 2005, not this year, but next year so they can wreck havoc on Democrats for the 2006 mid-terms.

Posted by: Lois at February 20, 2004 04:35 AM | PERMALINK

It can't be done. Too bad. No way this is not a bad issue for the Dems.

Joe, do you think people generally understand that no one can force their church to marry gay people?

Well, once Rove gets through them, a lot fewer people will understand this, I bet.

Also, a couple of points... I'm in favor of gay marriage, but there are reasonable arguments against gay marriage that are not based on bigotry. Wrong arguments, but reasonable. If it was just just straw-man bigots, that'd be nice, but it's not.

Also, I note this: I now see people arguing (as some have here) the libertarian line that the state should get out of the "marriage" business -- civil unions for all, and/or marriage as a sacrament for whoever wants its. Makes sense to ME, but... it's certainly an excellent example of how the gay marriage debate DOES weaken marriage, is it not? Before gay marriage came up, was anybody making this argument? No. Now some are. So to a limited but perhaps growing extent, marriage itself as a state-sponsored institution IS under attack because of this.

Let's see... at the time of the Democratic Convention, gay marriage may well be legal in Massachusetts. Whatd'ya wanna bet that Rove will arrange some for some village-people types, some anarcho-punks, some drag queens, and so forth to get married in public for the cameras? That'll help the Dems...

Oh well Bush was probably gonna win anyway.

Posted by: voice of the democracies at February 20, 2004 05:10 AM | PERMALINK

"there are reasonable arguments against gay marriage that are not based on bigotry"

Oh, really? Like what?

Posted by: raj at February 20, 2004 05:21 AM | PERMALINK

"I now see people arguing (as some have here) the libertarian line that the state should get out of the "marriage" business -- civil unions for all, and/or marriage as a sacrament for whoever wants its. Makes sense to ME, but... it's certainly an excellent example of how the gay marriage debate DOES weaken marriage, is it not? Before gay marriage came up, was anybody making this argument? No. Now some are. So to a limited but perhaps growing extent, marriage itself as a state-sponsored institution IS under attack because of this." - voice of the democracies

This is an excellent point. In order to have truly equal rights for committed gay unions, we might have to scuttle the whole concept of "marriage" (a "term of art" according to Wesley Clark) and have some new terminology for everyone. That IS a tough sell. If gay people cannot be "married" just because the public doesn't like the association of the word "marriage" with gay couples, that in itself is conclusive proof that gays are unequal, i. e., that it offends people to respect their unions with the term "marriage."

Probably some kind of "don't ask, don't tell" shove-it-under-the-rug is on the way.

Posted by: Lois at February 20, 2004 05:25 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly America is changing. And in many ways for the better. There is more freedom. More understanding. But I know these changes can be upsetting to some people. We as a society have to work together to move forward. Stigmatizing large parts of our population because of their faith or race or sexual preference just doesn't fly anymore.

The issue of gay marriage is complex. President Bush has chosen to use it to inflame one part of our country against another. That does nothing more than feed hatred. Why is he doing this? Is reelection so important?

The issue is complex. I don't have the answers is a neat soundbite or constitutional amendment. One thing I will work for is a positive resolution to this issue...not based on hatred and fear but on faith in the American people. The Kerry administration will be truly pro-family.

Posted by: Wren at February 20, 2004 05:44 AM | PERMALINK

"...but there are reasonable arguments against gay marriage that are not based on bigotry. Wrong arguments, but reasonable."

I'll second raj above, and ask: "What ARE they"?

Like voice, I also favor allowing (civil) marriage rights to gay couples - if religious denominations don't want to allow or recognize same-sex unions on doctrinal grounds, that's their business (and government should not have the right to interfere!) - freedom of religion, and all that.....

Seriously: I have been following the gay-marriage issue in the blogosphere for quite a while, and hjave noted a couple of things: First: the issue seems to attract more posts in comments sections than almost ANY other (on virtually every blog I've read). Secondly: most of the arguments (both for and against) DO seem (well, on Calpundit anyway) fairly well articulated. However, most of the "anti" posters seem to base their objections either on religious grounds, or on the flatly-stated (but seldom defined) proposition that allowing marriage rights for gays will "destroy marriage".
So here's challenge: Given the proposition (Oxford-style):

States should be permitted to recognize the civil equivalent of marriage between same-sex couples that give them the same legal rights as opposite-sex couples

Provide an argument AGAINST it that does NOT
1) make any reference to God, religion or the Bible.
2) deal with issues of "judicial activism" or the like (assume the "recognition" in my proposition above is done through the most acceptable legal process in any given State).

This isn't to bait anyone: I'm just curious to see if there are any anti-gay-union arguments out there that AREN't based, ultimately, on prejudice.

Posted by: Jay C. at February 20, 2004 06:03 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for posting the list of rights which gay people cannot obtain through contracts.

Let me make it personal.

I am gay, and I will be going to Massachusetts in June to be married. Then I will return to Georgia, where my marriage will be considered null and void. My partner and I will be trying to have a baby, and when our child is born, my partner would like to stay home with the baby. However, that will be impossible for us unless she can be carried on my health insurance. Some employers offer partner benefits; mine does not. We would be happy to live on a single income for the benefit of the baby, but having my partner go uninsured is not an option, and we certainly couldn't afford to buy coverage for her.

In this case, the person who will be hurt is the baby. Isn't it a conservative belief that children benefit from a stay-at-home mom?

Posted by: kc at February 20, 2004 06:18 AM | PERMALINK

Reg wrote: "Just curious, but what marriage rights are there that gays can't obtain through other means without legal recognition as a married couple?"

Technowitch already covered this point, Reg, in more detail than I did. Some additional points:

- obtain joint health, home and auto insurance policies;
- enter joint rental agreements;
- take bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or a partner's child;
- choose a final resting place for a deceased partner;
- obtain wrongful death benefits for a surviving partner and children;
- get an equitable division of property in a divorce;
- have joint child custody, visitation, adoption and foster care;
- determine child custody and support in a divorce;
- have a spouse covered under Social Security and Medicare;
- file joint tax returns;
- obtain veterans' discounts on medical care, education and home loans;
- apply for immigration and residency for partners from other countries;
- obtain domestic violence protective orders.
- inherit property without paying estate taxes
- transfer property between spouses without gift tax or transfer tax consequences.
- worker's compensation programs
- benefits for families of police and firefighters
- license transfers
- nursing home payment issues


And then there are all those privileges granted by private companies to married couples, including benefits from your employer, including the employer's pension program, family memberships to various organizations, family travel packages, etc. Even if your employer grants insurance benefits to domestic partners, these benefits are taxed by the federal government, unlike insurance benefits granted to a spouse.

Reg, there are over a thousand benefits, rights, and privileges granted to you when you get your marriage certificate that are not granted to gay couples. Some of these can be achieved through contracts, requiring an outlay of several hundred dollars; most cannot. Some of these can be obtained through civil unions; most cannot.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 06:19 AM | PERMALINK

Remember folks, this is about how to frame this politically. The basic technique is to stand on principle, and position opponents on the wrong side of "the very principles that have made this nation great." Pardon the length, but here goes...

Step 1. When asked about gay marriage, throw a simple question back: "Have you forgotten the Pledge of Allegiance? Have you forgotten those last lines, "with liberty and justice for all? This is what's at stake here -- and these are bedrock American principles. There are no exceptions. All means everybody."
Step 2. Show respect for the diversity of opinion on the subject. "I fully respect the liberty of all Americans to approve or disapprove of same-sex unions, and to worship in churches that approve or dissapprove of same-sex unions. These are also your rights as Americans, and these are matters that always have been, and always will be, beyond the reach of the law. No court will ever change that."
Step 3: Set up the close with a fake to the right -- by acknowledging your (politically convenient) middle-of-the-road beliefs. "I have to acknowledge, that, on a personal level, I'm not completely comfortable with the idea of gay marriage. But the issue here is a much higher principle..."
Step 4: Remind the listener that "approve" or "disapprove" was never the queston before the (Massachuesetts) court. The question was one of, well, liberty and justice for all: In essence, is it consistent with our body of laws, and with the constitutional principles of equal protection and individual liberty, to exclude an entire group of people from a set of benefits that the rest of us take for granted?
Step 5: Enumerate some of the rights that are really at stake. "Is it fair to deny people -- who may be your neighbors, cousins, siblings, or children -- simple, everyday rights such as the right to visit a spouse in the hospital, the right to file a joint tax return, or, for bi-national couples, access to immigration privileges? The courts said that it wasn't -- and I agree."
STep 6: Close. "So go ahead and approve or disapprove according to your own beliefs. That is your right. But don't try to take away someboday else's rights. That's un-American."

Thoughts?

Posted by: Ned at February 20, 2004 06:43 AM | PERMALINK

Any institution that enhances the sum of human happiness, without victims, ought not to be interfered with by government. That is what conservatives used to think before they got obsessed with the mechanics of what goes on in the bedroom.

Posted by: Bob H at February 20, 2004 06:58 AM | PERMALINK

I think the whole Abraham story in the Bible can be told as an "gay-friendly" episode. Initially, Abraham asks Sodom and Gomor to be saved if there are 5000(0?) innocent peoples there. So there lived at least 5000 people. Finally God aggrees to save the cities if there are 5 innocent people. So, in God's view, less than 0.1% innocence is enough to avoid punishment.

But at least, there is another neglected point in the story - God liked Abraham, and there is no sight of displeasement in the fact that Abraham does not want to punish the sinners, but wants to save them.

And there is a book, which claims that the sins of Sodom and Gomor were not the BGL, but hostility.

Posted by: GB at February 20, 2004 07:04 AM | PERMALINK

kc at February 20, 2004 06:18 AM |

>I am gay, and I will be going to Massachusetts in June to be married. Then I will return to Georgia, where my marriage will be considered null and void.

I hate to tell you, but your marriage would be null and void in Massachusetts, too.

There is a provision of the state marriage code that renders void if one of the parties is a non-resident and intends to stay a non-resident, and if the marriage would be void in the state of residence. The provision doesn't just apply to same-sex marriage issues, BTW.

Posted by: raj at February 20, 2004 07:04 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Peter J. Gomes just wrote an excellent article for the Boston Globe explaining the history of marriage in Massachusetts that could prove to be helpful in discussing gay marriage with people who are on the fence. Marriage has been understood to be a civil and not religious matter in Massachusetts since 1621. Gomes wrote that "no clergy of any denomination are required to wed anyone of whose union they do not approve: There is no civil right to be married in church or with its blessing. The civil law is just that, and the distinction between it and ecclesiastical law is as important as the necessary distinction between church and state."

Plus, Gomes is a Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University. He is also an American Baptist minister. He wrote "The Good Book," which is about the Bible. It's an excellent book, by the way, if you haven't read it.

He can hardly be called a left-wing gay rights activist.

I wrote a bit on my blog, linked to you, and attempted to give you a trackback, but I don't think the trackback came through. I'm new to trackbacks. One of these days I'll figure them out...

Posted by: Trish Wilson at February 20, 2004 07:05 AM | PERMALINK

Bring them on.

These people don't just want to not let gay people marry, they want to not let gay people exist.

That's THEIR agenda. Believe it.

"Marry 'em all, let God sort 'em out." is brilliant. It takes their uber macho jingo slogan away from them and sticks it back in their face.

If people are going to go to hell because their gay, isn't that enough for these people? Isn't the punishment of their Old Testament Yehova good enough for them? Or do they, like a bully's toadies, need to get their licks in too.

This is between people and God, unless you have a damn good reason for not letting the State give them equal rights.

Damn right I want a fight. Bring them on. I am sick of their shit, and ready to rumble.

Pat Robertson suffering a stroke? Nah! I would never wish anything BAD to happen to the man, not after he prayed for the DEATH of Democratic public officials or anything.

You guys may feel comfortable wimping out on this issue, but I don't.

"Get the skeered on them, and keep the skeered on them." is my motto. Attack attack attack.

Posted by: Monkey at February 20, 2004 07:08 AM | PERMALINK

kc,
thank you for posting that real person practical example. Good luck to you and yours. I do wish you would consider moving to Vermont, New Jersey or Massachusetts where you can have some confidence about your rights. If your partner (God forbid) is injured in an auto accident and has to go on Medicaid, what are the rules in GA about whether you can even live in the same home together???? Would your family be treated like a welfare mother having a boyfriend live in the home?

I know people here will get mad at me for this but its the truth:

It is unfortunate that the real lives and real practical concerns of gay people have become tied into the fortunes of a party, the Democratic party, that has been so absolutely CARELESS as to squander its credibility with the American people over:

1. Trying to stand in the way of children saying the pledge of allegiance. (Dukakis)
2. Vetoing a ban on first degree murderers getting weekend furloughs from prison (Dukakis)
3. Adultery and debauchery and careless arrogant personal misbehavior(Clinton)
4. Draft dodging via political influence and pay-off corruption (Clinton)
5. The super rich telling the American people they need to pay more taxes to support social programs (movie stars, etc.)
6. The bizarre "trimester" scheme of Roe v Wade. Why Why Why have Democrats gone along with that rather allow Roe to be overturned and get the matter back to the states and out of national politics and stigmatizing the entire Democratic Party. Is 88 days into a pregnancy different from 92 days? 178 vs 182 days. Does anyone in their right mind think it is? But thats the crazy Supreme Court decision we're stuck defending.


And how many other examples. And then, when you have an issue like this one, the American public is suspicious or dimissive, Democratic politicians are traumatized from the past issues that got forced down their throat by the national party and theres a darned good chance of a Constitutional Amendment.

Posted by: Lois at February 20, 2004 07:14 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, folks, it isn't your decision to make. I may be wrong about how big this is gonna be, but I honestly believe we will see hundreds of thousands of people mobilized this summer. Marches. Constant lawsuits. Civil disobedience.
The richest, smartest, best organized minority in America should and will realize that this is it. This is the time. It will either full acceptanace or permanent discrimination. Decided this year. And they are gonna fight.

The rest of us, however much we want to run and hide, are gonna have to pick a side.

Posted by: bob mcmanus at February 20, 2004 07:21 AM | PERMALINK

The rest of us, however much we want to run and hide, are gonna have to pick a side.

...with Liberty, and Justice for All.

I think my side is already picked.

Posted by: Monkey at February 20, 2004 07:30 AM | PERMALINK

OK -- Gay Marriage is fine. Make sure it comes with:

* Gay Divorce
* Gay Nasty Divorces over Adultry
* Gay Community Property
* Gay Alimony
* Gay Child Support
* Gay IRS marriage Penalty.

And then you will gain support. Marriage isn't just about rights. It's also about responsibilities. Talk about your acceptance of those, and you'll win. Otherwise, prepare to lose the culture wars.

And, once and for all, do away with the half-arsed civil union concept.

Posted by: appalled moderate at February 20, 2004 07:34 AM | PERMALINK

I have no doubt that we will see "acting out" on both sides of the fence from here on.  There will be a lot of furor about this issue, and if we allow ourselves to be drawn into the "gay" or "marriage" issues we will lose.

The focus (as has been repeatedly pointed out herein) must remain on the EQUAL rights issue (not 'special rights' as Charlie and the fundies like to attempt to divert us with).

We must frame the issues appropriately, and not get drawn off into religious arguments.  Fundies will not change their religious beliefs, and the more we try and argue them on that ground, the more intractable they become.  "Gay" and "marriage" are not the issues.  Monkey is correct.   We must stay focused on the real issue, and let the fundies demonstrate, as they inevitably do, the irrationality of their position.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 07:47 AM | PERMALINK

Appalled moderate wrote: "Marriage isn't just about rights. It's also about responsibilities."

Agreed, and I don't think anyone is arguing otherwise. In fact, for couples with children, child support and visitation rights in the case of a breakup are critical (and cannot be trusted solely to contracts).

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 07:51 AM | PERMALINK

And, once and for all, do away with the half-arsed civil union concept.

"Marriage" - non-church marriage at any rate,  is a 'civil union' by definition.  It becomes a circular argument.

The 'civil union' notion was an attempt to dodge this issue and 'placate' the objections.  It has obviously failed,  hence the present situation.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 07:54 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting article about the economic effects of America's intolerance.

"For years the United States possessed an unchallenged competitive advantage in its ability to attract the best and brightest from Europe, Scandinavia and around the world," Florida writes. "For the first time, that advantage seems to be imperiled."
...
America is no long attracting creative workers from abroad because it is seen as an intolerant society. He cites the lack of recognition of same-sex couples and the battle over gay marriage, and policies restricting stem cell research and the tightening of visa requirements as reasons the world's brightest are no longer seeking to come to the US to work.
...
In a ranking of states Florida found those with DOMA or which did not offer civil rights protections for gays at the bottom of the productivity list.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 07:54 AM | PERMALINK

Don't fight it.
A constitutional admendment against Gay marriage does not gaurantee that Gay marraige will be made illegal - please note:

In constitutional cases - Supreme Court Judges often have to decide between two conflicting Constitutional provisions - the one that trumps the other is the most compelling, important provission - so:

The new amendment would come up against equal protection, most judges would find for equal protection - it is just fundementally more important than a discriminatory provision. The only way to make gay marraige illegal is to amend the constitution to eliminate the equal protection.

So my advice - don't fight this, let the Bush do what he will do ... go down in history by inserting an innocous amendment that is only distinguished by its discriminatory nature. That will be his legacy and it will be enshrined into the constitution.

My bet is they won't do it for that reason - so dont take the bait - don't enter the conversation you only serving their political purposes.

My theory on cultural conservative issues is that Republicans make lots of noise but do very little substantive work - Take Fox media - their entertainment channel belies their politics, Take Abortion - they always pass legislation that has blatently unconstitutional provisions - they don't want to pass these things - they just want to attract conservative voters.

Posted by: tim kane at February 20, 2004 07:57 AM | PERMALINK

The best answer to the Gay marriage question is that it should be left up to each individual state to decide and the federal government should stay the hell out of it. The U.S.Constitution should not be amended to either prohibit or allow it. The Constitution already provides for the states to deal with this and many other issues. That's why gambling and prostitution are legal in Nevada. This is essentially Cheney's position and it should be the Democratic Party's position.

Posted by: Jim H. at February 20, 2004 07:59 AM | PERMALINK

See CNN for Arnolds entry into the foray :=)

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 08:02 AM | PERMALINK

Glad to see the lefties jumping on the States rights bandwagon. Welcome aboard.

I've been thinking about gay marriage, and I've decided that I'm in favor of it, except it doesn't go far enough. I mean not only are gays discriminated against by not being allowed the benefits of being married, single people are also not being allowed the benefits of being married.

If we're going to have equal protection, let's have equal protection.

Posted by: Ron at February 20, 2004 08:07 AM | PERMALINK

Tim Kane:

You're dreaming. All it would take to prevent your scenario is to insert the following langauage:

"Notwithstanding any provision in this Constitution to the contrary..."

or...

"This document shall not be construed so as to provide..."

You may or may not recall this, but the Supreme Court once declared the Federal income tax unconstitutional. Back in the progressive era, therefore, the income tax was enshrined in the Constitution. Since then, many of the cases against the IRS and the tax code have been thrown out, even when other enumerated rights of the Constitution are in play, because of the specific constitutional provision permitting the assessment of an income tax.

Allowing the other side to embarass itself is often a shrewd strategy. And there's an argument for allowing it this time,as the constitutional process is cumbersome, and the chances of getting enough state legislatures to ratify such an amendment is slim. But, if you believe in gay marraige rights, you can't allow this amendment to pass.

Posted by: appalled moderate at February 20, 2004 08:08 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect that the Newsom camp has managed a bit of a coup here,  in that they have tangled it up in the courts once again.  They have made allies out of opponents,  and brought the matter to a standstill pending court responses - which could take awhile.

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 08:15 AM | PERMALINK

You ask how to frame it, kevin? Easy:


It's an anti-marriage amendment. It's an anti-family amendment.

Sponsored by people who hate Dick Cheney and want to see his daughter not receive equal rights under the law.

Let's move on to the framing of more difficult issues.

Posted by: tristero at February 20, 2004 08:15 AM | PERMALINK

"Liberals have been decrying the "state's rigths" argument for the last 40 years. It seems hypocrytical to suddenly come out in favor of it now."

Nonsense. We don't wan to occupy the traditional racist "states rights" position, which is that the 14th Amendment ought not to be enforced. What we want is (1) the federal courts able to consider the traditionally federal issue of whether the 14th Amendment requires reecognition of gay marraige, (2) state courts free to interpret their own state constitutions in accordance with state principles, and (3) state legislatures free to legislate about marriage, subject as usual to federal and state constitutional restraints.

Marriage, is properly a subject for state, not federal, regulation, except to the extent that state marraige laws violate federal constitutional principles like equal protection of the laws.

A point that MUST be made in this debate, and which has not yet received much atention, is that some states (e. g., Mississippi) still have antimiscegenation laws on the books. Such laws are presently unenforceable because they violate the 14th amendment--see Loving v Virginia.

Passage of the proposed amendment to the federal constitution would mean that states a free to enforce antimiscegenation laws, without regard to the provisions of the state or federal constitution.

Not only is this a horrific result in itself, but it shows how the proposed amendment does violence to basic principles of federalism.

Posted by: rea at February 20, 2004 08:16 AM | PERMALINK

This isn't likely to become a big election issue. The likely Dem nominee, Kerry is against gay marriage.

Posted by: MJ at February 20, 2004 08:19 AM | PERMALINK

I think the way to approach this is by talking about the individuals who want it, and by talking about WHY they want it.

State's rights is a retreat, a way to duck the issue. That's not what's needed here. What's needed is for people to become more comfortable with the whole idea. In the face of a couple of old ladies who have been together for 50 years, and who want the legal right to make medical decisions about each other, who's gonna say NO. Only the most hard-harted.

In the face of a 14-year old who wants to stay with his other dad after the first one died, rather than going into a foster home, who would want to deny him?

The argument is that marriage is about a lot more than sex. It's about commitment, responsibility, and love. Is anyone but the craziest right-winger gonna be against this?

Based on my own emotional journey on this issue, I'd say folks will mostly roll over on this issue very fast. I went from "Why in hell do they want that!!!?" to "Hmm, I guess I don't have a problem with it." in really just a couple years. I don't think I'm unique.

Posted by: Doctor Jay at February 20, 2004 08:29 AM | PERMALINK

As I recall, there were many public officials who openly refused to obey the fugitive slave laws of their day. Mayor Newsom's refusal to go along with his own state's constitution on the matter of same-sex civil marriage could be seen in that light as a principled objection and not just a political stunt. I certainly don't think those same-sex couples who have been getting legally married in SF are doing so just to make a political statement.

Which is why it's such a powerful political statement, of course.

Posted by: David W. at February 20, 2004 08:53 AM | PERMALINK

Gay marriage leads to civil war, according to some dumb cunt in Michigan:
http://michnews.com/artman/publish/article_2709.shtml

Just keep 'em talking.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 09:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ron wrote: "I mean not only are gays discriminated against by not being allowed the benefits of being married, single people are also not being allowed the benefits of being married."

Ron, I'm sure you thought you were being funny, but can you at least try to make sense? A proper satirical or reductio ad absurdum argument has to actually follow from the topic under discussion. This was just nonsensical.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 09:04 AM | PERMALINK

Being from Canada, I think I have an outsider's perspective on this issue. What I find totally amazing, is how Americans "allow" people who are only the same as they are to have civil rights, until the courts say otherwise. First it was women and people of African origin, now it's gays. It's like civil rights only apply to you if you are an American just like the majority, otherwise, forget it.

I would play on the question: When did Americans stop being tolerant? (if you ask me, they never were in the first place, you guys just like to pretend you are)

Posted by: Michele at February 20, 2004 09:06 AM | PERMALINK

Tim Kane wrote: "The new amendment would come up against equal protection, most judges would find for equal protection"

It's not that simple, Tim. Generally, the more recent Constitutional amendment prevails in cases where there is a conflict. The new amendment overrules the equal protection clause and that's what the judges will find.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 09:08 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB: as I've posted elsewhere, this isn't a Culture War, it's a War Against Stoopid.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 09:10 AM | PERMALINK

Michele:

When did Americans stop being tolerant? (if you ask me, they never were in the first place, you guys just like to pretend you are).

It's our Puritan Heritage.

You have to remember, the Puritans were thrown out of Europe so THEY didn't have to deal with this nonsense anymore ;=)

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 09:12 AM | PERMALINK

I would start by emphasizing, over and over and over and over again, that "gay marriage" is actually "gay civil marriage", and that it is the LEGAL benefits and responsibilities that gay couples desire.

And for those who will cry "SPESHUL RITES!", emphasize that a) it's currently heterosexuals that have the special rights (if it's *not* a special right, ask them how they'd feel if only same-sex civil marriages were legal), and b) when same-sex civil marriage is allowed, any straight person will be free to marry a person of the same sex.

I *really* dislike trying to frame it as a states'-rights issue, because I can already imagine the ghettoization of gay couples that want civil marriage -- the fact that 38 states have already crafted anti-gay-civil-marriage legislation is a chilling prelude to what would come from a states'-right focus.

Posted by: Clay Colwell at February 20, 2004 09:13 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats should start using the words "tolerant" and "traditional." Either Kerry or Edwards could say "America is built on traditions. Most Americans are traditional people, we have traditional values. But we're also tolerant. We don't believe in forcing other people to live like us. We believe in equal rights for all people."

Frame the approach as tolerant traditionalism. There's some sociologist or historian who's written about Americans as tolerant traditionalists, but I can't remember who at the moment.

Posted by: David at February 20, 2004 09:22 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB says
This was just nonsensical.
Was it?

Marriage is traditionally defined as between a man and a woman (I know you want to change that, but bear with me here). Government and business "subsidize" marriage. i.e tax breaks, inclusion on insurance, the list is long.

I ask myself why do they subsidize marriage? And the only answer I have is that man-woman marriages result in the continuation of society. (And ya I know about childless couples, but that does not address the overall picture that man-woman marriages result in the continuation of society).

Since the continuation of society is a good thing, we reward it with benefits. So I ask what gay marriage contributes to the continuation of society that singles do not.

And the fact remains that the gay people want the benefits of marriage provided by the government and business. I mean they already have each other's love and companionship.

So at the end of all of this I have my question: what separates giving these benefits to gay couples from giving these benefits to singles? Or you can change my question to ask why we bother to give these benefits to man-woman marriages.

The same ideas will be addressed because the question hinges on why we give benefits to man-woman marriages.

Posted by: Ron at February 20, 2004 09:30 AM | PERMALINK

This should help:

Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk has shown that advancing years are no barrier to an open mind and liberal attitude.BBC News

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 09:31 AM | PERMALINK

OOPS!

BBC News

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 09:33 AM | PERMALINK

Ron, even assuming that your "continuation of society" idea is correct (which I do not), the rest of your post is still nonsensical, because just about all of the benefits you refer to are the benefits specifically granted to the other person in the relationship. Single people, by definition, have no other such person. Your post is still nonsense, despite your attempt at clarification.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 09:34 AM | PERMALINK

point out that the right wing is not making a coherent case for this: don't let them have the "threat to marriage/defense of marriage" language, because this keeps the ball in their court. On the night of either the New Hampshire or Iowa (don't remember which) primaries, Kerry defended his vote against the clinton signed federal DOM act by saying that the act itself was electoral grandstanding. Point out how that's what's going on here-it's a smokescreen.

Concurrently: keep reminding people that gay folks are human beings. keep it centered on love, not sex. one of the bigots favorite tools is depicting queerness as sexual, not loving behavior. Keep this rhetoric in the debate.

Then, if we can move the ball out of their linguistic court, move to other points:

No one is trying to force anyone to do anything here. You don't want to marry someone of your gender? you won't have to. You don't want your church to hold gay weddings? take that up with your pastor/preacher/rabbi, whatever.

states rights-not even necessarily that it should be a states rights issue, just that the right wingers are terribly hypocritical about this, as they normally favor states raights. this speaks to the smoke screen issue. Given that I have family and friends in the South, i'm a little scared of actually turning it over to the states, tho I guess i'd accept it as a defense against bigoting the constitution.

getting/keeping the govt. out of the marriage buisness: this is actually pretty radical, as it would involve reforming the tax code, etc. but it might confuse 'em if some people make this-an essentially right wing "less intrusive gvt." style argument.

equal rights: thisa really is what's fundamental to me here, but it iisn't gonna flay if you don't humanize gays, defuse the "threat to marriage" meme, and so on. Be careful with the "civil rights movement 2" approaches, and the gender choice=race connections. these can only work if we undermine the postion that the republicans have been staking out.

Posted by: urk at February 20, 2004 09:40 AM | PERMALINK

Here is a quote from George Lakoff about this:

When there is a discussion in your office, church, or other group, there is a simple response to someone who says, "I don't think gays should be able to marry, do you?" The response is, "I believe in equal rights, period. I don't think the state should be in the business of telling people who they can or can't marry

Full details of his position are here:

http://www.alternet.org/members/story.html?StoryID=17876

Posted by: Moe at February 20, 2004 09:52 AM | PERMALINK

Really great point, Moe - Incest and NAMBLA here we cum.

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 09:59 AM | PERMALINK

I thought I was the only crazy person making this argument, I went out to Google to find a list of benefits given to married couples that do not pertain to the partner. And lookie what I found: From the hated Fox News an article about singles wanting marriage benefits. A few quotes:

"What we need to do is make marriage more attractive and help couples in cohabitating relationships to start thinking of the 'M'-word," [Mike McManus] said.

I really like this one:
Marriage is not a lifestyle choice, but a "public commodity," critical for the survival of the human race, he said, adding that it deserves special supports and incentives.

As for the benefits being for the partner:
Singles get smaller capital gains breaks when they sell a house than married couples, and spouses don?t get taxed on inherited estates. Also, according to Coleman, married persons get paid more on average for the same job during the same length of service when spousal health benefits are factored in.

And I found a blog that was arguing basically my same position.

But as far as my "continuation of society" thing, I would be willing to hear why you think we give man-woman marriages benefits.

And the fact is, not all benefits given to married couples pertain to the partner. Some are listed above and I'll add another one: married filing jointly is taxed at a lower rate than single.

Posted by: Ron at February 20, 2004 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

The response is, "I believe in equal rights, period. I don't think the state should be in the business of telling people who they can or can't marry

The state has always been in the position of telling people who they can and can't marry. For example, close blood relatives cannot marry, and no person may take more than one spouse.

The HRC and other mainline gay-rights groups do not favor overturning either of these two restrictions on the marriage franchise.

Posted by: rachelrachel at February 20, 2004 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the right thing to do is to extend exactly the same civil marriage to gay and straight people. But there's a difference between the Boston and San Francisco cases, centering around an issue of jurisprudence.

In Boston, the courts have decreed that gay people shall be married.

In San Francisco, there is a state law on the books prohibiting gay marriage, which the courts have not struck down, which the city is pointedly ignoring anyway.

We can't very well hector the right about the rule of law if we're going to support this kind of thing.

Posted by: xfrosch at February 20, 2004 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie, wrote: "Really great point, Moe - Incest and NAMBLA here we cum"

Yeah, that's a convincing argument, Charlie. By the way, I'm still waiting for you to respond to my debunking of all of those bogus links you provided about how there are "valid concerns re: the negative impact of sexual deviancy on individuals and society." You can start here.

See, the problem is, Charlie, that none of your links actually talked about homosexuality, sexual deviancy, or gay marriage!

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Get all the gay people to go on welfare, then the Administration would be really happy to have them get married, what with their pushing matrimony on the poor people caught in the only social safety net in your country.

Posted by: Michele at February 20, 2004 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Ron wrote: "I thought I was the only crazy person making this argument"

Hey, at least you're honest enough to admit the argument is crazy. The problem with the article and quotes you cite is that they're not talking about single people! Instead, they're talking about people in a "cohabitating" relationship with another person. By definition, then, these people are not "single."

What this article is arguing for is some concept of civil unions, which I feel fairly certain would be fine with just about everyone posting here, as long as these civil unions were available to everyone.

"But as far as my "continuation of society" thing, I would be willing to hear why you think we give man-woman marriages benefits."

Maybe because if we don't, the courts get clogged trying to deal with all of the legal issues that will need to be settled in the absence of such benefits?

And the benefits you mentioned are still primarily for the benefit of the other partner and cannot be given to a truly single person. The sole exceptions are the capital gains break on the sale of a home and the marriage benefit (or penalty) on federal income taxes. And hey, as far as I'm concerned, I'm perfectly fine with giving those to single people.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

appalled moderate at February 20, 2004 07:34 AM

>-- Gay Marriage is fine. Make sure it comes with:

>* Gay Divorce

etc.

Um, what makes you apparently believe that it wouldn't? I seem to recall having read of some court cases in which the courts ordered payment of "gay child support," even without gay marriage.

BTW, you don't really believe that payment of child support is grounded on a marriage relationship, do you? Typically, it is grounded on biological parentage. In point of fact, there was one case I read about out of Indiana in which a woman, who wanted to have a child, agreed with a man that he would not have any financial responsibilities for the child. After the child was born, the child sued the father for child support And won. The court held that the right to child support is the child's, not the mother's, and the mother could not contract that right away.

The kicker is that the child--a minor--sued through the mother as the "next friend." In other words, the mother filed the lawsuit.

The case was from Indiana in the mid-1990s

Also, BTW, you sound like a hubby who believes he was taken to the cleaners in divorce court.

Posted by: raj at February 20, 2004 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

xfrosch wrote: "We can't very well hector the right about the rule of law if we're going to support this kind of thing."

Sure we can, just as they can hector us about the rule of law even though they supported Justice Moore.

Look, I don't think you're going to find too many people here who see this as anything more than civil disobedience to make a point. I think just about everyone here acknowledges that these marriages will be nullified when the courts finally rule (although there is a small chance that the California Supreme Court, which will ultimately handle this, will rule as did the Massachusetts court).

This is a joyful celebration of love and it puts a human face on an otherwise clinical and detached debate. The San Francisco marriages are reminding us that real people are affected by the decisions we make. Personally, I'm delighted by this celebration, even though I don't think it will stand, and I don't think the "rule of law" is at all threatened by this act of civil disobedience.

Now if the mayor of San Francisco disobeys a direct court order to stop granting these licenses, you would have a point. Since that has not happened yet, I think you're overreacting.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Ron, the whole point of rewarding heterosexual marriage was this idea that people have to make a moral choice to do the "right" thing of heterosexually coupling, producing children, and indoctrinating them into the society's religion (Judaism/Christianity/Islam) - and that we should bully them into doing so. Now that we have (1) close-to-proof that sexual orientation is not a choice; (2) a society whose morals are based on civil rights and not a specific religious view; (3) a 14th Amendment obligating that all be given equal protection under the law; and (4) an overpopulated society in no "danger" of becoming extinct (not that it would were gay marriage legal), why should we perpetuate the Western model of attempting to bully gays into getting married to the opposite sex to procreate?

Posted by: thom at February 20, 2004 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Thom:

... why should we perpetuate the Western model of attempting to bully gays into getting married to the opposite sex to procreate?

Because God says so! ;=)

Posted by: Alli Gator at February 20, 2004 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

"Bernalillo, New Mexico-AP -- A county clerk in New Mexico says it has nothing to do with "politics or morals."

Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap says the county plans to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

She made the decision after asking for an opinion from the county attorney, who said New Mexico law isn't clear on the issue. He also says refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples could open the county to legal action.

State law defines marriage as a civil contract between contracting parties. It doesn't mention gender."

Y'all just stratergize away, now. Cause you ain't in control of this, on any side of the issue. And Mel Gibson's movie hits 1800 cities Wednesday. Gonna be a fun summer.

Posted by: bob mcmanus at February 20, 2004 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB at February 20, 2004 10:24 AM

>>>xfrosch wrote: "We can't very well hector the right about the rule of law if we're going to support this kind of thing."

>Sure we can, just as they can hector us about the rule of law even though they supported Justice Moore.

The Moore case is inapposite. Moore defiantly refused to obey a court order that had been affirmed on appeal. AND moreover, he said to the court that removed him (a state judicial panel) that, if he was permitted to keep his post, he would continue to refuse to obey the court order. He was removed from office because, as chief judicial officer of Alabama, his actions brought the entire judiciary of Alabama into disrepute.

In MA the court has ordered that the state provide for same sex marriage. And in SF, the court is not under court order to do or not do anything, and, if memory serves, they have indicated that if a court orders them to stop, they will.

Posted by: raj at February 20, 2004 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

George Lakoff, author of Moral Politics, has written extensively on the need to "frame" arguments. Conservative/Republicans have been better at this than Liberal/Democrats over the past 30 years. The issue of gay marriage should test the ability of the Democrats to counter the GOPs skill in framing (e.g. "tax relief": yes, but for whom?) and neutralize this potentially polarizing issue. It's a red herring, but a potent one. "Equal Protection" has been used in Massachusetts and now in San Francisco. I think the Democrats should respond to Karl Rove's offensive (!) by proposing Constitutional amendments of their own regarding corporate responsibility and tax obligations. Frontline's documentary, "Tax me if You Can," which recently aired on PBS, offers an issue that many Americans instantly relate to, that is, being taxed while the corporations get off scot-free (apologies to the Scots).

Posted by: Kizunamon at February 20, 2004 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Oh. My. God. Rush Limbaugh just mocked same-sex couples for incurring tax problems by their questionable marital status. They've been told to pay the rate for singles, he says. Which means they're dopes -- there's no economic benefit to their marriage!

His brain, such as it was, has been thoroughly fried.

Posted by: Grumpy at February 20, 2004 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB
You had half the article right, they talked about why to give marriage benefits to singles (co-habitation) and they talked about why to give them to man-woman marriages only (continuation of society). You know, fair and balanced ;-)

Maybe because if we don't, the courts get clogged trying to deal with all of the legal issues that will need to be settled in the absence of such benefits?
So we give marriage benefits to man-woman marriages to ease the court load? So to extend marriage benefits to gay couples would indicate that the courts are clogged now with gay couples trying to settle legal issues. They're probably much more clogged with heterosexual co-habitation folks.

And hey, as far as I'm concerned, I'm perfectly fine with giving those to single people.
I want to say first of all that I'm glad you're in favor of lowering my taxes :-) And I was unsucessful at finding the full list of 1047 benefits afforded married couples by the Federal gov't (more if you roll in States), or probably just too lazy to dig enough, regardless: if you were to extend all possible benefits to all people (single, married, gay married) then you are in essence arguing to stop giving benefits to man-woman marriages. You have made them the same as the alternatives.

Is this desirable? Is there no special benefit to man-woman marriages?

Hey, at least you're honest enough to admit the argument is crazy.
I didn't say the argument was crazy, I said I was crazy. I find the argument fascinating, in an odd sort of way. I find it so fascinating that I'm going to abandon it and have some fun for the rest of the weekend. I'll check back Monday for your response.

Have fun, cuz I'm gonna.

Posted by: Ron at February 20, 2004 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

And now Rush is arguing that the issue about gay marriage (a "gift from heaven" in an election year) is all about sex. Because, of course, the couples getting hitched in San Francisco are only doing it for the regular sex.

Believe me, I wouldn't be listening to Rush today if I wasn't being forced.

Posted by: Grumpy at February 20, 2004 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, last one. Now, Rush says the problem with gay marriage is that the couples are hypocrites. Sure, they say they're concerned about the legal benefits of marraige -- so why they breaking the law by getting married??

Swing and a miss. Three strikes, Rush. You're not allowed to talk about this topic anymore.

Posted by: Grumpy at February 20, 2004 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

rachelrachel:

"The state has always been in the position of telling people who they can and can't marry. For example, close blood relatives cannot marry, and no person may take more than one spouse."

So, is there even ONE argument being used to push gay marriage that cannot (or will not) be used in the future to cross those lines, too?

"The HRC and other mainline gay-rights groups do not favor overturning either of these two restrictions on the marriage franchise."

Yet.

Look, once you guys decide how to frame your opposition, let me know : )

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Simple, really. Gay couples are already co-habiting and raising children. It's not illegal for them to do this. Giving them the same legal rights that heterosexual couples can obtain through cohabitation or marriage does not change this.

Legalizing gay marriage = recognition of an existing legal relationship and granting the rights that typically go with that relationship to the couple.

Incest is illegal. Bestiality is illegal.

Legalizing incest or bestiality = redefining an illegal act as a legal act.

The two are quite different. In the first case, citizens engaged in perfectly legal activities are asking for the same recognition that other citizens engaged in the same activities receive.

In the second case, people engaged in criminal acts would be asking that the law be changed to make them no longer criminals.


I do find it tiresome that the only "parallels" you can offer are bestiality, incest, murder. How you can equate two people living in a loving, legal relationship and raising their children to be good citizens with any of those is beyond me. That you can strongly suggests to me that you have no idea what a loving relationship looks like, and can only conceive of gay people as freaks and monsters.

And, Charlie, that is called bigotry.

Posted by: Rana at February 20, 2004 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

I already know those who resort to personal attacks won't, but maybe reasonable people like Jay C. can, at least, acknowledge that there are valid questions re: the negative impact of sexual deviancy on individuals and society - shouldn't we look honestly at the negative (and by all means, compare that to the positive research as well) consequences, and then let the democracy decide? What possibly could be wrong with that approach?

I (and many other "bigots" like me) am not going anywhere or "running away", but if you don't want to even honestly debate the issue, I fail to see what else I can say.

JUST A FEW OF THE VALID QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD BE ASKED (over three separate threads so far):

1) Will "gay marriage" further deteriorate the institution of marriage?

2) Will churches ever be sued for discrimination, etc. and/or forced to perform "gay marriages"?

3) Will the legalization of polygamy and incest be next?

4) Can we really say that any of us can play the role of husband or wife, regardless of what nature has endowed us with?

5) What impact will "gay marriage" have on children - do you really believe that a child will find all she needs from a mother in two loving, nurturing men - is that really the "ideal" we want society to strive for - can that child find what he needs from a father in two strong, compassionate women - are children raised by homosexuals going to have homosexual experiences more often and/or tend to prefer the homosexual lifestyle themselves - what other consequences are there to intentionally deny every child they touch either their biological mother or father?

(Jay C. - I'm not sure if that was strictly Oxford-style or not, but I took out any and all reference to God, religion or the Bible - which is what got us in this problem in the first place - or out of control "judicial activism". Is there a second proposition? : )

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

. . . one wonders if the "state's rights" folks would agree that the referendum on Marijuana legalization passed in California gives us the right of self-determination, or whether Ashcroft should go on prosecuting medical Marijuana use. . .

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at February 20, 2004 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB: Geez, I thought we may have worn Charlie down - or that, perhaps he realized that he was just attracted to those big burly men!

Back on the other thread Charlie never did deal with the fact that Jesus - as recorded in the New Testament - never discusses homosexuality. He can only revert to Leviticus - the speaker of which does not deal with this issue for non-Jews - and Paul - who suffers from poor translation into English. (Try actually reading Leviticus, Charlie. In chapter 1, verse 1, he speaks to Moses, directing him to "speak to the people of Israel" in verse 2. Chapter 18 reads, "And the LORD said to Moses,"Say to the people of Israel, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you dwelt..." Any Israelite folks here who lived in Egypt?)

These folks really don't want to think. As you know Paul, Charlie failed to deal with anything either you or I said in the other thread.

Tsk, tsk.

Posted by: Jon at February 20, 2004 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie...
1)How much lower can it go? Or, to put it a less flippant way, No.
2)No. Those that sanctify gay marriages now may continue to do so; those that don't are protected by the First Amendment.
3)That's for the polygamists and consanguinists to decide. I'd point out that the jump to polygamy is a lot more complicated, contractually, than applying current marriage rules to same-sex couples.
4)Perhaps not. It's a struggle for everyone, hetero and homo.
5)Assuming there is epidemiological data suggesting children of gay parents are warped, should that statistical tendency act as a barrier to all couples? Do we extend that to other less-than-optimum family structures?

Good questions. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, what's the problem?

Posted by: Grumpy at February 20, 2004 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

If marriage is really a wonderful institution that promotes social and family stability, then wouldn't we want to expand it to gay people? It will strengthen gay families that have children, and promote stable relationships. Isn't that good for society? The glorification of marriage coming out of SF should give it a BOOST everywhere, not make people think they should get a divorce. In short, I think the way to frame it is marriage is wonderful for individuals and society! Let gays marry too! Hooray for marriage! This will leave the Tom Delays speechless.

Posted by: Mimikatz at February 20, 2004 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Rama:

I asked: "So, is there even ONE argument being used to push gay marriage that cannot (or will not) be used in the future to cross those lines, too?"

And you respond with: "Gay couples are already co-habiting and raising children. It's not illegal for them to do this. Giving them the same legal rights that heterosexual couples can obtain through cohabitation or marriage does not change this."

Maybe I can narrow it down for you then: Once incest and NAMBLA is more accepted in the mainstream, perhaps when there's an organized push for legalization and some Supreme Court wants to try those social experiments too, you'll be O.K. with that too?

BTW: I have NEVER once equated homosexuality with incest or NAMBLA (you should carefully review why I bring those up to you or in response to someone saying: "I don't think the state should be in the business of telling people who they can or can't marry" and in other threads, not this one, I have brought up issues like "murder" and "beastiality" only to test people's logic and argument and point out even THEY DO DRAW lines somewhere, not to equate them with homosexuality - that would be a fallacious slippery slope argument).

Since we obviously already are on one of those slippery slopes (I vividly remember those at the APA saying 30 years ago that it would NEVER result in "gay marriage"), so your point: "people engaged in criminal acts would be asking that the law be changed to make them no longer criminals" strikes a bit hollow - until the Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws last year in Lawrence v. Texas, I didn't think we'd ever legalize incest or polygamy either.

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

For all concerned: I, for one, will not leave God out of this discussion. This whole argument revolves around the very dark vision of God that right-wing literalists suffer from. As I've argued elsewhere, the founding fathers, specifically Jefferson, Franklin, Ethan Allen, and the great Tom Paine, among others, railed against this kind of thinking (which Jefferson called "a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet."). It was their view of God that allowed them to imagine this nation. The fact is that, based upon the writings of these patriots, those espousing these 'counter-religions. . . foreign to Christianity' are the anti-Americans. That's what Jefferson thought. Read Tom Paine's "The Age of Reason", those of you espousing a biblically-literal chapter-and-verse worldview. It was Paine's writing in "Common Sense" which later inspired the American Revolution, that fired this great American experiment. The biblical literalists' worldview was, in fact, the very antithesis of the ideas around which this country was born. They were then, and are now, the anti-Americans.

Posted by: Jon at February 20, 2004 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie, you are indeed a bigot, whether you accept the term or not. My dictionary says a bigot is:

"One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race or politics and is intolerant of those who differ."

To answer your questions:

1) I don't see how it could. I would argue that the evidence is at least as good that it would strengthen it, by showing that marriage is something people from all walks of life are willing to fight for the right to have.

2) I sincerely doubt it. The Catholic church is not currently sued for its refusal to grant divorces. Perhaps a church might be denied federal funding if it refused to grant benefits to same-sex spouses, but that is more a church-state matter than a gay issue.

3) Maybe, maybe not. I suspect not. In any case, why would gay marriage be the catalyst? I don't see what being gay has to do with incest. Polygamy also seems more like a heterosexual issue. You might ask, with equal validity, whether recognizing heterosexual marriage would lead to the legalization of incest or polygamy. (Which it has, in the latter case...)

4) I don't know what you're asking here.

5) Gays already have children and are raising them. How will legalizing gay marriage change this?

(I notice that you tend to assume that no gay marriage = no gay relationships, no gay parents, no gay activities. Silly man, if this were the case, why would people be seeking legal acceptance of these things?)

I believe that you are disturbed by gay people on many levels and have somehow come to the belief that if gay marriage remains illegal gays and gay behavior will not exist. I find this quite odd, but you are welcome to keep believing this, so long as your belief doesn't keep my friends and their children from gaining the full recognition they deserve as law-abiding citizens.

Posted by: Rana at February 20, 2004 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Jon (this is my last post to you):

Feel free to equate getting on my ignore-list as whatever victory your little mind can imagine.

Grumpy:

"1) How much lower can it go?"

Well, Rama and I are discussing a few "lower" places it can go.

"2) No. Those that sanctify gay marriages now may continue to do so; those that don't are protected by the First Amendment."

Yeah right - just like the First Amendment protects churches from marrying a black couple ; )

BTW: they will, at the very least, be sued (whether they are successful or not, I hope not, but given what tomorrow's judicial activists could be, I'll withhold judgment for just a bit more, if you don't mind) if not firebombed and killed.

"3) That's for the polygamists and consanguinists to decide. I'd point out that the jump to polygamy is a lot more complicated, contractually, than applying current marriage rules to same-sex couples."

That's not quite the confidence-building solid answer I was looking for : )

"4) Perhaps not. It's a struggle for everyone, hetero and homo."

So, you concede it's at least a VALID concern for society to have?

"5) Assuming there is epidemiological data suggesting children of gay parents are warped, should that statistical tendency act as a barrier to all couples?"

Yes.

"Do we extend that to other less-than-optimum family structures?"

I'm open to suggestions.

"Good questions."

Some on my ignore-list don't think so.

"Now that we've gotten that out of the way . . ."

LOL - assumes facts with the evidence : )

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, Charlie, you have spelled my name wrong on two occasions now. It is R A N A, not "Rena" or "Rama."

Posted by: Rana at February 20, 2004 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Gee Charlie, too bad you won't actually respond with some Reason. You don't because you can't.

By the way, have you actually read any Jefferson or Tom Paine, or Ethan Allen?

Posted by: Jon at February 20, 2004 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone else have questions, to which I will gladly respond with as much Reason as my double major in English and Political Science, law degree, and life experience can muster?

If not, as I said above, once you guys decide how to frame your opposition, let me know : )

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

And I have a Ph.D. Big whoop. I responded to your questions. So now show me why your answers to those same questions are better than mine.

Posted by: Rana at February 20, 2004 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie answers a question with a question. Some lawyer.

Posted by: Jon at February 20, 2004 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

I answered Charlie's plea on the other thread, so I'll reproduce that answer here.

A pleading Charlie wrote: "at least see that there are valid questions re: the negative impact of sexual deviancy on individuals and society"

50 years ago, yes, these were valid questions. Today? No, the evidence is pretty overwhelming, aside from a few idiots like Cameron.

" - and maybe ALL the limited research to date can be discredited"

No. Some of it can, certainly, and you definitely have to be careful about the conclusions you reach, but the majority of it is sound and valid.

"and then let the democracy decide? What possibly could be wrong with that approach?"

Our Constitution was specifically set up to prevent the "tyranny of the majority," Charlie. We do not legislate basic fundamental rights. You are using precisely the arguments that were used by those who opposed Loving v. Virginia or Brown v. Board of Education or the recent Lawrence decision.

"I (and many other "bigots" like me) am not going anywhere or "running away", but if you don't want to every honestly debate the issue"

We do want to debate it honestly, Charlie. Thus far, your record on this does not exactly lend much credence to this plea of yours, though, given your dishonesty about the "research" you cited that you claimed supported your views.

"1) Will "gay marriage" further deteriorate the institution of marriage?"

Not based on the evidence to date in the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, Canada and Vermont.

"2) Will churches ever be sued for discrimination, etc. and/or forced to perform "gay marriages"?"

No. Churches cannot be coerced in this manner. They are protected both by federal law and by the Constitution.

"3) Will the legalization of polygamy and incest be next?"

Only if it makes sense to do so. These are independent questions. I can just as easily say that if we allow anyone to marry, I have to allow incest and polygamy, which is, of course, nonsense. The Supreme Court, in particular, specifically addressed this issue and rejected this argument.

"4) Can we really say that any of us can play the role of husband or wife, regardless of what nature has endowed us with?"

That depends on what you mean by "the role of husband or wife." If you are asking whether children can be happily, healthily and successfully raised by a gay couple, the answer is an unambiguous yes. This issue has been studied for 30 years.

Moreover, as I keep pointing out to you, gay couples have been having, adopting and raising children for decades. Forbidding gay marriage does nothing to prevent this.

"5) What impact will "gay marriage" have on children - do you really believe that a child will find all she needs from a mother in two loving, nurturing men"

Yup. Just ask the children themselves, Charlie, and then study the research. This is not a new question; the answers are out there. In any case, it's still irrelevant to the issue of gay marriage since gay men and women will continue to raise children.

"- is that really the "ideal" we want society to strive for"

Since when do we only allow for an "ideal?" Are you really prepared to examine every single couple, gay and straight, and decide which ones are "ideal" to raise children?

The standard is, and should be, whether children are being harmed by the person or persons raising them. And, as noted above, the answer for gay couples is clear and unambiguous. In any case, it's still irrelevant to the issue of gay marriage since gay men and women will continue to raise children.

"- are children raised by homosexuals going to have homosexual experiences more often and/or tend to prefer the homosexual lifestyle themselves"

Possibly yes to the former, depending on which studies you review. No to the latter, regardless of which studies you review. In any case, it's still irrelevant to the issue of gay marriage since gay men and women will continue to raise children.

"- what other consequences are there to intentionally deny every child they touch either their biological mother or father?"

Who said that these children are always denied their biological mother or father? In any case, the answer is still the same: no negative consequences when the children are raised by a loving gay couple. And it's still irrelevant to the issue of gay marriage since gay men and women will continue to raise children.

"Anthropology tells us no human society, ancient or modern, primitive or civilized has ever sustained itself with a buffet-like family model ? just pick what suits you."

Have you really not been paying attention in that other thread? At least two examples are there that prove this assertion wrong.

Moreover, even if you were correct, you still don't have much of a point. Our civilization does one hell of a lot of things that earlier civilizations have never done and never would do. That's part of the normal growth of the civilization.

"I think it's not only reasonable, but society's duty, that we seriously consider what we are doing before we jump in with both feet, with our eyes closed to the fact that differences between male and female matter, fingers crossed that it will all work out."

This has been researched for the past 50 years, Charlie. Your eyes are certainly closed; the rest of us are going into this with our eyes open.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Charlie but in my earlier very long-winded post prior to yours, I already address why gay marriage doesn't support the idea that one would then have to someday allow polygamy, etc.

The Constitution guarantees EQUAL protection. Period. Therefore, everyone should have the right to enter into a legally binding consensual relationship with a person of his/her choosing.

The Equal protection act doesn't mean we have to allow polygamy or NAMBLA or any of those things.

The argument against NAMBLA is quite simple. Relationships between adults and minors are by their very nature not consensual because children are not capable of consent (nor are animals, although bestiality was legal in Texas even when sodomy was not).

The argument against polygamy is simply that equal protection does not require people to be allowed to have more than one partner if NOBODY can have more than one partner. If you started allowing US Muslims and Mormons to have more than one wife but nobody else, you would then have a valid equal protection argument non-Muslims and non-Mormons could use to advocate for the right to engage in polygamy. But because polygamy is illegal for EVERYONE in the United States, it's simply the law of the land.

But marriage is only illegal for homosexuals. And that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Not allowing homosexuals to marry sentences them to a life of permanent singleness because they simply aren't biologically driven to mate with people of a different sex. Not allowing incest does not fall under this because people who engage in incest are still attracted to non-relatives and because incest is a psychological attraction not a biological one.

It's really that simple.

Posted by: CatM at February 20, 2004 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jon wrote: "PaulB: Geez, I thought we may have worn Charlie down"

Nope. Fanatics like Charlie simply do not wear down, nor do they ever change their minds. He's just as bad and just as wacky on other topics, too. You simply cannot take him seriously.

"As you know Paul, Charlie failed to deal with anything either you or I said in the other thread."

Yup, and now he's made it official that he's not going to respond to you ever again. I'm sure you're simply crushed.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

On that other thread, I had written: "In any case, it's still irrelevant to the issue of gay marriage since gay men and women will continue to raise children."

Our resident bigot, Charlie, responded: "Not if we can stop the tide here and turn it back."

I think I'll just let that remark stand.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

To me, fundamentalist Christians are not much less frightening than fundamentalist Islamists.

Today I read that these "fundamental" Christians are threatening not to vote for Bush because they don't feel he has been 'conservative' enough or true to their agenda.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. If Bush were any more conservative I'd definitely have had to leave this country.

Posted by: CatM at February 20, 2004 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm struggling with "4) Can we really say that any of us can play the role of husband or wife, regardless of what nature has endowed us with?"

I've been married for almost 16 years. We have one kid. I'm the primary wage earner, and my spouse works part time, after having left the job market for five years to stay home with our child. My spouse has more time available and does all the driving around required by our child's schedule (early to school for band practice, etc.) My spouse also meets our child at home when she gets home from school, so she doesn't have to "latch-key" it. Additionally, my spouse does more than 50% of the housework, simply because of time. We agree on family rules and discipline, but since my spouse has more face-time with our kid, my spouse ends up enforcing the rules more often than I do.

Am I the husband? Is my spouse the wife?

Are you surprised when I say I'm XX and he's XY?

Posted by: Ab_Normal at February 20, 2004 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I should give Charlie a little credit. Since I demolished his list of references, he's no longer claiming that the "deviant sexual behavior" of gay men and women harms themselves, other, and society. Of course, he never formally backed down on that assertion or admitted that his sources were bogus, but hey, at least it's progress.

I can't give him too much credit, though, since he's now on this, "omigod, think of the chiilllddrreennn" kick.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

CatM:

"The Constitution guarantees EQUAL protection. Period. Therefore, everyone should have the right to enter into a legally binding consensual relationship with a person of his/her choosing."

Which one are you arguing for with these three sentences, homosexual marriage or polygamy?

"The Equal protection act doesn't mean we have to allow polygamy or NAMBLA or any of those things."

Give it 30 years.

"The argument against NAMBLA is quite simple. Relationships between adults and minors are by their very nature not consensual because children are not capable of consent . . ."

So, the age of consent should be 4 then - problem solved.

". . . (nor are animals, although bestiality was legal in Texas even when sodomy was not)."

And NO ONE out there is promoting HUMAN civil rights for animals, right?

"The argument against polygamy is simply that equal protection does not require people to be allowed to have more than one partner if NOBODY can have more than one partner . . ."

Why is that?! Simply quoting one argument from above: "Some people have a difference of opinion -- that only 'two people' can get married. But in the long run, we have to understand what they're saying. They love each other just as much as anyone else." And, what if three men want to get married - isn't that all about love, in the end?

". . . because polygamy is illegal for EVERYONE in the United States, it's simply the law of the land."

And, up until now, because "gay marriage" was illegal for EVERYONE in the United States, it's simply the law of the land - sound familiar?

"But marriage is only illegal for homosexuals. And that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution."

No more so than laws against polygamy, incest, etc.

"Not allowing homosexuals to marry sentences them to a life of permanent singleness because they simply aren't biologically driven to mate with people of a different sex . . ."

Or, they can have sex outside of marriage like so many heterosexual couples already do so successfully, right?

"Not allowing incest does not fall under this because people who engage in incest are still attracted to non-relatives and because incest is a psychological attraction not a biological one."

How about you guys decide how to "frame your opposition" before we get into the whole nature vs. nurture thing : )

"It's really that simple."

I agree.

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ab_Normal:

"Am I the husband?"

No.

"Is my spouse the wife?"

No.

"Are you surprised when I say I'm XX and he's XY?"

Not unless you aren't legally married to each other.

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, PaulB, at least he pays attention to you. It's quite discouraging seeing how weirdly he summarizes and seems to interpret my arguments -- those that he bothers to answer. Witness the incoherent explosion that just happened.

(I still can't believe he keeps misspelling my name. How hard can it freaking be?)

Posted by: Rana at February 20, 2004 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

paulB: Too bad all that education was wasted on such a dullard. He actually tried to whip it out.

Eew!

Posted by: Jon at February 20, 2004 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said, once you guys decide how to "frame your opposition" (that is the thread topic, right?) then we can broach other subjects like how in our flat world we "bigots" could possibly think that lowered life expectancy rates could qualify as "harm" to those involved, others, and society as a whole. I guess since we are such homophobic bigots, we should re-think this whole opposition to the "gay gene" too (I mean think of how many "gays" would be aborted if we could just find that one gene) or other such "lowered life expectancy rates" : )

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie at February 20, 2004 12:33 PM

>The Equal protection act doesn't mean we have to allow polygamy or NAMBLA or any of those things."

From what we heard a few years ago coming out of Utah, the Mormon Church might be considered NAMGLA--North American Man Girl Love Association. Old men marrying 12 year old girls.

Posted by: raj at February 20, 2004 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie, wrote: "How about you guys decide how to "frame your opposition" before we get into the whole nature vs. nurture thing"

How about you come up with a credible argument instead of these daft non sequiturs?

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

That's wonderful, Charlie! Allowing gay marriage will promote longer lifespans by fostering stable unions for gays, and gay parents will of course be much less likely to abort fetuses with the "gay gene"!

Bigot.

Posted by: Thersites at February 20, 2004 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, I see I gave Charlie too much credit. Our resident bigot writes: "like how in our flat world we "bigots" could possibly think that lowered life expectancy rates could qualify as "harm" to those involved"

Bring it on, Charlie. Let's see the citation for this particular assertion. (Man, you really are a glutton for punishment, aren't you?)

Oh, and while you're at it, you might want to ponder the differences between homosexual orientation, homosexual action, and reckless sexual behavior. Free clue: they are three separate and independent things.

And when you're done pondering that, you might want to consider the damage that you, and those like you, inflict on youg gay men and women and how that damage is directly responsible for their depression and low self-esteem and the behaviors that go with these things.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie:

You have not countered my arguments effectively since you clearly fail to comprehend the simple concept I put forth.

There is nothing in the Constitution that could ever be interpreted as allowing polygamy. But if congress were to enact a law that allowed polygamy for only SOME groups, the constitutional clause of equal protection would kick in.

This is the whole reason bigoted conservatives want a constitutional amendment. It ties the Supreme Court's hands because their job is to interpret the Constitution.

There are two ways of invalidating the "equal protection" argument--one is a Supreme Court amendment; the other is to remove ALL laws regarding marriage. The latter is obviously not going to happen, but the only way to adhere to the equal protection law is if EVERYONE can get married or NOBODY can get married.

So if the law says NOBODY can practice polygamy, then it's not an equal protection issue.

Further, on a biological basis, polygamy and homosexuality do not equate. By denying a person the right to have more than one spouse you are not denying them the right to enter into a committed partnership of marriage and all the rights that attend to that.

As to lowering the age of consent, as we know the age of consent has been raised and lowered many times. Thomas Jefferson didn't seem to have any difficulty having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl. And when lifespans were shorter, people married earlier. But this bears no relationship to the argument for or against homosexual marriage and is what one would call a "red herring"--a ploy by conservatives to try to cloud the issue at hand by trying to drag in things that the majority of people, including homosexuals, find morally outrageous.

There will never be a movement in this country to reduce the age of consent to four and you know it. But truth be told if there ever was one, then you are probably right that it would eventually become law. You see, Charlie, man makes the laws. That is why slavery was legal at one time and why white people who came to this country made murder of indigenous people and slaves and sexual assault of these people perfectly legal. It wasn't God's law; it was man's law.

It's only when you can muster enough people to oppose a law that it gets changed. That indeed may not happen with regard to homosexuals right to marriage at this point because there are too many stupid bigots like you in existence who would change the Constitution into a discriminatory document rather than adhere to what it says.

Posted by: CatM at February 20, 2004 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, not a "supreme court" amendment; a "constitutional amendment." My mind was in two places at once.

Posted by: CatM at February 20, 2004 01:00 PM | PERMALINK

"But marriage is only illegal for homosexuals. And that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution."

No more so than laws against polygamy, incest, etc.

LOL!

Apparently something is that simple!

Once again we see that this isn't a culture war, it's a war on stoopid.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 01:16 PM | PERMALINK

As liberals, we need to stop conceding the moral high ground to the Conservatives. When they are promoting evil, we should emphasize it. Using legalistic arguments like states rights just makes us look like we're hiding. We shouldn't hide - we should blow them away on right vs wrong.

Marriage is commitment. Marriage is trust. Marriage is long-term love. These things are virtues! Making a commitment and honoring it, whether to somebody of the same sex or the opposite sex, is a positive act. Taking an oath of commitment and trust and honor is a step in the direction of divinity. The idea that gay people shouldn't take steps toward self-realization, that they shouldn't enact positive values, that we should somehow stop them from personal growth and interpersonal growth, is completely backwards.

Posted by: Josh Yelon at February 20, 2004 01:17 PM | PERMALINK

"No more so than laws against polygamy, incest, etc."

Um, laws against polygamy and incest do not violate the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution because they are illegal for EVERYONE, not just some people.

Posted by: CatM at February 20, 2004 01:25 PM | PERMALINK

No, Josh, all you have to do is point to the innocuousness of it all:
http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0407/fiore.php

Let the credulous and superstitious fret about how this is "redefining" their marriages, all it amounts to is spectral evidence from snake handlers and people who speak in tongues. In the meantime, just look at what they're freaking out about:
http://ephemera.org/sets/?album=justlymarried

Yeah, that's it.

Hell, if Western Civilization and all that's holy truly were under attack it'd be pretty pathetic to have only these whining bitches and fallacy recyclers to defend it. They're going down in history as the freaks and life will go on.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 01:25 PM | PERMALINK

CatM: I screwed up the italics. That ignorant shit didn't come from me.

I applaud your efforts, playing whack-a-mole with the bigots' talking-points, but they'll never stop.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 01:27 PM | PERMALINK

Grand Moff:

I'd like to do more than just convince people that gay marriage is OK. I'd like to remind people that liberals have a stronger moral foundation than conservatives.

Many conservatives think that liberals have no morals. In reality, we've simply stopped trying to explain our morals on TV, because you can't sum up a genuine value system in sound bites. But that was a bad decision - we need to explain our value system, on TV, or people will think we don't have one. I think this is a great issue to begin with, because of how simple this issue is.


Posted by: Josh Yelon at February 20, 2004 01:39 PM | PERMALINK

Josh Yelon:

What would you say to this then: "Marriage is commitment. Marriage is trust. Marriage is long-term love. These things are virtues! Making a commitment and honoring it, whether to somebody (who is my sister, parent, son, who is 11 years old, ___FILL IN THE BLANK___), is a positive act. Taking an oath of commitment and trust and honor is a step in the direction of divinity . . ."

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 01:40 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives use the word "moral" to avoid having to make rational arguments. They no more understand its meaning than that of the word "liberal." The most conservative part of the country also has the highest divorce rates, murder rates, illiteracy rates (shocker!), in short a social cesspool and more like the third world than the developed world. Morality, for the right, is a rhetoric of denial and an opportunity to shift the attention, e.g., unconscious reaction to homoerotica is strongest in the homophobic, etc.

I like your approach, but stressing the innocuousness of it all throws the right's "sky is falling" apoplexy into sharp relief (which was the only funny thing in that cartoon).

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 02:06 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie: what makes a marriage good is that it contains the virtues of commitment, honor, and trust. If these elements are faked, then the marriage is bad, and we should discourage it.

For example, take your 11 year old as an example. An 11 year old doesn't have the experience to know what his commitment means. Nor does he have the experience to know who to trust. Likewise, the person marrying him is using him, there is no honor in that. So obviously, a "marriage" with an 11-year old is only a fake commitment, a fake expression of trust, a fake expression of honor. It is bad, and it should be discouraged.

But the commitment these gays feel toward each other isn't fake - they are standing by each other through thick and thin. Nobody could claim that they don't feel deep trust toward each other. Their desire to treat each other well is honorable. These are real virtues, and not to be discouraged.

- Josh

Posted by: Josh Yelon at February 20, 2004 02:12 PM | PERMALINK

And to think you had me nodding in agreement with everything you said, right up until "But the commitment these gays feel toward each other isn't fake . . ." : )

I'm still interested in how you are going to apply your same logic to "consenting adults" e.g. the "somebody who is my sister, parent, son" part you skipped right over.

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 02:18 PM | PERMALINK

shorter Charlie:
I made my slope all slippery with santorum and still no one will come play on it, waaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan at February 20, 2004 02:25 PM | PERMALINK

It was David Gergen I believe who said that whoever brings up the subject of gay anything loses. I think this might just be true. The right is the one that drove this; San Francisco and the rest are consequences of this. Let them do their thing; just keep pushing it aside for other issues as much as possible while sounding reasonable for equal rights.

Remember; if there is no amendment the courts will make gay marriage legal in a matter of a relatively short period of time. It's becoming apparent that prohibiting gay marriage violates the 14th amendment; that's why the right wing is so hot to get an amendment. So we just need to deflect the issue (and the amendment) and the equal rights will follow.

Posted by: Eclectic at February 20, 2004 02:39 PM | PERMALINK

Haven't had a chance to digest all the posts but I agree with the argument that we should take a stronger position than simple 'states rights' here. States rights can be part of it, but not the whole thing.

As an aside, I am utterly bored with the overplayed 'slippery slope' argument put forth by conservatives on this issue. Cousin-marriage, polygamy, blah, blah, blah... San Francisco is not giving out marriage licenses for sibling marriage.

Frame the debate in terms of the concept of FAMILY, that such an amendment would seek to LIMIT that concept to an extremely NARROW and OUTDATED one, and that its net effect is to DENY visibility to gay and lesbian families, giving second-class status to whole sections of our nation's population, a practice that our nation outgrew with the civil rights movement.

Such an amendment would impede U.S. citizens in their pursuit of happiness, seeking to form bonds of faithfulness, fidelity, and devotion to each other. It would ask government to ignore those bonds, rendering gay and lesbian couples, their children, and the families they've created invisible.

Posted by: bumpkin at February 20, 2004 02:55 PM | PERMALINK

SFO Judge Denies Immediate Stay . . .

(keep it up ; )

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 04:20 PM | PERMALINK

Eclectic:

"It's becoming apparent that prohibiting gay marriage violates the 14th amendment . . ."

No more so than the 14th Amendment was intended to protect unborn children from abortion.

"So we just need to deflect the issue (and the amendment) and the equal rights will follow."

That doesn't sound like a very honest debate, or maybe the Oxford-style rules got changed - Jay C.?

bumpkin:

"I agree with the argument that we should take a stronger position than simple 'states rights' here. States rights can be part of it, but not the whole thing."

Like I said - keep that attitude up, along with judicial activists and maybe even more mayors illegally conducting marriage ceremonies, because I think that's the surest way to get the FMA ratified. So, like I said, keep it up : )

"As an aside, I am utterly bored with the overplayed 'slippery slope' argument put forth by conservatives on this issue."

Well, how fallacious of a slippery slope is it really, when you consider that, a mere 30 years ago, the APA said "gay marriage is a slippery slope"?!

"San Francisco is not giving out marriage licenses for sibling marriage."

Yet. Actually, I'd expect that next in Kentucky instead ; )

"Frame the debate in terms of the concept of FAMILY, that such an amendment would seek to LIMIT that concept to an extremely NARROW and OUTDATED one, and that its net effect is to DENY visibility to gay and lesbian families, giving second-class status to whole sections of our nation's population, a practice that our nation outgrew with the civil rights movement . . ."

You haven't seen Rev. Jessie Jackson's comments on this yet, have you?

Posted by: Charlie at February 20, 2004 04:28 PM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie, wrote: "And to think you had me nodding in agreement with everything you said, right up until "But the commitment these gays feel toward each other isn't fake . . .""

Charlie, I know that your marriage has problems, since you've said it's so weak that it's actually damaged by these gay marriages, but not everyone has your problems. (Thanks, by the way, for amply confirming that you are indeed a bigot, as only a true bigot could write something like that.)

I'm still waiting for you to support your assertions about the "lowered life expectancy" of gay men and women. Where is the evidence, Charlie?

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 05:25 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to respond to Charlie's last post, but I read it again, and there is literally nothing there to respond to. There's no logic, no coherent argument, no support for his assertions; it's just random noise from a bigot who has lost control.

I still feel a little sorry for the guy, but I must admit that I can't help feeling vastly amused at the sputtering incoherency of it all.

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 05:29 PM | PERMALINK

Grand Moff Texan wrote: "I made my slope all slippery with santorum and still no one will come play on it, waaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

Yup, and he still hasn't bothered to address the posts above that demolished his slippery slope, much less acknowledge that the Supreme Court has already looked at, and rejected, his slippery slope.

Oh, well, I guess it's all he's got left. We've taken away his other arguments, since they were all based on bogus references and sources. His list of citations in that other thread was hilarious, since none of them actually supported his argument!

Posted by: PaulB at February 20, 2004 05:34 PM | PERMALINK

For Charlie:

I Samuel 18:

Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. * * * Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

Posted by: rea at February 20, 2004 06:23 PM | PERMALINK

The easy way to bypass the whole thing is to let anyone make a special benefits deal with *anyone*, and decouple the whole thing from having to claim a romantic relationship. That could be roommates, siblings, etc. Then, save "marriage" by "definition" as between a man and a woman to satisfy cultural conservatives.

Posted by: Neil at February 20, 2004 06:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

This is how I would approach the issue.

1. Take the issue away from Bush by agreeing with everything he says on it. I believe Kerry and Edwards already have, i.e. for civil unions, against gay marriage.

2. Let the courts determine the outcome. Say "Hasn't the constitution been trampled on enough since Bush has been in office?" I read somewhere that Bush has changed the constitution more than any other president. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but if it is use it against him.

3. This is the most important. Plant the seed that he will try to overturn Roe vs. Wade the same way, or any issue he can't get the courts to go along with him on. Once they see that they can, I believe they will. And if they do future administrations will also. There are a lot of people with other issues that they care more about. "We don't want to go down that slippery slope."

Posted by: Jim Riggs at February 20, 2004 07:00 PM | PERMALINK

Now that I've thought about this a bit, what about this for a response?

"First George Bush figured out how to by-pass congress to to get his judges on the bench. Now he wants to by-pass the courts all together to force his ideas on the country. Hasn't our constitution has been trampled on enough under this president. If we let them use our fears to change the constitution whenever they like, do you know what will happen? Today they will ban gay marriage, tomorrow they will ban abortion, and the next day who knows what they will do. And sooner or later there will be a Democratic president and a Democratic congress. And what will they ban? This is a very slippery slope, and a very dangerous one. We cannot afford these knee-jerk reactions.

We are talking about the Constitution of the United States, not the Constitution of George W. Bush. This is exactly why we have the courts. If they'e good enough to decide a presidential race, why aren't they good enough to decide this? Let them do their jobs!

I've spoken out for civil unions and against same-sex marriage, but we better think long and hard before we start changing the constitution for every social issue that comes along."

Posted by: Jim Riggs at February 20, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the late response: but since I posted the issue at 6:03, I think I ought to at least give some sort of response to Charlie's points (not that I think anything I, or anyone else would have to say would make a difference) - BUT:
I noticed he did not so much make an argument as ask more questions: FWIW, my opinions on them are:

1. Will "gay marriage" further deteriorate the institution of marriage?

Hard to say, but personally, I think that's doubtful: the "institution of marriage" has enough problems in society today: merely expanding the institution to include same-sex couples may or may not have any effects on how we deal with marriage and its problems. Expanded universe, same physics.

2.Will churches ever be sued for discrimination, etc. and/or forced to perform "gay marriages"?

In simple terms: NO. As I said, I postulated
CIVIL, not religious arrangements. I take the "no establishment of religion" part of the Constitution quite seriously - government has no business at all dictating to religion (and vice versa).

3.Will the legalization of polygamy and incest be next?

I doubt it - why should they?

4.Can we really say that any of us can play the role of husband or wife, regardless of what nature has endowed us with?

What does this have to do with the discussion? A good talking point for philosphizing, maybe but a non sequitur here.

5.What impact will "gay marriage" have on children...."

Finally, a real point:
Honestly: Don't know, myself: this is an issue which could stand a lot more scrutiny: and OBJECTIVE scientific study. Please feel free to point out a link to any you know of.

Oh, and Charlie, your closing comment:

but I took out any and all reference to God, religion or the Bible - which is what got us in this problem in the first place

Uhh, what exactly is the "problem" you are referring to?


PS: "Oxford-style" meant simply phrasing the issue as a statement, rather than a question (as, I believe, Oxford debates do). I was trying to keep it simple: guess I missed. Sorry.

Posted by: Jay C. at February 20, 2004 09:15 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie is obviously a troll. One might seriously question whether JayC is his sockpuppet.

Posted by: raj at February 20, 2004 09:30 PM | PERMALINK

Raj:

No.

Sincerely,

JC

Posted by: Jay C. at February 21, 2004 06:15 AM | PERMALINK

The debate at least in Mass is really over the use of the word marriage. Since Marriage existed well before the laws of Mass or the US for that matter it has some inherent qualities that lie outside that code. One could look at marriage really as pre-exisiting formal law in western culture and being adopted into legal code as a convenience to recogniize existing situations.

That said, marriage will always have extra legal implications, and it is precisely these extra legal or "intangible" benefits, that at least in Mass that the SJC is trying to grant. This is really the problem. No one wants to deny legal rights to homosexuals and their partners, but I believe a vast majority of americans have issues recognizing homosexual unions as equivalent to a marriage, largely because the word marriage continues to have very imporant religous implications.

This blog is very effective in addressing a specific constituency, but is does not really reach the majority of those people who will be affected by these precedents. The Homosexual community is making a large mistake in its aggressive pursuit of legitimacy, assuming that because it has strong access to the levers of power that it can move the majority against its will. Some one quoted "the outing of republicans" as a tactic to silence them. I assume this tactic has been used against churches and their leaders. Blackmail during advocacy does not enhance the morality of the argument. Political games do not enhance the morality of the argument.

We have just wittnessed via the current administration what happens when a minority gains access to power and tries to push its will on the majority. I advise those advocating the homosexual agenda to reflect on the consequences of pushing this issue too far.

A stone may call itself a seed, it may have have other stones call it a seed. It may even convince some seeds that it is seed. But it should never legislate that all seeds must recognize the stone as seed. This is both tragic and foolish for the vast majority of stones will never bear fruit while the vast majority of those seeds who will come to rely and expect stones to perform as seeds will only set themselves up for loss and suffer greatly because of it.

Posted by: Shawn MacFarland at February 21, 2004 07:27 AM | PERMALINK

"how fallacious of a slippery slope is it really, when you consider that, a mere 30 years ago, the APA said "gay marriage is a slippery slope"?!"

Technically, that is inaccurate. The APA removed homosexuality from its list of disorders back in 1973, 31 years ago by my count. But that's about as significant as the price of tea in China. So what? This helps the boring old 'slope' argument how, exactly?

"You haven't seen Rev. Jessie Jackson's comments on this yet, have you?"

Again, what is the relevance of this statement?

"I believe a vast majority of americans have issues recognizing homosexual unions as equivalent to a marriage, largely because the word marriage continues to have very imporant religous implications."

I do think that the left needs to be very sensitive to this. I would support applying a different term like 'union' if that makes people more comfortable with this issue.

FMA proponents, however, would argue that we should move to protect what is ALREADY well protected before we can begin to address same sex relationships. What's more, they have worded the amendment to deny recognition of those relationships entirely. Doesn't matter what term you use, be it 'union,' 'marriage,' or 'partnership.'

I believe that the issue here is one of recognition. These relationships exist, whether you want them to or not. In most cases, these couples are creating productive, healthy, and strong families and will continue to do so whether or not we make room for them legislatively.

It is unfortunate that some people are uncomfortable with this fact, but it is a reality that we cannot deny. We would do better as a nation, then, to cease the practice of behaving as if these families are invisible. We would do better to wake up to the fact that these families are doing more to contribute to the strength of our nation than to weaken it.

That is the approach I believe our nominee should take.

Posted by: bumpkin at February 21, 2004 08:35 AM | PERMALINK

I think I may have figured Charlie out. It's not that he's a bigot. It's that he's a bigot _in denial_. Thus all of the arguments he's presenting are not efforts to convince _us_ but _himself_ of the correctness of his beliefs. This is why he doesn't respond effectively to posts that challenge his specific assertions, and why he keeps shifting his rationales for denying the civil rights and shared humanity of gay people. If he acknowledged that any of these countering views had validity, he would have to eventually acknowledge that the only reason he keeps trying is a deep-seated homophobia.

Say it, Charlie: "I am a bigot."

Then, if you are also proud to be so (though your posts suggest not), you can go away and not keep trying to persuade yourself that you are not.

If this does _not_ make you proud, then the easiest way to change it is to genuinely _listen_ to what people are saying, and admit that maybe, just maybe, you're wrong.

Posted by: Rana at February 21, 2004 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Remember the original post?

"the big question is how to frame this opposition"

I couldn't care less about gay marriage. All I care about is how to keep Bush from using the issue to stay in office.

Posted by: Jim Riggs at February 21, 2004 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea on the original question:

Every time there's a formal debate or a talking heads face-off, the liberal ought to ask the conservative a question like the following.

"If gay marriage is such a threat to traditional marriages, sir, then how many gay marriages will you need to witness before you start to consider leaving your wife for another man?"

Posted by: Herb at February 21, 2004 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps that last post strayed off-topic? The intent was to re-emphasize my suggestion that we frame the debate in terms of family.

But here's a different approach:

"I share the Presiden't concern about protecting families in this country. That's why I believe something must be done to correct this administration's failure to protect and create jobs, etc..."

"It seems that a Federal Marriage Amendment would only serve as a distraction from more pressing concerns for american families such as job security, health care & etc. The President seems to be quite good at averting our attention from basic facts when his performance on an issue is fairly weak. The FMA appears to be yet another instance of that."

Posted by: bumpkin at February 21, 2004 01:10 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie's bottom line:

What would you say to this then: "Marriage is commitment. Marriage is trust. Marriage is long-term love. These things are virtues! Making a commitment and honoring it, whether to somebody (who is my sister, parent, son, who is 11 years old, ___FILL IN THE BLANK___), is a positive act. Taking an oath of commitment and trust and honor is a step in the direction of divinity . . ."

Charlie, I just want to clarify to the best of my ability, the structure of your arguments against recognizing homosexual unions.

To show that homosexual acts are somehow reprehensible, in your view, you repeatedly compare them--mention them in the same sentence with--acts such as murder, bestiality, child molestation and incest. When I have asked you to explain the similarity you have either failed to respond or simply repeated the comparison.

So let's run through these latter since you seem to be relying on them heavily of late:

Incest- What is the similarity to homosexuality? What is the societal interest in discouraging incest, and does it apply to homosexuality? Incest produces genetic monstrosities. Does homosexuality?

Pedophilia- What is the similarity to (the topic under consideration) consensual adult homosexuality? Pedophilia, remember, crosses homo-hetero lines. Pedophilia is by nature an imbalance of power, pitting a child against an adult. A consensus of Americans finds the vulnerability to exploitation of the child completely intolerable. What is the similarity?

Polygamy- What is the similarity to committed homosexual unions? Multiple spouses, I would guess, causes most of us unease for the questions it raises about fidelity and about imbalances of power. But these questions are not posed by committed same-sex unions.

I am suggesting to you Charlie, that the only significant similarity between all of these things is the manner (fear, loathing, etc) in which you think of them.

And haven't you, in the undignified way in which you have failed to take responsibility for egregiously reckless and bogus assertions, forfeited your claim to respectability?

Posted by: obscure at February 21, 2004 07:10 PM | PERMALINK

Give it 30 years.>>

This may be unwarranted piling-on, but a short riff on reason vs. superstition:

A scientific mind is characterized by patience, a willingness to suspend judgement until the facts are in. And the habit of observation of this world (God's creation you could say) is in many ways the purest act of love.

Charlie says, "give it 30 years," which is his way of confessing that his mind is made up today about events 30 years down the road. This is unreason, this is feverish imagination, an absence of love.

Posted by: obscure at February 21, 2004 07:35 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, there was a great article in Salon a while back about gay parents being better than heterosexuals - being that they are more motivated, etc. I wonder if I can find it.

Posted by: Michele at February 22, 2004 01:45 PM | PERMALINK

http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/2000/10/05/gay_parents/

Apparently, gay people do make better parents!

Posted by: Michele at February 22, 2004 01:48 PM | PERMALINK

I don't have much time this week, but I will respond to every poster (not already on my ignore-list for personal attacks or failing to answer my questions too) here:

rea:

"I Samuel 18 . . ."

Jesus also tells us to love our neighbors (I assume he included men, as well as women) as ourselves - I hardly think He included "buggery" in that command either ; )

David loved Jonathan as himself, just as I love a few close Christian brothers myself.

Neil:

"The easy way to bypass the whole thing is to let anyone make a special benefits deal with *anyone*, and decouple the whole thing from having to claim a romantic relationship. That could be roommates, siblings, etc. Then, save "marriage" by "definition" as between a man and a woman to satisfy cultural conservatives."

I doubt our current economy would allow for that.

Jim Riggs:

1. Sounds great - glad to have you aboard.

2. If the courts do that this time, there will be a FMA (something even I don't "want" to see).

3. I personally want to overturn Roe vs. Wade the same way too, but I'd be content to leaving it as a States' rights issue as well.

"First George Bush figured out how to by-pass congress to to get his judges on the bench . . ."

Recess appointments are completely Constitutional, especial since what, a dozen RECESSES have come and gone since GWB nominated some of those judges. If a minority of Senators are not allowing the Senate to vote up or down (you know, that whole "Advice and Consent" part of the Senate's duty) for years, what else would you do?!

"Now he wants to by-pass the courts all together to force his ideas on the country."

See Civil War amendments, etc. This isn't the first time, or the last I fear, that our Courts need smacking down.

"Hasn't our constitution has been trampled on enough under this president."

Nope.

"If we let them use our fears to change the constitution whenever they like, do you know what will happen? Today they will ban gay marriage, tomorrow they will ban abortion, and the next day who knows what they will do . . ."

Well, you are going to have to make up your mind - you either "like" slippery slope arguments or you don't?

"And sooner or later there will be a Democratic president and a Democratic congress."

Be very afraid - especially if we are still at war when this happens.

Jay C.

"Sorry for the late response: but since I posted the issue at 6:03, I think I ought to at least give some sort of response to Charlie's points . . ."

No apology needed.

"(not that I think anything I, or anyone else would have to say would make a difference)"

I think Jim Riggs, at least, set forth very reasonable compromises, to be honest with you.

"I noticed he did not so much make an argument as ask more questions . . ."

But THAT'S my "argument" - there are too many unanswered questions about the possible consequences of society granting "gay marriage" rights.

"Hard to say [whether "gay marriage" will further deteriorate the institution of marriage], but personally, I think that's doubtful"

I agrred with you, right up until the word "doubtful" (I'd rather see us play this one "better safe than sorry").

". . . the "institution of marriage" has enough problems in society today . . ."

Again, we agree - so why throw more gas on the fire by "expanding the institution to include same-sex couples"?!

"I take the 'no establishment of religion' part of the Constitution quite seriously - government has no business at all dictating to religion (and vice versa)"

Leaving the whole "Separation of Church and State" debate aside, there's no question that Churches WILL be sued - whether said plaintiffs are successful is an open question. No one want to acknowledge, it seems, my valid follow-up question on this issue - do churches legally discriminate against Black couples based solely on race anymore?! Apart from what the bare minimum established by "What's legal", I think Shawn MacFarland is on to something about this below too.

You also doubt that the legalization of polygamy and incest will be next, Jay C. Based on the same arguments being waged here, my favorite being "They just want to marry the person the love", how can you say with a straight face that polygamy and incest will NOT be next?

"What does this have to do with the discussion? A good talking point for philosphizing, maybe but a non sequitur here."

Well, sure - if the debate already assumes that male and female role models are "non sequiturs" then I guess half your battle is won.

"Honestly: Don't know, myself [impact on children] . . ."

Me either, but are we going to admit that traditional male / female role modeling and/or deviant sexual behavior is "good" or "bad" when we discuss bringing up children?

". . . this is an issue which could stand a lot more scrutiny: and OBJECTIVE scientific study."

What ELSE have Ben and I been saying for THREE threads so far?!

"Please feel free to point out a link to any you know of."

I'm not a social scientist - I've already given plenty of research that shows what questions need to be answered - I just want the experts to do their job and make their best recommendations so We the People can do yours.

"Uhh, what exactly is the 'problem' you are referring to?"

All the sexual deviant behavior being accepted by (or foisted on) society as the norm.

"PS: 'Oxford-style' meant simply phrasing the issue as a statement, rather than a question (as, I believe, Oxford debates do). I was trying to keep it simple: guess I missed. Sorry."

Again, no apologies necessary, my dear sock puppet - and I already said this was not "strictly" Oxford-style (take away some "clarity" points if you must : )

Shawn MacFarland:

"The Homosexual community is making a large mistake in its aggressive pursuit of legitimacy, assuming that because it has strong access to the levers of power that it can move the majority against its will . . ."

Shhh! Don't tell them THAT!

bumpkin:

"Technically, that is inaccurate. The APA removed homosexuality from its list of disorders back in 1973, 31 years ago by my count."

Well, excuse me - I said 30 years instead of 31.

"But that's about as significant as the price of tea in China. So what? This helps the boring old 'slope' argument how, exactly?"

When the APA made its proclamation, people like me (31 years younger of course) CORRECTLY noted that it would lead to "gay marriage", so I wonder what else will happen in another 31 years?

"Again, what is the relevance of [Jesse Jackson's] statement?"

Well, as the self-appointed civil rights leader for African-Americans, the Rev. Jackson should be listened to by anyone bringing this issue up as a "civil right on par with African-Americans", don't you think?

"In most cases, these couples are creating productive, healthy, and strong families and will continue to do so whether or not we make room for them legislatively."

I'd just like to see the emperical data on that before we leap into "gay marriage" with our eyes closed and fingers crossed.

Herb:

"If gay marriage is such a threat to traditional marriages, sir, then how many gay marriages will you need to witness before you start to consider leaving your wife for another man?"

None - that's NOT the threat we're talking about though - how about we talk instead about the REAL threat now: to the 25% of all pre-pubescent boys who are "unsure" of their sexual orientation? How about all those people out who would have stayed single or gotten married to someone of the opposite sex BUT FOR society giving its stamp of approval to "gay marriage"? How about all the gay men who die an early death - one study indicates that, while the median age of death of married American males was 75, for sexually active homosexual American males, the median age of death was 42. Controlling for homosexual males infected with HIV / AIDS, it was 39. Would ANY of that qualify as a "threat" to you?!

Obscure:

This is the last time I will answer your questions if you can't answer my questions as well. Imagine whatever you must if you end up on my ignore list though - I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to have my questions answered though.

I have pointed out (repeatedly) that I do NOT equate homosexuality with murder, bestiality, child molestation and/or incest. I "mention them in the same sentence" (as I've also explained repeatedly) to show people that THEIR OWN LOGIC to promote homosexual behavior will someday be used to justify murder, bestiality, child molestation and/or incest. Besides all of those being sins and examples of sexually deviant behavior, there's no similarity - all of those are WORSE than homosexuality. What about that don't you understand?

"Incest - What is the similarity to homosexuality?"

Apart from above, and the fact that incest can occur between "two consenting adults" or the theory that most homosexuals have some sort abuse as a child, nothing.

"What is the societal interest in discouraging incest . . ."

Maintaining, and fostering, an ordered civilization.

". . . and does it apply to homosexuality?"

Yes.

"Incest produces genetic monstrosities. Does homosexuality?"

I don't know that the nature vs. nurture debate has been settled yet - I've asked above that we need to study this objectively - so I don't know the answer to this question yet.

"Pedophilia - What is the similarity to (the topic under consideration) consensual adult homosexuality?"

See above - in addition, one way that homosexuals add to their ranks is through pedophilia. Granted that heterosexual pedophilia is a much bigger problem.

"Polygamy- What is the similarity to committed homosexual unions? Multiple spouses, I would guess, causes most of us unease for the questions it raises about fidelity and about imbalances of power. But these questions are not posed by committed same-sex unions."

Of course they are the same questions - for those already basing their argument on "But they just want to marry the person they love."

"I am suggesting to you Charlie, that the only significant similarity between all of these things is the manner (fear, loathing, etc) in which you think of them."

And I'm explictly saying (for at least the third time now) it's not.
"And haven't you, in the undignified way in which you have failed to take responsibility for egregiously reckless and bogus assertions, forfeited your claim to respectability?"

No. Now, do you need me to recap the pending questions you have yet to answer?

Michele:

"Actually, there was a great article in Salon a while back about gay parents being better than heterosexuals - being that they are more motivated, etc."

I'm all for OBJECTIVELY studying such positives and the negatives, then letting We the People decide.

Posted by: Charlie at February 23, 2004 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Same sex marriages are wrong. Marriag is between a man and a women. In the bible it says that it is an abomination to do such things. How could Bush say that he believes that God will save America when he doesn't even base the law according to Gods rules. He's a hypocrit. This marriage is wrong, because why would it cause so much controversy. If it was right there wouldn't even be any problems with it.

Posted by: Sleepy at February 23, 2004 03:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sleepy - I'm not quite sure how mature you are.

Back to the topic - from today's White house press briefing re: sending in federal agents to stop "gay marriage" / endorsing the FMA:

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think, one, the governor of the state of California is working to address this issue, as you pointed out. It continues to be troubling that there are people who are ignoring the law. And there was a Superior Court ruling the other day that allowed these licensings of same-sex marriages to go forward. The President is committed to protecting and defending the sanctity of marriage. And he views some of these events as deeply troubling. And he continues to look very closely at this issue. Those events are certainly having an influence on his decision . . . this is a principled decision for the President of the United States. His views are very clear. Marriage is an enduring institution of this country, and he is committed to protecting the sanctity of marriage. He has made it very clear that he is committed to doing what is legally necessary to protect and defend the sanctity of marriage. He continues to look at this issue very seriously, and it's an issue that he feels strongly about and he will stand on principle on this issue.

Q When will there be any action, Scott, any action?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, he continues to look at it very closely and he is committed to doing what is legally necessary to protect the sanctity of marriage.

Posted by: Charlie at February 23, 2004 04:31 PM | PERMALINK

BTW: I was reviewing Kerry's history in Vietnam (what there is of it known to the public since Kerry will not release all of his records).

I did not know that on 3 January 1970 Kerry received an honorable discharge, six months early too ; )

Posted by: Charlie at February 23, 2004 04:57 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, sorry for not answering your questions.

Yes, please re-cap.

Posted by: obscure at February 23, 2004 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

"When the APA made its proclamation, people like me (31 years younger of course) CORRECTLY noted that it would lead to "gay marriage", so I wonder what else will happen in another 31 years?"

Proclamation? I was under the impression that the APA simply removed a single word from its list of disorders. Hardly a proclamation in my estimation.

Only time will tell if the Conservative Cassandras will be proven right about that slippery slope. If things go poorly, though, they have my personal invitation to climb out of their cave dwellings 31 years from now and give us heck. Go ahead and shake your fists at us. We'll deserve it, by George!

"Well, as the self-appointed civil rights leader for African-Americans, the Rev. Jackson should be listened to by anyone bringing this issue up as a "civil right on par with African-Americans", don't you think?"

Actually, I believe the phrase I used was "civil rights movement." The Rev. Jesse Jackson is an individual, not a movement.

The net effect of the civil rights movement was the nationwide realization that the notion of 'separate but equal' doesn't work. That was the point of the sentence that included "civil rights movement." Rev. Jackson's statements on the subject, while interesting, have no bearing here.

Posted by: bumpkin at February 23, 2004 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie,

My Buddhist guilt is kicking in.

Here, I'm cutting & pasting your list of questions. And I am sorry for sometimes being hard on you. Basically, I don't share your fears about homosexual unions, but I do respect your feelings.

And I agree with your premise that questions like this should be looked at carefully and *may* raise valid concerns.

So,

>>1) Will "gay marriage" further deteriorate the institution of marriage?

Best answer I can give is, we don't know. I do not see convincing evidence to suggest it will. You may be correct to observe a deterioration in marriage. Probably, you and I would disagree about the prime causes of that deterioration.
In my view the poor success rate for marriage these days is best accounted for by the commerical, materialistic focus of our culture. To speak with a broad brush, I see the Republican party as significantly more attached to wealth than the Democratic party. I don't deny that Hollywood (perhaps more sympathetic to Dems than Repubs in general) often crosses the bounds of good taste and good citizenship. But, there is alot (ALOT) to be said for freedom of expression.


>>2) Will churches ever be sued for discrimination, etc. and/or forced to perform "gay marriages"?

Not at all likely. Because churches are not responsible for issuing legal marriages or unions. It is the state which is offering this sanction, and the states sanction, not any church sanction, is what we're talking about. Justice of the Peace.


>>3) Will the legalization of polygamy and incest be next?

Charlie, with all due respect, there is no connection here. None.


>>4) Can we really say that any of us can play the role of husband or wife, regardless of what nature has endowed us with?

Again, as others have pointed out, your question is highly ambiguous. What are you saying?
You know, you're right to wonder about the effect of having "two dads" or "two moms" instead of one of each. But there's a big difference between wondering and concluding, or, to use Christ's word, "judging."
I think it's OK to wonder, but in the absence of clear and compelling evidence, it is wrong to judge.


>>5) What impact will "gay marriage" have on children - do you really believe that a child will find all she needs from a mother in two loving, nurturing men - is that really the "ideal" we want society to strive for - can that child find what he needs from a father in two strong, compassionate women - are children raised by homosexuals going to have homosexual experiences more often and/or tend to prefer the homosexual lifestyle themselves - what other consequences are there to intentionally deny every child they touch either their biological mother or father?

Charlie, you are worrying yourself excessively. The cause is an irrational fear of people who are different. That's my story and I'm sticking to it... most likely.


>>Anthropology tells us no human society, ancient or modern, primitive or civilized has ever sustained itself with a buffet-like family model ? just pick what suits you. I think it's not only reasonable, but society's duty, that we seriously consider what we are doing before we jump in with both feet, with our eyes closed to the fact that differences between male and female matter, fingers crossed that it will all work out.

Charlie, you are stating your opinions, not "anthropology."

Take a step back and look at classical Greek society. This was a bi-sexual society, where having sex and partnering with members of either sex was the norm.

And what was the horrifying result? Only the greatest sprouting of human intelligence and creativity the world to that point had known. We owe mountains of debt to ancient Greece, scientifically, artistically, philosophically and perhaps most important, *politically.*

And that's just a fact.

Posted by: obscure at February 24, 2004 08:38 AM | PERMALINK

Bumpkin - I've got a better idea. If the proof is in anytime within the next 31 years and even you agree the gay marriage turned out to be a failure, why don't we agree now that the FMA will kick into place? It's so sad that we've been forced by activist judges to amend the Constitution : (

obscure:

Those were certainly some of the questions pending to you (I will try to address those when I get a chance, but I hardly see the causal link between sexual immorality and "the greatest sprouting of human intelligence and creativity the world to that point had known : )

Here are the rest of my pending questions to you:

(a) Do you now understand why I mention murder, bestiality, child molestation and/or incest in the same sentence to show people that THEIR OWN LOGIC to promote homosexual behavior will someday be used to justify those behaviors too?

(b) Do you understand that, in no other way, do I NOT equate homosexuality with murder, bestiality, child molestation and/or incest?

(c) Shouldn't we at least look honestly at the negative (and by all means, compare that to research as to the positive) consequences, and then let the democracy decide this issue, rather than activist judges?

(d) What possibly could be wrong with that approach?

(e) Can a church be sued today for refusing to marry a black couple solely based on their race? Maybe a better example is what happened to Bob Jones University - why would "married" gays not at least try to sue - whether they would be successful or not is a different question.

I know the others won't, but if you can't at least see that there are valid questions re: the negative impact of sexual deviancy on individuals and society - and maybe ALL the limited research to date can be discredited (I don't know because I'm not a social scientist who is up to date on all of that), shouldn't we at least look honestly at the negative (and by all means, compare that to research as to the positive) consequences, and then let the democracy decide? What possibly could be wrong with that approach? I (and many other "bigots" like me) am not going anywhere or "running away", but if you don't want to every honestly debate the issue, Obscure, I fail to see what else there is to say.

JUST A FEW OF THE VALID QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD BE ASKED (over three separate threads so far):

1) Will "gay marriage" further deteriorate the institution of marriage?

2) Will churches ever be sued for discrimination, etc. and/or forced to perform "gay marriages"?

3) Will the legalization of polygamy and incest be next?

4) Can we really say that any of us can play the role of husband or wife, regardless of what nature has endowed us with?

5) What impact will "gay marriage" have on children - do you really believe that a child will find all she needs from a mother in two loving, nurturing men - is that really the "ideal" we want society to strive for - can that child find what he needs from a father in two strong, compassionate women - are children raised by homosexuals going to have homosexual experiences more often and/or tend to prefer the homosexual lifestyle themselves - what other consequences are there to intentionally deny every child they touch either their biological mother or father?

Anthropology tells us no human society, ancient or modern, primitive or civilized has ever sustained itself with a buffet-like family model ? just pick what suits you. I think it's not only reasonable, but society's duty, that we seriously consider what we are doing before we jump in with both feet, with our eyes closed to the fact that differences between male and female matter, fingers crossed that it will all work out.


Posted by: Charlie at February 24, 2004 08:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry - I forgot to "cut" the last part of that "paste" job, Obscure - my questions to you end with (e). Thanks for staying reasonable during this debate : )

Posted by: Charlie at February 24, 2004 09:00 AM | PERMALINK

Charile, I guess it's just you and me straggling on this thread. And your welcome. I think making an effort to politely disagree is good spiritual excercise. So thank you too.

>>I hardly see the causal link between sexual immorality and "the greatest sprouting of human intelligence and creativity the world to that point had known : )

I'm not really arguing that there is a direct link. I am arguing that if there was a negative effect from bi-sexuality in ancient Greece, it wasn't serious enough to stop some truly marvelous human evolution. But I'll tell you, I do suspect that acceptance of bi-sexuality is probably a good thing in the big picture.


>>(a) Do you now understand why I mention murder, bestiality, child molestation and/or incest in the same sentence to show people that THEIR OWN LOGIC to promote homosexual behavior will someday be used to justify those behaviors too?

No, I do not understand. And I posted to you specifically about this exact point. I don't see a relationship between homosexual behavior and those other behaviors you mention. The differences are substantial and obvious.


>>(b) Do you understand that, in no other way, do I NOT equate homosexuality with murder, bestiality, child molestation and/or incest?

I have not (ever) accused you of equating these things, I have accused you of comparing them. And you have, frequently.


>>(c) Shouldn't we at least look honestly at the negative (and by all means, compare that to research as to the positive) consequences, and then let the democracy decide this issue, rather than activist judges?

I don't agree that "activist" judges are the problem. Hey, judges are only "activist" when you disagree with them, right? We need the judiciary to interpret the Constitution. That is their job.

And this raises an important point. The reason we have a Constitution (among others) is to prevent, as PaulB and others have mentioned, a tyranny of the majority. It is important that the rights of minorities are protected. Without a Constitution the law of the land would change with the fickle will of the majority, and many peoples rights would be trampled as a result.


>>(d) What possibly could be wrong with that approach?

Exactly what I just wrote above.


>>(e) Can a church be sued today for refusing to marry a black couple solely based on their race? Maybe a better example is what happened to Bob Jones University - why would "married" gays not at least try to sue - whether they would be successful or not is a different question.

I don't understand the question.


>>I know the others won't, but if you can't at least see that there are valid questions re: the negative impact of sexual deviancy on individuals and society - and maybe ALL the limited research to date can be discredited (I don't know because I'm not a social scientist who is up to date on all of that), shouldn't we at least look honestly at the negative (and by all means, compare that to research as to the positive) consequences, and then let the democracy decide? What possibly could be wrong with that approach? I (and many other "bigots" like me) am not going anywhere or "running away", but if you don't want to every honestly debate the issue, Obscure, I fail to see what else there is to say.

Why would you suggest that I wouldn't honestly debate this? For goodness sake! What do you think I'm doing here?

You use the words "sexual deviancy" routinely. Well, you know what? I don't disagree with the literal application of those words, but I DO have a problem with the pejorative connotation of those words.

Like I said a while back, Left-handers are technically "deviants." But calling gays "sexual deviants" is not nice. You're a Christian, I'm a Buddhist, we both agree we should strive to be nice.

And I think Christ was very wise to say, "judge not..."

Posted by: obscure at February 24, 2004 07:42 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm not really arguing that there is a direct link. I am arguing that if there was a negative effect from bi-sexuality in ancient Greece, it wasn't serious enough to stop some truly marvelous human evolution."

Except, of course, when it did stop Greek (and then later Roman) civilization, right?

"But I'll tell you, I do suspect that acceptance of bi-sexuality is probably a good thing in the big picture."

I obviously disagree.

"No, I do not understand."

Let's start with some basics then - they are ALL behaviors, right?? As opposed to, let's say "race" is not a behavior.

"I have not (ever) accused you of equating these things . . ."

Oh, O.K., I have you confused with someone else then - sorry.

"I don't agree that 'activist' judges are the problem. Hey, judges are only 'activist' when you disagree with them, right?"

Not at all - see Bork on abortion.

"We need the judiciary to interpret the Constitution. That is their job."

If they keeping legislating from the bench, and we have anything to say about it, that won't be their "job" for much longer - and as an aside from a devoted student of the U.S. Constitution, just like it's sad we even need the FMA, it will be sad to turn the clock back on Marbury v. Madison et al. : (

"And this raises an important point. The reason we have a Constitution (among others) is to prevent, as PaulB and others have mentioned, a tyranny of the majority. It is important that the rights of minorities are protected."

That argument only goes so far. Brother and sisters who want to marry are in the minority (so far) too, right?

"Without a Constitution the law of the land would change with the fickle will of the majority, and many peoples rights would be trampled as a result."

I'd hardly call 2/3 Congress and 3/4 State Legislatures "chang[ing] with the fickle will" - we can IMPEACH and CONVICT a President on less of a requirement!

"Exactly what I just wrote above."

Same here : )

My question about a church being sued today for refusing to marry a black couple solely based on their race - is part of the slippery slope - once gays get the legal right to marry, they won't stop there, right? They will indeed sue churches too.

"Why would you suggest that I wouldn't honestly debate this? For goodness sake! What do you think I'm doing here?"

Sorry - that was the part I "pasted" from the first time I asked you this question - you have indeed proven your willingness to honestly and politely debate the issues.

"You use the words 'sexual deviancy' routinely. Well, you know what? I don't disagree with the literal application of those words, but I DO have a problem with the pejorative connotation of those words."

Sorry - care to suggest another term we can agree stands for what we agree is "sexual deviancy"?

"Like I said a while back, Left-handers are technically 'deviants.' But calling gays 'sexual deviants' is not nice. You're a Christian, I'm a Buddhist, we both agree we should strive to be nice."

In light of the hate shown to me here, I think I've been remarkable nice and Christian.

"And I think Christ was very wise to say, 'judge not...'"

Agreed - he also said "A spiritual man makes judgments on all things . . ."

Posted by: Charlie at February 25, 2004 09:47 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie, revealing yet again his profound ignorance wrote: "Except, of course, when it did stop Greek (and then later Roman) civilization, right?"

Except, of course, when it had nothing to do with those civilizations stopping. Jeez, Charlie, can you at least try to make sense? We know why those civilizations didn't last and it had not one damn thing to do with homosexuality.

"Let's start with some basics then - they are ALL behaviors, right?? As opposed to, let's say "race" is not a behavior."

No. Sexual orientation is emphatically not a "behavior." Your attempts at analogy are fatally flawed for that very reason. Personally, I think it's hilarious that you thought that you were demonstrating the flaws in someone else's logic!

"care to suggest another term we can agree stands for what we agree is "sexual deviancy"?"

a) it's not "sexual deviancy" by the very precise definition of that terms.

b) homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable term. That you think it's not simply reveals your own bigotry.

"I think I've been remarkable nice and Christian."

In light of the hate you've shown here, I don't think you understand the meaning of that term.

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 08:58 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie wrote: "JUST A FEW OF THE VALID QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD BE ASKED (over three separate threads so far):"

These questions have already been addressed, in very great detail, by me and by others, as have your misstatements and inaccuracies. Your refusal to address or even recognize those answers is your problem, not ours.

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 09:03 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie wrote: "in addition, one way that homosexuals add to their ranks is through pedophilia"

Nonsense, Charlie. This canard was debunked years ago. You've already admitted your ignorance of homosexuality, Charlie. Do you really have to prove it over and over again?

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 09:06 AM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie, wrote: "I'm all for OBJECTIVELY studying such positives and the negatives, then letting We the People decide."

You can rejoice, then, Charlie, for these things have been "OBJECTIVELY" studied and the results are conclusive. I can therefore assume that you will hereafter support gay marriage. Glad we could reach closure on this.

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 09:08 AM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie wrote: "theory that most homosexuals have some sort abuse as a child"

I'm still mining nuggets from your diatribes above, Charlie. Highly amusing, particularly in light of your claim on another thread that you are not ignorant.

You see, Charlie, this was an ignorant statement. This "theory" was conclusively debunked decades ago. Nobody, aside from a few ignorant bigots like yourself, takes it seriously anymore. That you think that this supports your argument is hilarious, but I'm afraid that all it does is reveal your ignorance and bigotry for all to see.

Fine with me, of course, since I find this hilarious, but you might want to actually do a little homework next time before you let everyone know just how ignorant you are.

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 09:13 AM | PERMALINK

Oh my, this is definitely fun. So much ignorance; so little time.

"But THAT'S my "argument" - there are too many unanswered questions about the possible consequences of society granting "gay marriage" rights."

Nope. You just don't like the answers. The evidence is quite clear and quite conclusive. You've just chosen to turn your back on it.

"there's no question that Churches WILL be sued"

Actually, there is indeed a question about whether this will take place and, as noted above, such a lawsuit will be unsuccessful.

"- whether said plaintiffs are successful is an open question."

No, in fact, it's not. The churches are protected both by current federal law and by the Constitution.

"No one want to acknowledge, it seems, my valid follow-up question on this issue - do churches legally discriminate against Black couples based solely on race anymore?!"

We have acknowledged it (and laughed at it). It's not a valid question because you haven't framed it in such a way as to be relevant to this debate.

If you can find a church that was successfully sued and forced to marry an interracial couple (not a black couple, Charlie, that was never a problem), you might have a point. Until you find such a church, it's moot.

Do churches have the right to refuse to marry certain couples? Yes, they do, and they continue to exercise that right all the time (e.g., certain conservative Catholic churches refusing to marry a previously-divorced individual where the divorce was not recognized by the church).

Are churches still bigoted with respect to marrying interracial couples? Probably most are not, but why is that a problem? That's simply a sign that bigotry on this issue has died out.

In 50 years, will churches still be bigoted with respect to marrying gay couples? I suspect that some will be but that many will not. That, too, will be simply be a sign that bigotry such as yours will have died out.

"how can you say with a straight face that polygamy and incest will NOT be next?"

Because they are entirely separate issues, having nothing to do with the subject under discussion. The Supreme Court has explicitly rejected this argument. Those other things will stand or fall on their own merits.

"Me either, but are we going to admit that traditional male / female role modeling and/or deviant sexual behavior is "good" or "bad" when we discuss bringing up children?"

Not in the ignorant way that you've framed it. The real test, as noted above, is whether being raised by a gay couple harms children in any way. The evidence dates back 30 years and is conclusive: there is no harm. Moreover, as I have repeatedly noted, it's irrelevant to the subject of gay marriage.

"I'm not a social scientist - I've already given plenty of research that shows what questions need to be answered"

Oh, you mean those links that had absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality or gay marriage? Sheesh, Charlie, you can't even keep your own story straight!

"I just want the experts to do their job and make their best recommendations so We the People can do yours."

They have, Charlie. It's not their fault or ours that you have closed your eyes and your mind and refused to recognize their results.

"I'd just like to see the emperical data on that before we leap into "gay marriage" with our eyes closed and fingers crossed."

It's already been pointed out to you, Charlie, and it's easily accessible via a Google search.

"how about we talk instead about the REAL threat now: to the 25% of all pre-pubescent boys who are "unsure" of their sexual orientation?"

Well, first you have to demonstrate that there is, in fact, a real threat. Thus far, you have failed to do so. Either those men and women are gay or they are bisexual or they are heterosexual. They will continue to be so regardless of whether you allow gay marriages or not.

"How about all those people out who would have stayed single or gotten married to someone of the opposite sex BUT FOR society giving its stamp of approval to "gay marriage"?"

This is just dumb. A marriage between two loving adults, gay or not, is far better than the arrangement you are proposing. That's been conclusively demonstrated, as well.

"one study indicates that, while the median age of death of married American males was 75, for sexually active homosexual American males, the median age of death was 42."

That Cameron study was laughable, since his methodology was to compare obituaries in 16 gay newspapers with obituaries in two conventional newspapers. It was a dumb study which was rightly mocked as being worthless. You'll have to do better than that, Charlie.

"Controlling for homosexual males infected with HIV / AIDS, it was 39. Would ANY of that qualify as a "threat" to you?!"

Nope, since the "study" was done by a man who is your equal in ignorance and bigotry and cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 09:33 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and one more thing for our resident bigot. Here is an argument that another bigot made:

"Thus, the State contends that, because its gay marriage statutes punish equally both gay and straight participants, denying both the opportunity to marry someone of the same sex, these statutes, despite their reliance on sexual classifications, do not constitute an invidious discrimination. The second argument advanced by the State assumes the validity of its equal application theory. The argument is that, if the Equal Protection Clause does not outlaw gay marriage statutes because of their reliance on sexual classifications, the question of constitutionality would thus become whether there was any rational basis for a State to treat gay marriages differently from other marriages. On this question, the State argues, the scientific evidence is substantially in doubt and, consequently, this Court should defer to the wisdom of the state legislature in adopting its policy of discouraging gay marriages."

The catch? This is a very slightly altered version of the majority opinion in Loving v. Virginia. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote these words summing up the arguments of the state of Virginia before proceeding to demolish them in the opinion that overturned the Virginia statutes.

Note, in particular, the arguments that match Charlie's -- that both gay and straights have the same rights, that "the scientific evidence is substantially in doubt," and that this issue should be left up to the state legislators. Note, too, that the majority of people at that time opposed "redefining" marriage to allow interracial marriages.

Similarly, those who opposed interracial marriages claimed that this was the next step down a slippery slope, that marriage was being destroyed, that "activist judges" were overriding the "will of the people," and so on. Every single argument made by Charlie above and in similar threads elsewhere on this blog was made 40 years ago during the discussion of interracial marriages. There are virtually no differences.

The bigots were wrong then, Charlie, just as you are wrong now. And in another 40 years, your kind will have largely vanished, just as those bigots did, and no one will weep for your passing.

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 01:04 PM | PERMALINK

For those who may not know why I ignore the likes of PaulB, it is obvious that he cannot seriously debate the issues and/or refrain from personal attacks (see above), notwithstanding that I never resorted to such tactics.

He did point out one inadvertant mistake though - I meant to say "there's no question that Churches WILL be sued - whether said plaintiffs are successful is ANOTHER (not "open" because I'd like to think the First Amendment still exists too) question." Here's an example (stated much better than I can) of that threat in Canada: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marb20.htm

And a quick google search found this lawsuit against the Catholic Church for refusing to ordain women: http://www.umanitoba.ca/manitoban/20030115/features_index.shtml

If anyone else (not on my ignore list) wishes to debate the issue intelligently, please let me know.

Posted by: Charlie at February 26, 2004 04:40 PM | PERMALINK

Our resident clown, Charlie, wrote: "For those who may not know why I ignore the likes of PaulB, it is obvious that he cannot seriously debate the issues and/or refrain from personal attacks (see above), notwithstanding that I never resorted to such tactics."

LOL...Charlie, you're wrong on two points:

1. I can and do discuss the issues without refraining from personal attacks where the person I'm arguing with actually has an argument and is not an ignorant bigot. Since neither of these applies to you, well, that's life.

2. You have indeed resorted to personal attacks on all gay men and women with the hateful comments that you have spread here, there and everywhere. I'm well prepared to post examples, Charlie, if you want to challenge me on this.

You might want to be a bit more careful about those stones you're throwing, Charlie. Your glass house is exceedingly fragile.

"Here's an example (stated much better than I can) of that threat in Canada: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marb20.htm"

The last time I checked, Canada is a different country.

"And a quick google search found this lawsuit against the Catholic Church for refusing to ordain women: http://www.umanitoba.ca/manitoban/20030115/features_index.shtml"

Since we aren't talking about ordaining gay men and women (and since the Catholic Church already has ordained gay men), this is kind of stupid. Do you have a real example to back up your assertions?

"If anyone else (not on my ignore list) wishes to debate the issue intelligently, please let me know."

Alas, that you are completely unable to do so!

Posted by: PaulB at February 26, 2004 07:32 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB (I have no idea why I'm even doing this):

"I can and do discuss the issues without refraining from personal attacks . . ."

Did you really mean to include both the words "without" and "refraining" there?

". . . where the person I'm arguing with actually has an argument and is not an ignorant bigot."

So, you will at least concede that calling someone "Our resident clown" and "an ignorant bigot" is a personal attack, right? You do know that BOTH Kerry and Edwards are against "gay marriage" - are they "ignorant bigots" too?

I do have plenty of SECULAR arguments - and unanswered questions - we obviously just disagree how "slippery" my slippery slopes are.

"You have indeed resorted to personal attacks on all gay men and women with the hateful comments that you have spread here . . ."

No more so than if I was politely arguing against the legalization of prostitution could be construed as "personal attacks" on each and every actual and potential prostitute and /or john - how can you possibly think a public policy argument is the equivalent of a "personal attack"?!

"The last time I checked, Canada is a different country."

Correct - you wanted possible consequences from "gay marriage" right? Last time I checked (it was last year), Canada joined Belgium and The Netherlands as the only countries permitting "gay marriages".

"Since we aren't talking about ordaining gay men and women (and since the Catholic Church already has ordained gay men), this is kind of stupid."

Not really - you were asking for churches sued for sex discrimination though, right?

"Do you have a real example to back up your assertions?"

I was not able to find any church sued by blacks in my quick google search, but I'm sure they could be. My prediction stands that homosexual activists will not stop simply at (civil) gay marriage. You think that's an unreasonable prediction?

Posted by: Charlie at February 27, 2004 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie, wrote: "PaulB (I have no idea why I'm even doing this):"

I do, but I prefer to leave you wondering.

"Did you really mean to include both the words "without" and "refraining" there?"

Nope, you caught me. Congratulations. The term I was looking for was "engaging in," of course.

"So, you will at least concede that calling someone "Our resident clown" and "an ignorant bigot" is a personal attack, right?"

Of course it is. It's also an ad hominem attack, not to mention overt mockery and ridicule. I'm sure I can think of other terms, as well, if you like.

"You do know that BOTH Kerry and Edwards are against "gay marriage""

I am aware of the position of all of the presidential candidates on this issue.

"- are they "ignorant bigots" too?"

Not unless they, too, engage in the kind of idiocy and hateful speech that you have engaged in. I've addressed this issue in great detail here, in response to another post of yours.

"I do have plenty of SECULAR arguments"

So you keep saying. I, and many others, have demolished these arguments on this thread and on the others. You have nothing left but an unprovable "slippery slope" argument that the Supreme Court has explicitly rejected in both the Loving and Lawrence cases and that others have pointed out is nonsensical. You can keep telling yourself how compelling this argument is; the rest of us will keep laughing at you.

"- and unanswered questions"

I'm afraid you don't have any of those. I've answered them, as have others. You just don't like the answers. That's your problem, Charlie, not ours.

"- we obviously just disagree how "slippery" my slippery slopes are."

Yes we do. Since that's all you have left, though, that is hardly sufficient reason to deny gay men and women their fundamental civil rights.

"No more so than if I was politely arguing against the legalization of prostitution could be construed as "personal attacks" on each and every actual and potential prostitute"

I'm not saying that every single comment of yours is hateful, Charlie. I make a clear distinction between those remarks that are part of an admittedly heated debate and those that cross the line into bigotry, just as you, I'm sure, make a distinction between remarks that are part of a heated debate and those that cross the line into personal attacks. You have not crossed the bigotry line in every one of your posts, but cross it you have. I refer, as an example, to your opinion of the depth of feeling in a gay relationship.

"Correct - you wanted possible consequences from "gay marriage" right?"

No, in this specific instance, I wanted you to back up your assertion that an American church could be successfully sued to force it to marry gay men and women. You later backed down, of course, admitting that such suits were unlikely to be successful. Additionally, you have not yet found an example where, e.g., a church was successfully sued to force it to marry an interracial couple. When you find such a lawsuit, I will consider your point valid. Until then, I reiterate that it's nonsense. A Canadian lawsuit does nothing to bolster your case, since Canada operates under different rules than we do.

"Not really - you were asking for churches sued for sex discrimination though, right?"

No, I was asking for churches that were successfully sued to force them to marry a couple they did not wish to marry. Since I know that the Catholic Church, in particular, routinely refuses to marry certain couples, I knew that your point was bogus.

"I was not able to find any church sued by blacks in my quick google search, but I'm sure they could be."

I rest my case.

"My prediction stands that homosexual activists will not stop simply at (civil) gay marriage. You think that's an unreasonable prediction?"

Not at all, any more than interracial couples stopped at civil marriage. However, just as interracial couples did, gay men and women will simply turn to churches that welcome them. I certainly believe that gay men and women will continue to lobby churches to change their policies. Hell, I might even be prepared to admit that somewhere in the millions of gay men and women in the U.S. you can find a gay couple willing to file a frivolous lawsuit against a church. But frivolous it is and it will be tossed out of court.

Posted by: PaulB at February 27, 2004 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Frivolous or not - they will still be sued (and one time, chances are they will hit the "jackpot" with an activist judge). I'm done going around in circles with you.

Posted by: Charlie at March 1, 2004 08:31 AM | PERMALINK

Our resident bigot, Charlie, wrote: "Frivolous or not - they will still be sued (and one time, chances are they will hit the "jackpot" with an activist judge). I'm done going around in circles with you."

That's it? That's the best response you can write? Wow...you're definitely finished, all right, but it's got nothing to do with me. Face it, Charlie, you've lost. If I weren't laughing my ass off, I'd be embarrassed for you.

See you around, I'm sure. I look forward to more entertainment.

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