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  • Gay Marriage

    Posted by Lexington Green on May 17th, 2004 (All posts by )

    I too am sick of this subject. But some things which strike me as obvious are not being said, so, even though this is a libertarian-oriented blog, and I’m an outlier on this topic, I’m going to post something. First, full disclosure. I’m a Catholic. The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual conduct is objectively evil. Can’t get much stronger than that. (The Catholic leadership in this country has barely dared to whisper this doctrine, if they say anything, but the doctrine is what it is.) That said, even that strong pronouncement leaves entirely open the question of what our public policy should be on the issue.

    My inclination, as a Jacksonian American, is to say I don’t give a shit what they do or what they call it. And, in fact, I don’t. However, by calling a homosexual union marriage, and making it a Constitutional right, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and soon many like-minded courts around the country, are more or less intentionally making Christianity illegal. Repeat: Christianity is being made illegal. The teaching that homosexuality is a sin is embedded in Christianity. It is in the Pauline letters. There is no getting around it. I have heard the counter-arguments, and they don’t cut any ice. The Christian teaching against homosexuality is organic, it was part and parcel of the attack on the pagan society of the Roman Empire and it is fundamental to the Christian conception of marriage and sexuality. So, again, if gay marriage is a Constitutional right, then anyone preaching the moral teaching of Christianity is committing a hate crime or otherwise attacking the exercise of a Constitutional right. I object to this as a Christian, obviously.

    But, I don’t imagine most of our readers will give a damn about that. Many might say, good riddance, I hate religion anyway. OK, try this instead. Even if I weren’t a Christian, I’d object to gay marriage because it is a threat to civic peace, and because it is undemocratic.

    I can’t think of anything which will cause so much damage to the public peace and respect for the government, or to an acceptance of the government’s legitimacy, in exchange for so little objective gain to anyone. 100,000,000 or so church-going American Christians will not quietly acquiesce to having a fundamental part of their moral beliefs declared illegal, merely because five unelected judges in Massachusetts chose to revise a foundational element of a 2,000 year old civilization, with no legal or democratic basis at all.

    The mere fact that a massive issue like this can be jammed down the public’s throat with no democratic accountability whatsoever is pretty damned offensive, too. Moreover, it is a practical disaster because, just like Roe v. Wade, far from ending the issue, making it into a question of “rights” will only inflame it, polarize it, prevent any kind of moderated resolution or local variation, and keep it perpetually alive as a source of anger. There is a reason we resolve contentious issues democratically — it forces moderate, centrist, unprincipled but acceptable solutions. Doing it by judicial fiat can only to lead to massive and angry opposition which has no viable outlet. Additionally, public debate has a way of forcing an issue to be examined from all sides, which to some degree cuts down on unintended consequences. We’re getting none of that here, and there will be a tsunami of unintended consequences, some foreseeable, many not.

    Incidentally, I disagree entirely with Glenn Reynolds and others who, based on anecdotes, say the public is fine with this. I have an objective basis for this, not just my personal preferences on the matter. The fact that Kerry is ducking it and Gov. Blagojevich in Illinois is not supporting it shows that it lacks anything remotely near majority support, either nationally or in moderately liberal Illinois. When liberal democratic poiticians are trying to hide from an issue like this, which is a natural for them, you know the votes are not there.

    A prediction. This process will mobilize opposition which will make the Pro-Life movement look tiny. Another prediction: Public schools will soon (next year, September of ’05) have mandatory education in which the struggle for gay rights is depicted alongside the struggle for Black civil rights as central to American history. No teacher who does not teach and support this view will be employable. This will provoke even more, in my view justified, outrage.

    One response to the foregoing may be to say, Lex, you’re exaggerating, this will be no big deal. I wish I thought so. But, see, I know lots of liberal activist lawyers. They are smart, and they work hard, they believe in their causes, they never give up, and this is going to place a powerful new weapon in their hands to attack their biggest and most hated enemy, the “Christian Right,” including the Catholic Church. Anyway, I understand the “don’t worry, be happy” argument, but I’m sure it’s mistaken. I expect very rapid movement on this, many lawsuits filed in the next several days and weeks, and an accelerating tempo of activity. Time will tell.

    Is there any silver lining? Perversely, the backlash from all this may lead to two outcomes I have always dreamed of but never dared to hope I’d live to see: the wide-scale abandonment of the public (government) schools as the predominant source of educating American children by very large segments of the population, and the end of the abusive, unaccountable, illegitimate federal judicial “review” as we have come to know it in recent decades. Ask me in five years how we are doing on those two predictions. They’ll take time to ripen.

    Update: Quite a tempest in a teacup. I gave up on the comments around number 60. Thanks to the few who agreed with any of what I said. Thanks also to those who disagreed, even fervently, but did so with civility and rationality. That is what makes this blog enjoyable. Thanks to the rest of you for demonstrating my point that silencing or shouting down anyone who even raises questions about how this is being accomplished, let alone its purported merits, is a step that far too many supporters of gay marriage will be happy to take if they can get away with it. I did make some predictions. I’m actually more pessimistic than I let on. But, I hope I’m wrong, and that all those who say nothing particularly bad will happen are right. Jonathan puts it well: Most predictions are wrong. I promise all friends and enemies that I will revisit this topic in a year or so, and I hope I will get to admit then that I was overly alarmed. In the meantime, I’m done talking about this topic. I’m going to watch and listen for a while, as far this business goes. We’ll see what happens next.

     

    100 Responses to “Gay Marriage”

    1. in-cog-nito Says:

      Amen Lex. Excellent post.

      The first thing the Soviets did after coming to power was to kill Christianity along with other religions. Liberal activists are taking a page out of their playbook and going full bore. Sad to see really. If I can afford it, there’s no way I will send my kids to a public school.

    2. Noel Says:

      Right on all counts, Lex.

    3. David Mercer Says:

      WTF? How does letting gay persons get married in a civil fashion make the beliefs of 100 million American Christians illegal?

      There are all sorts of things that are legal, that many people believe are immoral, and that doesn’t force them to engage in such acts or “make their beliefs illegal”.

      I’m sorry, your logic here is deeply flawed. Please explain to me how this is so?

    4. Jeff Trigg Says:

      Why was government granted the power to define marriage in the first place? Isn’t “state” marriage just a hand me down from previous theocracies to begin with? I’d propose that allowing state certified homosexual marriages isn’t making Christianity illegal, because that was done when government took the power to define marriage away from Christianity and society. The issuance of government marriage licenses should have been the first clue that government was stepping where it shouldn’t.

      Recognizing marriage “rights” to the lowest common denominator logically takes us to the two individuals involved. Ultimately, it is what is in their hearts and heads that defines their marriage. From there, we’d include their family, friends, and sometimes their choice of religion. Now, no one else may choose to recognize that marriage and call it by that name, and that should be fine also. The Catholic Church shouldn’t be forced by the government to preside over homosexual marriages, just as the Catholic Church shouldn’t be able to dictate to the government what constitutes a marriage or a divorce.

      I’d agree that government shouldn’t try to force those that disagree with homosexual marriage to call it such. Perhaps government should give up the power to define marriage and return that power back to the two individuals, family, friends, and religion. Government could instead recognize civil union contracts between whoever chooses to join in that contract and get out of the officially licensed and government defined marriage business.

      Gay marriage should be a Constitutional right for those who choose to view it as such. Likewise, it should be a Constitutional right for others not to recognize gay marriages. The Constitution doesn’t define marriage for anyone and it shouldn’t.

      Additionally, I’ll ask, was Christianity also made illegal when we abolished laws that put homosexuals in cages and took their freedom for their private behavior? My point here is that the government shouldn’t hold the power to enforce Christian beliefs as laws, but should allow people the freedom of those Christian beliefs.

      I agree with a lot of what you say however. Judges created this mess and public schools will probably amplify it. I just don’t think the solution is to define marriage in our Constitution, but rather government should stop trying to define it. It’s not a perfect solution that will make everyone happy, but there never is when it comes to government.

    5. nash Says:

      “So, again, if gay marriage is a Constitutional right, then anyone preaching the moral teaching of Christianity is committing a hate crime or otherwise attacking the exercise of a Constitutional right.”

      This is just absurd. Pro-life activists aren’t thrown in jail for preaching against abortions and neither will anti-gay activists be thrown in jail for printing anti-gay screeds.

      There are a number of things that can be done to strengthen marriage such as getting rid of no-fault divorce. Until you and others of a like mind start arguing for them as vehemently as you do against gay marriage, I’m not inclined to view your opinions on this subject as anything more than empty-headed, anti-gay hysteria.

    6. Base Ten Says:

      Wow.

    7. NC Says:

      Absurd.

      The new Constitution will grant a right, not an obligation.

    8. nn Says:

      I still haven’t seen any cogent argument why supporting gay marriage doesn’t open the door to polygamy and even stranger variants.

      And those who say that’s ok too are neither conservative, nor Hayekian. They’re effectively saying To Hell with tradition, in favor of Reason and Modernity.

      This will not stand, but it’s hard for conservative libertarians to say this in polite company as the positions are rapidly hardening on this issue.

      The mandatory teaching that being gay is okay will drive up enrollment in religious schools.

    9. DSpears Says:

      Lex, I’m not quite with you on the making Christianity illegal part, but there is a larger issue here and I have no doubt that a lot of the people pushing this are fully aware of it. I think overt Christianity has already been largely purged from the government which may not a particularly bad thing in a vaccuum, but the next step is to purge it from American society, and use government to do it.

      There are a lot of people on the exterme Left in America (the middle of the road left in Europe) who detest Christianity for a host of reasons. These are the people who don’t like America or Americans, and believe that American society is somehow inferior and even dangerous. The fact that most Americans, even non-religious ones like myself, still cling to the Judeo-Christian values that are the basis for our culture and our government is an obstacle. I think many leftists rightly understand that this country cannot be made into what they want it to be as long as religion and our libertarian, individualist traditions that arise from the values of Protestant Christianity, give people an authority higher than government. One of the chief objections that liberals like the honorable manslaughterer Ted Kennedy had to the nomination of Clerance Thomas to the Supreme Court was his belief in Natural Rights that are granted by a power greater than government. There is a fundamental religious basis to this even though you may not be able to find a specific passage in the Bible (or maybe you can).

      These are my pet theories, I don’t have a lot of evidence to back them up, but I’ve seen little to contradict them.

      As far as Gay marriage goes, if gays wanted to go quietly about their business they would simply call their contract something other than marriage, which has always been between a man and a woman throughout time. Even in ancient cultures where homosexuality was socially acceptable like Rome and Greece, there was no such concept as a gay marriage. Homosexual conduct was simply looked at as recreational, not the basis for societies most fundamental building block.

      Personally, even with all the desensitizing homosexuality that is on TV and in the media on a regular basis it is still something I find a little distasteful. Call me whatever politically correct name you like. I know a few gay people and don’t have anything against them, I just don’t want to see them kissing and such.

      But, I have no right to tell them what they should do in their free time any more than I would presume to tell anybody else who wasn’t harming others directly with their conduct.

      But the real issue here for me is the judicial review that Lex brought up. I don’t think that the current system is what the Constitutional Convention meant when they wrote the Constitution. This is a whole subject unto itself and I will have to get out my “Federalist Papers” to do more research. But, I’m going from memory here” the Supreme Court grabbed the idea of Judicial Review for itself (by interpreting the Constitution to say so) in the first few decades of the Republic and it has been precedent ever since. I don’t know what should replace it but the practice is at best “barely” democratic.

      More later.

      Good discussion, hopefully somebody will do my research for me!

      T

    10. freddie Says:

      All things change. Angels no longer sit on pins; adulery no big deal; divorce ok; birth control available; women vote; the universe no longer revolves around the earth; planes now fly in the sky!; word processing replaces IBM Selectric, and on and on …you like tradition? fine. Stay with it…and let the world move as it will.

    11. Scott Says:

      Cats and dogs…living together!! The sky is falling. Come on, guys. One state. One, out of 50.

    12. DSpears Says:

      “One, out of 50.”

      Some people interpret the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the Constitution to say that one out of 50 means 50 out of 50. We’ll see.

      ALthough in a post-States Rights America, the Feds can simply overrule the States.

    13. Fred Says:

      So, as another prominent blogger has grumbled about, why is the full faith and credit clause not applied to gun carry laws.

      Vermont Carry everywhere! huzzah!

    14. TM Lutas Says:

      Calm down Lex. We’re not quite at the gates of Sodom yet. I recall that Churchill lost the 1946 elections by predicting that Atlee’s socialist innovations could not be implemented without use of gestapo. Churchill was right but the crisis only dawned in the 1970s with Arthur Scargill’s proposal to legally limit emigration to avoid the brain drain.

      While gay marriage will eviscerate the tradition bulwark against more pernicious forms of marriage, it’s going to take some time for the human cost to mount up to the point where it breaks into mainstream consciousness. Libertarians and the right have performed the least well in predicting the timeframe of the coming disaster whenever the left proposes something idiotic. Don’t fall into the same trap.

    15. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I have to disagree with your premise that making homosexual marriage is tantamount to making Christianity illegal. Noone is stopping you, or can stop you, from practicing your religious beliefs. In addition, your right to free speach guaruntees your right to be critical of the practice, the court decision and law.

      I also have to admit, I’m one of those who see this as essentially a nonissue. I see it as practically harmless from a social perspective. Here’re some reasons:

      1. The major problem facing society WRT marriage is not with people getting married. It’s with couples who’re rearing children getting divorced.

      2. Homosexuals live together in our society. What damage is that doing to your marriage now? Any?

      3. Through legal recognition of their ‘marriage’, homesexuals are seeking a certain legal status that impacts their ability to make financial and legal decisions: wills, property, medical benefits, etc.

      4. Granting that status does not require that you or I endorse their decision to marry one another. Is marrying outside one’s religion or race an attack on tradition? Yes. Does that mean we should make it illegal? It seems to me we need some very compelling reason to deny people the right to make decisions about how people choose to live here in the Land of the Free. More than Christians feel it’s sinful, therefore it should be illegal.

      5. We could make the AIDS argument, but then we could make the bicycle argument. A person is more likely to hurt themselves riding a bicycle than almost anything they do. How about gun ownership, or tobacco use, or skydiving? All dangerous activities. Make them illegal?

      Finally, it occurs to me that in many ways your argument parallels the school choice argument, oddly enough. The secular purists argue that in granting a citizen the right to educate their children in a religious school infringes their right to not support certain (or all) religious institutions. The popular varition on this idea is that it amounts to state support for religion. It does no such thing. It meerly leaves the decision to individual adults; free citizens. In fact, it is the epitomy of noninterference of the state in the religious or nonreligious decisions of the citizens.

      All in all, I just don’t get it. I don’t think you’ve made a very compelling argument that justifies denying the same legal protections you and I enjoy to certain other citizens by demonstrating some irrepairable harm that will result. I simply fail to see it. How does the act of two women two blocks over from you getting married affect your life? Are they adults, free adults, in a society that aspires to freedom from undue interference in the lives of it’s citizens? Wasn’t this republic founded on the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

    16. Sandy P Says:

      If people thought getting judges on the USSC was hard w/Roe v. Wade, you aint’ seen nothing yet.

      It was coming in a few decades. However, the Catholic Church is becoming more conservative. It’s largest membership is coming from Africa and Asia. They are more conservative.

      Lex is right. We are being forced to “accept” their “marriage” by judicial fiat and in a way, “accept” them. Think about it, their lifestyle is legal, so they are. There’s an activist from Yale(?) who said something quite interesting when this came up and of course I didn’t save it. It was enlightening. I wish I could find that quote, it clarified some things.

      I’m all for live and let live for the most part, however, it’s not marriage.

      As to European thinking, well, they’re going down the tubes because they’ve replaced spirituality w/religion of the state.

      Besides, I still don’t understand this need to get married. During my lifetime marriage was bad, discouraged by the 60s boomers, much less a badge of honor living together and defying “the establishment.” Now it’s trendy.

    17. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Wow.

      I really don’t get the Christianity illegality reasoning at all. For starters, we are talking about Massachusetts.

      Second, how does granting some the right to marry make it illegal to believe they don’t have that right ? Or Christianity illegal ? Where and how does it make it illegal to believe homosexuality is against God’s law if that’s what you want to believe ?

      Third, if there is such thing as separation of church and state, I don’t see why such matters should be resolved according to the tenets of one religion, as seen by some of its followers. I’m Roman Catholic too and I happen to think they should have the right to marry. If this or that church or religion does not want to marry gays according to their rites, that’s fine by me. But what right does the Catholic Church have to prevent people from getting married at City Hall if they want to ? And why should its opinion be any more relevant than anyone else’s ?

      Fourth, you may believe marriage is a religious commitment first and foremost. That’s perfectly all right. It’s your right to believe so. But the government has no business imposing choices according to religion. And if you disagree, see Iran. As the famous quip has it, “Religion is an individual choice in this country. Thank God…”.

      Fifth, the civilization might be 2,000 year old but today’s version has very, very little to do with what it was 2,000 years ago, if anything at all. Including marriage. Civilizations, however you define them, are not anymore static than language is. Today’s tradition often is yesterday’s outrageous change to the status quo. Claims of the end of our civilization are also 2,000 years old. In a way, screaming about great unraveling of society as we know it is probably the oldest tradition, and one that has changed very little in style and substance.

      Sixth, the notion that gay marriage threatens the institution itself is silly given the evidence. Between infidelity, high divorce rates and the large number of single-parent families – all issues that have been described by conservatives as major marriage criris for years – it seems heterosexuals can inflict a lot of damage to that ‘foundational element’ all by themselves. And have been doing so with abandon for quite a while, thank you very much. But suddenly, granting a right that many of us heterosexuals have been mistreating and taking for granted for decades to people who actually want it and show more respect and desire for it than many heterosexuals, and that’s a threat more serious than all of the above ? A bunch of people actually show so much interest in marriage they are willing to campaign for it and travel far and wide to get it. And that’s a threat ? Please.

      Sometimes, it feels as if the Church was in the business of losing followers and shooting itself in the foot. If so, it is getting better at it by the day. Finally, I find it incredibly hypocritical at this time to hear supposedly strong “moral” statements from an institution that has spent a few decades covering up for the child molesters in its own ranks, repeatedly using some of its vast funds to settle confidential lawsuits. When they’ve cleaned up their own mess, maybe they can come out and get in the way of people who are not even asking nor expecting anything from it.

    18. lindenen Says:

      I read an article a little while ago about the effects of gay marriage in Northern Europe. Ministers who disagreed and preached against homosexuality were purged. This is a legitimate complaint.

      All they’d need to do would be to do would be to pass a hate speech law and then speaking against homosexuality would become punishable. Like how they’re prosecuting Bridget Bardot for racism in France. So yeah, a major tenet of Christianity would be illegal.

    19. Sandy P Says:

      –Between infidelity, high divorce rates and the large number of single-parent families – all issues that have been described by conservatives as major marriage criris for years – it seems heterosexuals can inflict a lot of damage to that ‘foundational element’ all by themselves.–

      60s boomer ideology going against the establishment? Correlation is not causation…..

    20. Jonathan Says:

      -From a legal perspective, marriage is primarily a contract for the protection of children. It is only secondarily about personal fulfillment. Indeed the legal rules are intended to protect the interests of children at the expense of parents’ personal fulfillment, if necessary. Whatever else gay marriage may be, it is not, in most cases, primarily about raising children. Recognizing gay marriage as legally equivalent to conventional marriage risks changing the nature of all marriage, perhaps for the worse. As an all-or-none decision, I don’t think it’s a worthwhile risk for our society to take.

      -Marriage as we know it has evolved over hundreds of years, and despite its flaws seems to work better than any other arrangement for raising children. Nobody knows what the long-term consequences of gay marriage would be. Gay marriage by judical fiat amounts to a huge social experiment that would be difficult to reverse if it turned out to be unsuccessful. I agree with Lex on this point: it would be much less risky to allow the issue of gay marriage to be defined by state legislatures on an incremental basis over a long period of time.

      -There may be incremental reforms in rules regarding insurance, inheritance and so forth that would accomplish most or all of the gay-marriage agenda WRT those issues, without creating an unprecedented new category of marriage.

      -I also agree with Lex that gay marriage is not as popular as some of its proponents believe. If it were, it would be enacted by legislation rather than judicial fiat. (Clayton Cramer makes the same point.)

    21. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sandy, since when are single parents and those who divorce “60s boomers” or people who act on “60s boomers ideology” ? Most of those I know were not even born in the 60s. As for their politics, they’re all over the map.

      Jonathan, I agree that state legislatures is where it should happen. And which is where it is happening. Which, incidentally is the position of Democrats like Kerry while Bush and others want to use the Constitution to ban it outright.

      Finally, I don’t care whether it’s popular among those who are not affected by it whatsoever. Was desegregation popular in the South among whites ? Popularity is a very dubious argument to me. It certainly matters from a political standpoint – as we saw around the Iraq argument – but it is irrelevant to the actual matter at hand. Popularity, or lack thereof, do not make anything right or wrong in and of themselves.

    22. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      As far as the “purging” priests in Northern Europe, I would like to see proof this came from outside the Church. While imams are routinely sanctioned – and recently deported, as in France – for teaching some traditional bits of Islam about the inferiority of women and the like, I have never heard of priests being submitted to such treatment. The Church, however, has replaced priests based on demands from the rank and file. Not every Christian on Earth is a doctrinaire follower of everything the Vatican says. And not everybody agrees on what is fundamental either. I was raised a Catholic, went to Sunday school for years and through the whole education process until I was well into my teen years, and I was certainly never taught anything about the sin of homosexuality. And none of the values I was taught tell me I should prevent those people from being treated equally and to marry at City Hall if they want to. Christianity is certainly no ideological monolith.

      In my experience, that’s especially true in Europe. The shame of the Vatican’s response – or rather the conspicuous lack thereof – to the ongoing Holocaust and the coverage of this dark period over the years has left a lot of people somewhat ambivalent with respect to the institutional organization itself.

    23. Jonathan Says:

      Sylvain, it’s not popular. No state legislature has enacted it. The governor of liberal MA is against it. Kerry avoids it as much as possible. For him to say that a legislature should allow gay marriage, is like a legislator saying that a bill should pass when he knows that it is certain to be killed in committee. Only a few pols will take a stand in favor of it, and they represent places that are politically unrepresentative of the nation as a whole. Bush et al can get away with posturing about constitutional amendments because gay marriage is so unpopular. (And BTW, a constitutional amendment isn’t judicial fiat but more like the opposite — reserved to overrule legislatures that flout the popular will.)

      I don’t think gay marriage is comparable to racial desegregation. It’s not a civil-rights issue. It’s more like polygamy, something that may not be wrong per se but may be socially destructive if encouraged. That’s the point I was trying to make by mentioning social experimentation.

    24. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Kerry did come out early on saying he thought states should decide. The governor of Mass. is indeed against it. But the overall accusation that the process is undemocratic does not stand up to scrutiny. The proposed amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman will have to be ratified by both houses in two successive legislative sessions, and then ratified by the voters; the likely date seems to be November 2006. So not only will the people be able to decide, but they will do so with a minimum of experience and a couple of years to digest the heated propaganda. I wish all social experimentation worked like this i.e. trial run followed by popular vote to continue/stop.

      As for constitutional amendments, I’m not sure we entirely agree. There is often a large difference between the intent of the process and the intent of those who use it. In this case, their intent seems to nip in the bud any present and future attempts, however legal or popular they may be, and make it much harder for popular will to change things. As to how and why this kind of tactics are consistent with some sort of moral high ground, beats me.

    25. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Correlation is not causation…..

      I’m always amused when someone uses this phrase in a way that indicates they don’t know what it means.

      Causation: I flip the switch, the light goes on. I flip the other way, the light goes out. Barring a circuit failure, it works that way each and every time. The light does not go on by itself, does not go out by itself. Cause and effect. ‘X’ causes ‘Y’. No variations.

      Correlation: Smoking increases the likelyhood of dying from lung cancer. It does not mean each and every smoker will die from it. Nor does it mean those who do not smoke wil not die from it. However, it does mean that if you smoke, your probability of dying from lung cancer goes up in a measureable way that is both mathematically demonstrable and scientifically proveable. Correlation matters. To flip off correlation as if it’s meaningless indicates you don’t understand it.

      Whatever else gay marriage may be, it is not, in most cases, primarily about raising children.

      Are those couples who have no intention of raising children entitled to marriage? Or are incremental reforms sufficient for them? Would you support a constitutional ammendment barring couples who are still raising their children from divorcing? That would actually do more to combat the social damage that you, rightfully, allude to than denying marriage rights to others.

      WWJD (What would Jefferson do?) Here’re a few quotes:

      The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.
      — Thomas Jefferson, note in Destutt de Tracy, “Political Economy,” 1816. ME 14:465

      To unequal privileges among members of the same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord, adverse.”
      — Thomas Jefferson, to Hugh White, 1801. ME 10:258

      All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression.
      — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

      [The] best principles [of our republic is to] secure to all its citizens a perfect equality of rights.
      — Thomas Jefferson, Reply to the Citizens of Wilmington, 1809. ME 16:336

    26. DSpears Says:

      I agree it should be an issue dealt with by the States, absent a Constitutional amendment, which I think shouldn’t be used on trivial issues (like whether people can buy alcohol).

      But the real problem is that due to the Full Faith Credit Clause it can be argued (and people already have) that a marriage liscence given by one state must be honored by all others. In fact this is the case today. It’s also the reason you can drive in Idaho with a Missouri driver’s liscence. It’s no longer just a Massachusetts issue.

      The real problem is governments interference in the issue for hundreds of years. Why do you need a permit from the govenment to get married in the first place? It’s a contract like any other. The government (the courts) should only come into play if there is a failure or dispute in the contract.

    27. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Jonathan, I’m not so sure it’s not a civil rights issue. Granted, the nature and severity of the harm cannot be compared with segregation. But in the end, this is about equal treatment before the law. Some couples can marry. Others cannot even though they do live as couples.

      The protection of children is actually an argument for gay marriage; a growing number of gay couples raise adopted children (one of them being on the front page of today’s Boston Globe as a matter of fact). So if marriage matters for children, then one ought to consider it for those couples. But then why just them ? Many married heterosexual couples never have children. And quite often, out of their own choice. Michael explores this point above.

      In the end, I agree with DSpears (shit happens uh ? :) Seriously D, we love you). This is matter of individual choice. So is religion.

    28. Mitch Says:

      Actually, the people of Massachusetts have spoken, and they spoke against it. A binding referendum was passed about 2-3 years ago, which obliged the legislature to convene a constitutional convention and draft an amendment forbidding same-sex marriage. The state senate president convened the session, recognized an immediate motion to adjourn, and closed the convention. A lawsuit seeking to enjoin the senate to perform its duty under the state constitution was dismissed by the same Supreme Judicial Court. Amazing that they can find these implied rights in the state constitution and be unable to read the plain text of it. This is a judicial coup d’etat.

    29. Scotch Drinker Says:

      For those wondering how it will make Christianity illegal, read this. It’s not making Christianity illegal by passing a law banning that particular religion, it’s making it illegal to have a right to run your business as you see fit. I’m not saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed, but all the people (not necessarily in these comments but throughout the web) using their snarky voice to say that gay marriage hasn’t affected anything are not looking in the right places.Putting in laws to recognize gay marriage negatively affects the freedoms of other citizens. The question is, does it negatively affect the freedoms of Christians in the same way that racial desegregation negatively affected the freedoms of racists? I’m no expert in the law but I don’t think it does. My intuition is gay marriage is qualitatively different from racial desegregation. But I’d be happy to hear why I’m wrong.

    30. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Mitch, to the extent that the voters will have to ratify it, I don’t see where the coup is. Obviously, the courts do not read the same plain text as you do.

    31. Sandy P Says:

      Sylvain – 60s boomers weren’t born in the 60s, they were born beginning 1946.

      They were teens-20s in the 60s. They were Fischer, Kerry, Bush, Bubba and Evita. They are in charge of our schools, our lower courts, the bureaucracy, the policy makers or 68-haters.

      I’m a tail-end boomer, born in 60. They were protesting when I was playing.

      D Spears, I happenend to catch an attorney from GWU(?) on Hume yesterday. The FF&CC can be overridden in the public interest, and the states may just go that route. Because this means 1 state can make policy for all 50, and the other 49 won’t like being told what to do. We need to learn from Roe v. Wade. This is going to further divide US.

      And no, we don’t need a constitutional amendment against divorce until the kids are gone, how about getting rid of no-fault and see how it goes. We’ll see how it goes from there. The funny thing is, the spawn of the 60s boomers are more traditional, staying home for awhile to take care of kids and things like that (recent article, read the 1 paragraph then moved on and didn’t save). Maybe being put thru life’s wringer taught them something. I wonder if that decision was a cause or a correlation????

      And wouldn’t it have been interesting to ask Jefferson if his statement meant gay marriage? I wonder if he gave it a thought?

      Michael – I was being nice, I lay a lot of today’s issues at the 60s boomers’ doorstep. I think they are the cause of downward spirals in some areas, like education, coming up w/victimization, etc. Don’t get me wrong, did some good things, but sometimes I wonder at what price? We’ve now lost 2-3 generations of blacks. Black families were better off in the 50s because they were married families – mom and dad, which brings us back to the topic.

      I’ve read at least one theory that they hated their fathers. They knew they could never live up to the greatest generation so they tore everything down.

      I understand there’s an interesting book called “Generations” which I haven’t read yet and it goes thru the 13 generations since our country’s founding. Either that or they’re so enamoured w/Europe they can’t see straight, they want approval from their supposed betters.

    32. Jonathan Says:

      Sylvain: It isn’t a civil-rights issue any more than forcing everyone to drive on the right side of public roads is a civil-rights issue. Currently, one is free to drive one’s car on his front lawn, or to have almost any kind of sexual relationship with a consenting adult(s). But the law restricts how one may drive on the expressway and what kind or marriage contract the law will recognize. Or, to draw a different parallel: the law recognizes only certain kinds of business organization: corporations, sub-S corps, LLCs, partnerships, sole proprietorships, etc. Each of these organizational forms evolved over time; none was imposed by a court against significant popular or legislative opposition. You can invent a new form of business organization, and even get other people to go along with you, and even show some hypothetical benefits from allowing it, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good idea, or that you are being victimized if the State doesn’t recognize it.

      Perhaps one day it will be obvious that same-sex marriage is generally beneficial. Fine. I await that day. But it’s not here yet; much more experience is needed before anyone can say how it will turn out. Much more discussion is needed, which includes discussion by ordinary people (not just policy wonks and journalists), which means politics and legislative give-and-take, which is not the approach (it’s the antithesis of the approach) that proponents now take. And the stakes are high (at least they seem high to me). I would be less cautious on this topic if gay-marriage advocates would agree that it is conceivable that legally ratified gay marriage will turn out to have more costs than benefits. So far, many of the enthusiasts (I don’t mean you) do not recognize such a possibility, and accuse opponents of bigotry. I don’t trust enthusiastic crowds.

      Michael: My comments to Sylvain mostly apply to your comments too. Sure, not all heterosexual married couples have or want children, but most do. I don’t think the same generalization is true for homosexual couples. Of course there are exceptions, but the question is whether the risks are worth the benefits overall. I don’t know yet, and I don’t think anyone else does. I think it’s a matter of experience and cannot be evaluated wisely without that experience. And popular opinion isn’t always right, but I think it’s prudent to respect it, especially when, as in MA, an unelected elite is trying to impose an unpopular policy on the public.

      Mitch: Thanks for reminding me about the referendum.

    33. vbc Says:

      If you accept the arguments made for homosexual marriage, then you have to accept that those reasons equall justify incestuous marriages, polygamous marriages, polyandrous marriages, etc.

      Some think this is a problem; some do not.

    34. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Jon/Sandy: Just to be clear, when I suggested the constitutional ammendment against divorce between child-rearing couples, I was doing two things simultaneously. One, I was trying to point out that constitutional ammendments seem like an absurd way to deal with these issues, although I do take – and agree with – the point that we need to ease into this carefully. Two, I was addressing Jonathons ‘subtext’, if you will. His concern, which we all share, about cheapening marriage. My point was he was trying to make the lawn greener by chasing bees. The two issues are, in my mind, unrelated (like the lawn and the bees). The problem we face in society is NOT people getting married. It’s people getting divorced, especially those raising children. Denying homosexuals the right to marry does nothing, that I can see, more than symbolicly at least, to address that real and very damaging problem.

      Also, I agree about the generation coming up post-boomer. Judging from my daughters and their friends, all in their late teens and early twenties, this is much more conservative, sceptical, respectful, traditional, unashamedly pro-American generation. I’m very impressed with them as a group. I feel very confident America is going to be extremely well served by them in the coming years. Just look at the kids (our kids) serving in Iraq. I’m so proud of them sometimes I can hardly put it into words.

    35. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      If you accept the arguments made for homosexual marriage, then you have to accept that those reasons equall justify incestuous marriages, polygamous marriages, polyandrous marriages, etc.

      That’s absurd. If I recognize your right to own a shotgun, does that mean I must recognize your right to own an atomic bomb? The world is not an either-or, all-or-nothing place. Don’t pretend it is.

    36. Brad S Says:

      Lex,

      Your statement is, to say the least, overwrought. Unlike most European countries and Canada, the Free Exercise Clause to the 1st Amendment is about as ironclad a protection of religion as society will ever get.

      And if you think the gay/lesbian rights people will try to force Christianity “out of business” due to it being a “hate crime,” think again. One of the many reasons why the Pro-Life movement has been as successful as it has been is because its opponents (NARAL/NOW) tried to put them out of business with RICO_type lawsuits and other actions. On Feb 26, 2003, SCOTUS ruled such an action an improper use of the RICO statutes (Scheidler v NOW). Among some of the folks behind Joe Scheidler were such right-wing lunatics as PETA and Martin Sheen.

      If the gay/lesbian rights crowd tries something equally ham-fisted, expect the same sort of result, with the same sort of strange bedfellows fighting and winning. There are ways to go too far, after all.

    37. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sandy, if they weren’t around in the 60s, they certainly weren’t in 1946. Ahem.

      Jonathan, I disagree. Your race, gender or sexual orientation does not define whether you have the right to get a driver’s license or not. If it did, it would certainly be a civil rights issue. There are requirements to get one, but as far as I know, they have nothing to do with factors that are irrelevant to what is being licensed. The ability of two people to live as a couple and enjoy the rights and responsibilities thereof has, in my experience, little to do with their sexual orientation. I don’t deny we used to believe that was the case. That doesn’t make it true today or tomorrow.

      Second, is the existence of popular opposition relevant, even if it is unreasonable ? And could the illegality of a particular type of contract also support opposition to it ? Many tend to believe something should be illegal because…well, it’s illegal already. Popular opposition is neither necessary nor sufficient to deny this, anymore than it was in the South in the 1960s, when opposition was most violent.

      And if experience is needed, let’s try it. How can we experience something that is forbidden ? How many more decades do de facto couples have to live together to prove to the rest of us that they deserve the same right we grant to others ?

      As for the costs, they may exist but I can hardly imagine how letting some among what is still a fringe minority of the population marry could somehow impose heavier costs than all those we incur from the institution of heterosexual marriage today (say divorce courts, lawyers and all the expenses and side-effects associated with them). I am willing to consider the possibility but it would help if you could elaborate. In any case, this is something that should be proven empirically. Ideally, in a federal system, one or more states could forge ahead if they so chose.

    38. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      vbc, I do agree with Michael that it is an absurd argument. Moreover, the law, in the past, has in fact tolerated polygamous, and even, for a very long time, incestuous marriages. While homosexual union has certainly never been given recognition.

      – The only argument I am aware of to defend polygamy, it is one based on religious discrimination. Interestingly, most of those who complain about the crushing of religion by the government rarely complain about this one. There are also obvious practical/political reasons for the state to prevent polygamous marriages that do not exist for any couples; namely cost, in terms of tax breaks, benefits for spouses and children etc.

      – Incest is not just a legal taboo; it is one that exist in every culture because of the genetic consequences it has for the couple’s children and the larger group they belong to. The costs/benefits are seen as globally negative and it would be very hard to argue otherwise. (Although I am not sure incestuous sexual acts between consenting adults are illegal….).

      – I do not see how defining marriage as a committed relationship between two consenting adults would “leak” us into legal incest, polygamy, polyandry, dog sex or goat weddings. The essential point of this kind of argument is to associate homosexuality with other behaviors that are not only considered abhorrent, but that are largely a matter of choice: there is no evidence that I know of to show that one is born polygamous, incestuous, adulterous or, if it happens, that the odds of being so are equal or higher to that of being homosexual; homosexuals do not chose one sunny morning to flip the switch. Comparing them to people who want to have sex with their cousin is indeed absurd.

    39. Ginny Says:

      I am not particularly religious; I can see Lexington Green’s point, but would like to make a secular (and off-point) observation.

      John Adams observed in a letter to his wife that the country had spent necessary time talking over its relation to England–in pubs and town meetings, with neighbors and friends and around the stove at home. He argued that made the revolution more likely to be successful, the people more committed. But if Massachusetts can decide for the rest of us with a bare majority on an unelected court, the discussion will be stopped where it should have started. We have seen the pro-choice advocates’ favorite mantra “it is a legal right” that can be frustrating to even those who might agree with them, for they no longer deal with the the moral question. I respected Sullivan’s long-held position that it should be put to a vote. I’d probably vote for it, but I don’t want that decision to be made for me.

      I’m 58 and have 3 daughters; I think marriage is important. But I have also seen the flotsam and jetsam modern marriage has produced as these daughters have known, befriended, been stalked by, etc. And, frankly, I don’t see how gay marriages can do much more to destroy that institution than we already have.
      Biology: pill, artificial insemination, soon perhaps cloning. We separated sex from procreation and procreation from sex. It is small wonder that many people no longer see marriage in terms of a nest to protect a child. Yes, my life would have been a good deal less pleasant without the pill; yes, I want it for my daughters. But my college years were the years the pill was introduced; I know how different life was like in, say, 1963 and, say, 1967. The fact that some of the change was good doesn’t mean that some of it wasn’t.
      Economic: Aid to Dependent Children, the marriage penalty. In general, we no longer see children as economic pluses (ready to help us in the field, cook for a threshing crew) and more as economic minuses (lessons, college — our childless friends have much less rich, less fulfilled lives than we do, but they are also more likely to have expensive toys).
      Finally (and most importantly): No fault divorce, a country that sees single mothers not as failures (either through divorce or premarital sex) but as heroines, to whom rewards should be granted. Divorced parents who see their children as pawns in a world in which duty to children has been replaced by lame ideas of self-fulfillment. (No I don’t begrudge single mothers their lives and have seen divorces that set people free- my life is much easier because it is remarkably conventional; they need help and I don’t. And I accept that the larger society should step in when the household can not properly take care of the child.

      I would be more impressed with the importance of marriage arguments if advocates were willing to face the wreckage of divorce and if they found shotgun marriages less reprehensible. There was much that was wrong with the 1950s but the assumption that people were responsible for their actions and that babies needed to be raised in a relatively secure and relatively conventional environment was not one of them.

    40. Sandy P Says:

      Michael, W did the right thing by throwing it out to a constitutional amendment – this a decision for the states, not judicial fiat. Roe v Wade taught us that, too bad they were dunces and didn’t think it was such a big deal, would have such a divisive impact on the country these past 30 years.

      Especially considering what it takes to put an amendment on the constitution, ERA Equal Rights Amendment anyone?

      Now, OT, if they’d just stop drugging their kids, via Bros. Judd:

      Spending on drugs to treat children and adolescents for behavior-related disorders rose 77 percent from 2000 to the end of 2003, according to a study of prescription purchases by Medco Health Solutions, a pharmacy benefits management company….


      Sylvain – the 60s boomers have been on stage since they were teenagers in the 60s. They were born right after the war, hence the boom. They certainly made their presence known in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and now they lead.

      I’m a tail-end boomer, but no one can really agree if the tail end is 60 or 64. All I’m doing is using the terminology that has described them for a long time now. If most people say 60s boomers they know the image. Even if the older ones don’t exactly fall into the chronological age category like Steinham, Fonda, they are remembered during the 60s era. They are intimately entwined w/that time. There are a lot of Viet Nam vets who are finally going to have their say in the next few months against Kerry. The 60s boomers are still at each others’ throats and they’ve dragged the rest of us into it thru no fault of our own.

      Or, if you prefer, the Jones Generation. The everyman who’s responsibility is to rein in the excesses of the 60s boomers. When #41 passed the reins to Bubba, it was the Greatest Generation passing the generational torch to the boomers. Bubba was the embodiment of them, he’s not called, “The Big Me” amongst other things for nothing!

      I finally told a 60s boomer during a political conversation when he brought up “W ran as a uniter, not a divider,” this country won’t be united until the 60s boomers are senile, dead or can take no for an answer. It’s not about you.

      These people have been yammering for almost 45 years now, enough is enough. We’re not so fond of their voices as they are. And we have work to do.

      We’re also called “bobos” you know, ‘Bourgeois Bohemians.

    41. Patch Adams Says:

      QUOTE: I finally told a 60s boomer during a political conversation when he brought up “W ran as a uniter, not a divider,” this country won’t be united until the 60s boomers are senile, dead or can take no for an answer. It’s not about you.

      These people have been yammering for almost 45 years now, enough is enough. We’re not so fond of their voices as they are. And we have work to do.
      /QUOTE.

      I couldn’t agree with you more.

    42. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sandy, quite honestly, I don’t know nor understand what 60s boomers have anything to do with it. Although I do know that demographic category is reviled by some as the source of all that’s evil. (Like personal computers, the Internet, GPS, cancer treatment, satellites, the flighs to the moon and their myriad side effects such as fuel cells, charter travel, microwave ovens, solar panels, cellular phones, laser surgery and minor other things like civil rights for millions of people who were being treated like second-class citizens…I mean, obviously, we have made absolutely zero progress since they came of age. In fact we have regressed so much Iran and Saudi Arabia are catching up with us.

      The notion that one “generation” is all about this and that other one all about that is nostalgic nonsense, even though it is very common. Each generation remembers the small, tiny, minuscule, minority of one past generation that they see as ‘best’ and compares it to today’s entire generation.

      In other words, the best of one sample is compared against the average of another : gee, no wonder they look better. In the meantime, the current generation fighting in Iraq – and their lousy lazy-ass boomer senior officers – do not look exactly wobbly to me. In fact, the refrain in the past year or so seems to be that they are a bit too eager at times…

      I don’t know, I guess some conservatives are comforted by this kind of generational self-loathing and guilt – except the loathing is mostly about those in the said generation that do not think or behave like themselves – as much as some of their liberal counterparts need the other kind with their morning coffee.

      Everybody has their own scapegoats; it is very convenient to have someone or something you can accuse of “dragging the rest of us into it thru no fault of our own”. It’s not my fault, they did it to me. Great them-vs-us attitude. But hey, it’s their mentality that’s the real problem here.

    43. DSpears Says:

      So much to address here.

      First of all, the Civil Rights mentality of this doesn’t wash. The idea of civil rights has expanded so far beyond it’s original meaning that it’s almost absurd. It is wrong and against the very spirit of our Constitution for the GOVERNMENT to treat any of the citizens any differently than any other. Now of course a quick look at our progressive tax system will tell you that’s not true, but I digress.

      Segregation was ended because the government had seperate rules for people based on heredity and ancestry (things that were inherent and unchangeable), as opposed to behavior. There have been, are, and always will be laws that discriminate against people based on their BEHAVIOR which is what homosexuality is. I don’t care what kind of genetic component there is, it is still behavior, and behavior is a fair subject of regulation. To say otherwise is of course to allow anarchy (which some people would actually prefer).

      The real problem is the govenment’s role in this. The true Jeffersonian answer to this is that the government shouldn’t be in the business of regulating marriage in the first place.

      Just a note on the “slippery slope” analogies: The smartest and most creative people in America have overwhelmingly gone into the profession of law. These people are smart, creative and well paid and for more than 200 hundred years they have continually proved that an dusty old document is no obstacle to getting what they want.

      If you don’t beleive me look at the vast expansion of the Commerce Clause over the years, without amending one word of the Constitution it has been used for decades as a blank check for government to regulate any and every economic transaction in the country, simply by categorizing everything as “interstate commerce”.

      These people are bright, they will find a way.

      On more word on the 60’s generation. My generation who were born in the 60’s to parents of the 60’s generation (I’m 35) bore the full brunt of the 60’s generation, and the “me decade” of the 70’s. Now my parents were a little older than some at the time so they were of more traditional values, of which I am happy now I was brought up with at least some traditional values.

      Most of my friends growing up had diveroced parents. I was one of the few who didn’t (a true oddity) although my parents did get divorced when I was in college. My generation experienced first hand what divorce and disposable marriages can do to families, children, and society. I am proud to say that of the dozens of people I went to college with, only one has gotten divorced, a couple have stayed single (the right thing to do for these people) and all the rest have gotten and stayed married. There are a lot of reasons for this but mainly most of us unconsciously have decided that we aren’t going to do that to our children. We also made sure we were ready to get married and that we had found the right person. Of course it probably helps that for my generation you didn’t need to get married to have sex, as my still single friends can attest.

      I’m not sure what all that means other than the 60’s era of disposable mariage may be dead.

    44. Moneyrunner Says:

      To Michael Hiteshew

      Once we accept the reasoning behind same sex marriage, I can find no intellectually firm reason for opposing any kind of union and calling it a marriage.

      If the reason for homosexual marriage is that two people love each other and want to get the legal benefits that accrue from marriage, what is the intellectual reason for the number two? An appeal to tradition will not do since tradition has been overthrown by the Massachusetts Supremes. Calling it absurd will not do for the same reason. There has to be a logical reason. I cannot find a reason in logic and certainly not in global tradition where polygamy and polyandry are common.

      Taking it a step further, what is the reason for the restriction on marrying your son, daughter or sibling? Remember the criteria: love and the legal benefits of marriage. No one said anything about sex because even people who cannot have sex can get married. So why make it illegal for me to marry my daughter so that when I die, she can inherit my estate free of estate taxes since she is my spouse?

      Even further, I love my dog. He has shown me more devotion than most people. He will be faithful. I want to marry him. I believe that anyone who disagrees with my desire for this marriage is a hateful, bigoted speciesist. Im fairly confident that by extension of the reasons for homosexual marriage, there can be no further reasonable and non-bigoted reasons for blocking my marriage to my dog. Oh, my dog cannot assent? You mean that idiots (I mean that literally: people who are mentally retarded) cannot marry? So why is that so different from my dog. He may be just as bright as the idiot next door.

    45. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      DSpears, totally disagree. Sexual orientation is not a chosen behavior. Did you choose yours ? When ? You woke up one morning and flipped your hetero switch ? Please elaborate.

      Drinking yourself silly at the pub is a behavior. Homesexuality most certainly is not. And if it is, then so is heterosexuality. And it must be explained why the union of these two over there is so harmful to the collective its legal formalization must be banned even though they are otherwise free to live as a couple.

      Drunk driving is proven to be harmful and there are rules to deal with it. Beyond ridiculous claims of the end of civilization and the alleged necessity to preserve a narrow section of religious speech at all costs – as if that was more important than the equal rights of individuals before the law – no such demonstration has been made for gay marriage.

      What is it that we’re afraid of here ? What grievous harm justifies this particular restriction ?

      Sometimes, it feels as if people believe that gay marriage will simply create more gays, resulting in the end of the species. As if the only thing preventing people from being gay was the marriage ban. So yes, it does sound like many believe it’s a chosen behavior and that it will spread like some kind of fashion meme once gay marriage is approved. This is utterly dumb, if only because homosexuality itself is not illegal in the first place. Never mind that it is most definitely not a chosen behavior.

      Whether you like it or not, gay marriage is not about homosexuality or marriage, or “promoting” one while “ending” the other. It is about equality, pure and simple. By defining marriage as being this and nothing else – and regardless of whether you believe this to be the proper definition – it is inherently discriminatory, in a limitative sense.

      It just so happens that some pairs of consenting adults cannot commit to each other like other pairs, and enjoy the rights and responsibilities that come with civil marriage. You might not consider it as severe a harm as segregation – and I would gladly agree – but the fact remains that this statute is discriminatory. Whether this discrimination is appropriate and/or necessary is most definitely what is the issue here. This is about equal rights.

      You said it yourself. It’s a contract like any other. And the government has no business regulating which kind of sexual orientation is appropriate to sign this contract or any other without a proper rationale. And it has none. Constitutionally, religion cannot be one. So what purpose does this restriction serve ? What tangible benefit do we all get from it ? And how would this benefit be reduced or harmed if we expand the definition ?

    46. Dave Schuler Says:

      For those who think Lex’s claims about Christianity being made illegal is far-fetched should examine what’s happening in Canada right now. That Canada has no “free exercise” provision in her constitution is not relevant. Our own establishment clause was once held to pertain only to the federal government. Interpretations change.

      Lex:

      The public school system was established expressly for the purpose of battling Catholicism. Read Dewey.

    47. Steve Janke Says:

      For those who don’t think people will use this issue as a way of attacking organized religion, and in particular, Christianity, using legal framework and hate laws, you’re wrong, and I know you’re wrong, simply because it has already happened. In Saskatchewan (a Canadian prairie province) a man took out an ad quoting Scripture that forbade homosexual behaviour. The ad just lists the references, and then shows an pictograph of two male figures holding hands with a line through it (imagine a “No Smoking” sign). No expression of anger, no call to “Kill Gays!”, nothing like that. Just an expression of religious belief. Well, some gay men were offended (duh!) and the man and the paper we forced to pay penalties under the Human Rights Code (about US$1000 each).

      Recently the Canadian Federal government pass legislation (sponsored by recently disgraced gay and ultra-liberal politician Svend Robinson) that adds sexual orientation** as a protected category under the genocide and hate crimes law, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison. And yes, opponents point out that the Bible and other religious texts would find no protection under the act.

      It’s only a matter of time until someone lays a charge against a chruch, or the Church, or a bookstore selling the Bible, or whatever. It’s already happened, and it will only pick up pace.

      **Note that “sexual orientation” doesn’t just mean gay, does it. It could mean bisexual. It could include orientation towards sex with animals, with children, with inanimate objects, with whatever…and all of it finds protection against criticism or even frank discussion.

      Check out these links
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/bibl_hate3.htm
      http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=47927
      http://www.townhall.com/columnists/johnleo/jl20040412.shtml

    48. Hudson Says:

      Inequality is not illegal and is in some cases to be desired.

      Something discriminatory is not necessarily illegal. If the basis for discrimination is not a protected class, then it is in fact quite legal. Even if it is a protected class, if it serves a greater purpose (i.e. airlines may discriminate in employment of pilots based on age if can be shown society’s interests are best served by younger and presumably more agile pilots.)

      Therefore, the question was not whether is was discriminatory (not granting marriage licenses to polygamists is discriminatory too but obviously legal…for now). The question was one of weighting the social good presented by gay marriage vs. the cost to society. The blog’s position is that in a democracy this decision is made by the voters not the judiciary.

      Further, a contention there is no cost to society is without merit as we know for every benefit, no matter how desirable, there are always costs. It is the task of the voters to weigh the costs and benefits, not the judiciary. Im sure judges in Massachusetts consider themselves the most brilliant legal wranglers in the history of mankind, but the fact is; they still cant be nearly as smart as millions of independent decision makers.

    49. Steve Janke Says:

      Gay marriage is about equality? No, people who argue that are a bit confused. The law is about discrimination, or it wouldn’t be worth anything. We discriminate between acts that are legal and acts that are illegal. What the law should not do is discriminate concerning to whom the law is applied.

      Alcohol is addictive and legal. Heroin is addictive and illegal. Great for alcoholics and bad for heroin addicts. Is the law discriminatory? No. Alcoholics and heroin addicts are equally allowed to purchase as much booze as they like. The are also equally forbidden from purchasing or administering heroin. See – no discrimination.

      Now obviously the alcoholic is happy as a bug snug in a rug, and the heroin addict is cursing, because the law does *affect* them differently – but it doesn’t discriminate between them. The point is subtle but important.

      Let’s say we make marriage explicitly a heterosexual thing, consistent with tradition and with biology. Discrimination? No. A straight guy can marry a woman. So can a gay guy. And they are both forbidden from marrying men.

      They are *affected* differently, but there is no discrimination.

    50. mark Says:

      Romans 1 details the process of mans estrangement from God. We know, that God exists, that the Bible is His word, that it is clear. We choose an interpretive process which allows us to deny that which we know. God judges us by allowing us to go our own way. He grants us the freedom we have demanded. That freedom is its own penalty.

      The greatest expression of Gods wrath is His silence; he allows us to go our own way. Martin Luther.

      The penalty of sin is sin. Augustine.

      Romans 1:18, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

      People know the wrong of their actions, abortion, murder, adultery – – half of what we are doing today, but refuse to admit to what they know, it gets in the way of doing what we please so we play games with ourselves. We lie to themselves and then lie to other.

      Romans 1:24, Therefore God gave them up

      Romans 1:26, For this reason God gave them up

      Romans 1:28, And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up

      All the sins with which Paul ends Romans 1 are not what God does to us but what we do to ourselves. The sins, immorality, lying, hatred, murder, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, etc., are evidence that we being judged by God. He allows us to go our own way. We choose sin and that sin is in turn a scourge.

      The end of this process of estrangement from God is the affirmation of sin, And they gave hearty approval Our estrangement from God is complete.

      Paul gives prominence to the sin of homosexuality. I personally wonder if homosexuality isnt a barometer of societys overall health. In our civil society, we are rapidly approaching the point where homosexuality is affirmed. It is a warning sign, like the canary in the coal mine.

    51. George Lee Says:

      We don’t have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson favored vis a vis the practice of homosexuality. He favored castration. In fact, he authored the Virginia statute that mandated that penalty. It lessened the previous penalty, death.

    52. DSpears Says:

      “Drinking yourself silly at the pub is a behavior. Homesexuality most certainly is not. And if it is, then so is heterosexuality. And it must be explained why the union of these two over there is so harmful to the collective its legal formalization must be banned even though they are otherwise free to live as a couple. ”

      I think you have picked a very poor analogy. Most medical research shows a significant genetic component to the development of alcoholism. They are born with it. But drinking themselves silly or even to death is still a choice they make each and every day, even if their genetics compel them to make that choice. It is a behavior.

      The same applies to homosexuality or hetrosexuality for that matter. Whatever the genetic compulsion, sexuality IS a behavior. If it isn’t what is it? It certainly isn’t an unchangable, static characteristic like skin color (Michael Jackson excepted)or blood type.

      It just isn’t. But I understand why certain activists would want to push that notion to it’s extreme.

    53. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Moneyrunner wrote:
      Once we accept the reasoning behind same sex marriage, I can find no intellectually firm reason for opposing any kind of union and calling it a marriage.

      I’m sorry to hear that. It makes me question your ability to reason. I essentially agree with Hudson, above. What you and others argue is that moving the line is removing the line. In Hudson’s analogy, we allow alchohol to be bought and sold but not heroin. Why is that? Because there’s a general consensus that most people can use alchohol judiciously and without egregious harm. That cannot be said for heroin. The cost to society is too great to allow it’s sale and use. It’s a judgement call. The application of judgement by presumably competent adults is all around you every day. You can drive 65 mph on a certain road but not 105 mph. Can’t a person be killed at 65 mph? Yes. But a judgement is made that a reasonably competent driver can operate safely at that speed. That was also my gun ownership point. Because we allow the ownership of some weapons does NOT require us to allow ownership of any and all weapons.

      Let’s take a more interesting example, the Constitution. This is from the First Ammendment:

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

      One could make all sorts of arguments about what sort of behavior this allows or protects, as long as it was done under the guise of practicing one’s religion, including: mass murder, human sacrifice, riots, whatever. No one can sensibly argue that that we should not place limits on behavior. That’s the road to anarchy. What we’re arguing instead is exactly where to draw the line. Some say ‘here’ is far enough, others say move it a little over. None have argued for the removal of the line or all lines.

      One becomes forced to venture a definition of marriage. I had an art instructor who guided us through the philosophical argument of defining art. “If a monkey vomits on a canvas, is that art?”, he asked. “Some would argue yes.”, he said, “I wouldn’t.” In the end, we defined art as something created by human beings to communicate an image, an idea, or a feeling. It’s a medium of communication. Like music or writing. I’m not sure I can compose a complete definition of marriage, but I think I can start one.

      Marriage is a personal commitment between two adult human beings for the purpose of maintaining a relationship with each other based on love and sexual attraction.

      A reasonable limit:
      Marriage is not allowed between those who are sufficiently close in family relation that any offspring that may result may be genetically handicapped or impaired.

      Perhaps others will venture other definitions. I think that’s a good start. I think we should steer away from the idea that because someone wrote something in a particular book two thousand years ago that is sufficient reason to make it illegal. I think we need to demonstrate some persuasive and quantifiable harm to society to prohibit an activity.

    54. pat Says:

      At one point, on this blog muslim was declared as a religion that is not ‘current’ or perhaps ‘modern’ was the word used (due to its treatment of women and by its definition of infidels as being anyone who is not muslim, if I remember correctly). And, I don’t agree with those aspects of its religion. Nor do I think that Lex’s religion ( btw, I am catholic ) should inhibit what I do as long as it doesn’t harm anyone….

      And I don’t think that he has been harmed by the folk that have been married this week in mass.

      and this is why abortion will actually always be a thornier issue(in the long run) than marriage thats my prediction :-)

      Also, I like the idea proposed of getting the government out of defining marraige. Although, never happen with this president who will use this as a wedge against the democratic party.

    55. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      DSpears, I’m not sure I am the one who picks the poor analogy. Of all the people who drink themselves silly on any given day, what percentage have this genetic predisposition ? Probably the same percentage who actually “try” homosexuality as some sort of experiment. Laws against drunk driving are not aimed at the few who have a congenital predisposition to alcoholism. It applies to us all.

      But you’re right in the weakness of the example in one crucial respect : drunkeness can indeed harmful, potentially resulting in loss of life and property – when people drive, for instance – hence the rules against it. No such argument can possibly be made for gay marriage. How does it harm you, me or the consenting gay adults who want to marry ?

      Sexual orientation is most definitely not a chosen behavior for the vast majority of gays, especially those who seek marriage. But if homosexuality is a behavior, one can certainly argue that so is heterosexuality and there is even less of a reason to privilege one over the other before the law. Assuming they are both behaviors and in the absence of proven risk of harm to people or property from either, why should the state privilege one over the other when issuing a marriage license ?

      The conscious choice theory is certainly favored by some, including some fundamentalist Christians; just like some people used to strongly believe unions between blacks and whites were somehow “unnatural”, an abhorrent choice borne out of some hypothetical psychological disease. According to this theory, people try homosexual acts, like it and stick to it. But if homosexuality is simply chosen this way, then so is heterosexuality – first experience with a woman, you like it and stick to it – and we’re back to square one : they are both chosen behaviors and insofar as they are, on what basis should the law discriminate against one of them on a matter of licensing, when neither are illegal in the first place ?

      For all the talk of 12-step programs and the anecdotal “success” story, there is no independent research to support the conscious choice theory. (Although psychological evaluations have shown that those who have gone through such programs got rather screwed up in the process; but I guess some people believe society is better off with one more psychologically unstable hetero than a happy homo…)

      There is however considerable evidence showing that most gays knew they were very early on, for the vast majority of them during puberty. They were not attracted to the opposite sex, period. In other words, there is considerable empirical evidence indicating that sexual orientation is not a choice for the vast majority of us. Never mind that homosexuality does exist in nature, between a variety of creatures that are empirically known to be incapable of conscious choice. It is certainly not common; darwinian evolution obviously prevents species from being overwhelmingly gay. But rarity alone does not prove homosexuality to be either pathological or behavioral.

      You are essentially assuming we are all made heterosexuals, regardless of the evidence, leading you to believe that homosexuals can only be ‘acting’ their orientation out of their pure free will.

      You may call those who disagree with you “activists” if that comforts you in your belief. You’re only shooting the messenger.

    56. Mike Says:

      Your point about a Constitutional Amendment essentially outlawing Christianity is the best argument I’ve heard so far for the “what harm is it going to do” crowd. We already see that happening in England and Canada, where “hate speech” is broadly defined, and broadly applied.

      If it comes to a Constitutional Amendment allowing for same-sex marriage, then there is no other conclusion than that the Bible will be unconstitutional.

      And not only the Bible, but the Koran, and dozens or so other religious and philosophical books that write against the practice.

      Defining marriage as “between two people”: Brother/sister? Mother/son? After all, who is harmed?

      Civil rights issue: Homosexuals have exactly and precisely the same rights as anyone else: they can marry anyone of the opposite sex that will agree.

      My argument against homosexuality isn’t based on the Bible. It’s the Argument from Plumbing (or from anatomy, is you want to be genteel). The human body just wasn’t meant to be used that way.

      But this is one fight that everybody ought to just back awy from. Ancient Greece, that gave us the foundations of Western philosophy and politics, was far more homosexual than we are.

      I appreciate DSpears’ post.

    57. DBL Says:

      How anyone can claim gay marriage is a civil rights issue is beyond me. Marriage is a social institution created by society to encourage men and women to form families and raise children. That is why all kinds of social and economic benefits are conferred on married couples. Society does not confer these benefits in order to promote the personal happiness of the individuals involved, but in order to provide for the best possible environment for the creation and rearing of children. Someone please tell me how “gay rights” fit into this picture?

    58. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Why would amendments to state constitutions make the entire Bible unconstitutional ? Homosexuality is not illegal, hate speech against homosexuals has been prosecuted for years yet no one has argued the Bible – or Islam for that matter – was unconstitutional for considering homosexuality as a sin. Or if they have tried, they have obviously failed miserably. Why marriage licenses would suddenly result in such an outcome is entirely unexplained here, as far as I am concerned.

      I dealt with the incest argument above. This is a taboo that exists in every known culture precisely because there is harm : the higher likelihood of genetic consequences obviously harms both the couple’s children and the larger group they belong to. Since gay couples are generally childless without adoption, I don’t see why that would be an issue here. Furthermore, incest is most definitely a behavioral choice. As an heterosexual, you may want to have sex with your cousin, but do you have to ? Does the illegality of incest close all available options ? Do you have to change your sexual orientation ? Of course not. This is an entirely bogus argument.

      The plumbing argument is even weaker. How would you know what way it was meant to be used ? And who establishes and decides what way your body, or mine, should be used ? What way consenting adults do or do not use their bodies is none of your business anymore than it is the government’s, unless coercion is involved.

      Furthermore, since homosexual relationships occur in nature between creatures who are not capable of conscious choice, you are essentially arguing that something that does happen in nature is unnatural. In other words, “it might happen in practice but it can’t in theory”. Homosexuality simply exists. It is rare but that does not prove it is pathological or “unnatural”. Darwinian evolution guarantees that any species that became overwhelmingly gay would disappear, by definition. And after 4.5 billion years of selection, the successful species will, as a result, be overwhelmingly heterosexual. But the fact that it does exist, across species and after all this time, would strongly suggest that it is natural, even if the exact cause is not well understood. As for its rarity, or that of any other characteristic, it does not prove, in and of itself, that something is either a disease or “unnatural”.

      As for your understanding of civil rights and equality, it seems to be that everyone has the right to act according to what you define as appropriate. And by asserting that homosexuals can only marry if their partner goes against their sexual orientation, you simply and flatly confirm that the definition of marriage is essentially discriminatory in nature.

      And by the way, how would you know that Ancient Greece was “far more homosexual than we are” ? Based on what evidence ? They were more tolerant of it, as opposed to medieval Europe where it got you killed; and Greece goes to show that homosexuality is not the enemy of civilization and collective achievement, whether political, intellectual or military. But it does not follow that there were or are fewer homosexuals among us today than there were in Greece in those days. In any environment where homosexuality, or any other orientation, is severely punished, homosexuals will hide. You could also say that it looks as if Muslims are less homosexual than us. Well, duh : when the penalty for coming out is death at the hands of your own brothers, no wonder.

    59. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      DBL, given the number of childless couples out there, the number of divorces and single-parent families, never mind the large and growing number of children happily raised by unmarried parents, your arguments about society protecting children through marriage and of its necessity to rear children are distinctly odd. If children were the issue, I’d think we’d be more worried about the obvious failings of the institution of heterosexual marriage than we are about granting marriage licenses to people who have absolutely nothing to do with any of those issues.

      How does granting the right to marry to people who do not have children harm children or prevent heterosexual couples from raising their children properly ? How and why does it harm society ? Are you also saying that those couples who chose to not have children should have their marriage licenses voided, or refund the benefits they get from their marital status ?

      It’s not about gay rights at all. It’s about equality, pure and simple. Is it the government’s business to decide who commits to whom ? Why ?

    60. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      All right. Fascinating argument as always but I’ll leave it for now.

      Although I will make a deal with Lex et al. : I’ll come out and vote against the amendment…if I get the right to marry all three Pontani sisters…

    61. Mitch Says:

      Sylvain, homosexuality was encouraged in Sparta as a means of limiting population. Marriage was not permitted for the ruling class until after finishing military service (10 years? I remember it was long). Marriage between siblings was the usual case in the royalty of ancient Egypt. As for polygamy, I’d say it is its own punishment. It has, however, been unaccountably popular for those who can afford it.

      It bothers me that opposition to the gay rights agenda is described as “homophobia,” a psychological malady invented for political purposes, or as mere bigotry. Lack of tolerance for opposition can also be seen in the largely successful effort to cut the Boy Scouts out of the United Way and to exclude them from public facilities, even though their position was upheld in court. Looking at this, I can see where Lex is coming from.

      If you disallow slippery slope arguments, you haven’t read the SJC’s ruling. One of their major arguments was that there had been a gradual removal of barriers to homosexuality, from repeal of sodomy laws to extending health and pension benefits to homosexual partners. From this they inferred that the trend would (read: should) continue to the extent of recognizing gay marriage.

      I’m not real crazy about this kind of ruling, whether by the legislature or the court, although judicial fiat really offends me. My reasons include:

      1. Libertarian: It is an overstretch of authority by the state. Marriage is an institution of the society, and the state is a creation of that society. I’m basically rephrasing the Declaration of Independence here. The state has no right to reshape society according to its wishes, since it is then setting itself against its origins and claiming superiority. It should be the other way around. Social engineering, anyone? No thanks.

      2. Conservative: We have an institution that sort of, kind of works. It seems to contribute well-adjusted and educated citizens to the continuation of the nation. There is no urgent case for a radical revision that I have heard, and framing the argument in terms of rights does not clinch it for me. One of the corollaries to Murphy’s Law is that if you screw around with something long enough, you’ll break it.

    62. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      All right. One last shot.

      Mitch, I don’t see why and how the history of Sparta is relevant to this issue, or why it should be taken into account by the court anymore than the opinion of one or more particular religious beliefs.

      As for the accusations of homophobia, you can be assured they are as bothersome to you as your claims that by virtue of your personal definition of the purpose of our “plumbing”, some citizens should not have a right available to the rest of us. And please spare me the lecture on tolerance. If people were so tolerant and open about this, we would not be talking about the end of civilization as we know it, the unconstitutionality of the Bible and promising that the masses will rise up against such injustice, would we ? This is hardly the kind of argumentation that is synonymous with calm and reasoned tolerance. Tolerance is a two-way street, brother. If you go for the artillery, so will the other side. You’d think people would have figured that one out by now.

      Where did I ‘disallow’ “slippery slope” arguments ? I am not disallowing anything. I argue and I ask questions. Arguments according to which such a statute would extend to legalizing incest, polygamy and other practices do not stand up to rational scrutiny, in my view. I didn’t “disallow” them; I argued they were invalid and I outlined why in detail. If you have a rational counter-argument, by all means let’s hear it. Implying that reasoning your opinion is somehow intolerant will not cut much ice with me. Sorry.

      I am, however, saying the claims of unconstitutionality of the Bible make no sense to me. Homosexuality is, and has been perfectly legal for a great deal of time. Hate speech against homosexuals has been prosecuted for an equally long period of time without negative consequences for religious speech in churches and mosques around this issue, as far as I know. Why would marriage licenses suddenly make one particular, narrow form of religious speech illegal now, when it has not been for all this time ? Neither you nor Lex have argued this persuasively. Somehow, a couple of gays with a piece of paper called a marriage license can now take down the Church when they couldn’t yesterday ? Please elaborate. Your are acting as if homosexuality has suddenly been made “official” or legal. It’s been legal for decades. Get over it.

      This being said, your overall concern and Lex’s are noted. But even if the loss of this very particular section of religious speech was indeed at stake here, does it still justify the denial of a legal, administrative right to thousands of citizens ? On what grounds ? Why is this particular form of speech more important for society at large than the rights of all men and women to commit to a formal contract with each other ?

      Is the Church being told by judges to allow homosexual marriages ? No. Neither are mosques or anyone else. And I do not know of laws allowing any court to force such an outcome. The Church’s business is not City Hall’s and vice-versa. How the latter can make the former unconstitutional is a mystery to me. One which you still haven’t explained to my satisfaction.

      Now, as for your being offended, that’s pretty obvious from your confusion. But if you were a libertarian, and cared about the government not messing with society, I would argue that you might be offended that the government gets to define the gender of the marriage partner every single one of us will marry. Why and how is that good for us all ? As the Supreme Court itself tersely put it in Lawrence v Texas – which you are alluding to, I believe – “this Courts obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate its own moral code”.

      Calling it “social engineering” is just that : name calling. And when people reach for Murphy’s Law, it is hard to take their legal argument seriously.

      Now, if you have read this far, I have a reminder for you. A few decades ago, whites and blacks could not marry. Not only was it unsettling, if not downright repugnant to a lot of people, it was illegal in many states. And the penalties were rather severe. Against strenuous popular opposition, the government decided that a state had no constitutional right to define the race of your marriage partner (among other things). Pandemonium ensued. In the name of longstanding practice – what some call tradition – religion – such unions were surely against God’s Law – and for the preservation of our civilization, this could not pass. It did. It was called illegal, justice by fiat and all the usual names. Did the world end ? Did Murphy’s Law make us pay ? Did our egregious messing with the old formula destroy the social contract that binds us all ? It certainly didn’t. Yet, it was claimed it would, and a lot more.

      Today, a handful of courageous judges – yes, courage is the word – have pointed out that the state has no right to tell people what the gender of their marriage partner should be. The same litany is once again recycled. Murphy’s Law and unspecified yet dreadful unintended consequences are called upon. And mighty popular opinion is brandished as a proof of the wrongness of their ways. Except opinion polls are irrelevant. While they are most certainly relvant to politicians and the political process, they are, and should be, orthogonal to this issue.

      And here we are. We have a thread 60+ posts long and all we have talked about is essentially fear and consequences. For religion. For “civilization”, that all-terrain word that means everything and nothing to everyone. About homosexuality and what we believe it to be or not to be. About marriage and what it is. Or isn’t. And shouldn’t be. And so on.

      But so far, nobody has presented a simple, persuasive and rational case to support the position that the state has a business restricting the gender of one’s marriage partner; no one has explained what obvious collective and individual harm could result from lifting this restriction. The harms involved in allowing incest, or under-age marriage and other arrangements are well known and easy to argue. But what are they in this case ? That is the only question here. Why should the state define the gender of your marriage partner ?

      Nobody cares whether this word instead of that one “clinch it” for you. It’s not about you. Or me. It changes nothing at all for us. It’s about the state, and whether it has a right to impose this restriction on a minority of citizens. It’s about their right to the same treatment before the law, whether it “clinches it” for you or not.

      And religion most certainly has no business making that call. We’re not in Iran. We don’t make laws according to either Bible or Koran and their teachings do not have priority in our courts over the liberty of the individual. (It is, by the way, interesting to hear the same people who not so long ago argued that what made us superior to those lousy Arab countries was our separation of Church and state now screaming bloody murder because some American judges have the audacity to go against God…)

      Maybe you’re right : there is no urgent reason to change this. But why does it have to be urgent to be considered ? Why is that even a requirement ? And what do you mean by urgent ? Do law and order have to be at stake ? When will it be urgent ? Who cares if it’s not urgent ? Why not now ? What’s so bad about right now ? If we knew this was coming, let’s get it over with.

      I don’t know about you, but I can’t take another decade of this crap. Best.

    63. Lex Says:

      Thanks for all the comments. The basic thrust is, as I suspected, either (1) get over it, your outdate views are passe, or (2) nothing is going to happen to your ability to practice your religion, so calm down. I don’t buy either position and I’ll stand by my dire predictions for the reasons I enunciated. Let’s revisit this in a year.

      Sylvain’s comment that it is a bit of a laugh hearing this coming from an institution that just got nailed covering up hundreds of child molestations is even funnier than he realizes, since most of the Catholics complaining are the laity, not the clergy, who rarely say much on this issue. I leave the reason for that for the reader to ponder.

    64. Joe Kovach Says:

      Hey Lex,

      For the most part, the cause & effect nature of your piece is right on.

      However, the underlying issue here is governments involvement in recognizing marriage at all. Recognizing any sort of marriage is simply a facade created to shadow attempts to patronize various voting blocks -generally done with a number of different tax incentives.

      It’s a great injustice that we’ve done to ourselves to come to the general consensus that marriage should be a function of government and regulated by a state or national government. Relationships, and how folks interact with others on a social basis is their own issue -between them & God. Financial issues can be written up into legal contracts at any two parties will.

      The government really doesn’t need to have any part of this. Let’s stop kidding ourselves into thinking that we need any of these guys in office to hold our hand & give us a manual on how to go about living & regulate every part of it.

      I’ve broken this issue up into further details, if interested:

      The Homosexual Marriage Issue

    65. thatcoloredfella Says:

      I just had to comment on the hypocrisy and ignorance of the writer, floored that this could come from an educated U of Chgo grad!

      Let us look at this coming backlash, Lex, and also the current penalties on the books against gay marriage.

      – If convicted, the punishment for New Paltz, N.Y., Mayor Jason West for conducting Gay weddings, is equal to a conviction for going 20+mph over a posted 40 mph speed limit.

      – In a recent Gallup Poll, the only age group with a majority support for Gay Marriage is the 18-29 adults (58%).

      How blatantly hypocritical of you to harshly apply the moral tenants of Christianity to Gay Marriage, all the while parsing out blame for the sexual abuse in the Catholic church, hoping your reader will not notice. If the same amount of your outrage and disgust was correctly directed towards the church, maybe the rest of us would not snicker and giggle when you move to deny John Kerry communion.

      I wrote recently about how polls show a consistent moderation of American opinion:

      http://ThatColoredFellasweblog.bloghorn.com/136

      On the one hand, are the happy, sympathetic images coming out of Massachusetts. On the other hand, are the intolerant, hateful and phobic sounbites from Rick Santorum, James Dobson, Tom Delay, Rev. Jerry Falwell and you.

      On behalf of the gay and lesbian community, keep up the good work!

    66. in-cog-nito Says:

      Wow, this post must have set some Chicagoboyz record with the number of comments in the shortest period of time. Polarizing issue indeed.

      I love stats, and something I’ve always kicked around is that homosexuals and liberals don’t reproduce as much as the conservative, church going crowd. Hopefully simple mathematics will play itself out. You’ll still get the relentless brainwashing at public schools. But hopefully conservative parents will raise their children with a strong sense of right and wrong.

    67. in-cog-nito Says:

      Thatcoloredfella,

      Interesting name, really progressive. I’ve always found it funny that homosexual liberalism/activism takes on a religious, fanatical fervor. If you expect Christians to accept your views on life, why not accept their views?

    68. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Lex, it’s nice to know you find it funny but I’m most definitely not amused, and those Catholics I know around Boston, for instance, are not either. But hey, the right of gays to marry at City Hall, now that is the real threat to Christianity. Decades of gross moral and legal unaccountability over child abuse : that’s just a ‘bit of a laugh’ between us good people.

      As for the clergy’s silence, many around here have indeed pondered the question and drawn their own conclusions. For them, expecting moral guidance from the Church would be a bit of a laugh. If it was at all funny.

    69. Lex Says:

      ColoredFella, thanks for the input.

      Sylvain, you are the one who used the phrase “a bit of a laugh”, so don’t berate me for saying “funny” in the same sarcastic vein.

      No one has addressed what to me is the most important point, which is that a major change in our society should not be done by five judges but by the citizens, voting. Democracy and the civic peace which results from democratic resolution of contentious issues is a non-issue, apparently. After all, we have Sylvain’s “courageous judges” to make public policy for us.

      Anyway, I’m done. I’ll revisit this in a year or so.

    70. Hudson Says:

      Actually Lex, that was my point precisely. What do I win?
      from yesterday:
      “Therefore, the question was not whether is was discriminatory (not granting marriage licenses to polygamists is discriminatory too but obviously legal…for now). The question was one of weighting the social good presented by gay marriage vs. the cost to society. The blog’s position is that in a democracy this decision is made by the voters not the judiciary.

      Further, a contention there is no cost to society is without merit as we know for every benefit, no matter how desirable, there are always costs. It is the task of the voters to weigh the costs and benefits, not the judiciary. Im sure judges in Massachusetts consider themselves the most brilliant legal wranglers in the history of mankind, but the fact is; they still cant be nearly as smart as millions of independent decision makers.”

      Notice the Sowellilian flourish at the end?

    71. Mitch Says:

      Sylvain –sorry — only the first paragraph was addressed to you, and only to supply facts alluded to in your argument.

      I don’t think this is a case where anyone can persuade anyone else. The reasons supplied are often good on both sides, but reason is not driving the opinions. I just wish that they had not gone there. Emotionally, I feel it as trespassing.

      By way of background, I’m the brother of an openly gay man, the father of 2 Eagle Scouts, and the uncle of 3 mixed-race children (my sister and my favorite brother-in-law are now divorced). I love them all. I understand the irrationality of race marriage laws. I’m not sure that the analogy holds up. We were all Africans some 150,000 years ago, and we have been male and female a lot longer, maybe 400 million years.

      Nevertheless, I don’t hate anyone for anything except harming another person. My opposition is based on philosophical principles, encompassing moral/religious considerations and political beliefs sincerely held.

    72. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Lex, since the amendment is to be submitted to both legislatures, followed by the voters in 2006, the citizens will decide, and they will be able to do so based on some empirical evidence and experience, instead of political hot wind. How and why that is undemocratic is a mystery to me.

    73. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Mitch, this is getting weirder and weirder. So you think that interracial marriage is OK because we were all Africans eons ago ? uh ? What does that have to do with the legal rationale against such a restriction ? So it’s not because the government has no business defining the race of your partner, it’s actually because our ancestors were Africans thousands of years ago ?

      As you pointed out, homosexuals existed in ancient Greece. We know they also existed in Egypt before that. And probably long, long ago too. So what ? What does that have to do with anything ?

      How long we have been males and females is irrelevant. One’s gender has obviously nothing to do with his or her sexual orientation. Homosexual males are still males. Just like lesbian are still females.

      You keep saying your position is based on philosophical principles. That’s fine. Mine too. That, in and of itself, proves absolutely zilch. What they are based on is not relevant. It’s what you do with your principles and how your case is argued and stands up to reasoned analysis.

      Why is it that it’s the government business to define the gender of the person you can marry, while it is unconstitutional and an egregious breach of freedom for the same government to choose their race ? I keep asking this simple question and I am not getting any reasoned answer. Arm-waving about being all Africans so many thousands years ago does not cut it. Does the fact that we are male or females imply heterosexuality must be somehow enforced on all ? And if so, how does a restriction on administrative marriage licensing do that, when homosexuality is perfectly legal in the first place ? Since sexual orientation is not the government’s business in every other aspect of life, why should it be for the purpose of marriage permits ?

      Note that this is the central issue. Questions of popularity and process – judges before legislature and voters approval vs. popular initiative etc – are a separate issue, one that is unrelated to the simple question above.

    74. Mike Silverman Says:

      Gluttony is a sin according to Christianity. This is quite clear in the Bible. McDonalds sells fattening food, in large sizes and advertises this fact. Thus, McDonalds is anti-Christian. Since the government allows McDonalds to operate and build new restaurants, Christianity is de facto illegal in communities where McDonalds have been allowed to locate.

    75. Sandy P Says:

      Lex, since the amendment is to be submitted to both legislatures, followed by the voters in 2006, the citizens will decide, and they will be able to do so based on some empirical evidence and experience, instead of political hot wind. How and why that is undemocratic is a mystery to me.

      2006, and if the people of MA again decide it’s illegal, what happens to all those who’ve been married in the past 2 years?

      And as for the government to decide, in a sense, we are. Not some judges w/an agenda.

    76. Sandy P. Says:

      As to boomers, Sylvain, a minority? We’re going to bankrupt SS. We’re not a minority. We pervade (?) every aspect of this society. There’s more of us than Gen-X and Gen-Y almost put together, IIRC.

      As to a vocal minority, well, the 2004 election will determine that.

      And as to them dragging us along, they are older that’s what they’ve been doing. However, we X & Yers starting to fight back, hence all the screaming. That and a lot of their visions for utopia which they’ve put in place have been failures.

    77. George Lee Says:

      Lex–The Mass. Supreme Court vote was 4 to 3 not 5 to 4.

      I cannot see how Libertarians can support the Court’s action. The ruling was that the Mass constitution, completely unbeknownst to all previous generations of jurists and legislators, prohibits state laws forbidding homosexual marriage. This would have come to one Hell of a preposturous shock to the framers of the Mass. constitution.

      These 4 judges construed an imaginary constitution not the existing one. If ever a branch of government overstepped its bounds surely it is the Mass judiciary in this case. Four judges declared that their philosophical preference must and would triumph. What has that to do with ordered liberty or our self-government?

      I should think that Libertarians would want to see impossible such an exercise of power by any branch of government, but especially an unelected, unaccountable one.

      This ruling deprives the citizens of Massachusetts of the liberty to set what conditions they choose on marriage. Their choice, heretofore, has been the same choice that the citizens of the other 49 states chose. Thinking back over history, Western and Eastern, I can’t come up with a single example of a nation that legally recognized homosexual marriage.

      If phantasmagoric novelties ought to be avoided in law–and they should–than this ruling is as outre as one could imagine.

    78. Clark Taylor Says:

      I don’t know about the making Christianity illegal part, but I do agree with the part about this possibly destroying the whole public education system. If the activists are successful in pushing gay education into the schools (which is very likely), I would not be at all surprised to see mass withdrawals of children from the public schools. Once a significant portion of the population is not using the schools, they will not want to pay taxes to support it, which will cause them to vote against the school systems. Of course, this will happen in the more conservative (south and west, but not CA) states first, but it will happen across a significant portion of the US.

      My 2 cents

    79. Moneyrunner Says:

      To: Michael Hiteshew

      Ill charitably ignore most of your comments because they fail to address the issue. However, Im glad you replied because you finally got to something that we can reason about.

      For virtually all of human history, marriage has been the legal bond between a man and a woman. This union was often either recognized or solemnized by religion and in many societies was not limited to the number two. Only in relatively recent times and primarily in Western societies – has the concept of romantic love become an aspect of marriage.

      You state that: Marriage is a personal commitment between two adult human beings for the purpose of maintaining a relationship with each other based on love and sexual attraction. In doing so, you are redefining the concept of marriage.

      My comments were merely to point out that your new definition has no firm basis in logic. If we can redefine marriage as easily as you have, we can continue to redefine marriage. Once you decide to remove the guardrails of tradition based on thousands of years of experience you are now adrift in the brave new world of political force.

      You see, those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman pretty much thought that definition was broad enough. Now you say: A reasonable limit:
      Marriage is not allowed between those who are sufficiently close in family relation that any offspring that may result may be genetically handicapped or impaired.

      My reply is that may be YOUR reasonable limit, but not HIS. HE may want to marry his sister and since we are now in the business of re-defining marriage, HE finds your definition nonsense on skates. HE may love his sister and wish to marry her for tax or estate reasons. But you go on blathering about offspring when all HE asks is equality before the law and the tax benefits of marriage. HE is probably put off by the idea of sex with his sister.

      You state: Perhaps others will venture other definitions. I think that’s a good start. I think we should steer away from the idea that because someone wrote something in a particular book two thousand years ago that is sufficient reason to make it illegal. I think we need to demonstrate some persuasive and quantifiable harm to society to prohibit an activity.

      I was hoping you would not bring either religion into this discussion, since I have not. From your comments I sense a certain amount of hostility to Christianity when you dismiss a particular book two thousand years ago That little slip did expose to me a motivation that is repellent. So the question I have for you is this: where is the quantifiable harm to society by allowing siblings to marry for the reasons and under conditions as I described above.
      Where is the harm to society by allowing me to marry my dog (see reference to my earlier comments)?
      Where is the harm to society by removing the limitation to the number of persons that can inhabit the same marriage?
      Appeals to a reasonable limit are not allowed since they are strictly your personal opinions as to what constitute reason or limits.
      Have fun.

    80. thatcoloredfella Says:

      in-cog-nito,

      I’ve always kicked around is that homosexuals and liberals don’t reproduce as much as the conservative, church going crowd.

      A large segment of my Liberal coalition are devout Hispanic Catholics who have followed the church’s edict against birth control. Therefore, their ongoing population boom will far outnumber the ‘boot knocking’ of those on the Right.

      You’ll still get the relentless brainwashing at public schools. But hopefully conservative parents will raise their children with a strong sense of right and wrong.

      I have a good number of gay and lesbian friends raised previously in just this exact manner. (We’re still working on Andrew Sullivan). Randy Weaver, a prominent leader in the pro-life/social conservative movement, recently learned that 2 of his kids are gay!

      homosexual liberalism/activism takes on a religious, fanatical fervor

      Our side: Rosie O’Donnell, Rep. Barney Frank
      Your side: James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell

      We accept the views of Christians to the point of wanting to mirror their practice of commitment between two people! Actually, we don’t need to because there is no undue influence of religion on American laws, right?

    81. Matt Says:

      Though I’m a gay Christian who favors gay marriage, I agree with you that imposing it by judicial fiat would be appalling. I’ve asked gay friends to imagine how they’d feel if a solid majority of Americans favored gay marriage but were denied it by the supreme court of a conservative state like Alabama, and then denied it nationally by the US Supreme Court.

      Outrageous! As if the Constitution says anything about gay marriage either way.

      Yes, we need an election on this. And yes I realize I’m in the minority on the gay marriage issue and may not get my way soon, or ever.

      I do hope over time that a majority (including you) will be persuaded by the case for gay marriage.

      Meanwhile I’m broadly sympathetic to your sense that imposing gay marriage through the courts would be tyrannical.

      But you do damage your case with what seems like exasperated venting. Legalizing gay marriage would not “make Christianity illegal” any more than has legalizing divorce, porn, or extramarital sex.

      And unlike divorce, porn, and extramarital sex, which are all examples of greater license, gay marriage is at least partly an impulse toward an ennoblement and an imposition of restraint, as the sex itself is already legal. I do think it’s different in kind from divorce, porn, and extramarital sex.

    82. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      My comments were merely to point out that your new definition has no firm basis in logic.

      Hmmm. Seems I’m the one who keeps applying logic, and you keep blathering on about tradition. I think tradition has its place. I just don’t worship at its altar.

      Once you decide to remove the guardrails of tradition based on thousands of years of experience you are now adrift in the brave new world of political force.

      I take it you also have a problem with The Enlightenment? After all, that changed thousands of years of political and social thought. Who do those upstarts think they were, anyway? Messing with tradition that way! Damn Europeans.

      And what about the American revolution? What, no king? Letting the unwashed masses vote??? Do they not understand the concept of Divine Right? What an absurdity! The Founding Fathers clearly had no respect for traditional monarchies. And then, to make matters worse, they separated church from state. Blasphemers. Pagans. Devil’s spawn. Doesn’t the Bible enjoin thus, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…”? Where’s Caesar?

      And then, radicals that we Yankees are, we give women a right to vote. Whatever happened to “Love, Honor and Obey”? What sort of society is this? No respect for tradition, I tell ya. Just no respect. Allowing men to make all decisions has served the human race since time immemorial. Just look at those paragons of moral virtue, the Arabs….oh, wait…bad analogy. Hmmmmmm.

      Yes, Money, we’ve not only taken the “guardrails of tradition” off, we’ve thrown ’em in the creek!

      Have you gotten the point on how weak I think your ‘tradition’ argument is yet?

      From your comments I sense a certain amount of hostility to Christianity when you dismiss a particular book two thousand years ago That little slip did expose to me a motivation that is repellent.

      Again, sorry to hear that. I’m Catholic. I attended Catholic school. I took religion class every day. In fourth grade I was writing papers decoding the symbology of parables and making analogies to the modern world. I got A’s in religion. We had mass three times a week. I sang in the choir.

      Guess what? I’m not religious. I don’t believe the dinosaurs were killed in the flood. I believe Darwin. I believe in radio-carbon dating. I believe in the big bang, not seven days. I don’t believe that the ‘word of god’ was ‘revealed’ to the Christian prophets any more than I believe it was ‘revealed’ to Mohammed.

      I believe ethics can be deduced rationally. I’m a very ethical person. I don’t steal from people, hurt people except in self defense, etc.

      If religion helps you live your life, I applaud that. Honestly. I’m not being snarky here. I have brothers and sisters who are quite religious. I’m not. I respect your right to be.

      I do oppose the concept of theocracy. For information on this topic, see: A) Inquisition, the. B) Iran, Islamic Republic of. C) Galilei, Galileo. D) The Middle Ages, aka The Dark Ages.

      Appeals to a reasonable limit are not allowed since they are strictly your personal opinions as to what constitute reason or limits.

      This is why I suspect religion is a good thing for you, personally. You are clearly one of those who are rationally incapable of limiting your own behavior. You need to see it in writing as the word of god. Otherwise, you can’t think through situational ethics in a ‘logical’ way. My brother is that way. Without religion in his life, he’s unable to control himself. He becomes selfish, violent, completely without moral compunction. As long as he’s attending church regularly, he’s fine. I suspect you’re projecting your own behavioral shortcomings on society as a whole. I don’t think it’s justified. I believe western civilization is immeasurably more just than it was in the Middle Ages.

      In addition, I’m not afraid of experiments. Maybe that comes from a technical education (post Catholic) where testing and experimentation are how one determines actual results. I also see the value in thought experiments, so I think it’s useful to debate things, explore potential benefits and costs, ahead of time. I think we should go slowly with this. I agree with that point. But I think we should go.

      Finally, I oppose any attempt to classify criticisms of something based on religious beliefs as hate speech. That’s ridiculus and un-American. It also flies in the face of the First Ammendament. As my father likes to say, I may not agree with your opinion, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to have it.

    83. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      homosexual liberalism/activism takes on a religious, fanatical fervor

      In defending your religious beliefs, you accuse your opponents of being ‘religious’ and ‘fanatics’, implying those thing are undesirable qualities.

      Interesting. Do your own beliefs have a religious, fanatical fervor? Or only other peoples?

    84. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sandy, they’ll just be married. No new marriages. End of story. At leat the voters will decide based on experience vs. hypotheticals. Way, way better than the alternative.

      And if they vote for it. That would be a bummer, wouldn’t it ?

    85. thatcoloredfella Says:

      Outrageous! As if the Constitution says anything about gay marriage either way.

      You are correct Matt, that the Constitution does not say anything about Gay Marriage. But, it does forbid laws that create ‘second-class citizen’ status. This is what the Mass. Supreme Court decision was based on, and also the end to segregation laws in the South, in the 1960s’.

      Though I’m a gay Christian who favors gay marriage, I agree with you that imposing it by judicial fiat would be appalling. I’ve asked gay friends to imagine how they’d feel if a solid majority of Americans favored gay marriage but were denied it by the supreme court of a conservative state like Alabama, and then denied it nationally by the US Supreme Court.

      Yes, we need an election on this. And yes I realize I’m in the minority on the gay marriage issue and may not get my way soon, or ever.

      In 1967, when the US Supreme Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage, it was on the books in 16 states. Matt, how sure are you that put to a nationwide vote, Americans would vote to end this type of discrimination and creation of second-class citizens?

      What percentage of Americans at that time, do you think considered the Supreme Court’s actions ‘judicial fiat’, ‘appalling’ and ‘tyrannical’?

      In the recent Zogby Poll, the only age group with a majority support for Gay Marriage was 18-29 year olds (58%). There is a definite consensus that Gay Marriage is inevitable (yet, maybe not soon.) Why don’t we take care of this now, and get on to more pressing matters facing our country.

      Finally Matt, I find it disappointing that a young gay man is not better informed, educated, engaged and aware, thus being prepared when such adversities will impact your life.

    86. in-cog-nito Says:

      Thatcoloredfella,

      More power to the devout Catholics in your coalition. However, the hard truth is that homosexual couples cannot physically reproduce.

      Michael,

      I think extreme liberalism has taken the place of religion in the minds of its followers. If you look at the Soviets, there are many parallels. For example, the state took the place of religion.

    87. Matt Says:

      I suppose we’re technically on the same pro-marriage side here, thatcoloredfella, but I feel like we’re almost on different planets when it comes to ideas about playing fair in a democracy.

      You laid out a chain of reasoning that gave me heart attacks on each of its last three links. Let me flip the issue to see if you feel any palpitations.

      Pat Robertson reasons as follows:

      1. Americans favor gay marriage by a solid majority, and so it remains the law of the land.

      2. But one crucial group is somewhat against it: 18-29 year olds.

      3. Whatever they think today will inevitably become majority opinion.

      4. So let’s jump ahead to that fine state of affairs by having the court outlaw gay marriage nationwide, today.

      5. That will put the issue behind us so we can get on with more pressing matters.

      As the Church Lady might say: “Now isn’t that special, Pat!”

      Do I need to shoot the fish in that barrel for you, having flipped their colors?

      Part of living in a democracy is not using procedures our opponents would rightly consider to be outrageously unfair if the tables were turned.

      If my Pat Robertson scenario played out in real life, you know the Castro would be boiling over with talk of revolution. And could you blame them?

      Has Roe v. Wade allowed us to move past the issue onto other more pressing things? And remember a majority of Americans agreed with the court. If you impose gay marriage against a hostile majority, I do not think they will go any more quietly into that good night than the Roe v. Wade minority has.

      You are reasoning by analogy from gay civil rights to black civil rights. But our opponents do not accept that. They make a distinction, and we may not like that distinction but it is not obviously insane and nonsensical. Sexual practice is not skin color.

      That’s the problem with your invocation of decisions regarding interracial marriage: it’s just an analogy, persuasive only to those who already see things as you do.

      I could argue the Court should flip Roe v. Wade and ban abortion everywhere, because the fetus should no longer be a “second-class citizen” by analogy of fetus rights to black civil rights. But that’s not the least bit persuasive to those who disagree. The key point for them is that the fetus is not a life or a citizen.

      And the key point for our opponents is that gay marriage is not the same as interracial marriage, and that it’s undesirable in their view.

      We need to argue gay marriage on its merits, and not merely by bludgeoning people with tenuous analogies. And unless the Founding Fathers inserted a lot more about gay marriage into the Constitution than I’ve noticed, we need to win our victories at the ballot box, not through the courts.

      We’ve made enormous progress in the last 30 years. Let’s win this final battle in the right way, and not in a way that will indefinitely enrage and energize our opponents.

    88. Reards Says:

      “Repeat: Christianity is being made illegal.” It is hard to know what is worse, you preaching a point that is entirely without merit or a bunch of people reading it and vociferously agreeing with you. You seemingly base much of your writing on the above quoted point, which in fact shows a complete and utter misunderstanding of the issue.

      Further, you go on to say things in “support” of your point that you have apparently given very little thought to or the issue is simply beyond your intellect. You suggest this is being “jammed down our thoats” with no “democratic accountability”; there are a host of significant issues that have changed the course of American history that were ordered by courts – are these equally as wrong? Much to your apparent dismay, this country does determine every issue by “majority rule.” This fallacy is rampant and you have apparently fallen victim to it. We are a REPUBLIC. You profess you are Jacksonian. Try reading some Hamilton and perhaps you will understand the point better.

      As for your “predictions”…please tell me what your predictions are on economic issues – at least there I can make a monetary wager and reap the profits of your poor reasoning and logic.

    89. Texas Dave Says:

      OK, I’ll speak very slowly so you all understand:

      1. Gay marriage WILL NOT lead to bestiality or pedophilia. Reason? The later two invlove VICTIMS, parties who cannot make rational decisions about a relationship or sex. No gay group (and I mean gay group, not the freaks at NAMBLA)advocates bestiality or pedophilia. In fact, the VAST majority of gay people oppose legalizing these two. It’s simply a tool used by anti-gay people to stir things up. I’d bet if you took a poll among gay people, you wouldn’t even get 3% approving of either.

      2. How does gay marriage lead down the road to make Chrisianity illegal? Who among us is saying we should outlaw private religious beliefs? Gay marriage advocates are not pushing to force churches, synagogues or mosques to marry gay couples. Where is this coming from? Once again, end-of-world scenarios to stir opposition to gay marriage, without much logic. In fact, I’d suspect the “Illegal Christianity” argument is simply flipping the viewpoint of the author: he wants to force his religious beliefs on gay people (i.e. outlaw anything “gay”), and sees any group or person standing up for gay equality as part of a plan to force everyone everywhere to accept (or even “convert” to) everything gay. Far from it. We’re simply saying, give us the right to marry in a civil ceremony.

      Oh, and by the way, when’s the last time you heard of a gay group or person suing a church because that institution would not marry a gay couple?

      3. Don’t lump me into the far-left gay activists who wish to dump any reference of god or religion in our society. Gay people are a cross section of America. I grew up in a church (fundamentalist) and believe very strongly that religion can bring stability and happiness to a great numbe of people. I don’t expect the church I grew up in to accept me as a gay person, but I’m sure as hell not going to expend a great amount of effort trying to destroy that church.

      Stop, take a breath and think logically. Demons did not rise out of the depths of hell and begin eating babies on May 17th.

    90. Noel Says:

      Lex,

      In California, prospective foster parents must now swear fealty to the radical homsexual agenda in order to participate. Boy Scouts are being hounded from public property. Planned Parenthood ‘facilitators’ go into a classroom, identify the children who beleieve homosexuality is wrong and then place them in a circle and have the other children glare at them, to teach them “how it feels”. This doesn’t teach about bigotry—it IS bigotry. State-promulgated, state-sanctioned bigotry.

      The SJCMass ostensibly based its ruling on the state’s Equal Rights Amendment, passed in the mid-70’s. It says no ‘discrimination based on sex’. Their fundamentally dishonest diktat twists the plain meaning and intent of the law. Our system is based on the Consent of the Governed. We did not consent.

      They also conspired to quash a constitutional convention on the issue several years ago–also in violation of the state constitution. And ordered the Legislature to write a law–another violation.

      In short, they are no longer a court of law, but an organized criminal conspiracy of tyranny, a Nietzschean Super-court, its own will-to-power the only law it recognizes.

      If they get away with this, there will be NO stopping them.

    91. thatcoloredfella Says:

      1. Americans favor gay marriage by a solid majority, and so it remains the law of the land.

      2. But one crucial group is somewhat against it: 18-29 year olds.

      3. Whatever they think today will inevitably become majority opinion.

      So Matt, in spite of everything I said about the Constitution and the Mass. Supreme Court decision, this is what you believe is my sole reasoning for accepting Gay Marriage?

      By your omission, I assume I was correct in this part of my argument. My remark about ‘getting it over with’ was flippant, thus not worthy of you seizing upon it. It was merely an acknowledgment of the moderating views on homosexuality.

      That’s the problem with your invocation of decisions regarding interracial marriage: it’s just an analogy, persuasive only to those who already see things as you do.

      Its pretty strong for ‘just an analogy’. Tell me specifically why it would not be persuasive to those not already in agreement with me?

      And the key point for our opponents is that gay marriage is not the same as interracial marriage, and that it’s undesirable in their view.

      So, for what other acceptable reason was Interracial Marriage banned in at least 16 states before 1967?

      Central to the fact that, as you said, we’ve made enormous progress over the 30 years, is the education about homosexuality our society has been taught. The stigmatism, mis-perceptions, lies, ignorance, paranoia, intolerance and homophobia surrounding our community, continues to fade – at least among educated, grounded human beings not fighting latent sexual tendencies. We will continue to progress thru education and facts, while opposed by those offering only hate and ignorance.

      One last item from the Zogby poll, 43% of NASCAR dads oppose a Constitutional Amendment ban on Gay Marriage!

    92. Rich Reilly Says:

      If granting rights to gay marriage produces a new category of prosecutable “hate crimes”, maybe it will finally make people wonder if crimes should have added consequences based not on whether they hated the person. Do I care if someone trying to kill me has nothing against me or hates me? “Oh yes..I killed that mother of three. But it was only for her money..didn’t hate her or anything.”

    93. Noel Says:

      coloredfella,

      re: interracial marriage: Human pigmentation has no moral component; human sexuality is rife with them. That’s where the analogy falls apart.

      It’s not a technical matter of ‘education’; education will not change what is, and is held to be, a moral fact. Yes; people should be treated decently. But things like recruitment in the public schools, special voting districts, hiring quotas, suppression of dissent and coerced compliance are quite another matter.

      You say those who disagree are judgemental, blind, lying, ignorant, paranoid, intolerant, homophobic, uneducated, ungrounded human beings fighting their own latent tendencies–oh, and by the way; Stop the Hate! Please.

      And this ‘latent tendencies’ meme must be addressed. I’ve seen Sullivan use this rhetorical trick as well; it is a merely a way to quash debate. The dissenter is supposed to think “Gee, if I support marriage as it has always existed, it means I must be secretly gay–I’d better be quiet.” If I weren’t so uneducated and ignorant, I’d swear that was gay-baiting. And, frankly, more than a little bitchy.

      It also says your opponent is dishonest with himself (therefore with others)…and, secretly, he even agrees with me! Debate over; I win!

      And by that logic, any homosexual who advocates for same-sex marriage is secretly straight. Now there’s a ‘latent tendency’.

      When a bad law or amendment is adopted by the Consent of the Governed, most of We, the People can live with it. But when our judicial umpires openly side with one team and make up the rules as they go to ensure their team’s victory, expect some resistance.

      In my case, you may expect nothing else.

    94. Moneyrunner Says:

      To: Michael Hiteshew

      Michael. I did not ask you for your biography. I have no interest in the reasons you ended up where you are. Im simply trying to get you to focus logically. Instead, I get a rant about the enlightenment, the American Revolution, the divine right of kings, etc. etc. etc.

      I really dont expect to get a reasoned answer from you, but for others participating in this discussion: if we re-define purpose of marriage as the legal union two of people that love each other, what is the LOGICAL reason for stopping there other than residual bias based on a racist patriarchal and religion besotted history? (See, I can reason from the viewpoint of the Enlightened)

      I repeat the questions:

      Where is the quantifiable harm to society by allowing siblings to marry so that they can enjoy the tax and estate benefits now enjoyed by married couples? Or, for that matter parent and child? (If the argument against is that offspring from such unions are likely to be defective, I answer that your outdated views of marriage as involving sex and reproduction are obviously Neanderthal).

      Where is the harm to society by allowing me to marry my dog? Who does this injure? Does this make the marriage of homosexuals any less valid?

      Where is the harm to society by removing the limitation to the number of persons that can inhabit the same marriage? Why limit the marriage contract to two? Many societies allow plural marriages. Why cant we learn from these?

    95. thatcoloredfella Says:

      Noel said,

      re: interracial marriage: Human pigmentation has no moral component; human sexuality is rife with them. That’s where the analogy falls apart.

      Noel, the flaw in your statement is that your ‘moral component’ was not written into the Constitution, thus that whole seperation of church and state business hindering laws based on your beliefs.

      Many segregationists in the South insisted it was ordained right there in the bible: Genesis 9:27. Familiar with it?

      It’s not a technical matter of ‘education’; education will not change what is, and is held to be, a moral fact. Yes; people should be treated decently. But things like recruitment in the public schools, special voting districts, hiring quotas, suppression of dissent and coerced compliance are quite another matter.

      Education is what triggered the removal of homosexuality from the DMS, as a psychological disorder. Education is what triggered over 95% of Fortune 500 companies to ban discrimination based on sexual preference. Education is at the source of a recent poll of Americans agreeing gays and lesbians can be ‘positive role models’.

      Your argument above should be very familiar to those who know their history. A Google search of quotes by Gov. George Wallace and Bull Connor during the Civil Rights era, should match up very closely.

    96. Rich Reilly Says:

      Since someone said this board has a libertarian bent to it…
      The current debate on gay marriage is at least partially fueled by the intertwining of health care and employee/family coverage. The controversial issue is portrayed as who should have access to the benefits as currently structured when the unspoken question is/could be whether the current arrangement itself is flawed. In our fair city of Madison, for example, I hear state benefits might be extended to live-in “partners” of any orientation. So I suppose if we’re going to continue this kind of dysfunctional compensation scheme, we might at least put marriage out there as a threshold.
      Now if these benefits are considered part of a compensation package, is it right that 2 workers of the same “compensation” could be drawing radically different $$ amounts (in terms of benefits) due to the numbers in their family?
      Even in terms of base pay, I have heard it spelled out in the workplace “Well, he gets more because he has kids” I know..this line of thinking isn’t libertarian. It’s political suicide. Ah well.

    97. Jonathan Says:

      Rich, you are touching on one of the important meta-issues here. I suspect gay marriage wouldn’t be as much an issue if health insurance weren’t tied by tax deductibility rules to employment — that is, if employers and govts didn’t need to care about people’s family relationships for insurance and tax purposes.

    98. Anonymous Says:

      Thatcoloredfella,

      I suspect you’re unduly bewitched by the idea that quotes against gay marriage sound like quotes against interracial marriage. The light bulb went off for you on that, and now you can’t think about the issue from any other point of view.

      But think up any sort of consensual marriage you wouldn’t like to see legalized (polygamy?), and you’ll find your arguments sound remarkably like those against interracial marriage too: “harmful… morally repugnant… not real marriage…” Whatever.

      Majorities decide things over time on a case by case basis. We’ve decided skin color shouldn’t matter. Homosexual behavior is a separate issue being debated now.

      True believers on all sides tend to see what they’re doing in terms of flattering analogies to past struggles.

      Pro-lifers see us as finally recognizing fetal rights. “But a fetus is not the same as a baby!” opponents say.

      Anyone who accepts the fetal rights analogy has already decided he is pro-life.

      Anyone who accepts your interracial marriage analogy has already decided he’s in favor of gay marriage.

      We must win hearts and minds to gay marriage by arguing it on its own merits, not by bullying opponents with analogies to separate struggles.

      See this Jonathan Rauch essay for an excellent example of how this is done: Can This Marriage be Saved?

      If you truly think gay marriage so similar to interracial marriage that no decent person could require any additional reasons for legalizing it…well, as Samuel Johnson said, “I have found you can argument, I am not obligated to find you an understanding.”

    99. thatcoloredfella Says:

      Noel? Last Poster?

      I want to make this very clear upfront! By pointing out that specifically included in my message of 5/21, 12:32am, was the direct, legal and irrefutable connection I made, between interracial marriage and gay marriage. That being the 1967 decision and the Mass. Supreme Court decision were based on the same Constitutionial restriction of creating a ‘second-class status’.

      You have deftly attempted to ignore this central premise to my argument, wanting instead to engage me in arguing this matter in the court of public opinion.

      If citing legal precedents and judicial decisions strikes you as ‘bullying’, then you are ill prepared for this argument.

      You in turn, will not win the hearts and minds to your position by ‘dodging’ your opponents with disengenious arguments based on partisan social attitudes and opinions.

      Reminds me of the fact that unlike CNN and MSNBC, Fox News Channel does not provide transcripts of its broadcasts!

      I highly recommend this study:

      http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/3018/samesex.html

    100. Lex Says:

      I had to come back to get it to 100 comments.

      But I’m still sitting this out for a year.