Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gay Marriage is Not a Civil Right

The debate on homosexual marriage continues to rage after the passage of California's Proposition 8 on Tuesday.

As we saw yesterday, gay rights activists have turned against black voters in the state, who voted in overwhelming numbers to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as that between one man and one woman. Well, it turns out that today's Los Angeles Times offers a look at black views on same-sex marriage, "For Many African Americans, It's Not a Civil Rights Issue":

For Trebor Healey, a 46-year-old gay man from Glendora, Tuesday's election was bittersweet.

He was thrilled that the nation elected its first African American president. But he was disappointed that black voters, traditionally among the most reliably liberal in the state, voted overwhelmingly to ban same-sex marriage.

He understands that there are differences between the civil rights battles of blacks and gays: For one thing, he notes, gay people have a much easier time blending in. Still, he says, he thinks it's sad that "people do not equate one civil rights struggle with another."

Many black voters didn't see it that way.

"I was born black. I can't change that," said Culver City resident Bilson Davis, 57, who voted for Proposition 8. "They weren't born gay; they chose it," he added ....

Los Angeles resident Christopher Hill, 50, said he was motivated by religion in supporting Proposition 8. Civil rights, he said, "are about getting a job, employment."

Gay marriage, he said, is not: "It's an abomination against God."
One of the common attacks on supporters of Prop 8 is that they're bigots, and folks on the left are incredulous that the same voters who supported Barack Obama could in turn reject homosexual marriage rights.

The truth is that if we recall the original foundation of marriage as a union of man and women for the central purpose of procreation, it makes sense that Yes on 8 supporters resist expanding a definition of rights to those who make a lifestyle choice.

Indeed, the effort to change the language of traditional civil rights to include gay marriage has been one of the most clever yet sinister elements of the same-sex marriage movement this last few years. Yet,
as Eugene Rivers and Kenneth Johnson indicate, the equation of gay rights with the black feedom struggle - and the traditional civil rights agenda - is a fraud that cheapens the historic legacy for equal treatment under the law in the United States:

There is no evidence in the history and literature of the civil rights movement, or in its genesis in the struggle against slavery, to support the claim that the "gay rights" movement is in the tradition of the African-American struggle for civil rights ....

The extraordinary history of the United States as a slaveholding republic included the kidnapping and brutal transport of blacks from African shores, and the stripping of their language, identity, and culture in order to subjugate and exploit them. It also included the constitutional enshrining of these evils in the form of a Supreme Court decision--Dred Scott v. Sandford--denying to blacks any rights that whites must respect, and the establishment of Jim Crow and de jure racial discrimination after Dred Scott was overturned by a civil war and three historic constitutional amendments.

It is these basic facts that embarrass efforts to exploit the rhetoric of civil rights to advance the goals of generally privileged groups, however much they wish to depict themselves as victims. Whatever wrongs individuals have suffered because some Americans fail in the basic moral obligation to love the sinner, even while hating the sin, there has never been an effort to create a subordinate class subject to exploitation based on "sexual orientation."

It is precisely the indiscriminate promotion of various social groups' desires and preferences as "rights" that has drained the moral authority from the civil rights industry. Let us consider the question of rights. What makes a gay activist's aspiration to overturn thousands of years of universally recognized morality and practice a "right"? Why should an institution designed for the reproduction of civil society and the rearing of children in a moral environment in which their interests are given pride of place be refashioned to accommodate relationships integrated around intrinsically non-marital sexual conduct?

One must, in the current discussion, address directly the assertion of discrimination. The claim that the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman constitutes discrimination is based on a false analogy with statutory prohibitions on interracial marriages in many states through much of the 20th century. This alleged analogy collapses when one considers that skin pigmentation is utterly irrelevant to the procreative and unitive functions of marriage. Racial differences do not interfere with the ability of sexually complementary spouses to become "one-flesh," as the Book of Genesis puts it, by sexual intercourse that fulfills the behavioral conditions of procreation. As the law of marital consummation makes clear, and always has made clear, it is this bodily union that serves as the foundation of the profound sharing of life at every level--biological, emotional, dispositional, rational, and spiritual--that marriage is. This explains not only why marriage can only be between a man and a woman, but also why marriages cannot be between more than two people--despite the desire of "polyamorists" to have their sexual preferences and practices legally recognized and blessed.

Moreover, the analogy of same-sex marriage to interracial marriage disregards the whole point of those prohibitions, which was to maintain and advance a system of racial subordination and exploitation. It was to maintain a caste system in which one race was relegated to conditions of social and economic inferiority. The definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman does not establish a sexual caste system or relegate one sex to conditions of social and economic inferiority. It does, to be sure, deny the recognition as lawful "marriages" to some forms of sexual combining--including polygyny, polyandry, polyamory, and same-sex relationships. But there is nothing invidious or discriminatory about laws that decline to treat all sexual wants or proclivities as equal.

People are equal in worth and dignity, but sexual choices and lifestyles are not. That is why the law's refusal to license polygamous, polyamorous, and homosexual unions is entirely right and proper. In recognizing, favoring, and promoting traditional, monogamous marriage, the law does not violate the "rights" of people whose "lifestyle preferences" are denied the stamp of legal approval. Rather, it furthers and fosters the common good of civil society, and makes proper provision for the physical and moral protection and nurturing of children.
I have no illusions that such rigorous argumentation and logic will convince homosexual rights advocates that gays face no discimination on the question of marriage rights.

But as we can see, the homosexual movement is attempting to create a right to marriage that has no basis in historical practice, and such attempts trivialize the bloody march to equality Americans have endured and overcome.

This is a lesson gay activists should consider, for when
70 percent of blacks in California - the nation's most liberal, trend-setting state - oppose the demands of an extremely vocal radical minority, it's a pretty good indicator that the movement for same-sex marriage rights falls outside the bounds of both traditional law and universal morality.

63 comments:

Paco said...

It is not a matter of "universal morality." It's a matter of imposition of YOUR morality on others in the town square. Same-sex marriage has no effect on opposite-sex marriage. I don't believe in religion. So, your arguments in that regard are spurious. They only make you feel better about yourself. I want nothng to do with your Christianist beliefs. I want my partner of 21 years to get my social security should something happen to me. I want the benefits that you get without having to spend over a thousand dollars in legal and filing fees. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself. We pay our taxes just the same as you, more so since we don't file jointly. We are entitled to equal protection under the law for carrying our fair share of the burden.

bluespapa said...

It's always instructive to learn what universal morality is from professor Douglas, because it is inevitably wrong. Neither does his understanding of the history of marriage have any basis in fact.

Once again, one wonders what vacuous nonsense the professor teaches in his students in the guise of educated knowledge and judgment.

Tell us, Professor, since the vast majority of countries and sacred moral traditions support polygamy, should that be the law of California? Is that what you advocate? Clearly it is firmly in the western Judao-Christian tradition, the major sacred traditions of the Orient, legal in Islam, etc., etc. It is a sacrament whose function is procreation. No doubt Professor Douglas has been advocating this traditional family value.

Or do you huff and puff and make it go away because you know better?

Michael Tuggle said...

"Historical practice"? "Traditional law"?

Wow. You sound as if you do not believe in "universal rights" trumping historical and local tradition.

Careful. Readers might think you're relying on paleoconservatism to counter a radical proposal Neoconservatism cannot answer.

And frankly, with the Log Cabin Republicans' ties with John McCain, not to mention Dick Cheney's more personal connection, one might conclude real Neocons approve of the homosexual agenda as part of their support of universal human rights.

shoprat said...

The Federal Constitution does not mention sexual freedom or sexual orientation therefore it is not a legitimate issue for the Federal government. In order for the feds to act one way of the other on this issue (to either protect or deny) would require a Constitutional amendment allowing them to do so. Until then the states are absolutely sovereign on this issue.

Does the Constitution of the State of California guarantee or deny this right? Remember that the text of the Constitution trumps all personal beliefs, no matter how strongly held, in matters of law.

Nikki said...

great post...last I checked gay marriage was the same for everyone. A man has to marry a woman and woman has to marry a man, that's equal. A few months ago I did a post on whether or not gay marriage advocates would be willing to extend their argument to include polygamy...not one would give it the same importance as gay marriage. Their argument is intellectually dishonest and accusatory. Anyone can enter into a contract with any human being, this is a fact. At least polygamists can procreate instead of demanding adoption agencies start handing out kids to the biologically impaired. :)N

Americaneocon said...

Thanks Shoprat.

Proposition 8 takes away no rights from gay Californians. It simply overturns the rule of 4 state judges, and returns the law to the majority position as it had been prior, with a state constitutional amendment.

Americaneocon said...

Nikki: "Their argument is intellectually dishonest and accusatory."

We can see that right here, in the personal attacks.

Rich Casebolt said...

I want nothng to do with your Christianist beliefs.

And I want nothing to do with imposing your moral equivalence upon the rest of us as beyond challenge, Paco.

Let's face it ... that kind of theophobia is the ultimate foundation for the rush to redefine marriage ... along with the desire to scream "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" if and when one's behavior turns irresponsible ... even if the "telling" is just a suggestion, not the imposition of the force of law upon you advocate for the rest of us.

I want my partner of 21 years to get my social security should something happen to me.

Sounds like another good reason to privatize Social Security, in a way that will allow you to leave that money to your partner as your heir ... instead of what is going to be proposed by the New Bosses: sweeping all our 401(k)'s down that rathole, like sand.

We don't have to redefine marriage, to assure that outcome.

Americaneocon said...

Well said, Rich!

Justaguy said...

So, what are you basing the idea that marriage between one man and one woman as an ideal is anything more than a historically and culturally constructed institution? It might be one that you are very emotionally invested in, but why should that possibly matter to those who don't share your views?

Can you ground it in anything other than superficial appeals to 'tradition' - there's a lot that passes for tradition, polygamy, child marriage, temporary marriages, etc. - 'nature' or your understanding of god?

Basically, you're arguing that since you don't recognize Gay rights as valid, they're not valid. Is that the best you can do?

Justaguy said...

Oh, and would anyone who argues that marriage is only for the purpose of reproduction agree that people who are unable or unwilling to reproduce should not be able to get married?

Philippe Ohlund said...

Great post, Donald!

In Europe gay marriages are also getting legalized.

The Swedish right-wing government legalized it for example, a few years ago.

I agree with Rich.

For me personally, gay persons may live how they want, as long as they do not impose their gay culture and lifestyle upon me.

The Bible is very clear in not accepting gay marriages. Yet, it is very popular among politicians to try and impose gay marriages within the Church.

Here in Belgium a new law is also now being passed, concerning cohabitation in general, and there will no more be any legal differences between unmarried couples, who live together, and couples who are married.

Myself, I think this is wrong, because it is very easy to get married today, and the reason people choose to not marry, is because they do not want to make this commitment, or to be under the same laws as married couples.

Americaneocon said...

"you're arguing that since you don't recognize Gay rights as valid, they're not valid."

Just a Guy: I gather from this that you don't read or comprehend a complex argument very well.

From the post:

"The definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman does not establish a sexual caste system or relegate one sex to conditions of social and economic inferiority. It does, to be sure, deny the recognition as lawful "marriages" to some forms of sexual combining -- including polygyny, polyandry, polyamory, and same-sex relationships. But there is nothing invidious or discriminatory about laws that decline to treat all sexual wants or proclivities as equal."

The majority of Americans agree with "these views," so why should they be beaten into submission by a crazed radical minority, many of whom are Godless and detest the very traditions that are the strength of this country?

americaneocon said...

Thanks Philippe!

Philippe Ohlund said...

You're welcome, Donald!

Justaguy said...

"Just a Guy: I gather from this that you don't read or comprehend a complex argument very well. "

No, you're just not making a very complex argument.

"But there is nothing invidious or discriminatory about laws that decline to treat all sexual wants or proclivities as equal."

You're arguing that since you don't see homosexual relationships as equal to heterosexual relationships codifying that inequality into law isn't discriminatory. Its circular reasoning. Do you have a foundation more substantial than 'tradition' to hang that inequality on?

The idea that only 'Godless' people support gay marriage is silly. The idea that in America people who's religious views you don't respect should be discounted is pretty offensive. Anti-American, actually...

Purplehaze said...

".... But there is nothing invidious or discriminatory about laws that decline to treat all sexual wants or proclivities as equal. "

replaced by:

But there is nothing invidious or discriminatory about laws that decline to treat all RACES as equal"

Whats the difference?

Rich Casebolt said...

Purplehaze ... your race is beyond your control; you have no choice in the matter.

To pursue a homosexual lifestyle, OTOH, is as much of an individual choice as I have regarding whether or not to be a promiscuous heterosexual.

Just because I have the urge doesn't mean I have to choose to pursue it ... nor does it mean that society is required to treat it as morally equivalent to the other choice.

Justaguy said...

"To pursue a homosexual lifestyle, OTOH, is as much of an individual choice as I have regarding whether or not to be a promiscuous heterosexual."

And you can confidently state this because.... ? Please give me some relevant peer reviewed studies that prove that to any degree of certainty.

Lets take another case where something is clearly a choice - religious conversion. West Virginia v Barnette held that Jehovah's Witnesses couldn't be compelled to say the pledge to the flag.

Why? Their religious choice is just a choice that they freely make. Why is there a need to protect it if it is voluntary? Even if they feel a calling to their religion, they can repress it.

So, why protect the rights of a minority who choose to act in ways that offend the majority?

Philip Chandler said...

Douglas writes a disgusting essay in which he justifies the abuse and mistreatment that gay Americans have faced, resorting to his own form of moral relativism, in which he rejects the validity of comparing the struggle for gay equality to the civil rights struggle; he predicates this rejection not on objective facts, but on the personal opinions of those black persons interviewed for the purposes of his column.

I was born gay. The fact that Douglas' interviewees consider homosexual orientation to be chosen in no way detracts from the reality that I am different from heterosexuals in a manner that has nothing to do with personal choice, and that has everything to do with who I am. As a very young child, I was aware that I was profoundly different from other children; I did not know or understand how I was different until puberty kicked in, at which time the nature of this difference became shockingly clear; while my friends were attracted to girls, and spent time tracking down heterosexual pornography, I was attracted to my friends. No choice was ever involved; even my dreams include homosexual content, and I feel sexual attraction towards other men. I am not, and have never been, in control of my autonomic nervous system, which registers sexual arousal in a manner familiar to all men, gay and straight -- sometimes in the most embarrassing of situations.

Douglas justifies his hatred in a manner all too familiar to me, and to other activists seeking gay equality; he drapes it in the veneer of religiosity, thereby ensuring that he always occupies the moral high ground as he so unctuously claims to "love the sinner" whilst "hating the sin" (a nauseating refrain repeated by those who consider gay sexuality to be the expression of a perverted choice). The problem with this rubric is that the "sinner" and the "sin" are inextricably intertwined, notwithstanding Douglas' attempts to tease them out; the "sin" is an indelible reflection of the emotional and psychological makeup of the "sinner," and is as central to my identity as my race, my bone structure, or my height.

History is replete with examples of oppressed groups turning on other oppressed groups, and taking umbrage against comparisons of the oppression in question. The fact that black Americans largely reject comparisons of the struggle for gay equality to the civil rights struggle in no way diminishes the accuracy of the comparison; it is merely a manifestation of human nature, which always seeks to bolster self-esteem, in this case elevating members of one of the oppressed groups (black Americans) over members of the other group (gay Americans).

I despise the very concept of organized religion and will never enter a house of organized worship as long as I live, because people like Douglas perpetually wield religion as a mace with which to enforce their agenda, which in this case has nothing to do with "love" and everything to do with maintaining the status quo (keeping the homos in their place). I am disgusted by Christianity, and will not tolerate attempts by Douglas and others to impose their values upon me in the name of Christ – who warned persons such as Douglas of the dangers inherent in standing in judgment over others. The highest law of the land is the Constitution of the United States, not the Bible; Douglas would do well to remember this, and to remember that the worst atrocities in human history have been perpetrated by men and women in the thrall of religious zeal.

Douglas fails to acknowledge that oppression comes in many different forms. Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856) treated black Americans as mere chattel, denying them their humanity, their citizenship, and their dignity. Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986) treated gay Americans as presumptive criminals, permitting the states to enact and enforce laws prohibiting us from having sex, and mocking our claim that the Constitution granted us a zone of sexual privacy; at the time this decision was handed down, half of the states criminalized our sexual conduct and permitted our incarceration, in some cases for as long as 20 years. This decision denied us out humanity, our dignity, and our citizenship, albeit in a qualitatively different manner; it was finally overruled by Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), in which case the Court actually acknowledged the manner in which it had demeaned us, and apologized for Bowers. Douglas completely ignores the system of sexual subordination and exploitation that exists to this day. One of the reasons we are hated so much is simple: our pesky tendency to fall in love with and to have sex with members of the same sex threatens the stability of a system that still treats women as second-class citizens, and threatens to undermine that system by exposing it for the mockery of justice that it represents to this day. Far from trivializing the bloody march to equality that Americans have endured and overcome, our demand for equal justice under law reveals the distance that our society still has to traverse in search of that goal. It is for this that we are punished; mirrors are often broken when the images that they reflect fail to please those who stand before them.

Chains do not have to be made of iron to break the human spirit. State court decisions that permit children to be removed from gay parents can be just as effective (ask a woman named Sharon Bottoms about this). Whips do not have to be made of leather to sear the human soul. State laws that prohibit gay persons from adopting children, or that prohibit the placement of adoptive children in households in which one member is gay, are just as effective in doing violence to the human soul. Laws that “protect” marriage – by denying us the right to marry the partners we love – can be just as cruel as the birch. The so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” was crafted by a thrice-married Christian who failed to pay child support to his children by his first two wives, who financed an abortion for his second wife, and who was photographed licking whipped cream from the breasts of two strippers at a fundraiser whilst married to his third wife. Which of these three marriages was Congressman Bob Barr trying to defend? All three?

I do not lead a homosexual lifestyle, Mr. Douglas. I lead a life. I respectfully suggest that you try to do the same.


PHILIP CHANDLER

Americaneocon said...

Just a Guy:

Again, you're not too smart, with all due respect: The question is marriage, not same sex relationships per se. This is apparently too complex for you to grasp. I don't oppose civil rights for homosexuals, it's just that marriage isn't one of them.

Let it go if you're just going to attack me without any logic or reason.

Justaguy said...

"Again, you're not too smart, with all due respect: The question is marriage, not same sex relationships per se. This is apparently too complex for you to grasp. I don't oppose civil rights for homosexuals, it's just that marriage isn't one of them."

I get what you're saying, I just think its incoherent, based on a priori assertions and vague appeals to the authority of 'tradition' that don't really stand up.

But, if the subtlety of your argument is eluding me, why don't you sum it up in a sentence or two?

Why are homosexual relationships fundamentally different than heterosexual ones? Why is one worthy or conferring rights and benefits to through legal recognition, and the other not?

Justaguy said...

Since you're a little slow (no offense) I'll spell out my objections to the argument you advance against gay marriage more clearly:

1. There is no single institution of marriage that has been universally recognized for thousands of years. There is a wide diversity of ideas of gender identity and relationships throughout different cultures and different historical periods. I would imagine that the idea of a man and woman coming together as equals in marriage is pretty historically unique.

2. If you want to argue that something is universal, you might want to provide some evidence that it is, indeed, universal. Just asserting that it is proves nothing.

3. In America, marriage is not solely for reproduction. If it were, people who couldn't or didn't want to have children, wouldn't be allowed to get married. I just went to a wedding where the groom had a vasectomy. This in no way prevented him from getting married.

4. If you want to argue that marriage is solely for reproduction, you might want to provide some evidence for that assertion.

All of the assertions that you post about what marriage ultimately IS are just that, assertions that aren't backed up by any actual evidence.

Your argument is essentially, since you don't think that marriage should include gay marriage therefore marriage shouldn't include gay marriage. Pretty thin...

repsac3 said...

Response to the original post: Wingnuts & Moonbats: Is there a right to marry whomever one wishes?

Paco has it right. One's religious beliefs should not be the basis for US law.

Bluespapa asks a good question about polygamy, in light of the two gentlemen's (& by implication of his quote, Nero's) citing of " thousands of years of universally recognized morality and practice".

@Nikki A few months ago I did a post on whether or not gay marriage advocates would be willing to extend their argument to include polygamy...not one would give it the same importance as gay marriage.

Of course they didn't. Very few people are asking for any such thing, and reducing an argument to the absurd does nothing to speak to the issue at hand. Should folks wish for & want polygamy, respond to it then... In the meantime, it's no better than counting the angels one imagines can dance on pinpoints....

@Nero: Proposition 8 takes away no rights from gay Californians. It simply overturns the rule of 4 state judges, and returns the law to the majority position as it had been prior, with a state constitutional amendment.

You say that as though you have no respect for our American system of justice and law. Those four state judges read the state Constitution before them as written, saw that there was no basis to deny equal protection to gay couples wishing to marry, and ruled that it was against the CA Constitution to do so.

The majority of Americans agree with "these views," so why should they be beaten into submission by a crazed radical minority, many of whom are Godless and detest the very traditions that are the strength of this country?

First off, if you're not gay, nothing will change for you. You're not being beaten into submission to anything.

Second, belief in God has little bearing on American rights & law. The Godless deserve as much protection under US law as the faithful.

Traditions are nice, but they are subject to change over time, as are the one's folks view as "the strength of this country"... Just ask those blacks who're descended from slaves (once viewed as the backbone of this country, and impossible to do without...), or the women who once had no right to vote, own property, ... Things change.

I believe Phillip Chandler has your number, Nero. Please reply to him with the same thought he offered in his comment, as to do less would only increase the offense your post is offering him.

Philip Chandler said...

repsac3 -- Thank you for noting my post. I did put considerable effort into this post, and addressed the very issues that are being discussed on this thread. I don't know whether it has been deliberately ignored, or whether people have simply considered it to be too long to read.

If I write a lot, it may be because I have a lot to say.

Thanks,

PHILIP

Philip Chandler said...

Americanenocon writes:
"Proposition 8 takes away no rights from gay Californians. It simply overturns the rule of 4 state judges, and returns the law to the majority position as it had been prior, with a state constitutional amendment."

Depending on how Proposition 8 is read and enforced, it could eliminate the marriages of 20,000 couples and turn their children into bastards.

If this is your idea of not taking away any rights, I would hate to live in a society in which you did believe in taking away rights.

PHILIP CHANDLER

Michael Tuggle said...

Of course it comes down to universal, abstract theory (radicalism) versus historical, traditional culture (conservatism).

To illustrate, here's leftist atheist Christopher Hitchens defending the homosexual agenda:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110004765

And here's his paleoconservative brother Peter defending traditional (translation: real) marriage:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hitchens

BTW, and speaking of Peter Hitchens, all of us who see Obama as a threat to Western culture should read his sobering account of what Obama's election means (hint -- it ain't good):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1084111/PETER-HITCHENS-The-night-waved-goodbye-America--best-hope-Earth.html

purplehaze said...

"And you can confidently state this because.... ? Please give me some relevant peer reviewed studies that prove that to any degree of certainty........."

I'll pretend to be Christian for a day.......ayyy menn.

the beauty of our American Fundy right-wing movement is that they are very confident in the things they believe in. Its almost like they were born with these beliefs set in stone sort of like the presidents on Mount Rushmore. Any amount of tangible evidence in contention to thsoe beliefs amounts to nothing.

We want to see some peer-reviewed journal articles that statehomosexuality is a choice as apposed to the "god-given" right of heterosexuality to exist at the expense of homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

"Again, you're not too smart, with all due respect: The question is marriage, not same sex relationships per se. This is apparently too complex for you to grasp. I don't oppose civil rights for homosexuals, it's just that marriage isn't one of them. "


Clearly, he's not contesting the Church's definition of marriage? HE is talkign about the "civil union" that is defined as "marriage". Maybe, you people have a problem with a civil union being called a "marriage" because it somehow borders on entering holier than thou territory of the Church?

Now, if we can safely assume that homosexuality is as much a choice and not a choice, as heterosexuality, despite Rich Casobolts' pie in the sky theory, what is the difference between historical legislation in America that banned AFrican americans from inter-marriage and preventing homosexuals from the civil union of marriage.

Goddess said...

I've countered each of the standard arguments against gay marriage in my blog post here: http://insomnimusing.blogspot.com/2008/11/as-promised-my-rant-against-gay.html
I would appreciate any comment or feedback. Thank you.

Rich Casebolt said...

"To pursue a homosexual lifestyle, OTOH, is as much of an individual choice as I have regarding whether or not to be a promiscuous heterosexual."

And you can confidently state this because.... ? Please give me some relevant peer reviewed studies that prove that to any degree of certainty.

You are confusing predispositions and urges with acting upon them, justaguy.

As a normally-wired heterosexual male, I face the urge to engage in promiscuity EVERY DAY ... and I choose not to act upon it ... just as I chose not to avoid the burden of commitment by "shacking up" with my beloved.

There is nothing stopping gays and lesbians from acting upon their urges, and even establishing committment in the legal sense ...

... just don't demand that the rest of us approve of all that, by assigning moral equivalence of such lifestyle choices to heterosexual marriage -- and effectively suppressing ALL criticism, no matter how principled or compassionate, of those choices -- through the force of law.

If y'all can't stand the heat of principled criticism, you should consider getting out of the bedroom.

Justaguy said...

"There is nothing stopping gays and lesbians from acting upon their urges, and even establishing committment in the legal sense ..."

There is in most states. In what ways are they able to do so in California? Can they do so in ways that grant them the 1000 or so legal benefits and rights that married heterosexual couples have?

"You are confusing predispositions and urges with acting upon them, justaguy."

I see the distinction, I just think its besides the point. You are comparing heterosexual promiscuity with any form of homosexual relationship. Your argument seems to be that since you can channel your sexual urges into a committed relationship, homosexuals should, what, exactly?

"... just don't demand that the rest of us approve of all that, by assigning moral equivalence of such lifestyle choices to heterosexual marriage -- and effectively suppressing ALL criticism, no matter how principled or compassionate, of those choices -- through the force of law."

Legal equivalence would do me fine. But who is trying to suppress criticism of gay marriage and related subjects through the force of law? Can you give some concrete examples? How are you being victimized here?

purplehaze said...

Michael Tuggle, by what standards is Christopher Hitchens a "leftist"?

clearly you haven't read much of what Christopher Hitchens has to say other than his stance on religion and Atheism.

ps - I am anonymous

Michael Tuggle said...

purplehaze,

Actually, I've read more of Christopher Hitchens than I care to, but it's the hazard of carrying on a blog.

There's this:

"Hitchens is seen as part of the "liberal hawks" comprising left-leaning commentators who supported the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.[31][32] This informal grouping includes the British writers Nick Cohen, Johann Hari, David Aaronovitch, Norman Geras, Julie Burchill, and the Canadian Michael Ignatieff (see Euston Manifesto).[citation needed] Neoconservatives of the last decade are hesitant to embrace Hitchens as one of their own, in part because of his harsh criticisms of Ronald Reagan[33][34] and his refusal to associate himself as such.[35]"

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens#First_principles

And you'll see from the article cited above that Hitchens once openly called himself a socialist. But like most Neocons, he has transposed his faith from the Trotskyist world revolution into the Neocon global democratic revolution. Check this out:

Hitchens has his own softness for Stalin & Co., as chronicled in a new book by Martin Amis, Koba the Dread, in which Amis takes Hitchens to task for calling Lenin "a great man, and, toward the end, addresses his old friend directly:

"So it is still obscure to me why you wouldn't want to put more distance between yourself and these events than you do, with your reverence for Lenin and your unregretted discipleship of Trotsky ... Why? An admiration for Lenin and Trotsky is meaningless without an admiration for terror. They would not want your admiration if it failed to include an admiration for terror. Do you admire terror? I know you admire freedom"


And wouldn't you consider support of homosexual marriage a solidly leftist position?

Philip Chandler said...

Michael Tuggle writes:

"And wouldn't you consider support of homosexual marriage a solidly leftist position?"

No, I would not. I consider support for gay marriage to be support for the principles of equal justice under law. I consider support for gay marriage to be support for a structure that stabilizes relationships by offering persons in such relationships very real incentives to maintain these relationships.

I don't see this as "leftist" at all. In fact, if you force me to ascribe a label to this support, I would consider it to be conservative.

People who self-identify as "conservatives" all seem to share a few characteristics in common. Love of authoritarian hierarchies is one of these characteristics. Utter certitude regarding the correctness of their philosophy is another. Fear of change is another. A desire to maintain the status quo is another. The desire to label entire groups of people as "immoral" is another. Religiosity is (frequently) another. Willingness to inscribe their religious principles into law and public policy is another. Gender stereotyping, and the belief that people must abide by the demands of highly visible roles, is another. But more than anything else, these people are afraid.

They are afraid of uncertainty.

When confronted with uncertainty, they manifest a morbid desire to impose structure and meaning on that uncertainty.

The universe is believed -- according to the most up to date and widely accepted refinements to the Big Bang theory -- to be about 13.73 billion years old. Recently, there was news about the discovery of several prominent circular galaxies located about 400 million light years away from us. These numbers stupify the imaginations of even the most brilliant scientists and mathematicians. Yet many conservatives cling fiercely to the belief that the Big Bang never took place and that the universe is really only about 10,000 years old. Evidence to the contrary is labeled as "the works of man" and dismissed out of hand. The very idea that we are NOT alone -- that there are almost certainly a great many civilizations out there -- terrifies these people. Reversion to the fables of the Old Testament is comforting to these people.

They are so afraid of using their own powers of reason. They are so afraid of thinking for themselves.

The neocons have had things their way for the past eight years. America is now hated more vehemetly and by more people than ever before in her history. Our foreign policy lies in utter shambles. We now kidnap people and call this "extraordinary rendition." We now waterboard people and call this "simulated asphyxiation." We now torture people and refer to his as "enhanced interrogation."

We have lost our way.

The American people recognized this, and voted for a man who just may be able to restore some measure of our good name. Not only did the neocons lose the Presidency -- they lost even more Senators and Representatives. Should Obama be re-elected at the end of his first term, he may be able to make a sizeable impression on the federal judiciary.

We have just escaped another four years of right wing rule. There is the very real possibility that we may be able to repeal at least part of DOMA.

Perhaps there is some measure of justice in the world after all.

PHILIP CHANDLER

purplehaze said...

No I wouldn't consider, homosexual marriage part of a leftist agenda, I would consider it the logical step forward for the preservation of fundamental human rights that is neither the monopoly of the left nor the right.

Perhaps, the reason that there may be more leftists championing gay rights, and practically all other basic human rights is because they, infact do have a monopoly on COMMON SENSE!


Phillip, I could not have said it more eloquently than you. Beautiful.

cheers

gajan

Rich Casebolt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rich Casebolt said...

The neocons have had things their way for the past eight years. America is now hated more vehemetly and by more people than ever before in her history. Our foreign policy lies in utter shambles.

What actually lies in shambles, Philip, is the facade of that lying-in-formal-wear we call "diplomacy", dominated by the fantasies of Lefist ideology for DECADES, that left the door open for the events leading up to, and culminating in, the attacks of 11 Sept 2001.

Being disdained, and even hated, by those who don't "hold these truths to be self-evident" as our founding citizens did ... or at least don't consider them worth enough to support their timely, proactive and decisive defense in a highly-interconnected world ... is no incentive for me to change my thinking.

And, at the least, the underlying lack of respect for this nation in the hearts and minds of these, was already present well before 20 Jan 2001 ... it just took a President who was willing to take decisive action to scratch off the scab and expose the sore of IRRATIONAL fear on the part of some, and hatred that had been behind a scab of deception on the part of others, for everyone to see.

Apparently, you didn't learn a damn thing from that experience.

And I also find it ironic that you denigrate conservatives for seeking "certainty", when you have so much blind faith in humanity's ability to accurately perceive the Universe that you can state extrapolations of observed data in a time-variant, often nonlinear system as conclusive fact.

At least I admit to my own faith as such ... and theory as theory, and observed fact as observed fact.

When you, and the others like you, begin to accurately disclose the faith/theory/observed fact in your perspectives as such ... then we can have some real discourse on the issues facing us.

Until then, frankly, you appear to be just another theophobe to me ... so it is no wonder you are present on this thread, as theophobia is a major driver of the gay-marriage movement.

BTW, as an evangelical Christian, I ascribe to the doctrine of "the priesthood of the believer", and therefore do my own thinking ... and do not need to submit myself to the litmus test y'all appear to consider essential ... of agreeing with the humanist take on our origins ... to prove my intellectual independence.

americaneocon said...

Rich: No one has addressed the question in this thread of how a gay marriage could possible constitute a civil right.

A 12 year old boy cannot go to college, and has no right to do so. Two business partners cannot call their business a marriage, because that law does not recognize that as a matrimonial contract. If we define homosexual couples as having a right to marriage that heretofore only a man and a woman could have, then any man, boy, cousin, and sister, or any other combination, could be married as well. A marriage and a homosexual relationship are two separate forms of relationships and it is a perversion of the law to try to blot out the difference between two wholly separate kinds of things.

But just note how bitter and angry are the hordes attacking me here. The better the argument, the more intense the attacks.

Michael Tuggle said...

Philip Chandler,

At least we took care of properly labeling the Evil Hitchens.

You seemed to be taking the Andrew Sullivan path when you defended homosexual "marriage" as a "conservative" position, then you condemned conservatives for their fear, ignorance, etc. Hmm.

Have fun whacking away at the little straw man you've put together, but actual conservatism is the love and appreciation of organic culture, and especially, of one's own historical culture. For a brief introduction, I suggest Russell Kirk's 10 principles of conservatism:

http://www.kirkcenter.org/kirk/ten-principles.html

Whatever you do, please do not equate us with the ex-Trotskyite Neocons, those identity thieves who masquerade their revolutionary ideology behind conservative language.

Neocons have more in common with leftists than the conservatives whose language they’ve stolen — both Neocons and leftists condemn “racism,” which they always scream whenever they’re blocked by the desire to preserve a traditional way of life. Both groups of ideologues want nothing more than to destroy tradition and replace it with their own values and blueprints. Leftists call it “revolution,” Neocons call it “creative destruction.” The goal of each is the same. Both want to reconstruct society according to abstract, universal principles of their own making. Both want their subjects to surrender loyalty to their culture and make the ruling institutions the object of veneration.

You'll note we real conservatives -- or paleoconservatives -- oppose centralized power, the false foundations of ideology, and all schemes for reengineering society. And the homosexual agenda is just one more revolutionary weapon for undermining traditional society.

Philip Chandler said...

I believe in being scrupulously honest when debating issues such as this.

I will therefore acknowledge that I harbour utter contempt for all forms of organized religion. It is not any particular religion that I despise – it is the very concept of organized religion that fills me with disgust bordering on outright revulsion.

The reason for this is simple – organized religion has been used throughout human history to maintain and to justify gross societal injustices. Human beings perpetrate atrocities and acts of barbarism with genuine relish, if not pleasure, when they believe that they are acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. Religion is used to maintain the status quo – to keep women in their place, to keep racial minorities in their place, to keep gay people in their place, and – above all – to ensure that those in power remain in power.

I was born and raised in South Africa. The South African branches of the Dutch Reformed Church invoked the Bible to justify the abomination known to the world as apartheid, just as politicians in the Deep South used the Bible to justify racial segregation, prohibitions against interracial marriage, and lynching. I left South Africa in disgust when I was 22 years old, naively believing that people were different in other countries, and that justice prevailed in the USA. I was so young then – but I am older now…

Religion is used to promote hatred of gay people, and to justify cruel and discriminatory legislation. I remember watching debate in the Senate on C-SPAN when the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” was introduced. I will never forget Senator Robert Byrd – a former member of the KKK – literally waving his Bible around as he denigrated and attacked gay relationships. Whatever happened to his oath of office – his promise to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and to observe the dictates of the First Amendment?

Two years ago, I was fired from a job at which I excelled when my boss found out that I am gay.

You state that many of the people who believe in gay marriage are theophobic. Are you surprised?

Don’t presume to tell me what I did and did not learn from the terrorist attacks of September 11. I used to work in the World Financial Center, right next door to the Twin Towers. I saw both of them come down, and I am haunted by o this day by images that burned themselves into my soul. The 19 men who perpetrated that monstrous act were filled with religious fervour. They believed that they were acting in the name of God. Less than 24 hours later, that bastion of Christian zealotry – Pat Robertson – blamed the attacks on gay Americans. Have the common decency not to repeat the slander.

As for my willingness to trust the observations of human beings – one field of human endeavour that tolerates no distortion, dishonesty, or ideological bias is mathematics. Far from trusting human powers of observation, I question common assumptions, and am constantly aware of something that all intelligent human beings keep in mind: even the most brilliant people can be wrong.

You are absolutely entitled to believe whatever you want to believe about gay people. But your right to express your beliefs ends when you try to inscribe your religious beliefs into law and public policy, to my detriment. Your right to religious expression ends when you seek to impose your values and beliefs on me. Permitting gay persons to marry in no way interferes with your religious beliefs – unless you believe that you have the right to control my destiny. Be assured that you have no such right.

The neocons disgust me because of what they have done to core American values. I see nothing patriotic in efforts to sack the right of habeas corpus, and to legalize torture. I am happy to see the end of Bush and his thuggish Administration.

As for centuries of tradition and common understanding – you may wish to keep in mind the following observation:

“Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.” (cited from Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003))

Respect for the rights of those who are different from you lies at the heart of citizenship. It saddens and amazes me that I, as a naturalized American, should have to remind you of this.


PHILIP CHANDLER

Rich Casebolt said...

Philip ... you are more honest than most. As an engineer, I am also quite aware of the sometimes-brutal honesty of mathematics.

And I won't say that I know what you went through on 11 September 2001.

But in my opinion, you have learned the wrong lessons from that act of war ... could it be because your antipathy for organized religion colors your view of the President who broke Leftist "tradition" and precedent, and acted to defend life and liberty?

We have seen it, time and time again in history ... without freedom and the respect for it, peace is just an illusion.

That abject lack of respect for freedom ... using Islam as justification ... is what drove those nineteen thugs to attack you.

And the most prudent defense was to go on the offense against them ... and others who were known to be of like mind and equal -- if not more -- capability, like Saddam & Sons.

Let's be honest here ... what really chafes y'all about Mr. Bush's approach to civil liberties is the lack of transparency. (Otherwise, you'd condemn Lincoln for suspending habeas corpus, instead of honoring him for emancipation ... and BTW the typical Leftist definition of "torture" is anything rougher than 3-hots-and-a-cot, much less something our own men are put through during SERE training.) But there is a reason for that ... for far too long, we allowed a very cunning and manipulative set of enemies to see what we were planning for them, in the event we went to war with them, in the name of "transparency".

And I am also aware of the religious roots of apartheid, and the use of religion to justify atrocity ... but I am also aware that the founding citizens of this nation believed that life and liberty were endowed to them by their Creator .... and therefore were not subject to even a majority vote for denial. Not a few of them wanted to abolish slavery in those early years, as well.

I am also aware of the believers who kept pushing against slavery, until it was eradicated ... and I would wager that other believers did similar yeoman work against apartheid.

And you need to be aware of the independent nature of the evangelicals that make up the vast majority of the Religious Right ... and how their independence is a powerful defense against the very theocracy you abhor.

Your brush is a little too broad, IMO, when it comes to condemning organized religion.

But that doesn't change the facts on the ground ... there are other ways to secure the blessings of liberty for those in GLBT relationships, that do not involve the codification of these relationships as morally equivalent to heterosexual marriage by force of law.

You ask, how does that affect me as a straight?

What it does is effectively close the public debate on the morality of the homosexual lifestyle ... and my, my children's, my grandchildren's, and my fellow believers -- along with others who oppose the practices on other grounds -- ability to publicly dissent from your viewpoint and have that dissent taken with even a pinch of seriousness.

In other words, in the eyes of the law, the question will be settled -- exclusively in your favor -- simply because you want it to be settled.

It is one more step towards making the secular fundamentalist worldview the ONLY acceptable view in our public discourse.

Again, we are not talking about immutable characteristics like skin color here ... we are talking about actions and choices.

Even as a believer, there are legal proscriptions against some actions I might take ... like say, handling venomous snakes in my Long Island church (not that I need/want/perform that kind of litmus test of my faith!).

What the gay community is asking for, is protection for behavior that goes beyond even the Constitutional protections for religious beliefs.

americaneocon said...

Philip Chandler: I'm sure you don't care, but I've lost friends to AIDS, and I'll support civil rights for gays up to same-sex marriage. Your irreligion is a chip on your shoulder, but being gay is not a subordinate category in constitutional law today. Bowers was struck down in 2003, and Colorado's Measure 2 in 1996.

Marriage is traditionally a religious institution legitimized under law by civil institutions. The great majority of people get married in church, often the only time some set foot in the house of God.

Your problem is with your own bigotry toward those who practice traditionalism knowing that the world is imperfect, but that universal doctrines of goodness continue to provide the light for humanity's progress. We may yet have constitutional marriage equality, but the overriding culture must change, and militant gay radicalism will only slow that process down.

repsac3 said...

@RC there are other ways to secure the blessings of liberty for those in GLBT relationships, that do not involve the codification of these relationships as morally equivalent to heterosexual marriage by force of law.

Separate but equal accommodation has been tried before... and found to not comport with American values. US morality is an evolving standard in the first place, and for many--including many who do not share your faith, as well as many who do--the morality of what is essentially a secular contract is not at issue, or within your balliwick to judge.

What it does is effectively close the public debate on the morality of the homosexual lifestyle ... and my, my children's, my grandchildren's, and my fellow believers -- along with others who oppose the practices on other grounds -- ability to publicly dissent from your viewpoint and have that dissent taken with even a pinch of seriousness.

In other words, in the eyes of the law, the question will be settled -- exclusively in your favor -- simply because you want it to be settled.


Nonsense. You can still teach your children as you see fit. You can still discuss & debate your opposition to gay marriage anytime & in any setting you wish.

Right now, the issue is settled largely in your favor. When it is settled as Phillip & I believe it should be, it will be because the masses have evolved, or because the courts have recognized that the rights are already written into constitutions in various states. It will be settled because rights are not given to you by the state, but are granted to you at birth (or conception, if you prefer), and cannot be taken away by law or statute.

It is one more step towards making the secular fundamentalist worldview the ONLY acceptable view in our public discourse.

In an effort to create religious freedom, as well as freedom from religion for those who wish it, America is a secular & religion-neutral society. While your particular faith & denomination is the one true path for you, we allow the shinto buddhist, the hassidic jew, and the non-believer to also believe that their religious path--or lack of it--is the way to everlasting light & harmony, as well. In an effort to do so, we do not enshrine the morals & values of your religion, my religion, or any other religion into law.

There are many sins in this world, but relatively few are discouraged or criminalized by law, anymore. Like marriage, sin is up to the church, & not the state, to define & otherwise deal with. (Do you really want the state defining such religious matters?) To do otherwise would be to impose one religious institution's set of morals on all Americans, including those who do not share that (& in some cases, any) faith.

We were born on the idea that the Puritans could do their thing, and the Penn Dutch could do theirs, and neither had to convert to & assume the faith of the other... Nothing's changed...

Average American said...

Donald, you opened the closet door and they all piled out. You must have broken your record for comments on a single post here. Congratulations!

Rich Casebolt said...

Nonsense. You can still teach your children as you see fit. You can still discuss & debate your opposition to gay marriage anytime & in any setting you wish.

In an era where the Fairness Doctrine may be coming back ... a model of speech-limiting/preacher-prosecuting "Human Rights Commissions" just to the north of us ... and the continued blindness of secular progressives to the blind faith in their own assumptions, that leads them to proclaim them as conclusive fact without bothering to state those assumptions as such ... all the while loudly and reflexively dismissing all who oppose them as "ignorant" ... I don't share your faith in the sustainability of the above, were I to roll over and passively accede to your position, now that the Left is gaining access to the levers of governmental power.

Like it or not, marriage -- and the lack of respect for it on the part of some -- intersects both church and state ... the spiritual and societal ... because of its effects upon societal stability.

Tinkering with it, to advance one political agenda to the exclusion of all others, is done at our peril.

Be careful what you ask for.

Philip Chandler said...

Rich Casebolt writes:

"What it does is effectively close the public debate on the morality of the homosexual lifestyle ... and my, my children's, my grandchildren's, and my fellow believers -- along with others who oppose the practices on other grounds -- ability to publicly dissent from your viewpoint and have that dissent taken with even a pinch of seriousness."

Do you not understand? -- you are not talking about a LIFESTYLE -- you are talking about MY LIFE!!!

THIS is where the discussion breaks down! You state, with the smug assuredness that only the arrogant, the ignorant, and those in power can state, that:

"Again, we are not talking about immutable characteristics like skin color here ... we are talking about actions and choices."

Do you not understand? I FALL IN LOVE WITH, AND HAVE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS WITH, MEMBERS OF THE SAME SEX. This is not a matter of choice -- it is a STATE OF BEING! It is WHO I AM -- it is as much apart of me as my race, skin color, or height. How do I make people understand this? How can I possibly make you understand that there is something about me -- at my core -- that is different from you, but that is nevertheless entitled to the same respectful treatment as that which I show my heterosexual friends when I attend their wedding ceremonies, or congratulate them on bringing children into the world? How do I make you understand that what you so blithely dismiss as personal choice an ASPECT OF MY PERSONHOOD that is FUNDAMENTAL?

Do you not understand that this is NOT about personal choice in the same way that not eating meat is about personal choice? HOW -- PLEASE, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY -- PLEASE TELL ME -- HOW DO I MAKE YOU SEE THIS?

I am trying, desperately, to reach out here. I am trying so hard to convey to you the gravity of this issue -- yet I sense that I am failing...

Try the following exercise. Try to imagine knowing, when you are six or seven years old, that you are so different from other people that you KNOW, at that young age, that you will forever be an outsider -- that you will forever be on the outside, looking in, and that the majority of people will never understand you. Then, one day, you discover that you are NOT alone -- that there are other people who are like you, who will love you and care about you. Then try to imagine ignorant people stomping in, waving their Bibles around, and declaring that you are inferior -- that you are immoral -- and that the difference that you understood, as a child, to be a core component of your identity; the difference that sets you apart from other people -- is merely something that you chose.

You would lose your temper too. Reason would give way to a howl of frustration, rage, pain, and blind, inchoate fury.

As for the Bush Administration – my anger is not about a lack of transparency. It is triggered by the sacking of core ideals that set this country apart from others, and the danger that this creates as people slowly get used to the notion of torture as a legitimate means to an end; as people slowly get used to the stripping away of the right to judicial review, and as people slowly accept the premise that it is acceptable to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. You refer to Lincoln’s acts with approval, forgetting the dangers inherent in those acts. Those dangers were articulated by the US Supreme Court with shocking clarity when it declared that

“Those great and good men foresaw that troublous times would arise when rulers and people would become restive under restraint, and seek by sharp and decisive measures to accomplish ends deemed just and proper, and that the principles of constitutional liberty would be in peril unless established by irrepealable law. The history of the world had taught them that what was done in the past might be attempted in the future. The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government . . . This nation, as experience has proved, cannot always remain at peace, and has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution. Wicked men, ambitious of power, with hatred of liberty and contempt of law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln, and if this right is conceded, and the calamities of war again befall us, the dangers to human liberty are frightful to contemplate. If our fathers had failed to provide for just such a contingency, they would have been false to the trust reposed in them. They knew -- the history of the world told them -- the nation they were founding, be its existence short or long, would be involved in war; how often or how long continued human foresight could not tell, and that unlimited power, wherever lodged at such a time, was especially hazardous to freemen.” [emphasis added] ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866)

I apologize for “shouting.”

I am simply at the end of my rope.


PHILIP CHANDLER

repsac3 said...

Phillip, it's ok...

They can "cure" you.

Exodus International

As I've said elsewhere, I have no dog in the nature/nurture debate swirling about homosexuality. I think it's secondary to the issue at hand, but like you, I wonder that anyone can state that it's one or the other with such certitude, given the research.

Anecdotally, I have a male cousin in his thirties that anyone who spent more'n five minutes with from the age of five or six on could tell was going to turn out gay. His 4 siblings are all straight, and his mom's a staunch old-school Goldwater republican conservative. He didn't choose his path, and it wasn't foisted upon him by his immediate family/friends circle. Like Phillip, he just knew he was who he was, and it was obvious to the rest of us, as well.

For me, it's about equal access--not separate but equal access, but equal access--to the same rights & privileges, straight or gay.

Any/every given religious group's morality should be taught in the home & in the church, and not codified into secular US law, meant to govern believer & non-believer alike.

Rich Casebolt said...

Philip ... I am not ignoring you, but I want to choose my words carefully and compassionately before I respond to you in full. I wlll do so in the near future.

As for you, repsac:

Any/every given religious group's morality should be taught in the home & in the church, and not codified into secular US law, meant to govern believer & non-believer alike.

Problem is, repsac, such proscriptions do not prevent the imposition of the tenets of faith of some, upon the rest of us, by the force of law.

Simply because they do not invoke a Diety or an organization as the basis for their beliefs, the humanist, the athiest, and the relativist (or any combination of the above), have EXCLUSIVE access to the government to promote and impose their beliefs in your ideal system .... because their tenets of faith are neither represented nor seen as such, but instead are (often, mis-)represented as "scientific" and/or "innovative" and/or "compassionate".

Conversely, alternatives to the secular/progressive conventional wisdom ... even if they can be a positive addition to society, even when they are applied outside of a faith in the Almighty ... are denigrated and rejected simply because of an association with a Diety or "religious" belief system. The conflict between abstinence-dominant vs. "mechanics only"/morality-free sex education is just one example of this.

This is why I fight tooth-and-nail against the "Wall of Separation", because it is really a "Wall of Exclusive Faith" in practice.

repsac3 said...

@RC: If you were arguing against homosexual marriage on other than Biblically moral/religious grounds, I'd take your plea more seriously.

Yes, being faith-neutral does mean going against the tenets of particular faiths in practice, sometimes. Any faith that believes itself to be the one, true way to everlasting peace is going to rub up against the faith-neutral idea that every faith (or none, at all) will be equally respected here, even if one faith has more members than all the others.

America cannot simultaneously say "everyone has the right to worship or not as they choose," and "this thing is now illegal, because the Judeo-Christian faiths of the majority of our citizens teaches us it is immoral. (& who cares about the non-judeo-christian minority who sees it differently?)".

To the extent that a particular issue is a "yes or no," "do as my God teaches or go against Him" question, America cannot walk with your God simply because He says so. To remain a faith-neutral society, we need faith-neutral reasons for choosing in favor of God's way, no matter how offensive that may seem to those who unquestioningly believe, and regardless of whether a particular faith or coalition of faiths can muster enough people to vote to take away the otherwise inalienable rights of the non-believers & those of other faiths.

No one's suggesting that you have to agree with those of other (or no) faiths, or subsume your beliefs about your faith being the only way to the Kingdom, and the rest the result of false teachings, but you do have to allow for the fact that here in America, no one faith is held more high or given more weight under, by, or over US law than the rest... ...not even the One True Path you happen to follow, whoever "you" may be...

That Wall of Separation" is there to protect the rights of every individual faith (including your secularists) from encroachment by any/all other faiths. (Besides, given shifting demographics & whatnot, there's no guarantee that your particular denomination would always be the chosen one, were we to continually allow ourselves to put such matters of faith to a "will of the people" vote, instead...)

Rimmer said...

I wonder why there are straight people who are so upset about gay marriage failing at the polls. I believe that it isn't so much about supporting gays as it is to side with them in order to see the realization of their real desire: the destruction of traditional Americans values.

Philip Chandler said...

Rimmer writes:
"I wonder why there are straight people who are so upset about gay marriage failing at the polls. I believe that it isn't so much about supporting gays as it is to side with them in order to see the realization of their real desire: the destruction of traditional Americans values."

*********
Response:
*********

You have got to be joking. Now you consider the support that the gay community receives from a sizeable portion of the straight population to be an indication that all of those straight people are trying to trash American values?

The alternative is so much easier to believe, and much more likely to be accurate: all that straight support comes from people who VALUE the concept of equal justice under law!

PHILIP CHANDLER

Philip Chandler said...

Rich Casebolt writes: "Philip ... I am not ignoring you, but I want to choose my words carefully and compassionately before I respond to you in full. I wlll do so in the near future."

**********
Response:
**********

Thank you for taking the time to craft a response to my last post. It is appreciated.

I wish that I could believe in the "compassion" to which you refer. On several other occasions when I have raised the issue of how central my sexual orientation is to my identity, people have responded by telling me that "Satan" has convinced me that I really was born gay, and that in reality, I had a choice -- but now sincerely believe that I was born gay as a result of false memories cemented into me by "Satan".

Such facile disregard for my integrity is loathsome, and I sincerely hope that you will not respond with that argument...

The frustration so evident in my last post is the end result when somebody insists that my experiences are "invalid" and that the person concerned knows the "real" truth.

But there is another point that I wish to make, however tangential it may be to this discussion.

Religion is chosen. Nevertheless, religion is a "suspect class" under current US Supreme Court precedent; statutes that classify on the basis of religion are presumptively unconstitutional, and are subjected to the most demanding level of judicial review ("strict scrutiny"). Yet religion is entirely a matter of choice; in fact, Christians place great emphasis on "free will".

In a fair society, people would respect the rights of gay persons even if being gay were a choice.

PHILIP CHANDLER

Philip Chandler said...

Rich Casebolt -- have you forgotten about me...?

I really am interested in your opinion...

PHILIP CHANDLER

Austin said...

I understand their view, and don't COMPLETELY discount it. However, I think it's unfair to compare the plight of the African Americans to others and say theirs isn't a fight for civil rights because it's not on equal footing. Women were also not shipped over here and subordinated with whips, yet you cannot deny their civil rights were denied in voting booths and paychecks. Civil rights mean all receive the same rights without discrimination. Not necessarily all receiving the same THING, but receiving the same RIGHT. To say that gay marriage isn't a civil right is the same as saying interracial marriage isn't a civil right. If a right is being denied to one faction of society that is being allowed another, it is a violation of civil rights. You might not agree with the morality of gay marriage, but how you cannot see that fact is completely beyond me.

Austin said...

By the way, I am personally opposed to gay marriage, but recognize my personal opposition to that doesn't necessarily mean I have the right to deny that benefit to other people. I don't believe in imposing my beliefs on others. You can be opposed to gay marriage personally and still recognize it as a civil right. How someone can say it's not simply does not make sense. What - because they "chose" to be gay? I chose my religion, and I'd be FURIOUS if the government somehow didn't recognize a marriage performed within my faith. How is it different for gay people? Honestly, someone tell me.

Jeff said...

Excuse my ignorance but isn't this just a battle of terms? According to my understanding civil unions have all the same benefits as marriages. If they do have equal benefits then aren't people that oppose prop 8 trying to impose their beliefs about marriage upon those that voted yes on it?

Paco (Not the gay one) said...

Paco (the gay one) said that the US Constitution should not be based on Religious beliefs, what should it be based on then?? What everyone wants?? If I want everyone to be killing each other, can we approve that on the Constitution?? Wasn't the Constitution based on Religious beliefs ('IN GOD WE TRUST')?? Didn't that work out as until now? Haven't those laws made the US what it is now?? I can see that changing laws to go against God's Laws (which EXIST whether you CHOOSE to believe or not, it's not a 'relative' truth but ABSOLUTE!) will take the US down! If most of the people opt for that which is WRONG (even if we tell ourselves every single day that it is not) destruction will come rapidly (don't know exactly how many months or years). Not saying that a comet or a lighting will strike and burn everything but you'll see what I mean.

repsac3 said...

Jeff sez: According to my understanding civil unions have all the same benefits as marriages.

If that is even true within CA (& I suspect it isn't even there, completely) all a civilly united couple from CA need do is move out of that state to lose all those rights & privileges. That doesn't happen to married couples...

If a man from CA marries a woman from China here on a visa, she automatically begins the process toward citizenship, and it is highly unlikely she will ever be deported. If a man from CA gets civilly united to a MAN from China here on a visa, the couple gains no new immigration status, and can (& likely will) be separated by US law when that visa expires & the chinese citizen is deported, perhaps never to return.

That's just two differences, off the top of my head...
--------

Paco (I'm sure you can figure out which) sez: Paco (the gay one) said that the US Constitution should not be based on Religious beliefs, what should it be based on then??

First off, I can't find where anyone named Paco (except you) ever said that.

Second, It isn't a matter of "should be" or "shouldn't be." The US Constitution *wasn't" & still *isn't* based on anyone's religious beliefs. What it was, is, and always shall be based on is law.

Wasn't the Constitution based on Religious beliefs ('IN GOD WE TRUST')??

In God We Trust has zero to do with the US (or any state) Constitution. If you read the wiki, the earliest references are to the 1800's, and one possible origin suggests it was originally "In God We Hope" (must've been some Obamanational plot involving Lincoln, I guess... Those boys from Il. stick together...)

Haven't those laws made the US what it is now??

Laws, absolutely... Belief in God, somewhat, but much less so than our laws, which include ones that protect the minority unbeliever and the minority believer in a different God than yours from a tyranny of the (in this case, Christian) majority.

I can see that changing laws to go against God's Laws (which EXIST whether you CHOOSE to believe or not, it's not a 'relative' truth but ABSOLUTE!) will take the US down!

God's Laws are absolute for believers, and where God's Laws oppose the laws of man (be it US federal, state, or local law or elsewhere in the world), it is for the believer to follow his conscience & be willing to face the consequences of doing so.

For those who are Buddhists, or Wiccans, or don't believe in God at all, the absolute Laws of God mean much less. And they too, will face the consequences of their beliefs & actions.

Here in the US though, Americans have the right to sin against your God by believing in another, or believing in none. Where American laws prohibit sinful acts, it is not because they are religiously sinful but because they are morally wrong. As I said above, I can respect anyone who offers a secular argument against allowing gay marriage (even though I may disagree with it), but basing US law on any denomination's religious belief alone goes against the US Constitution.

If most of the people opt for that which is WRONG (even if we tell ourselves every single day that it is not) destruction will come rapidly (don't know exactly how many months or years). Not saying that a comet or a lighting will strike and burn everything but you'll see what I mean.

Again, that may be true, and if you believe it to be so, you will surely find evidence of it wherever you turn. This sentiment has been repeated endlessly throughout the known history of this world, in many times & places... Some have already been proven correct, and some haven't... ...at least not yet.

(Of course, there will more'n'likely come a day when every prediction of "the end of civilization as we know it" will come true, so in a sense, every one who's ever said it will turn out to be correct, as long as they're willing to wait long enough for that validation. Unfortunately for many of 'em, there'll be no one left to congratulate them for their outstanding prowess for prophesy.)

Philip Chandler said...

Rich Casebolt -- I have waited, patiently. I think I can be excused for concluding that you are not going to post a reply to the message I wrote. That is a real pity, because I actually thought that it was just possible (possible, not probable) that we were making progress in terms of understanding each other...

Thank you, Repsac3, for your contributions relative to the Constitution and religion. You write very eloquently, and are able to discuss emotionally charged issues without becoming overwrought.

PHILIP CHANDLER

repsac3 said...

@PC:

Thanks for the compliments... I do what I can (though much less so here, of late. Internet friends held an intervention about my bangin' my head against this particular wingnut wall--especially given some of the real nutjobs frequenting it, of late--& I am trying to wean myself away...)

As far as marriage/civil union equality (legal, social, ???), I posted a query at my little blog (link to Wingnuts & Moonbats) asking folks like Donald, who say they are in favor of civil unions &/or full civil rights for homosexuals, but not marriage, to explain what the differences between them would/should be, aside from the name given to each relationship, of course... No one who claims to feel that way has replied, let alone offered any explanation as yet, but I remain optimistic... (All I received was a comment from an English citizen pointing out that both there & in New Zealand, the sky has not fallen as a result of civil partnerships/civil unions in those two countries. However, the commenter also places some blame on homosexuals here in the US, for being too hung up on the word "marriage," & being unwilling to accept the same relationship, with a different name... Make of that what you will...

Anonymous said...

Im left handed. I was born that way. Can I legislate that cars have steering wheels on the left AND the right? Or that they be placed in the center? We have higher mortality rates because everything is designed for right handed people.

Anonymous said...

Well put Professor Douglas...yet these fools can't see the right of human nature.