October 5, 2006

What is the rational basis for banning same-sex marriage?

My colleague in the Political Science department, Howard Schweber, emails a question about same-sex marriage that I know some of my readers will be good at answering. (And he likes the idea of my reprinting this to get answers from people who actually believe in banning same-sex marriage.)
Assuming that rational basis scrutiny is the appropriate level of review (which is far from clear in the majority opinions in Romer and Lawrence, both of which ducked the question), what is the strongest case that can be made for a legitimate state interest in restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples? I take it as given that if the statutes are constitutional, the fear of judicial intervention is an adequate explanation for turning them into constitutional amendments, so it's the original statutes that I am thinking of.

[One answer is] that majoritarian moral preference, standing alone, is an adequate justification for legislation. One reason I have doubts about that principle is its implications for free speech, actually, but let's leave that aside.

Ann made a more empirical suggestion -- I hope I am accurately recounting it as follows:

1. We prefer heterosexual couples to homosexual couples
2. There exist some number of persons, however small, who enter into heterosexual marriages because homosexual marriages are unavailable.
Note that I didn't say that I personally have these preferences. I'm trying to say what a court might find to be a rational basis if it were considering the constitutionality of the state constitutional amendment. As I've said many times on the blog, I support same-sex marriage, and I do not disparage gay relationships. I'm simply saying that a court might find rationality in the expression of special respect for the traditional relationship and that this respect -- with additional benefits and protections -- will encourage more people to form these relationships. I'm not saying this is a good thing to believe, just that it is one belief that is at least rational. I am assuming there are some people who are influenced by social pressure to form traditional male-female families who would, with sufficient social approval, chose a same-sex relationship.

Back to Howard:
One question is empirical; does a state need any evidence to demonstrate the existence of this class of persons?

The other question, it seems to me, is the basis for the preference. Avoiding the appeal to morality, one gets to the policy arguments (better for children, etc.) These seem awfully weak, and indeed analytically incoherent. [One might] say moral preference is enough, but that doesn't necessarily solve the problem. Moral preference between classes of persons, after all, are definitely not a permissible basis for legislation -- it has to be moral preference about conduct (Scalia says "lifestyle,") right? In other words, we are talking about sex.

So we come down to a moral preference for the kinds of sexual conduct that would be engaged in by the class of persons -- perhaps they are bisexual, for example -- who would enter into heterosexual marriages today but would not have done so if the alternative of homosexual marriage were available.

The problem there is selectivity: we don't use any similar moral preferences in determining who may marry in any other context. In the debate the other night I proposed the following indicia for concluding that expressions of a purported state interest are a pretext for animus:

novelty - an argument of a kind we have never heard before
selectivity -- a principle that is not applied in any other context
targeting -- a principle that is not applied to any other class of citizens
extremism -- a principle that if applied consistently would yield obviously unacceptable results.
Answers?

357 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 357 of 357
Julian Morrison said...

Fitz said...

Same sex pairings can never produce children. [...] This is elemental irrefutable biology.

I refute you thus:

Scientists have turned stem cells from an embryo into sperm that are capable of producing offspring, it was announced yesterday. (11/July/2006)

Mice now, humans in a year or two? No reason why not.

Edward said...

Chickenlittle: If I remember correctly, you asked whether I would be willing to undergo the same experiment? Was that the question? Honestly, I’m not sure what question you want me to answer.

If that really is the question, my answer is that I don’t need to become gay for a week, because I’m gay already. Let me tell you, it feels great, and I’m not specifically talking about gay sex or even about being in love. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in how it feels to be gay.

Was your question whether I would be willing to become heterosexual for a week? Sure, but I would probably want to change back to gay after a week, because I really do believe that the gay rights movement is only going to get more interesting and exciting in future years.

Charlie said...

Clarification: Bigamy laws, on second thought, would stop you from the more public and public ceremonial parts of taking on that second spouse.

Ernst Blofeld said...

I'd be inclined to take a Burkean attitude. Social institutions have latent wisdom built into them that is not always apparent to someone attempting to reason from first principles. In fact even an extremely intelligent person could not devine all the wisdom and hard-won experience latent in something as complex as society. Certainly the courts are not well equipped to determine this.

As a result the courts should be extremly cautious about overturning long-held institutions due to "rational basis", just as they are cautious about changing common law. The public as a whole is much better equipped to make these decisions.

If gays want marriage they can do it the old-fashioned way and pass a law.

Revenant said...

Revenant, a true materialist: all beliefs, and especially supernatural beliefs, have a genetic underpinning.

We think using our brains, in a manner dictated by the structure of our brains, and the structure of our brains is encoded in our DNA. Ergo our genes influence how we think, QED. That does not mean, as you so simplistically assume, that there's a gene for every belief.

What I meant by "the biological underpinnings of supernatural belief" is simply this: Our brains contain structures that produce the feelings people have historically associated with spirituality -- feeling a "presence", feeling "at one with the universe", etc. That's why so many people believe in things like gods, and not things like invisible rhinocerouses, despite there being an equal amount of evidence for both of those things.

Some people, like the Dark Master of this thread, would probably ascribe those parts of the brain to being put there on purpose by God to let us feel His presence. Whatever the case, I imagine that religious parents will want to make sure their children feel that presence, too.

But tell me good sir, is there a gene that causes you to believe in genes?

There is a collection of genes that makes me capable of rational thought, if that's what you mean.

Julian Morrison said...

Ernst Blofeld, a Burkean counter would be: it's equally much an innovation to either invent a new form of sorta-marriage, or to have a caste of people whose relationships are permitted, but whose marriage is not. It would be better to pull gays into the common tradition of marriage.

vnjagvet said...

In most states, the political issue before the courts and public is not whether marriages of two men or two women will be "banned" by a state, but rather whether they will be recognized by the state as part of the concept of "marriage".

That is an important distinction to me.

I suspect that an anthropological study of origins of the human concept of "marriage" would yield little evidence that early humanids (e.g. "Lucy" and her progeny) "coupled" up male to male or female to female in any familial way, such as groups, herds, tribes, or the like. You anthropologists out there may have evidence to the contrary, but had they done so, it seems to me the species never would have evolved very far for obvious reasons.

Studies of the world's major religions and the world's governments likewise will show that neither of those institutions has recognized male/male or female/female relationships as being among those for which the institution of "marriage" (or similar institution) was recognized.

On the other hand, both polygamous (one male "husband" many female "wives") and polyandrous (one female "wife", many male "husbands") relationships have over the centuries been observed among humanids and humans by anthropologists, and have been and are being recognized by both religions and governments even today.

With that historical background, then, there is rational basis for a state to fail to recognize same sex relationships as those for which the legal relationship of "marriage" is appropriate. It is simply the state's selection of which among the many observed and recognized models of human familial organization is to be recognized by a particular governmental entity.

If the state can fail to recognize relationships that have been observed by anthropologists, and recognized by governments and religions, why cannot the state fail to recognize relationships that have no anthropological, religious or governmental recognition among the possible family organizational models available?

reader_iam said...

Edward:

I didn't your original comment referencing your "experiment," though I saw several later ones. In the first one, where you say you asked all heterosexuals, were you including females?

Anyway.

My first thought--which frankly surprised me--was: Lesbian or gay male?

My hesitation about the latter--and, again, this surprised me--is that apparently I'm not 100% sure about being male, period, regardless of orientation, for a week! (Because I did that thought experiment, too. I guess maleness itself, on some fundamental level, seems so foreign to my core sense of my own self.) (Hmmm. Won't digress further on that one.)

All that aside, I'd participate in your experiment--and regardless of what you meant: a bit out of curiosity over the outlooks and experience of other people, but more because of my close friend P. I'd like to have better insight into what he's gone through over the decades, and what it took to get in the comfortable place he's reached now. Because I love him dearly, and as an invested and caring bystander for close to 25 years, it's been very clear that he's had some rather large prices exacted at various points, and for a very long time.

There is at least something to that mile-in-moccasins things, after all.

Smilin' Jack said...

Edward said...
I’m gay. I convinced that homosexuality is biologically determined, but I’m also completely convinced that being gay is not in any way a biological or genetic defect.


That's objectively false. Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system, since it prevents reproduction.

For example, would you be willing to really be gay for a week.

No, why should I? While many heteros use anal sex for variety, they engage in vaginal sex far more often, since it works and feels better. Since gays don't have that option, why would I give it up?

conserve-a-tip said...

It seems to me that in all of the legal/emotional/religious discussion of marriage that there is an important point that is being missed here. What is the real purpose of marriage worldwide?

If one looks at every culture, what is the purpose of marriage? Is it a legal one for tax writeoffs and better income? Not in the African Congo or the forests of South America. Is it for the purpose of giving equal rights to all? Not in the deserts of Afghanistan or the harems of Saudi Arabia. Is it for religious reasons, instituted by whichever god a culture wants to follow? Perhaps, but not to those across the world who are of the religion of atheism or agnosticism. And so what is the reason that is accepted worldwide?

It is for procreation to continue the established characteristics of a particular society. You know, be fruitful and multiply. It has been the institution, from the beginning, in which children are conceived, raised and nurtured. Now every married couple may not have or want children, but the purpose of marriage is, and has always been, to offer a safe and controlled environment for the continuation of society.

In many cultures, incestual marriages have been outlawed because of their production of children who were not physically able to offer strong and healthy members for the continuation of the society. Marriages to animals have been outlawed because of their total inability to produce anything of value to society. A gay marriage cannot, of it's own merit, continue the species. If gay marriages were the norm rather then the exception, society would go the way of the Shakers.

The main purpose of government is to ensure the safety and continuing existence of a nation/culture. And so, therefore, in this one area of marriage, just as in the area of "serve and protect", I find that the government has more established legitimacy then in most other areas of life. JMHO.

HM said...

Edward:

A few points:

Edward: Noah: You’re being totally unfair to me, and you’re not carefully reading what I’m writing.

HM: Frankly, no one cares what you wrote. It's a hypothetical. The "unfairness" you sense is an unwillingness to see the world exactly as you wish it seen.

Edward: An honest response that a sincere heterosexual would give to my question is something like this:Yes, I’d be willing to be gay for a week, and I’d be very interested in exploring the new feelings that I would have as a result. I can’t really say whether or not the experience would change my opinions about homosexuality, gay people, or gay rights, because the experience would be so very new for me, and I would need time to think about all that. I might still have the same opinions as before, but I can’t be 100 per cent sure of that.

HM: See what I mean. "This is what an honest hetero would do. Obviously, I'm a dishonest one. Asked and answered counselor. Let's move on.

Edward: Was your question whether I would be willing to become heterosexual for a week? Sure, but I would probably want to change back to gay after a week, because I really do believe that the gay rights movement is only going to get more interesting and exciting in future years.

HM: Well, at least you're open-minded about your ridiculous little experiment. What's your control group? And you're obviously not interested about how it "feels" to be a hetero. This is clearly political. More "Politics of Meaning" bullshit from the left side of the spectrum.

But let's get back on point:

Edward: California will enact same-sex marriage sometime in the next decade or two.

HM: Goody for the left-coast. Gays still won't be married. "Gay marriage" is an oxymoron, like a clever brand-name.

Silly Putty
Liquid Nails
Gay Marriage

Putty can't be silly, nails can't be liquid, and marriage can't be gay. Clever marketing though.

Oh, and I don't what to be gay for a week. It would totally freak my kids out.

Edward said...

Reader_iam: I certainly didn’t mean to be sexist in asking the question. In fact, I’m not sure that I was sexist.

I do believe that a large majority of the people contributing to this thread are male, and I did assume that a large majority of them are heterosexual. In fact, I only posed the question to the straight contributors to this thread.

I wanted to know if they would be willing, biologically and scientifically, to become gay for a week. I wanted them to really think about that question, instead of just dashing off short, indignant answers, as most of them seem to be doing.

A premise of my question is that nothing else about you would change. So a straight man would become a gay man, and a straight woman would become a gay woman for just a week.

If the people answering the question were really honest, and if they were willing to say yes, they would have to admit that they don’t know for sure what the experience would be like, because so far they’ve never been gay a day in their lives.

Who knows? They might want to stay gay for longer than a week. I promise you, apart from the discrimination that you occasionally have to deal with, being gay is just fine. In fact, it’s fantastic, and I’m not talking about sex per se.

Edward said...

Most of the people writing in opposition to same-sex marriage here are angry and mean in what they write.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not calling you mean and angry because you’re hurting my feelings. I’m strong enough that you can’t hurt me in that way.

I’m saying that the way you express your opposition to same-sex marriage is very mean and angry sounding. I think if you went back and read your own posts objectively, you’d agree with me.

The reason I mention this is that, apart from the actual reasons you give for opposing same-sex marriage, your anger and your meanness reveals a fundamental flaw in your side of this argument.

It’s similar to how you dismissively answer my hypothetical question about whether you’d be willing to be gay for a week.

Your side of this debate typically suffers from a lack of intellectual curiosity, imagination, and cool rationality.

conserve-a-tip said...

Edward, I have given your question quite a bit of thought, and my young, single daughter gave me a most insightful observation on which to base my answer.

I must preface the answer with the information that we have quite a number of gay friends due to activities in which we are involved and have become quite close to them. We have shared fun times and heart-breaking times of illness and death. So please take this answer with the knowledge of those relationships.

The daughter pointed out that as much as we love these friends, there is not one of them who can truly say that they are happy, fulfilled, content or self-assured. They fear for their safety, their health and their security in their relationships. They put up a good front, but when you really get close to them, it breaks your heart to hear the drama, the turmoil and the loneliness that they feel.

And so, in answer to your question, I can honestly say that I would not like to be gay for a week. Having been so involved with the gay population I see nothing advantageous, enticing, or right about the choice.

Balfegor said...

Edward says:
If the people answering the question were really honest, and if they were willing to say yes, they would have to admit that they don’t know for sure what the experience would be like, because so far they’ve never been gay a day in their lives.

I had rather assumed that being gay was just like being straight, only you get aroused by men, not women, and that in all other respects, gays are, psychologically, just like the rest of us (excluding any systematic psychological impact from discrimination and the like, which wouldn't be implicated in Edward's hypothetical). Admittedly, there's no good way of testing this, as there aren't many people who can switch between being gay and being straight so as to check, but . . . is there reason to believe that gays are -- apart from the issue of sexual attraction -- psychologically different from heterosexuals? I know people used to say that kind of thing all the time, but it always got shouted down as "homophobia" before.

Balfegor said...

Re: Edward:

cool rationality.

I'm biased because I read posts on the internet, where no one is shewn to best effect, but I would not characterise pro-gay marriage advocates as . . . overflowing with "cool rationality."

HM said...

Edward: "Most of the people writing in opposition to same-sex marriage here are angry and mean in what they write."

HM: Oh, for the love of God.....

Tyler Simons said...

Smilin' Jack wrote:

That's objectively false. Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system, since it prevents reproduction.

Not so fast! If you look at this from an evolutionary biological perspective, the import thing is for the survival of the species, not the survival of any particular individual. Yeah, a gay or lesbian couple isn't going to have biological children. Often they'll adopt the children of parents unable to care for them. This doesn't pass down the specific genetic codes of the parents, but it does further the health of the species as a whole -- it maximizes the number of offspring in nurturing families. This is a biological benefit!

It's not only humans. There are gay penguins! They take over the rearing of the chicks whose biological parents are eaten by killer whales and stuff. Just like gay and lesbian humans.

Edward said...

Conserve-a-tip: I doubt that the lives of your gay friends are as sad and lonely as you say, but let’s agree to put that issue aside for the moment.

Anyway, most of the reasons that you give for why their lives are so sad have to do with anti-gay prejudice in today’s society.

If you were gay for only a week, however, you wouldn’t have to worry about anti-gay prejudice, because you’d be guaranteed of becoming straight again very soon.

Furthermore, I encouraged you to consider this thought experiment taking place in the future, when anti-gay prejudice has been almost completely eliminated.

Does no one here (apart from one or two of you) have the intellectual curiosity to answer yes to my question?

Are you afraid that someone will think you are gay simply by answering yes to my thought experiment? If that’s case, then you’ve proven my point that needless fear plays a large role in motivating opposition to gay rights.

I also wonder if your daughter is really being objective in the advice she’s giving you. Are you sure she understands that you would only be gay for one week? It wouldn’t have to be any different from you taking an overseas vacation for a week.

Revenant said...

"I’m also completely convinced that being gay is not in any way a biological or genetic defect."

That's objectively false. Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system, since it prevents reproduction.

A gene that prevents reproduction is not automatically a genetic defect. Honeybees, for example, aren't genetically defective, even though virtually all of them are females possess of genes that prevent them from reproducing.

From an evolutionary perspective, a genetic defect is something which makes it less likely that genes will be passed along. But gay men aren't the only ones with their genes -- their siblings and relatives have them to. It may be that homosexual family members provide enough of a benefit to the family that the net result is that the family's genes get passed down.

Also note that homosexuality doesn't *prevent* reproduction. It didn't even make it all that much less likely, for most of human history, since there were social and pragmatic reasons for gays to have heterosexual sex for children. In the modern day it makes reproduction less likely, of course. But then again, in the modern day there are numerous other ways to pass along your genes.

And in any case, things that make reproduction less likely aren't always considered defects. We don't say that women with small breasts are genetically defective, even though they're less likely to attract a desirable mate.

Edward said...

Balfegor: OK, you’ve got a point. Many supporters of same-sex marriage also lack cool rationality in what they say and write.

I still think I detect a good deal more anger and unnecessary meanness on the other side.

This is just my opinion, and you’re perfectly free to disagree with me.

If only there were a way to measure and quantify anger, meanness, and a lack of cool rationality… Then we could answer this question once and for all.

Tyler Simons said...

Balfegor:

I had rather assumed that being gay was just like being straight... gays are, psychologically, just like the rest of us

Except for the fact that the rest of us aren't prohibited from marrying the people we love. Except for the fact that no one has ever been beaten, tied to a fence and left to die specifically because he was straight. Except for the fact that millions of Americans aren't convinced, paradoxically, that God hates us because of our God-given sexual orientation.

I'm really curious, though, about the Christian background for opposition to homosexuality in general. If God is as sovereign as most of her followers say she is, couldn't she've made it so that humans and penguins reliably preferred humans and penguins, respectively, (Hopefully!) of the opposite sex?

Where's my Calvinists at?!

reader_iam said...

Reader_iam: I certainly didn’t mean to be sexist in asking the question. In fact, I’m not sure that I was sexist.

Whoa! Whoa! Wh-oa-oa.

Where the heck did I say or imply sexism? I'll tell you flat out: That thought didn't enter my mind. (And, I'm sure--or at least I hope--others could attest here, if I HAD thought that, I'd have jolly well said so. Flat out.)

I saw only your later posts (which I noted, for crying out loud), which were addressed to males. That's the alpha and omega of that.

I made the distinction between lesbians and gay males specifically because I was--as I also noted--surprised that the distinction arose in my mind. And for the REASON I thought I stated pretty clearly.

I neither thought nor said--nor do I think I implied--that you were sexist. (If I did imply that, it wasn't my intention, and if that's the general consensus, then I screwed up. And I apologize, in that case, for the screw-up).

Now, however, I AM considering whether or not you were asking that question in good faith.

And whether I was a fool (and how big of one) to sally forth based on that premise.

Edward said...

Revenant: Thank you for your last post. I totally agree with it. An idea that I’ve had for a long time is that every human being alive today probably has a gay ancestor somewhere in his or her family tree. Many, many gay people in the past surely got married and had children. With rapid advances in genetics, there might one day be a way to prove that’s true.

DC Metro Contract Attorneys Weblog said...

the rational basis = AIDS prevention

protection of the public health is a very legitimate rational basis for legislation

and encouraging gay co-habitation by condoning gay marriage would be counter to the policy of minimizing activity that tends to increase AIDS infections

the liberal activists may not like the above rational basis - but it's a perfectly legitimate rational basis

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DCMetroContractAttys/

Edward said...

Reader_iam: Let’s agree just to drop the entire sexism thing. I promise you, I’m not in the least sexist. And there’s nothing sexist in the way I framed the question.

It’s just that something you said in you second-to-last post made me think that you doubted whether my thought experiment applies to women as well as to men. The answer is that it does.

I think there was just a momentary miscommunication between us, and I was being hyper-cautious about clearing it up.

Revenant said...

Except for the fact that the rest of us aren't prohibited from marrying the people we love. Except for the fact that no one has ever been beaten, tied to a fence and [blah blah blah]

Oh for Pete's sake. ONE SENTENCE after the section you quoted, Balfegor said:

excluding any systematic psychological impact from discrimination and the like

Did you not read it, or did you just decide to ignore it and go on a rant anyway?

And by the way, gays are not prohibited from marrying gays and haven't been for years. They just don't get government benefits for BEING married.

Revenant said...

the rational basis = AIDS prevention

So let me get this straight: in order to prevent AIDS, the government must discourage gays from entering into permanent monogamous relationships?

Out of curiousity, what color's the sky on your world?

conserve-a-tip said...

Edward,
I hesitate to make this comment, but your reaction to my honest answer indicates that to you, the only honest answer can be "yes". In other words, it does not occur to you that one could look at your scenario of the future and give a resounding "no" and really have looked at all of the "angles", "benefits", ect. according to your way of thinking. And so, it would appear that you might be classified as a "heterophobe" if you were honest as well.

I can truthfully say to you that our friends are not as happy as one would assume. There is this undercurrent that rears its ugly head every so often and they even talk about it. They are pretty open with us. And it doesn't necessarily come from society's view of them, but from their view of each other. Much drama, much back-stabbing, many demeaning gay jokes about those who are "flaming" and very little sincerity. We have seen this even with their relationship with us, but have said, "It is what it is", and have adjusted accordingly. Our self-esteem does not hinge on their acceptance of us, but their's seems very hinged on our acceptance of them and of each other.

And so, I would challenge you to look at the gay lifestyle objectively and accept the fact that there are people out there who really don't want to live that way. It is the way it is. No animosity, no dishonesty, just fact. Can you be honest and say that you can accept that?

tjl said...

The discussion on this thread leaves me feeling very conflicted.

Speaking as a lawyer, I have to admit that the rational basis test sets the threshold very low. Since a reviewing court applying this standard must give so much deference to legislative choices, many of the justifications offered here clearly suffice. The most convincing are those relating to child-rearing.

Speaking as a gay man, I have to admit that some of the other justifications offered above are shocking in their stupidity -- "if we let gays marry, nobody will have children anymore because we'll all be fornicating with wild animals." Get a grip. Social change is a constant. Change is healthiest when it is incremental and occurs by consent rather than by judical fiat. But attempts to stop change altogether are unhealthiest of all.

The Jerk said...

"Gay marriage" is an oxymoron, like a clever brand-name.

How silly. Marriage is a legal concept, defined by the state.

conserve-a-tip said...

Tyler Simons - according to your line of thinking then, nobody should be born without arms or legs or minds. According to your logic, no human would ever have the inclination to kill another or rape another or steal from another because God is sovereign. Why do all those things happen?

downtownlad said...

A lot of comments from non-lawyers who have no clue what "rational basis" actually means.

I know what it means, but I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not going to even attempt to answer this question.

I just know that I have never met a person who opposed gay marriage who didn't have complete contempt for gay people.

But putting the bigots aside - that doesn't mean there is a rational basis for same-sex marriage.

Edward said...

Conserve-a-tip: I hesitate to make this comment, but you’re not going to be happy unless I say that I believe your opinion about your gay friends’ lives.

I never doubted that there was some truth to what you said, but you must admit that you provided much more information in your last post than in your original post. Your comments on this point in your original post were very short and cryptic, and I interpreted them in the way that seemed most logical to me. I wasn’t simply imposing my own meaning on your words.

Nevertheless, I still think you’re exaggerating at least a bit about the bleakness of their lives. I’m not accusing you of insincerity, and I’m not saying that you’re exaggerating on purpose. It’s just that I’m gay, and I think that gives me a certain insight into these things.

I’m not a heterophobe, believe me. If I accuse you of anything, I accuse of being a bit unfair in tossing that word out there. But don’t worry. My feelings aren’t terribly hurt.

Honestly, I don’t think being gay is better than being straight. That would be absurd.

I’m not asking that you imagine being gay because I think you would find homosexuality better than heterosexuality.

However, I do think there’s a strong chance that people would have a better image of homosexuality as a state of being if there were a way for them really to experience what it’s like to have gay feelings for a week.

Also, I hope you realize that there are plenty of gay people who don’t have such a negative conception of their own sexuality.

Clayton said...

"1. The state always has to justify its classifications. That's what the XIVth Amendment is all about; if the state wants to give benefits, for example, to some people and not to others, the state bears the burden of demonstrating -- at a minimum -- a legitimate purpose that is actually served by their actions."

You should not confuse "rational basis" jurisprudence with the Fourteenth Amendment.

Helen said...

Rational basis for banning same-sex marriage? There is no compelling state interest for having same-sex 'marriage'. A written legal contract will serve as well as what many homosexuals claim to want -- marriage. Moreover, a denial of this type of 'marriage' will prevent the state from having to assert a compelling interest against having consanguineous, polygamous, or inter-species marriages (as recently happened in Sudan/Somalia, somewhere Islamic, where a man was forced to marry a goat cuz he had sex with it.).

Same-sex 'marriage' serves no good purpose with regard to the human species and, thus, to the state. It is contrary to the continuation of the species; it weakens marriage as a cultural institution which pre-dated the state—for, as we know from Sweden, where same-sex 'marriage' is allowed, the incidence of heterosexual marriage declines because it seems they perceive that the sanctity of the union has been undermined and made unnecessary to familial stability and order.

The family unit is a microcosm of society, and the marital relationship between heterosexual individuals is a type of the social contract the individual has with the community and state. If he's not willing to enter into such a relationship for the sake of stability and security (emotionally) of the family, then it is unlikely that he'll be unwilling to stand up for the community and state.

Same-sex 'marriage' is a social option that is not necessary to the well-being and stability of the community and state; that weakens the social contract; and fulfills no compelling state interest, not even justice inasmuch as the personal and legal bonds can be ratified via a well-written contract.

HM said...

The Jerk:

"Gay marriage" is an oxymoron, like a clever brand-name.

How silly. Marriage is a legal concept, defined by the state.


HM: Uh, no, and that's been my point all along. Marriage is a social concept, merely reflected by the state. Marriage pre-exists the state by a long shot. Thanks for the history lesson though. How long have you been in academe?

Edward said...

downtownlad: I like your comment that you’ve never met an opponent of gay marriage who didn’t have complete contempt for gay people.

It’s similar to my earlier comment that I detect a lot of anger and meanness in the posts here of people who oppose gay marriage.

They would probably never admit the anger and meanness contained in what they write, but it’s there, and -- you know what? – I suspect it’s not psychologically healthy for them. It probably hurts them even more than it hurts gay people.

downtownlad said...

Edward - I have a lot more respect for the bigots who are open about their bigotry.

That's why I read Pat Buchanan. He doesn't try to cover up what he really thinks. His bigotry is just out there. He's wrong - yeah. But at least he's honest. He hates gays and he thinks God hates them too. Fine - let him think that.

Much better than the people who try to say that all gays are pedophiles (Fenrisulven, Wall Street Journal editorial page for the last two days, etc.) and then act horrified when people say they are bigoted.

downtownlad said...

A written legal contract will serve as well as what many homosexuals claim to want -- marriage.

Wow. How stupid are you?

Here's one example of something I can't get via a "contract". The right to not testify against my spouse in court.

HM said...

Edward: downtownlad: I like your comment that you’ve never met an opponent of gay marriage who didn’t have complete contempt for gay people.

It’s similar to my earlier comment that I detect a lot of anger and meanness in the posts here of people who oppose gay marriage.

They would probably never admit the anger and meanness contained in what they write, but it’s there, and -- you know what? – I suspect it’s not psychologically healthy for them. It probably hurts them even more than it hurts gay people.



HM: Thanks for the free psychoanalysis, boys. Gee, you don't seem real "tolerant" of people who oppose flipping society's building blocks around like Legos just to fit the narcissistic wishes of a tiny minority, do you?

Ya know, I'm sorry you're not able to marry. I really am. But you can't, because you're gay. Whether homosexuality is by choice or innate, doesn't matter. I'm 5'6", something obviously innate, and I can't play in the NBA. Life ain't fair, and it's never going to be.

This has degenerated into silliness, and worse. Those who call opponents of "gay marriage" ignorant, intolerant, homophobes, and whatever else they come up with seem unable to face the fact that us "norms" aren't really prepared to uproot society root and branch because they are a "squeaky wheel". The veiled "they're {perjorative here}" references are quite tired. Screw "tolerance". My job as a parent is not to teach "tolerance". It is to teach that which is utterly intolerable. One of those things is the idea that a tyranny of the minority can overthrow western civilation's finer points with a slogan like "We're here, We're Queer, get used to it."

Frankly, a lot of us there red-statin' Jesus-landers are mighty hoppin' sick of being told what to think, feel, and believe by those who reject the society that allows them to act like fools. Not homosexuals, per se, who have always been a part of society. But homosexuals who clamor for "accept me" hugs to be codified as the secular gospel. This is a Republic, and laws matter here. They reflect society's ordering.

Homosexuals have made great strides in recent years, but demanding that all of society sanction homosexual unions on an even plane with marriage is easily a "Bridge to Far". Stop while you're ahead.

Tyler Simons said...

Someone with a terribly unweildy screen name wrote:

Did you not read it, or did you just decide to ignore it and go on a rant anyway?

The former. My bad. How embarassing. I missed most of the whole thought experiment thing anyway, and probably shouldn't have jumped in when I did. Sorry Balfagor, Sorry everyone.

Conserve-a-tip:

According to your line of thinking then, nobody should be born without arms or legs or minds. According to your logic, no human would ever have the inclination to kill another or rape another or steal from another because God is sovereign.

I'd say that questions of theodicy like this suggest that God isn't sovereign in that all-powerful, able and willing to step in and intervene in human history at will kinda way. I ain't no Calvinist. I'm not trying to argue that human free will (or Sin, for that matter) is an illusion.

Freeven said...

This article is a couple of years old, but it's one of the best treatments of the issue I've come across.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_3_gay_marriage.html

Tyler Simons said...

Gee, you don't seem real "tolerant" of people who oppose flipping society's building blocks around like Legos just to fit the narcissistic wishes of a tiny minority, do you?

That's not what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to share society's building blocks with our lesbian sisters and gay brothers. Marriage has been shown (a number of times on this thread) to benefit couples who engage in it. Society, I'd wager, is better off the more of its citizens are in stable marriages. This suggests to me that we should offer and promote these benefits to all committed couples.

Are straight couples more likely to divorce or raise unhealthy kids because gay people are allowed to get married? Are they less likely to get married in the first place? If not, you're lego table analogy doesn't hold much water.

Edward said...

HM: If your last post doesn’t demonstrate the anger and meanness that I was talking about, then I don’t know what does.

I will admit that I think downtownlad went too far in implying that all opponents of same-sex marriage have contempt for gays. I don’t think that’s true, and that hasn’t been my experience.

In fairness to downtownlad, maybe that really has been his own experience. Maybe every opponent of same-sex marriage that he personally has met really does have contempt for gays.

HM, I hope you don’t deny that at least some SSM opponents have contempt for gay people. That’s clearly true.

More than the “contempt” phrasing, I prefer the phrasing “anger and meanness.” I think it better captures what’s going on.

I really do sympathize with and respect your responsibilities as a parent, but let me tell you, same-sex marriage does not pose any risk to you or your children.

By the way, I fully intend to become a father one day myself.

HM said...

HM: It is to teach that which is utterly intolerable

HM: Never post in haste my friends, or you say exactly the wrong thing. Can't wait to hear the Freudian references on this one.

;-)

{Preview is my friend....}

Fenrisulven said...

Edward: Would you be willing to be gay for a week?

Sure. It would be interesting & I might learn alot from the new perspective. I wouldn't mind dealing with the stigma, I already get that for being a white male ;)

But not permanently. I've thought about it and realized I would lose the male-bonding in my life. We're like a pack of wolves and I enjoy that as much as my relationships with women. Introducing sexuality into the pack would destroy that bond and I would lose them and be less. Maybe a female could explain it better - its similar to the reason a woman avoids sexuality with men she intends to remain close friends with.

Not getting into the legal discussion here. Still trying to absorb all the arguments pro & con.

downtownlad said...

Stop while you're ahead.

Is that a threat? Sorry - I'm not scared.

downtownlad said...

Or maybe it was supposed to be advice???? Ha!

And why exactly are gay people supposed to take advice from anti-gay bigots?

I imagine that this is what the KKK was telling black people in 1960: "Stop while you're ahead".

conserve-a-tip said...

Edward - Ahhh. Now we get to the crux of the matter of which I suspected. Your premise is based on the idea that we should want to become gay in order to have a better understanding of you (or any other gay person), not on whether we would really want to know how it feels to be gay. A homosexual version of "Black Like Me".

The fact of the matter is, based on your request and assumption that the only answer can be "yes", one would want to become a murderer to see what it is like to commit a murder in order to understand the murderer, or one would want to become an alcoholic to find out what it would be like to be an alcoholic in order to understand the alcoholic, or one would want to become a seamstress to find out what it would be to be a seamstress in order to understand the seamstress.

I hear you basing one's acceptance of another on the activities of the individual rather than on the person of the individual. I accept you as a logical, enquiring and seemingly reasonable individual not based on your being a gay or straight man, but on your being a human being who has worth. I don't need to become gay to determine that.

HM said...

Edward, this is not personal.

Drop the armchair psychologist bit. It's really tired. You don't know me, and you can not know my feelings about homosexuality. They are also irrelevant to this discussion.

I am damned sick and tired of being called names when I make my thoughts known. I can take it. I'm a big boy. Doesn't mean it isn't a tired ploy.

The demand being made by advocates of "gay marriage" is that we literally reorder society for a tiny percentage of our citizens. We must change the meanings of words. We must rearrange 1500 years of thinking. We must ignore the very bases of western civilation and create a "Brave New World". Sorry. Ain't up for that tonight. Or tomorrow.

I empathize with gays in our society, actually. Gotta be damn hard in a lot of ways. Well, tough. That's life, and it's not going to get any better by whining.

I'm a bill collector. (Waits for hisses to die down). One of my favorites from debtors is "Why won't you work with me?"

Well, it's because you mean "working with me" as "my way or the highway", which doesn't even come close to filling my bill in these circumstances. It's the same with "gay marriage". The strident demands just don't come close to being realistic. Even in Vermont the closest they could come was "civil unions". Even those liberals up there said "just don't call it marriage".

It's not meanness, Edward. It's not "homophobia" or ignorance or intolerance, either. It's frustration that people pushing for this won't even look up long enough to see what they're pushing against. And what you're pushing against is worth something, too.

downtownlad said...

I just have to laugh at straight people who pretend that they know what it's like to be gay.

They have no freaking clue and never will. Why even try to explain it to them? It's like trying to teach them to wear fashionable clothes. It's utterly useless.

HM said...

Downtownlad:

That's right, I'm a racist as well as an "anti-gay bigot". Not in the KKK, though. Not much of a joiner..... (with apologies to the author)

And no that wasn't a threat. It was more of a plea to stop the damned whining....

Daryl Herbert said...

That's objectively false. Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system, since it prevents reproduction.

Wow. Where to begin.

1 - Homosexuality in no way "prevents reproduction."

Gays are as capable of reproduction as straights (possibly moreso--if lesbians are less likely to be on The Pill and gays are less likely to have their tubes tied).

2 - "Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system"

Homosexuality is found in the brain, not in the reproductive organs.

3 - "clearly a biological defect . . . since it prevents reproduction"

Except that it doesn't prevent reproduction.

And this assumes that anything preventing reproduction is a biological defect.

Is menopause a biological defect? Taking The Pill causes a biological defect? Are condoms a biological defect?

4 - "That's objectively false."

Imputing "objective" motives to nature is a silly game.

Who's to say homosexuality isn't a biological boon? It would help us to deal with overcrowding, having more productive adults per child means society can afford to provide better education to the children.

HM said...

Downtownlad: I just have to laugh at straight people who pretend that they know what it's like to be gay.

They have no freaking clue and never will. Why even try to explain it to them? It's like trying to teach them to wear fashionable clothes. It's utterly useless.



HM: Victimhood, veiled ignorance accusations, and fashion parodies.

Aaaah.....nothing like the internet

downtownlad said...

I think it's time to change tactics. They won't let gays get married. Fine.

Now my mission is to destroy marriage entirely.

We can start by shaming any straight people who get married into thinking they are participating in a bigoted institution.

I definitely think this has the potential to catch on amongst the younger generation. And if we can convince enough straight people to no longer get married, then marriage will whittle away entirely.

downtownlad said...

hm - Just because you're a bigot does not make me a victim.

I have a personal hobby of getting revenge. That is the opposite of victim in my book.

downtownlad said...

Daryl - You forgot the fact that gays contribute signifcantly more towards civilization than straight people do. That is an indisputable fact.

If you just take a look at history and take an inventory of the best artists, the best writers, the best scientists, etc. - gays vastly outnumber their presence in society as a whole.

Same with the Jews.

Did I forget to add that I'm a gay Jew?

conserve-a-tip said...

Downtownlad - now that sounds like a plan. Just burn the whole place down because you can't have your way. Doesn't sound the least bit self-centered to me...and self-centeredness is not a trait that is limited to the gay community, before you jump on that one.

HM said...

Tyler:

You damned near make a point with your rebuttal to me, but you ignore the definition of marriage. Committed relationships among gays are commendable, but they can't be marriage. Try again.

(I mean it. Keep trying. Refute my definition of marriage or accept and work with it. Sometimes passionate argument leads to a solution. Not that its going to happen tonight of course) ;-)

downtownlad said...

Conserv-a-drip - Damn right I will burn the whole place down. You're not really leaving us with any options though, are you? With your bigoted constitutional amendments that not only ban gay marriage, but any contracts between gay people whatsoever.

But we really should get off this topic. We are not answering Ann's question.

"Rational basis", you know.

HM said...

Downtownlad: I have a personal hobby of getting revenge. That is the opposite of victim in my book

HM: Now THAT was a threat.

You ever hear of the "Iron Fist Rule of Internet Posting"? It was coined by a poster on little green footballs named "Iron Fist". It goes like this:

"If you think you're too drunk to post, then you're too drunk to post"

I'm just sayin, is all

Fenrisulven said...

HM: Victimhood, veiled ignorance accusations, and fashion parodies.

Its his MO. He'll falsely mark you as the bigot so he can play his Victim Card. Its all he's got and he'll vent his hate at you no matter what you do.

I'm some surprised the homosexuals here haven't told him to get off their team. He does more to hurt the cause than any fundie could.

And it clutters the thread. You're better off just ignoring dtl completely.

downtownlad said...

Hm - You don't have a monopoly on the word marriage.

Not everone believes in that Jesus dude.

Reformed Jews, and soon to be Conservative Jews, will happily allow gays to get married.

Unlike you - who thinks gay people "choose" to be gay - Reformed Jews believe being gay is a gift from God.

downtownlad said...

Riiiight. And we should only pay attention to fenrisulven when he false claims AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN that all gays are pedophiles.

But gasp! - Don't call him an anti-gay bigot when he spreads those NABMA lies.

HM said...

Thank you downtownlad.

L'shanah Tovah

Daryl Herbert said...

Revenant: We don't say that women with small breasts are genetically defective

Speak for yourself.

HM said...

Revenant: We don't say that women with small breasts are genetically defective

Speak for yourself

HM: No one can now argue my previous point that this thread has degraded beyond repair...

LMAO

downtownlad said...

But back to Ann's quesiton - if being gay is not a choice, but is a biological fact - then there is most likely NO rational basis for banning gay marriage. The case would be almost identical to Loving V. Virginia.

If it is a choice - then there could conceivably be a rational basis, i.e. encouraging people to marry someone of the opposite sex instead.

Of course all gay people know it's not a choice. And many bigots probably know that as well, but they spread the lie that it is a choice (even though they'll admit they never chose THEIR sexuality), because that's the only way to keep gay people as second class citizens.

Of course another solution for this - is for openly gay people to go out and find some gullible Christian fundamentalist, and then try to seduce and marry them. Promptly divorce them - so then they'll think they're going to hell for the rest of their life, since divorce isn't allowed. That would be a cool form of revenge too.

downtownlad said...

hm - I might be Jewish, but I don't actually believe in that stuff. Please.

Although I do fast on Yom Kippur. Gays love that holiday. Great way to lose weight.

Daryl Herbert said...

If you just take a look at history and take an inventory of the best artists, the best writers, the best scientists, etc. - gays vastly outnumber their presence in society as a whole.

I don't care about artists and writers.

But I will give you Alan Turing. His death at the hands of the British government is a sore spot to all of us who have studied computer science. He was arrested for flagrant homosexuality (he stopped trying to be discreet about it), forced to take women's hormones, got depressed, and killed himself. No one should have to suffer like that.

He was a hero of WWII for his contributions to the Allied cause, specifically with regards to the Engigma cipher. But that didn't matter to the British government, compared to his homosexuality.

HM said...

Although I do fast on Yom Kippur. Gays love that holiday. Great way to lose weight


HM: Atonement. Tone up. Same thing, right?

wow..... (See "Iron Fist". Above)

downtownlad said...

No one can now argue my previous point that this thread has degraded beyond repair...

It was lost from the beginning. Everyone ignored Ann's QUESTION.

Rational Basis!

john(lesser) said...

Some breathing exercises might help, Downtownlad.

downtownlad said...

But that didn't matter to the British government, compared to his homosexuality.

Kind of like gay, Arabic translators. Better to be killed by terrorists than to have a few gays in the military deciphering terrorists' plans.

downtownlad said...

John - I'm in better shape than you - trust me. Just check out my typing speed.

Breathing exercises are for wimps.

HM said...

downtownlad: It was lost from the beginning. Everyone ignored Ann's QUESTION

HM: No, you prove the point on the whole rational basis thing. You shouldn't be allowed to breed. But I guess that's not too likely now is it?

LMAO ;-)

downtownlad said...

I go to the sperm bank weekly hm.

Sorry to disappoint you.

HM said...

I know, I know. I'm feeding the troll.....

Well, thanks for the entertainment. Especially you, downtownlad. You're quite amusing.

Night all

downtownlad said...

Night.

Daryl Herbert said...

downtownlad: if being gay is not a choice, but is a biological fact - then there is most likely NO rational basis for banning gay marriage.

"being" gay can mean having that orientation, or exhibiting that behavior. Where a black person can only "be" black gays can choose their behavior.

I don't like that line of reasoning, for all of the reasons given by everyone else who thinks it's a sham.

But it's probably enough to pass muster with the rational basis test.

Let's assume all gays are the way they are solely because of biology. Even then, the laws we adopt can affect gay peoples' behavior. So there's enough to meet the rational basis test.

Any issue that's even a little bit complicated will lead to almost complete deference to the legislature. As long as there's a hint of complexity, some trade-off, somewhere, it's very easy to find a "rational basis."

Goodnight.

reader_iam said...

Utterly, utterly apart from this original post and its question, or any of the interesting and valid threads in this comments section:

having more productive adults per child means society can afford to provide better education to the children

That's at the front end. And what are the implications of that ratio when the "more productive adults" get way up there in age, as we all do, and the dependency is reversed?

I found this comment absolutely amazing in its insouciance.

Nothing to do with gayness, gay marriage, straight marriage: rather, demographics and the clash between generational benefits, expectation, realities, and assumptions, realistic or otherwise.

Just wow, that a statement like that could be just thrown out.

Edward said...

Conserve-a-tip: I could reply harshly to what I perceive to be an implicit comparison between gay and murderers and alcoholics in your last post, but I will refrain. I suspect you threw in the weird category of “seamstresses” so that you wouldn’t be placing gays in implicit comparison only to detestable people (or at least detestable conditions).

Let’s move on, because I do have a substantive reply to your last post.

I’ve never read “Black Like Me,” but from what I know about it, its author was a white man who used makeup to disguise himself as an African-American. He then traveled around the most racist parts of the country he could think of. These places were in the Deep South, and he carried out this experiment many years ago, when there was a lot more racism in the country.

Here’s the key point: The experience he wanted to have was not that of being black per se. It was not blackness as a state of being that he wanted to get to know. If so, he could have become black and then gone to the least racist, most black friendly part of the country.

No, the experience he wanted to have was the experience of being the target of hatred, bigotry, prejudice and discrimination. That’s what he wanted to know firsthand, and that’s what he wanted to write about.

My thought experiment is completely different, however. I’m not asking you to experience the prejudice and discrimination that gay people occasionally have to live with. In fact, I encouraged you to consider the thought experiment as taking place in a future where homophobia no longer exists. That way, you would have no chance at all of being harmed simply for being gay.

What I want you to consider experiencing is homosexuality itself, as a state of being. This would include feeling sexual and romantic attractions to (some) men, and also the other ways that sexual orientation (gay or straight) impact our feelings and personality.

Most people today don’t think that different races are all that different from each other. All races are assumed to share the most basic thought processes and emotions. In fact, it probably would appeared if the author of “Black Like Me” said that he became black because he thought that blacks are fundamentally and inherently different from whites.

Yet I think everyone aggress that heterosexuals and homosexuals experience many feelings – particularly, of course, in the sexual and romantic areas – differently. I don’t feel sexual attraction to women, and I assume you don’t feel sexual attraction to men.

But difference doesn’t mean bad or wrong here. I actually think that many heterosexuals believe that homosexuality in itself and as a state of being is somehow painful and inferior. I can tell you from my own experience that it’s not.

If there’s any political relevance to this, it’s this: I think gay people contribute a hugely important element of diversity to society. Extremely homophobic people (I not saying you’re extremely homophobic) genuinely would like to live in a world without gays, and they would like to achieve that through conversion therapy or abortion.

But I think society would be much worse off without the diversity that gay people provide.

Finally, in a somewhat science-fiction vein, I really do believe that science is going to make tremendous advances in the coming decades. There actually may come a time when people can choose their sexual orientation, and can even change their orientation, say, at mid-point in their lives.

In a world without homophobia, and where there was absolutely no external downside to being gay, I bet a lot of people would choose to be gay, at least for part of their of their lives.

Sex and romance are awesome, exhilarating things. Why would a society with the technological means to offer its citizens greater variety in the way they experience these awesome things unnecessarily limit the choices that are available? Early twenty-first-century prejudice that has no real basis in fact is certainly never going to stand in the way of that scenario.

downtownlad said...

If that's your assumption Daryl, that being gay is not a choice - but the behaviour is - I STILL don't think a court would say that there is a rational basis for banning gay marriage, especially in the light of Lawrence which granted the right to sexual privacy. But I don't have enough of a legal foundation to argue this entirely.

If you think being gay is a choice, then Lawrence, etc. - all falls by the wayside.

reader_iam said...

Not to mention that the original statement contains at least one assumption that doesn't automatically hold water.

[end OT, 'cause this part of the conversation really is, at least unless and until the more core ones are addressed]

conserve-a-tip said...

Edward, you still miss my point. All of what you say may make sense to you, but it is still on a very shallow plane. You talk about sex and love and experience and actions as if that is who you are. It isn't who you are anymore then my sex and love and experience and actions is who I am. My existence lies in a much higher plane based on a more spiritual level. I am who I am because I am unique, not because of my color or my sexuality or my physical experiences. If I were a paraplegic and totally unable to have sex, period, I would still be that unique individual who is me. I don't need to go on your make-believe journey and don't want to go on your make-believe journey because it would be a waste of valuable time that needs to be spent on a whole other focus outside of myself. When we keep the focus off of ourselves, then we are able to make the true journey of life.

Edward said...

Conserve-a-tip: You think what I wrote is nonsense, and I think what you wrote is nonsense. So we’re even.

Look, people get surgeries all the time for issues that are not life-threatening, but simply to enhance their lives or change their lives in some way.

I’m just asking you to imagine a time in the future when, through surgery or some other technological means, people could change their sexual orientation back and forth, or at least whenever they wanted to.

This is not hard to grasp. I think more people would choose to be gay than you realize, and you might even choose it, at least for part of your life.

And your at least partially negative opinions about homosexuality would probably change.

I really don’t know what your life on a spiritual plane has to do with any of this. I think that kind of language is just a fancy way to evade my thought experiment.

Sure, each one of us is unique. So what? Big Deal.

conserve-a-tip said...

Edward, big deal? There I feel very sorry for you because it IS a big deal. I don't think that what you say is nonsense. I just think that what you are saying is very shallow because you seem to base your whole existence on the physical. The physical can be taken away in a heartbeat and all you are left with is your acceptance of yourself without all the trappings. I am an artist, but that does not mean that if my hands become gnarled with arthritis and I can no longer paint or sculpt, that I would be unhappy or angry or miserable. If I don't ever get to experience sex again, as in what happened with my mother-in-law because of cancer, it wouldn't mean that my life would be any worse. And I don't ever plan on having surgery to change anything regarding appearance because I don't need to. I have a large birthmark on my face that kids used to tease me about, but I look at it as just part of my uniqueness. Why would I want to change that? My point to you is that when you focus on the physical, whether it is sex or clothes or cars or money or looks or whatever, you are focusing on things that are vanity and temporary at best. When your focus is beyond the physical, you know a contentment that continues even when the physical gets taken away.

conserve-a-tip said...

And Edward, with that I bid you a pleasant good night as it is quite late in my neck of the woods.

Cedarford said...

HM - Those who call opponents of "gay marriage" ignorant, intolerant, homophobes, and whatever else they come up with seem unable to face the fact that us "norms" aren't really prepared to uproot society root and branch because they are a "squeaky wheel". The veiled "they're {perjorative here}" references are quite tired. Screw "tolerance".

Agree. Besides the rational basis of opposing gay marriage - that it is throughout history between a man and a women, civil unions give the same gov't benefits and laws can be written to amend language to make all aspects consonant, the belligerant, sneaky behavior of gays gives another strong reason.

Backlash.
Less nicely put, but a sentiment I hear commonly - Fuck you homosexuals - you pushed us, pissed us, and we are going to push back and ensure your "gay marriage" and all the other gay agenda remains a pipe dream.

Why the backlash ???

1. Smug self-righteous little creeps like Downtownlad who smears anyone who disagrees with him as Bigot, homophobe, KKK member, racist...the usual stupid gay jargon gay activists now employ on the arrogant assumption they have so much power and moral authority they are free to trash talk blacks, straights, religious - with no consequences.

2. The proponents have combined the gay agenda with assaults on other institutions like the Catholic Church, military, "stupid reactionary black ministers", parents of adolescent boys - just from pure venom, and the objects of their open hatred are less and less likely disposed to give gay activists what they want.

3. The initial assault on the rest of society was by seeking to to bypass the democratic will of the people and shove the whole gay agenda down their throats by lawsuits and courts. Then calling the referandums the People set up to ensure some ACLU lawyer wasn't dictating to society - wrong and evil. People that were lukewarm about gay marriage, didn't care one way or the other - are massively pissed and outraged by such gay tactics.

The political battle over gay marriage is largely a pickly bed of thorns that gays made for themselves with their hostility to most of the rest of society.

And lost them many potential supporters and helped waken society up to the larger cultural war secular Jews, Gentile Leftist elites are waging against everyday America through their lawyers and post-communist Front groups.

Brent said...

downtownlad,

Hello again. You were very kind to me recently on a previous post and I was hoping that I might enter the dialogue, this time respectfully, without my usual sarcasm.

The subject is obviously gay marriage and "rational basis". I agree with several of the earliest posters above in their reasoning. Since so many have since taken to calling each other names and seem to seek to divide everyone into some sort of extreme camp - bigots or perverts only - please allow me to state a little of my views as I rarely see them delineated in these discussions.

Note: this is not a theological tract below, just my own personal view explained to get to my point.

First, I do consider myself a "believer" in Jesus, usually choosing the shorthand of label of evangelical, though I do not feel that I am a good representative for all evangelicals, as certainly many evangelicals do not speak for me.

Secondly, I am most often labeled politically conservative, but consider myself first a believer, THEN a politcal participant. For example, while I am a strong Bush supporter, I also support limited gun control and am not a fan of WalMart's business practices, just two areas of personal difference with the "conservative agenda".

I believe that the God in the Bible is a personal God, and that His design for mankind is basically for a "personal relationship". I do believe that mankind is "Free Willing" it, also by Divine Design. In otherwords, it is the priority of God to allow each person to freely choose whether or not he/she wants that "personal relationship". That is why I do not believe that arm-twisting evangelism or "theocracies" are correct. I believe in treating each person as a person worthy of dignity and respect.

I recognise that a person that is "gay" doesn't "choose to be gay".

I do not believe that there is a "gay stereotype", that someone gay is still a unique individual, and that many people, if not the majority of mankind, cannot be judged accurately by the rest of humanity on their innermost persons.

I do not believe that I am smarter, better, or "less in need of redemption" than someone gay.

I have willingly hired numerous people (dozens)that I knew to be gay, many openly so, not for sympathy or because of their sexuality, but because of their
qualifications for the job.

Over the last 26 years my wife and family have taken men and women into our home for extended stays while they get on their feet financially, and 6 of those people (that we know of)have been gay. We state up front our feelings on the subject, but then do not "preach". We never made their sexuality a condition of staying or charity. We believe that God does the judging and that we are to simply serve.

My wife assisted for 3 years in an AIDS hospice that was created and managed by a local evangelical congregation.

There are obviously, however, many church mambers who, while serving in a similar way, are more deeply troubled by "gayness"

Which is one of the reasons that I oppose "gay marriage". It is hard to imagine it not causing miriad problems with churches and like-minded organizrtions that would be forced to recognize marriages that they do not believe are Biblically sanctioned.

Would evangelical churches be forced to accept gay married couples in marriage classes or, interestingly, married couple "retreats", Would churches be forced to not discriminate in hiring and then provide employment benefits to same sex partners? How do you write laws with "religious exceptions? Bill Clinton struggled with that one.

chickenlittle said...

Edward said:
"I actually think that many heterosexuals believe that homosexuality in itself and as a state of being is somehow painful and inferior. I can tell you from my own experience that it’s not."

Unless you've been both gay and straight that can't possibly be true. Acting straight doesn't count, neither does being "bi".

Daryl Herbert said...

reader_iam: Utterly, utterly apart from this original post and its question, or any of the interesting and valid threads in this comments section:
...
I found this comment absolutely amazing in its insouciance.
...
Just wow, that a statement like that could be just thrown out.

Contrary to your assertion, it was directly responsive to a previous comment (if you had bothered to check):

Smilin' Jack wrote: "That's objectively false. Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system, since it prevents reproduction."

If having gay people around is good for society, then gayness can't "objectively" be a defect.

I am assuming, of course, that you think a healthy society is "objectively" a good thing.

Contrary to your claim that my post was "utterly" adrift from the rest of the conversation, I'll point you to what Tyler Simmons wrote in response to the same post (making basically the same point):

Not so fast! If you look at this from an evolutionary biological perspective, the import thing is for the survival of the species, not the survival of any particular individual. Yeah, a gay or lesbian couple isn't going to have biological children. Often they'll adopt the children of parents unable to care for them. This doesn't pass down the specific genetic codes of the parents, but it does further the health of the species as a whole -- it maximizes the number of offspring in nurturing families. This is a biological benefit!

Daryl Herbert said...

If that's your assumption Daryl, that being gay is not a choice - but the behaviour is

I'm assuming it for the purpose of rational basis testing. I think judges would go along with it as true in deciding whether a certain policy has a rational basis.

I think it's basically true: that for a lot of gays and lesbians, if not most, being gay is not a choice. But their behavior is, obviously, a choice.

I don't agree with using that line of reasoning to deny gay people rights.

But I think a court would find it persuasive insofar as a rational basis test is concerned.

darth_meister said...

Would I be willing to be "gay" for a week? How about would you be willing to be "straight" for a lifetime? Are you actually telling me that living one of the most high-risk deathstyles in the world is a real rush to you? How many moons does your planet have?

I've never defined myself by my sexuality, that is awfully shallow of homosexuals to do so, but I guess its a compensation mechanism or something. But isn't there something intrinsically wonderful about having a part of yourself living on in the future in the form of a child (all other arguments that have already been made here regarding children being the natural result of relations between a man and a woman apply) who in turn reflects a good part of your qualities? I guess not.

If every person was a heterosexual, this world wouldn't be troubled one whit by the lack of homosexual people. Life would go on and our posterity would be assured from one generation to the next. If every person was a homosexual the world as we know it would end in a generation whether we start out with Adam and Steve or a billion homosexuals/lesbians. No posterity, no nothing.

Now you tell me which lifestyle gives humanity the biggest rush and is the most truly creative state of being if unhypocritically practiced by its every member? Quit thinking with your private parts that you've allowed to define you.

As a man, you don't know love until you've loved a woman and loved the child(ren) that your union has produced.

I'm waiting for the pro-homosexual lobby to end rational debate by throwing down their homophobe card, it's already happened at least once on this site.

chuck b. said...

Someone, please tell explain all the anti-gay marriage arguments to these kids and then come tell us how that conversation went.

AlaskaJack said...

Re Edward's challenge: I venture to say that one who experienced both psychological states (hetrosexual and homosexual),and then returned to a neutral state for judging, would, without a doubt, pronounce the hetrosexual state more fulfilling. And for this reason: the deep passion involved in the potential creation of a new human life is infinitely greater.

Daryl Herbert said...

the deep passion involved in the potential creation of a new human life is infinitely greater.

Why can't a gay person experience this?

I'm not joking. Gay people can have children. Gay people can raise children.

A gay woman can get pregnant by having sex with a man; a gay man could adopt or find a woman willing to bear his child.

Then that gay parent, along with their gay life partner, could raise the child (or multiple children).

There are already many gay families (defined as: two gay adult lovers raising at least one child) and nothing in the laws of any state prevents this. (even though laws against gay adoption, for instance, make it more difficult)

Ernst Blofeld said...

Burkeans are of course not unalterably opposed to change in institutions, just cautious about it. I'm not entirely opposed to gay marriage; maybe it would reduce anonymous gay sex in highway rest stops in favor of lawn-mowing and car-washing. On the other hand, maybe not; at least a few gays view gay marriage as an opportunity to undermine the bourgeois behaviors that the public wants to promote by marriage.

Could judges deduce a rational basis for organizing family relations in society? I don't see any reason to believe it, and quite a bit of evidence to argue against it.

On the other hand, suppose the voters or their representatives approve a law giving either full or modified marriage rights to gays. I think they'd take a pragmatic approach, and modify things if they didn't work out as expected. The damage, if they were wrong, is more likely to be limited, and more easily corrected. If the legislation occurs in fifty states there will be fifty chances to get it right.

The underlying problem is that the courts aren't competent (in both senses of the word) to organize family relations. It's a job for the legislature.

Palladian said...

"I'm waiting for the pro-homosexual lobby to end rational debate by throwing down their homophobe card, it's already happened at least once on this site."

I love people who call homosexuality a "deathstyle" and then several paragraphs later pretend that they've been engaged in a rational debate. I don't like the word "homophobe" because it's inaccurate, overused and aesthetically displeasing, so I'll throw down my moron card on the floor of my beautifully decorated homosexual lobby.

"And for this reason: the deep passion involved in the potential creation of a new human life is infinitely greater."

Ah, so this is what straight people think about when they fuck. Creepy.

Seven Machos said...

1. downtown lad -- When was the last time you had to testify against your boyfriend in court? When was the last time you had to testify in court?

2. There's a lot of comments here. Awesome. A few people (whose names I don't recognize) can't seem to get this fact: gay marriage is not illegal. Is anyone getting arrested, or fined, or penalized in any way by being in a gay marriage? No. Emphatically no. Therefore, ergo, it has been demonstrated: gay marriage is not illegal.

Get your heads around this remedial idea -- please.

Seven Machos said...

ernst -- Courts are looking for a rational basis that connects the law made by the legislature with the action mandated or prohibited by the law.

Rational basis is a court scrutinizing a law.

Seven Machos said...

Edward's challenge is dumb. People aren't gay for a week. We are talking about finding a rationale for a law that 70 percent of the people in the country seem to want.

reader_iam said...

Contrary to your assertion, it was directly responsive to a previous comment (

Contrary to YOUR assertion, its direct responsiveness is open to debate. But reasonable people can disagree.

(if you had bothered to check)

Contrary to YOUR assertion, you're dead-ass wrong. Not I only did I "bother" to check, but I also had already read the previous comments. Sure it's possible that I missed your context. It's also possible you didn't provide it well.

Fine. Neither bears upon "bothering to check."

If I had "bothered to check." Check yourself, O parenthetically dismissive one.

reader_iam said...

For the record, I found the original quote--"That's objectively false. Homosexuality is clearly a biological defect of the reproductive system, since it prevents reproduction."--to be a) narrow and b) false on obvious technical grounds (homosexualityy does not prevent reproduction).

Those points had already been directly and adequately addressed.

I commented on YOUR throwaway statement on the grounds that it was EQUALLY narrow and, well, dumb.

Again: Check yourself.

reader_iam said...

That should be: Bother to check yourself.

Cedarford said...

Howard Shweber - [One answer is] that majoritarian moral preference, standing alone, is an adequate justification for legislation. One reason I have doubts about that principle is its implications for free speech, actually, but let's leave that aside.

No, actually it is the strongest argument. It should not be thrown away. There is a body of law that accepts that society's strong moral belief is in itself a justification for having a compelling interest of society. And not trammeled by "free speech, free expression" rights as long as "it doesn't hurt someone".

We make it illegal, say, for a woman to walk into a crowded park and proceed to masturbate with a dildo. Now, in private, even in a limited admission "performance art" theater, or distributed porn - that is acceptable under the 1st - but in public before unwilling eyes, it is lewd and lavicious behavior subject to punishment.

Similarly, a person may own a horse. And public morality says it is OK for the owner to kill it if it is simply inconvenient to retain ownership, or send it to a meatpacking plant for sale to Frenchies. But it is morally unacceptable to the majority for the man to abuse and mistreat the animal - even if doing so "hurts no one" - even if he has absolute ownership and control - even if he does it in privacy out of view and the burn and whipmarks are only noticed later.

Just because doing so is a moral outrage - so a community has weighed on it and enacted laws against it.

As would be the case in beastiality. A defense would not be "it hurts no one and the animal rather enjoys it." No jury will hear from a sheep expert and review a sex video made by the accused for signs of "sheep pleasure." Just the moral outrage and majority preferences that the practioners of beastiality remain illegal and punished if caught is enough.

With gay marriage, the majoritarian moral preference is obviously not like public sex acts or beastiality in nature, but do offend the majority as "unacceptable". Same with the gay prediliction for pederasty - even if a gay mounts a defense that the 16-year old boy was of age of consent and willingly allowed the 54-year old chickenhawk to sexually service him, we as a society do have every right to set limits and norms and visit repercussions on inappropriate behavior. And that is true of straights as well. They can be expelled from groups or jobs for "inappropriate" behavior with a too-young person with absolutely no legal recourse. And societal outrage only amplifies when sneaky people like the gay activists try to end-around society's wishes and use lawyers and courts to shove something society rejects down their throats anyways.

Lawyers and the courts have to realize that every time they pull a stunt of progressive activism made up whole cloth from made up legal interpretations of "a different way of viewing law or constitution than simple reading it straight -(or in bygone days, a conservative preference to block the New Deal ungrounded in the Constitution) - they risk badly undermining their legitimacy and ability to persuade others to comply.

Revenant said...

Are you actually telling me that living one of the most high-risk deathstyles in the world is a real rush to you?

"High-risk deathstyles". I like that. It has just the right Fred Phelps odor to it.

But isn't there something intrinsically wonderful about having a part of yourself living on in the future in the form of a child

Beats me, I'm straight and childless. But if you think being gay means you can't have children, I'd guess you've never heard of artificial insemination and surrogate parenting. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with procreation these days. Isn't technology just peachy?

If every person was a homosexual the world as we know it would end in a generation whether we start out with Adam and Steve or a billion homosexuals/lesbians. No posterity, no nothing.

And if every person in the world was as smug and unimaginative as yourself it wouldn't be much of a loss when that generation came and went. Seriously, were you really unaware of the fact that homosexuals can have children?

Now you tell me which lifestyle gives humanity the biggest rush and is the most truly creative state of being if unhypocritically practiced by its every member?

That's easy: polygamy. :)

Revenant said...

Ah, so this is what straight people think about when they fuck. Creepy.

Um, no. Its what loser religious people who've been celebate so long the sperm backlog has flooded their brain and shortcircuited their logic centers think about when they hear about *other* people having sex.

Straight guys mostly think stuff like "ooo" and "mmm".

Ernst Blofeld said...

The point of applying a rational basis test for a law prohibiting same-sex marriage would be to invalidate the law, quickly followed by same-sex marriage. The courts would be effectively legislating an outcome and causing sweeping changes in a basic instituion, based on their imperfect understanding of the latent wisdom embedded in the current arrangments.

The legislature can handle this just fine, thanks.

Snark said...

It depends really on what you believe the basis for rationality itself is. It is not enough just to declare that arguing against order presupposes it (it does).

The problem with many good and insightful thinkers is that they are standing with both feet planted firmly in the air. That is, you presuppose an ordered, moral universe and ignore the metaethical questions that such a worldview demands. In doing so, you slip in a utilitarian assumption with the deftness worthy of a card sharp (I don't think you see it yourselves, frankly).

Rationality itself demands presuppositions which land you in "Moralsville," where you let those damned fundamentalists have a place a the table. Of course, that changes the whole nature of the debate.

Ann Althouse said...

downtownlad:"I just have to laugh at straight people who pretend that they know what it's like to be gay. They have no freaking clue and never will. Why even try to explain it to them? It's like trying to teach them to wear fashionable clothes. It's utterly useless."

Well, the same principle works in reverse. If you're correct, why shouldn't straight people laugh at you and proclaim that it's utterly impossible for you to grasp how they feel? You think empathy is hopeless? You're promoting utter cynicism? How do you think that will work out?

Paul Zrimsek said...

It's even worse than that, Ann. Up to now I've based my support for gay marriage on the assumption that gay love is pretty much the same as straight love. Now there are at least two people telling me that it's something so utterly alien that I can't even begin to understand it without being gay. I may have to change my mind.

Edward said...

Paul Zrimsek: You’re distorting the premise of my thought experiment. I never claimed that being gay and being straight are two totally different, alien experiences. There are LOTS of similarities between them. I’ve never denied that.

Romantic love at its most basic level is fundamentally the same, whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual.

But being gay and being straight are, nevertheless, two different states of being in other important respects.

Paul, are you straight? I assume you are.

Have you ever fallen deeply, passionately in love with a woman? I assume you have.

Do you consider yourself mentally, emotionally, and even physically capable of falling in love as passionately with another man as you have with the woman that you have most loved in the world? I assume the answer to that is no.

Fine. Now re-consider my thought experiment. If it were possible for you to be gay for a week -- not just pretend gay or acting gay, but really and truly gay -- would you agree to it?

Don’t you think it might at least be an interesting experiment to have such an experience?

tjl said...

"Now there are at least two people telling me that it's something so utterly alien that I can't even begin to understand it without being gay."

If one of those two people is dtl you would be well advised to take what he says with more than one grain of salt.

Dtl's a poor political strategist. It doesn't help anyone's cause to insist that because I'm gay I have a special unique inherent magical quality that sets me apart from the rest of humanity and makes me better than them, and more deserving of getting exactly what I want.

Dtl, wouldn't it be better to remind people that we are human beings with the same wants and needs as other human beings, and not weird entities from a separate plane of existence?

Edward said...

Paul Zrimsek: Just as you fundamentally misunderstood my thought experiment, I think you fundamentally misunderstood Ann’s last post. She was criticizing downtownlad for saying that gays and straights can never possibly understand each other.

Ann never said a word about my thought experiment, the entire thrust of which is actually opposed to downtownlad’s silly claim that gays and straights can never understand each other.

I actually believe that gays and straights already can achieve a great deal of mutual understanding just by using their imaginations and listening carefully to each other’s descriptions of their experiences.

My thought experiment simply tried to carry this effort at mutual understanding one step further. Instead of just imagining what it might be like to be gay, would you be willing actually to become gay for a week?

Ann’s complaint to downtownlad and my thought experiment seem to me to be entirely in the same vein of thinking.

By the way, thank you for your support of gay marriage, and please don’t let anything I say here change your opinion on that important issue.

Edward said...

tjl: I never said that there’s a “magical quality” to being gay. There’s not a magical or mystical bone in my body.

You guys are willfully distorting my thought experiment just to avoid its deeper philosophical and political implications.

tjl said...

"You guys are willfully distorting my thought experiment."

Well actually I do know what it's like to be gay, since I'm gay, and at the end of the day it's not as different as you claim. Compare notes with your straight friends and family -- you get up in the morning and go to the office, you make sure the mortgage check is in the mail on time, you argue with your partner about whose parents you're going to spend Thanksgiving with this year.

Admittedly, gay life seems exciting and vivid for a year or two after you first come out, but the transgressive edge fades, and there you are. Ultimately it's this non-threatening sameness factor that will win the day on the gay-marriage front.

Balfegor said...

And pulling out Prof. Althouse's point from a few posts up:

Despite the numerous comments here yesterday, I did not think anyone had articulated an impressive basis for the law.

Fair enough -- when I read pro-gay marriage arguments I've never found any of them remotely compelling either, even though the proponents obviously think they are. But this segue's back into the question I asked before --

If we have gay marriage, what's the "rational basis" for discrimination between married and unmarried pairs of people? I mean, if we dismiss "procreative interest" as a foundation of marriage, then what's left? No other rationale (that I can think of) can find stronger support in the laws as they exist, or the social institution as it exists across all the populations of the US.

Furthermore, I recall that some states (and cities?) have employment discrimination regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "marital status," so this isn't an entirely novel issue. Is there caselaw applying that more broadly under equal protection clauses in state constitutions?

Freeman Hunt said...

You guys are willfully distorting my thought experiment just to avoid its deeper philosophical and political implications.

You're assuming that it has "deeper philosophical and political implications." I don't think everyone is particularly interested in earning your be-gay-for-a-week-and-prove-you're-not-a-homophobe seal of approval.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Would I agree to be gay for a week? I already said I would.

Would I find it a particularly interesting experiment? No: precisely because I believe gays and straights are sufficiently similar that the experiment wouldn't show me much of anything new. If I meet too many more gays who are hell-bent on convincing me otherwise-- who knows? They may succeed.

Smilin' Jack said...

Wow, this thread must set some kind of length record.

I'll just address some biological misconceptions brought out by my previous comment that homosexuality is a biological defect.

Yes, gays can reproduce...in the same sense that asthmatics can breathe. That doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with their reproductive/respiratory systems.

From the perspective of evolutionary biology, the important thing is not the survival of the species...that is the discredited theory of group selection. See e.g. The Selfish Gene. The important thing is the propagation of individual genes, and when gays adopt unrelated children, they are wasting their time from an evolutionary perspective.

Yes, homosexuality is rooted in the brain, but the brain is an important part of the reproductive system.

Are women with small breasts genetically defective? Well, is a peacock with a small tail genetically defective? There's a continuum, but at some point you would have to say yes.

Balfegor said...

Re: Smilin' Jack:

Wow, this thread must set some kind of length record.

It is trounced, I think, by two back-to-back gay marriage threads from a few months ago.

Fitz said...

Once again, a perfectly serious and substantive thread concerning constitutional arguments for same-sex “marriage” was hijacked and turned into a flame war. Its interesting to note that the onslaught of pro-gay (& gay) commentary lead the discussion away from what benefits society as a whole , into what validates the feelings of a small interest group.

Fenrisulven said...

Why the backlash?

I recall a recent incident in Europe. A gay couple had gone to get their marriage license and saw a wedding poster of hetereo couple hanging on the wall behind the desk.

They were so "offended" by it that they started a protest to have all such pictures removed.

I remember thinking This is my reward for being tolerant and open-minded about gay marriage? Once they get a foot in the door they start a PC purge of "offensive" material? Screw that.

Fitz said...

Fenrisulven

Indeed:Terms like “Mother” & “Father” (as we are already seeing removed from birth certificates), “husband” & “wife”, “Grandmother”, “Grandfather” etcetera…will need to be replace by more “inclusive” gender neutral variations like “spouse” “partner” and “parent”
The “new reality” of our ongoing “civil rights movement “ must be reflected in education and public accommodations, - introducing young people to the “realities” of “modern marriage” through books like King & King , and Heather Has Two Mommies (as is already happening in Massachusetts & Bills in California) will/have become normative public policy backed by the power of the State.

It’s a culture war… a war for who gets to control the culture…

Edward said...

Fitz and Fenrisulven: I feel sorry for people like you (and Bill O’Reilly, etc). I don’t think people on my side of this debate view this as a “culture war.” I know I don’t view it that way.

I view it simply as the continued gradual unfolding of the American principles of justice, freedom, and equality. Put another way, I view it as a grand dialogue among the American people about how we can improve our democracy by including previously marginalized groups with in the country’s founding promise of liberty for all.

I know you’re going to interpret the paragraph I just wrote as an insult, as if I was saying that your side of the debate represents the opposite of all these ideals: injustice, oppression and inequality.

But that’s not what I mean at all.

I just mean that it’s indisputable that America is a fairer and freer place as a result of the civil rights movements of the last century. The country is now having a dialogue about how far to include gay people in this country’s long tradition of expanding civil rights.

Our country clearly hasn’t reached a conclusion yet on that question, but I personally believe that the U.S. is gradually moving in the directing of full inclusion of gay people, which also means including them in the tradition of marriage.

Fitz and Fenrisulven, I don’t view myself as at being “at war” with people like you, but you clearly view this as some apocalyptic war.

You only discredit your cause from the get-go by adopting such belligerent terminology. You also turn off a whole lot of middle-of the-road voters.

Finally, you completely prove several points I made in posts higher up in this thread. Fitz proves that he’s obsessed with the same-sex marriage issue, and both of you prove my claim that many opponents of same-sex marriage are motivated by anger, meanness and fear.

Trust me, you’d both be much happier people if you just calmed down a bit (well, calmed down a whole lot) about same-sex marriage. You can still oppose it, but do so more calmly and rationally.

Fenrisulven said...

I know you’re going to interpret the paragraph I just wrote as an insult

Well, comparing me to Bill O'Reilly was a bit much. LOL.

And uhm, I don't know why you included me in your condescending little diatribe. I agreed that it would be interesting to be homosexual for a week.

And where have I said anything belligerent? I actually tried to help you by pointing out that homosexuals like dtl hurt your cause more help.

Maybe its because you have a need to feel victimized, and if you run out of necessary bigots, you'll create them?

Edward said...

Fenrisulven: Did I misinterpret your last post about backlash? If so, I apologize. So much of it was written in italics that I couldn’t figure out which were your own statements and which were statements that you were simply quoting.

I will also admit that I’ve forgotten some of your earlier posts, which I did read, but it was a long time ago, because this thread has gotten so very long.

I went back and re-read your post about some poster being removed and a backlash from that, and the whole thing just seemed silly and unworthy of getting worked up into a fit about.

I think everyone is well aware that Fitz is probably the most anti-gay-rights contributor to Althouse’s threads, so my last post definitely applies to him. I may have made a mistake by also addressing those comments to you.

And no, I don’t get some secret thrill from my “victimhood.” Please don’t accuse me of that.

Fenrisulven said...

No prob, you've kinda been pushed with your back against the wall and I know firsthand how frustrating that can be.

I'm still on the fence re gay marriage. I just wanted to point out that if Stop the hate and intolerance! is a banner of the gay rights movement, then hate & intolerance by gays is counterproductive [waves to dtl]

Revenant said...

I view it simply as the continued gradual unfolding of the American principles of justice, freedom, and equality.

I view it as simply the continued gradual effort of every special interest group in the world to get government handouts. Straight married people manage to pull down benefit after benefit because, after all, they're the majority -- most of the adult Americans are married. Gays want space at the feeding trough too, which is understandable but hardly something for me to get enthusiastic about.

I, on the other hand, am single and resigned to underwriting all of the above crap with my tax dollars, just as I'm resigned to paying for public education for children I don't have, tax-exempt status for religions I don't belong to, et al.

Cygnus said...

Rational reason for banning gay marriage: Sure... banning gay marriage ensures that homophobes can continue discriminating pseudo-legally.

The bottom line on this one is fairly simple: The prevailing reason given as to why people are opposed to equal rights for all citizens is that it will threaten the institution of marriage. Of course, allowing divorces and not punishing infidelity already make the institution of marriage one of the biggest jokes in this nation but we can't insist that idiots use logic, now, can we?

It's pathetic that we even have to have this conversation. America is losing the culture war to bigots and people filled with hate (read Republicans) and we have to act fast to ensure that we will still have some civil liberties left come 2008.

VOTE DEMOCRATIC!

downtownlad said...

Well, the same principle works in reverse. If you're correct, why shouldn't straight people laugh at you and proclaim that it's utterly impossible for you to grasp how they feel? You think empathy is hopeless? You're promoting utter cynicism? How do you think that will work out?

I think will end up with gays in the gas chamber - which is exactly what the hateful right-wingers want. Again - I might add - since this has happened before. But empathy is useless, because these people belong to the cult of Jesus Christ that teaches them that gays must be killed (it's in the Bible).

So in the meantime - I'll at least have fun laughing at how fat and poorly dressed straight men are.

John Howard said...

There are certainly rational reasons for banning same-sex conception. There's so many reasons, in fact, that I challenge someone to come up with a rational reason for allowing same-sex conception. You have to be irrational to let people create a person in such a way.

(For the uninitiated, same-sex conception means combining the genes from two people of the same sex, rather than an egg and a sperm. It requires genetic engineering and has major inherent risks, as proved by research in mice and pigs. See my blog eggandsperm.org for more info)

OK, so that's a rational reason for banning same-sex conception. What about same-sex marriage? Well, first of all, same-sex relationships and both-sex relationships would have different rights, so why try to pretend that they had the same rights by calling them both "marriage?" And the right in question is the single most universal and essential right of marriage, so much so that the term "conception rights" has never needed to be uttered until now, since we used the term "married" to describe people with conception rights. While people can concieve without being married these days, marriage still grants conception rights (even same-sex marriages, and yes, even those pesky cousin marriages and incarcerated marriages). There is NO marriage that does not GUARANTEE that the couple has a right to (at some point in the future) conceive children together. So, if we were to ban all genetic engineering such that a person could only be conceived from a man and a woman's natural gametes, but we still allowed same-sex marriage, then we would have changed marriage so that it no longer guaranteed conception rights. This would apply to all marriages, subjecting every marriage's conception to risk assessment and approval. In order to guarantee all of our individual conception rights, we have to preserve marriage's concetion rights, as well as everyone's right to marry a person of the other sex.

Banning same-sex conception (and all forms of non egg and sperm conception) MUST be done, and preserving marriage's concetion rights MUST be done. Ergo - same sex marriages must be changed to civil unions that do not grant conception rights.

downtownlad said...

Brent,

That is great that you treat gays in a civil manner. Very comendable. But I'll be honest - if you are an evangelical Christian, I could never be friends with you, nor would I choose to associate with you unless I had to for work reasons, etc. But I would treat you with the same respect that you are treating gay people. In other words - I would tolerate you and your viewpoints.
I had friends that are evangelical Christians, but since I've come out of the closet - I am dropping them. They probably have no clue why, and I feel zero reason to tell them the reasons. I just want to live my life as I see fit, and if it disagrees with their viewpoints - then I will leave their life. As simple as that. They have a right to their views - but they don't have a right to be my friend. I have done the same with most of my family.
But I actually have little problem with bigots, as long as they admit they are bigots. People don't have to like gays. 60% of the country hates us (according to polls). Fine. What I have a problem with are people who cannot treat gays as equal citizens in this society (by favoring laws that imprison us, for example) and then turning around and trying to deny that they are stomping on the liberty of gay people. Of course they are. I don't like liars. Why can't they just say that they favor these laws, because the Bible tells them that gay people are sinners, etc. I'd have a hell of a lot more respect for people who are forthright like that.

downtownlad said...

Would evangelical churches be forced to accept gay married couples in marriage classes or, interestingly, married couple "retreats", Would churches be forced to not discriminate in hiring and then provide employment benefits to same sex partners? How do you write laws with "religious exceptions? Bill Clinton struggled with that one.

Of course evangelical churches would not have to accept gays in marriage classes. There is such a thing as freedom of assembly in this country. And if gays want to exclude straights, or the Catholic Church wants to exclude Jews, etc. - they are free to do so.

Hiring is a separate matter and I assume it has to do with the discrimination laws in your state. You seem so concerned about churches being forced to hire gay people, although I can't see that happening since the Boy Scouts is free to discriminate against Scout Masters. But there are anti-discrimination laws for religion. Why the hell should I be forced to hire an evangelical Christian. What if I don't like them. Is that fair?

I say get rid of ALL the anti-discrimination laws. For race, sex, religion, etc. Then it'll be fair.

But to say that religions should be free to discriminate against gays, but that gays shouldn't be able to discriminate against religions - that's pure bullshit in my book.

Edward said...

downtownlad: Why are you so cynical and pessimistic? It hurts me to see these strains in your writing, because, as you know, I agree with you on all the basic issues in question.

Why the talk about gas chambers? On the contrary, I think we’re on the verge of a lot of major advances in the cause of gay equality.

I also think it’s hilarious to watch the Republican Party fall apart on national television as a result of the misbehavior of a closeted gay politician tormented for years by the intense homophobia of his own party. Yes, on a certain level it’s sad, but on a more fundamental level it’s really hilarious, because the Republicans have sown massive homophobia for years, and now they are reaping the whirlwind of their own revolting bigotry.

Do your cynicism and pessimism have something to do with rejection that you’ve experienced from family and friends? I happen to have a family that’s been very supportive.

downtownlad said...

Do your cynicism and pessimism have something to do with rejection that you’ve experienced from family and friends? I happen to have a family that’s been very supportive.

Half right. My friends are great. Couldn't be better. My family - completely unsupportive if not downright hostile. They are better now - but it's too late in my book. I'll be civil to them, but there's no there there if you know what I mean.

But I've always been somewhat cynical. I would not say I'm pessimistic. I am realistic. As a Jew, history teaches that they will come for us again and again and again. Same with the gays. It goes in cycles. That's not pessimistic. If anything - it teaches me to be wary of people who say things like "it's just about marriage" while they turn around and pass laws that outlaw contracts, etc. They pass laws that prevent gays from serving their country by translating Arabic text. So obviously it's NOT just about marriage.

You need to know who your enemies are. Otherwise you will be caught off guard. And my enemies are the 60% of this country that continues to treat me like a second class citizen.

And I really don't care if people like me personally. I don't need acceptance from anyone. But I don't think it's asking too much for the laws of this country to be neutral. Unfortunately, that ain't happening in my lifetime.

Daryl Herbert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daryl Herbert said...

Yes, gays can reproduce...in the same sense that asthmatics can breathe. That doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with their reproductive/respiratory systems.
...
Yes, homosexuality is rooted in the brain, but the brain is an important part of the reproductive system.


I use my brain to get, prepare and eat food. Does that make it part of my digestive system?

Daryl Herbert said...

I think will end up with gays in the gas chamber - which is exactly what the hateful right-wingers want. Again - I might add - since this has happened before. But empathy is useless, because these people belong to the cult of Jesus Christ that teaches them that gays must be killed (it's in the Bible).

I would point out that gays today have more freedom than ever before, or that more Americans have openly gay friends than ever before, but that sort of thing would only indicate that we're that much closer than ever before to the point at which gays will be exterminated.

Seven Machos said...

Where does Jesus Christ say that gays should be killed? Where anywhere in the Bible does it say that gays should be killed?

It doesn't. Idiot.

downtownlad said...

Seven - You are the idiot.

Where anywhere in the Bible does it say that gays should be killed?

"If a man has sex with another man, kill them both. 20:13 - Leviticus"

tjl said...

"Where does Jesus Christ say that gays should be killed?"

DTL can't tell the difference between Leviticus and the sayings of Jesus. A good example of the factual errors, logical fallacies, and general hysteria on display in his posts above.

Edward, don't give up. The way out of the analytical quagmire of gay-marriage jurisprudence is to focus on what makes gay couples similar to other couples, not on what sets them apart.

John Howard said...

Hey fellas, take a sec to consider my post on same sex conception. As Joan said in the first comment on this thread, we don't allow siblings to marry, because we don't think it would be ethical for them to conceive children together. It also is not ethical for a same-sex couple to attempt to conceive children.

Combining the genes from two people of the same sex requires genetic engineering and has major inherent risks, as proved by research in mice and pigs.

Same-sex relationships and both-sex relationships would have different rights, so why try to pretend that they had the same rights by calling them both "marriage?"

While people can concieve without being married these days, marriage still grants conception rights (even same-sex marriages, and yes, even those pesky cousin marriages and incarcerated marriages). There is NO marriage that does not GUARANTEE that the couple has a right to (at some point in the future) conceive children together. So, if we were to ban all genetic engineering such that a person could only be conceived from a man and a woman's natural gametes, but we still allowed same-sex marriage, then we would have changed marriage so that it no longer guaranteed conception rights. This would apply to all marriages, subjecting every marriage's conception to risk assessment and approval. In order to guarantee all of our individual conception rights, we have to preserve marriage's conception rights, as well as everyone's right to marry a person of the other sex.

Banning same-sex conception (and all forms of non egg and sperm conception) is rational, and preserving marriage's conception rights is rational. Ergo, rationally, same sex marriages must be changed to civil unions that do not grant conception rights.

Jim said...

God, I can't stand the Social Darwinist wingnuttery about how marriage is simply the best way of ensuring that the human race continues to reproduce. I know you guys don't believe this, but back when people were living in caves, there were no marriage contracts, and somehow we made it to the present day.

And, of course, it begs the question as to why a hysterectomy or vasectomy does not result in instant, state-mandated divorce. "Sorry, folks. This marriage no longer benefits society."

Furthermore, shouldn't people be required to indicate their intent to produce a child in order to receive a marriage license? Without that, they're no better than those dirty, society-destroying homosexuals that people like Greg D hate so much.

Jim said...

I also like the part about how men are natural philanderers and the only way to get them to settle down is to pair them off with a woman. Even if they're gay.

Tell me something, Greg et al. Do you think Mark Foley would be hitting on little boys if he was in the kind of marriage he plainly requires, instead of living in denial with a sham heterosexual marriage? According to you guys, society should be thankful that he wasn't in a monogamous relationship with a man, because only a woman can stop such impulses. I guess he'd have been really out of control in a gay marriage!

I guess you'll blame his wife for not stopping him from sowing those wild oats. Anything, everything, so that you guys can continue to claim that being gay is merely a choice, even though every gay person who's ever lived will tell you otherwise and it's rather like choosing to be Jewish in Nazi Germany.

Seven Machos said...

Good old Leviticus. Because that is relevant today. I love when goofy people like Downtown Lad bring up Leviticus.

Leviticus also says that we can't eat a lot of seafood and perfectly good wild game. It is an interesting, outdated code of ancient Jewish law. Everyone except goofy, stupid people understands that.

What did Jesus Christ think of Leviticus? What do you think the Dueteronomy person thought of Leviticus? People who think of the Bible as a monolith obviously have never read the Bible.



Gays aren't killed. Gays get married.

Ann Althouse said...

Seven: The same passage in Leviticus says that adulterers should be killed (and people who revile their parents should be killed). Unless you're willing to kill all those people, Leviticus isn't relevant. People do cite it though, and they should be harshly criticized if they aren't going to treat other things that are capital offenses in Leviticus equally harshly.

John Howard said...

Do my posts show up on your screens?

Seven Machos said...

Ann Althouse -- It's very interesting. I have only ever seen Leviticus cited by anti-Bible people who want to frame the enitre Bible as the kind of a book that says gays should be killed.

I've read Leviticus. What strikes me most about it is that when you take out the obviously outdated morality and the parts that seem to be nationalistic (don't do X because that other, vile people does X), you are left with a sensible common law framework that is pretty much unchanged to this day.

All of this is neither here nor there but thanks for reading my post and responding.

Seven Machos said...

John -- Yes.

downtownlad said...

Actually Seven - Leviticus is used all the time as an attack against gay people. Not to mention Soddom and Gomorrah. And if you're unaware of this - then you're just choosing to close your eyes to some very hateful speech. Go to this site if you want to see what I'm talking about:

http://www.hatecrime.org/subpages/hatespeech/hate.html

Not that I care - the Bible has as much relevancy to me as the script from Airplane II, cause I think both are fiction. But here's some more quotes from the New Testament (some are paraphrases):

"Jehoshaphat "did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord" and "took" the homosexuals (sodomites) "out of the land," or as the RSV says, "he exterminated" them." 22:43, 46 - Kings

Homosexuals (those "without natural affection") and their supporters (those "that have pleasure in them") are "worthy of death." 1:31-32 - Romans

I got the quotes from here:

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/gay/long.htm

Now if you're a fundamentalist Christian and you take every word from the Bible as truth - then you really should have no objection to executing gays. In fact - God pretty much demands it. The Koran is the same thing. The only difference is that this country happens to have secular law that prevents us from becoming a theocracy. But the religious right is doing every thing they can to destroy that tradition by pretending that this country was founded on "Christian" principles.

Seven Machos said...

Neither of the quotes you just used suggest that gays should be killed.

Jael took a spike and put it through a general's skull. Should we all do that? Moses sinned against God in a way that made God so angry that God never allowed Moses to enter the Promised Land. Should we all do what Moses did? All the Jews -- a stiff-necked people -- bitched and whined and renounced God again and again for centuries. Should we all do that?

Name one person with any political power whatsoever who wants to kill gay people. Name one person with any political power whatsoever who wants to imprison or fine or otherwise punish people for entering gay marriages.

You can't. There are none.

As far as the Bible being "fact" or "fiction," saying such a dumb thing is dumb. Leviticus is almost exclusively an ancient statement of a body of law. How could a statement of law possibly be fiction?

Finally, citing a random passage from the Old Testament and a random passage from the New Testament to make your point shows no actual knowledge of the literature, only an ability to google. How splendidly superficial.

It must suck to live in fear every day of fundamentalist bogeymen who have absolutely no chance to gain political power. You remind me of a fundamentalist Christian, just sure that powers beyond your control will one day smite us all down.

Daryl Herbert said...

seven machos wrote: Jael took a spike and put it through a general's skull. Should we all do that? Moses sinned against God in a way that made God so angry that God never allowed Moses to enter the Promised Land. Should we all do what Moses did? All the Jews -- a stiff-necked people -- bitched and whined and renounced God again and again for centuries. Should we all do that?

Ann: Isn't this the same argument that's been going on in the David Brooks thread? i.e., is everything that is described, endorsed?

TW: xesfucz

John Howard said...

Ann, I'd be interested to read your response to my posts above. I have introduced a rational basis for banning same-sex marriage: same-sex conception is unethical and would be bad for society even if it were safe (which is certainly isn't and probably never will be), and marriage must continue to protect a couple's right to conceive together. It would be very bad if marriages had to pass a safety test before they were allowed to attempt to conceive.

Note, there's no Leviticus, there's no animosity, there's no tradition, there's only science and law and social utility in this argument.

Civil unions could be exactly like marriages but without the conception rights, which would allow us to prohibit genetic engineering and preserve marriage AND further the cause of same-sex couples that only seek equal rights about things like federal recognition and survivor benefits and more (all?) states to recognize their unions.

John Howard said...

Wow, no response, even after calling attention to this post in more current threads in case anyone missed it. There is no argument, because this is a rational basis for banning same-sex marriage.

Before getting upset, realize that with this distinction between civil unions and marriages, it will be much easier to get Congress to recognize civil unions as marriages in terms of tax benefits and survivor benefits. Lives would improve for same-sex couples, most of whom are not interested in freaky experiments to have children or worried about what their union is called. It could be resolved as a compromise, giving up the demand for conception rights, in exchange getting federal recognition.

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