December 21, 2006

Must we talk about Mary Cheney's pregnancy?

Andrew Sullivan has a big cover story in The New Republic about what the Mary Cheney pregnancy means for conservatives:
The more moderate conservatives... they took umbrage at any mention of the subject. Kathryn Jean Lopez, an enthusiastic supporter of the FMA and editor of National Review Online, wrote on the site's group blog, The Corner: "Unless Mary Cheney asks to be part of a political debate about this, there is no need to have a public discussion about her life. The New York Times raises the question of how/who, etc. That just seems outrageous to me. She is not the vice president. She is not the president. That's just uncalled for from anyone in the media/commentariat."

But the news of the pregnancy was confirmed by Mary Cheney, who did not object to any invasion of privacy. She is a public figure who has written a book about her private life. She ran a national Republican campaign. And her pregnancy is the kind of news that simply cannot be ignored or covered up--because it comes in the form of an actual human being, a child, who, thanks in part to Lopez, will be denied the legal security of two parents. And Lopez now wants it not to be personal. Sorry, but it is already personal.

Lopez's colleague, Jonah Goldberg, is a nimbler enabler of anti-gay discrimination. He rightly surmised that any discussion of this issue could only expose the incoherence or cruelty of the right's position on gay families, and so he advised saying nothing. He commented a day after the news about the absence of any mention of the pregnancy on The Corner: "I did like the radio silence around here." In a subsequent post, he wrote that, whatever the merits of the Virginia amendment definitively stripping Poe of any legal rights over her child, the question was moot once gay adoption had been conceded as a principle: "It's very difficult to make the lynchpin of your opposition to gay marriage 'the children' when gays have been allowed to either adopt, have, or otherwise maintain custody of children for a long time now. We are currently in a weird situation in that gay couples get kids all the time without the benefit of being 'married' while gay marriage opponents claim that gay couples shouldn't get married because it would be bad for kids. That horse left the barn."

This pragmatic, if somewhat callous, point is then accompanied by an actual stance: Goldberg says he now supports civil unions for gay couples. So why his complete indifference to something like the Virginia amendment? Here is his response: "What seems to bother a lot of pro-gay marriage obsessives is that I don't think it's the signature civil rights issue of our day. I just don't get that worked up about it, at least not anymore, and this lack of passion is interpreted by zealots as cowardice, strategic silence or bigotry. It's really none of the above."

It is not, he avers, "strategic silence"; and yet, only a day before, he actually congratulated his peers for their silence. Goldberg's final position, it appears, is that he simply doesn't give a damn. He can't be bothered to take a position. But then he splutters, hearing a rising protest from the social right: "I do agree with, or am intellectually sympathetic to, many of their principled arguments on this stuff (depending on which social conservatives and which arguments we're talking about)." Is that all clear now? Goldberg then approvingly quotes a reader who "gets my drift." The reader writes: "You take a reasonable stance on this Mary Cheney thing: none at all." And, yes, that is indeed Goldberg's position.

In fact, it is now the only coherent conservative position on a matter made impossible to avoid by the living, breathing reality of a mother and her child. Their position is nothing at all. Neither for amending the constitution to bar gay marriage nor against it. Neither for gay marriage nor against it. Neither supportive of Mary Cheney nor hostile. After two decades of debate, discussion, state initiatives, lawsuits, protests, custody battles, and on and on, the last coherent conservative position is nothing. On Mary Cheney, they are forced to take a stand. But any stand either attacks the base of the party or attacks someone they know and love. So they have no alternative but to stand very still, say nothing, and hope that someone changes the subject. It is as close to intellectual and moral bankruptcy as one can imagine...

One day, this will be the real conservative position on homosexuals as well as transgendered people: pro-family, pro-integration, pro-equality, and humane. One day, Mary Cheney's pregnancy may even come to be seen as a pivotal moment in that evolution. Derided by some gay activists, Cheney and her partner and their child may one day be seen as the real pioneers of a new world. Yes, this may be naïvely optimistic. But with a new life comes new hope--for Mary, Heather, and the rest of us. In the battle between ideology and reality, reality always wins. Eventually.
Jonah Goldberg responds:
Sullivan makes it sound like I actually addressed Poe or Virginia law. I did no such thing. I didn't mention or really even allude to them either. He makes it sound that I've suddenly endorsed civil unions ("Goldberg says he now supports...") when he well knows that this has been my position for years and I've taken heat from social conservatives for it. See here , here , here , here or Robert Knight's attack on me here. He treats my postings to the Corner as if I've set out to lay out my grand vision on gay marriage and then criticizes me for my lack of coherence (a variety of complaints the zig-zagging Party of Andrew should be permanently banned from ever offering). And he treats my whimsical, parenthetical aside about "radio silence" as some incredibly, absurdly, significant fatwah to the troops. My blog posts are not debated sections to some party platform of the Third International, each syllable pregnant with tactical and ideological import. The old Andrew would recognize this.

But the new Andrew has a fevered and extremist mind. He takes the positions of zealots of all stripes that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem. There's no space for not caring as much as he does, for not picking sides, for believing that the little platoons of life will fix problems without dragging the state into it or politicizing everything. So, even though I favor gay unions, shun the demonization of gays, ground my arguments against gay marriage firmly in small-c, skeptical conservative, Burkean arguments about the pace of change, and — as he knows — personally treat gays with nothing but respect, I am now nothing more than a nimble enabler of gay bigotry. Despite the plain and obvious meaning of my radio silence comment staring all fair-minded people in the face, he chooses to read my mind and paint me as some sort of Trotskyite strategist, terrified of exposing the internal contradictions of the "Christianist" movement. And, at the same time, he sees nothing wrong with demonizing me as morally stunted for taking a humane, rational, centrist position. Indeed, to the extent I have some grand strategy on the issue of homosexuality (though it is neither grand nor really a strategy so much as a sentiment) it is simply this: to vent some of the heat from the issue on both sides. But, yes, yes I am the extremist, cynically doing the bidding of other extremists.
Sullivan taunts. It's a political -- and bloggerly -- strategy. Mary Cheney's pregnancy is an occasion. He uses it. That's what bloggers do. There's an event. You note it, and then you play off of it, springing all your usual opinions, making them exquisitely timely all over again. Tagging other bloggers in the course of your writing is a good way to get them to link to you and boost your visibility. It isn't bad -- it's good -- if they are antagonized and they lash back the way Jonah did. This is the kind of writing keeps the political blogosphere going. (I realize Andrew's piece is in a magazine, but it's linked through his blog, and it operates by the bloggerly method.)

I'm in a rush this morning because I'm about to record a Bloggingheads.tv episode with Jonah Goldberg. Perhaps this subject will come up, but in any case I'll have more to say about it later. Meanwhile, talk amongst yourselves.

(And toss me another vote here, please.)

119 comments:

Mark said...

The real issue is not Mary Cheney, it's the tragedy she is willfully imposing on her unborn child. And by extension, on society at large by bringing into the world a child in this way. The real human dimension we should be focused on is what happens to children who are conceived through artificial insemination, who ache for fathers that were never a part of their or their mother's lives, who feel like freaks. There was a great story in the Washington Post by a girl who was conceived in this way. She is very opposed to this method of conception. And this is exactly what Mary Cheney is helping to legitimize. It is a terrifically selfish action on her part. Anyone who supports the Andrew Sullivan position should read that girl's story and see if they still feel so cavallier about what is being purposefully done to that child.

Henry said...

I think Sullivan needs to slow down a little. He's an opinion pinata addicted to sticks. Goldberg defends himself quite ably. I disagree with Goldberg about gay marriage, but vastly prefer his pragmatic style to Sullivan's explosions of outrage.

Sullivan's love for the hunt for the scapegoat is really a common motif in his writing, going back to his dark mutterings about fifth columns and domestic traitors. It undermines almost everything he writes, at least for me.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. Undoubtedly good for those book sales.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Henry: "an opinion pinata addicted to sticks"

I like that!

Anonymous said...

When this topic first arose I wrote on my blog that I wanted both sides to butt out and let the lady have her baby in peace. To the extent that Mary Cheney is a public figure I guess it is interesting to see what she does, but tying what she has done to what her father or other republicans think is utter BS.

Likewise commenter Mark's idea that this is really bad is almost certainly a crock. I'm sure that her baby will be far better off than any of the naturally conceived single parent children raised in the ghettoes.

perry said...

Many people never ask to be part of the political discourse. Ask Terri Schavo and Pat Tillmann and Kenneth Lay and countless others. But they become part of the discussion because they represent part of a larger political debate of the time.

AS for Mary Cheney, she is part of the discussion because she is the blood relative of the vice president of this country, who happens to stand strongly behind the same religious side of the republican party that not only wishes to deny rights to people like his daughter, but for a large part believes that people like his daughter shouldn't exist.

Shouldn't the discussion on how that schism happens and the hypocrasy it involves be part of the national debate about culture and religion and politics?

You can't have it both ways.

Bissage said...

"Must we talk about Mary Cheney's pregnancy?"

In that last quoted paragraph, Sullivan intimates that Cheney and her partner are the new Mary and Joseph.

When it all comes true, future crèche scenes will have a blogger sitting there with a laptop.

Tim said...

"Tagging other bloggers in the course of your writing is a good way to get them to link to you and boost your visibility. It isn't bad -- it's good -- if they are antagonized and they lash back the way Jonah. This is the kind of writing keeps the political blogosphere going."

Fair enough.

But is that which is good for the political blogosphere good for our politics? Do we really want to elevate flame wars to a constant tactic in political discussions? I believe our politics suffers from too much smoke and not enough light - and the Andrew Sullivans of the world, while not being the worse practitioners of the tactic, do not contribute to making our politics any better than a minute-by-minute WWF smack-down.

I suspect that if this tactic becomes the predominant one of the blogosphere, it relevancy will only decrease, as serious voters, opinion leaders and politicians gravitate elsewhere for information. Given the now apparent chronic weakness of the mainstream media as a reliable source of information, does the blogosphere really want to surrender this opportunity for influence for the sake of a resolving personal poltical grudges with really nasty fiskings? If so, it isn't ready for prime time, as they say.

Shanna said...

I just can't understand why this is news. I mean, congrats to Mary, but really, she's a lady having a baby. Lesbian's having babies is not a new concept, it's happened many times. There's really no polical response to make to this unless you are someone who believes they can somehow bar gay couples from conceiving, which I don't think hardly anybody would go that far.

perry said...

Mark,

I don't see how this is any different than a child being adopted and not knowing their birth parents. Is that a selfish act also detrimental to society?

Dave said...

"Mark,

I don't see how this is any different than a child being adopted and not knowing their birth parents. Is that a selfish act also detrimental to society?"

Seems to me if we are to follow the bigots' logic to the end, babies eligible for adoption should rot instead of be adopted.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think Mary Cheney says more about the political diversity among gays and lesbians than about the diversity of views on gay rights on the right.

Bissage: In that last quoted paragraph, Sullivan intimates that Cheney and her partner are the new Mary and Joseph.

I tease my mom by rearranging her creche scene so that baby Jesus is adopted by an interracial gay couple and Mary joins the wise men. Unfortunately, there aren't enough women around the creche to make a lesbian couple.

Anonymous said...

St. Andrew-of-the-Cape sees himself as the final arbiter of good and evil on this subject. Jonah's right; St. Andrew sees any disagreement at all as grounds for condemning the disagreer as about a half-step short of Nazis. No nuance allowed, and all discussion of areas of disagreement or agreement is to be ignored or vilified.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Sullivan is being self-aggrandizing and bloggerly by dwelling on the rank hypocrisy of Republican homophobia.

Rational, moderate centrists (like Ann! Vote for Ann again!) don't give a damn.

Lou Wainwright said...

Ann, I find fascinating your premise that Andrew's tactics (which I will charitably give him credit for consciously using) are a successful example of political blogsmanship. I find them instead to be a failure - they act to reduce his influence and the quality of his readership.

Political blogs seem to me to come in two flavors; issues and individuals. Issue blogs can have an editorial voice, such as Powerline or Kos, but the content and opinions are predictable and their readership is there to confirm beliefs, not to get to know the blogger or to debate. Individual blogs are designed to communicate the point of view of a specific person who wants to build a relationship with their readers and knows that their readership will not always agree with them.

To put it another way, an issue blog is one where I feel like I am listening to a speaker, an individual blog is one where I feel like I am listening to a conversation. I find that Althouse, Drum, Instapundit, are successful political bloggers because of that sense of conversation (of the Corner authors, Jonah and Derb). Andrew had it 5 years ago, he doesn’t anymore, and as such his blog is no longer thought provoking.

Patrick J. Shea said...

Any conservative should know better than to allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. However, whether it's on gay marriage, IVF, or any other of a host of family and reproductive issues, the right is more than willing to cast off good solutions that will result in very real benefits for families and children all in favor of a utopian vision of the family that is no longer (if it ever was) salient. Aren't conservatives the ones who are supposed to be holding up the mirror of reality to the utopians?

Children face a complex soup of challenges when growing up, and their outcomes are more highly dependent on economics and the quality of love, support, and guidance they receive than on the sources of those inputs. Rather than demonizing Mary Cheney, as Mark did, we ought to be focusing on solutions that make families more able to provide the basics inputs of childhood.

Sullivan and others are simply calling the right on its double standard. Usually, they are more than happy to take Mark's low road and demonize women (and men) like Mary Cheney, but more are unwilling to do so in this instance for very obvious reasons (honest sympathy for a friend and/or political ally and, for some, the cynical calculation that such a calling out would make them look like heartless prigs). They aren't idiots (well, many of them aren't) and realize full well that this isn't a battle they will win, so better to say nothing at all.

Sullivan's bloggerly (how unattactive is that word...) move is certainly shrill and hardly warrants a cover story at TNR, but it has certainly been effective at stirring the bloggericious pot.

Patrick J. Shea said...

Tim--

"Do we really want to elevate flame wars to a constant tactic in political discussions?"

M'kay, think back to the presidential election of 1800 and again to 1824 and '28. Flame wars are hardly new to American political discussions. If anything, the relative civility of the last generation or two is a departure from the historical norm. I don't like the mud slinging any more than you do, but it has a long and storied lineage.

Seneca the Younger said...

Must we talk about Andrew Sullivan?

SteveR said...

I tend to agree with Tim, flame wars are not the reason I read blogs. I have three daughters at home, I hear plenty of name calling.

Besides, who died and made Andrew Sullivan somebody I should care about?

Finn Kristiansen said...

Sullivan says:
One day, this will be the real conservative position on homosexuals as well as transgendered people: pro-family, pro-integration, pro-equality, and humane.


I am not sure how the actions or lifestyles of the children, friends, or relatives of a conservative should thus compel other conservatives to have moral eureka moments that lead them to modify deeply held beliefs in such a drastic manner.

(And certainly not Christian conservatives, who pretty much look at the sole relationship that Christ endorses-between man and woman- as probably the best example, regardless of what one's friends, kids, or associates might do. You treat all people kindly, but still maintain that some lifestyle choices-including many actions chosen by straights-are wrong).

Mark (in the comments) does bring up a real issue. One wonders what the impact will be of raising a generation of kids without the direct biological and local impact of one sex or the other.

In a world that has argued for thirty years or more that the input of women is important to every area of life, it's interesting to note that in the parenting arena, such is not the case, and one can delete the male or female contributor with no adverse effect. Or no effect at all on the child. (And often with the suggestion that certain male uncles or female aunts, friends, neighbors, ice cream truck drivers, can fulfill in exactitude the role previously played by the biological parent who is on the scene 24/7).

It's bold; experimental certainly. Often enough peeople like to assert that heterosexual parents, or even single parents, do such a bad job with kids, and that two loving gay parents will be welcome respite. But they say this as though gay parents would be statistically outside the behavorial bad norms posed by other parents, creating environments that are virtual heavens. Let's suppose that a gay family is equally bad at raising kids. Would the effect on the kids be the same, or would there exist additional emotional factors that would create exponentially larger problems? We don't really know. Or what if we compared a loving gay family with a loving hetero one, and which children benefit more?

Simon said...

This part sums it up aptly:

"Goldberg says he now supports civil unions for gay couples. So why his complete indifference to something like the Virginia amendment?"

Well, I'm in favor of opening space to private exploration, I think that we need to have a serious overhaul of our approach to prisoner incarceration, and I don't share Glenn Reynolds' optimism about nanotechnology; I have opinions on all of these subjects and more, but I rarely comment on them, and even less frequently post about them. Why could that be? Perhaps because I just don't feel compelled to repeatedly take public positions on them, and beat the drum for all it's worth. Which is basically Jonah's position:

"What seems to bother a lot of pro-gay marriage obsessives is that I don't think it's the signature civil rights issue of our day. I just don't get that worked up about it, at least not anymore, and this lack of passion is interpreted by zealots as cowardice, strategic silence or bigotry. It's really none of the above."

I think that precisely right. Sullivan appears to be under the impression that everyone has to be as worked up about his issues as he is, otherwise they're . Which is, dare I say it, a very liberal position. Sullivan's criticism of Goldberg appears to amount to this: if you fail to support his cause sufficiently vocally, you must be an enemy. That seems very similar to the lefties who decide that because Ann isn't volubly hostile to all things Bush, she must be an enemy.

Richard said...

Sex sex sex. Everything's about sex (and breeding) (and marriage) to Andrew Sullivan. I sometimes wonder how he gets through his day with all those hormones apparently diverting his attention so often.

Zeb Quinn said...

Seems to me if we are to follow the bigots' logic to the end, babies eligible for adoption should rot instead of be adopted.

What a ruse.

This isn't a baby without a home and up for adoption so that comparison is inapt. This is a new baby, a new life, conceived via a turkey baster or some other such artificial way, and for the express purpose, among others, of depriving it of a father for its entire life. Stick to the facts please, even though they be uncomfortable. Precisely because the are uncomfortable.

Pogo said...

It appears that Sullivan thinks conservatives qua conservatives must either support gay marriage or demand the death penalty for gays.

Or something. It's hard to tell, because after two or three sentences, I start to look at things in my office, and I try another sentence, but become distracted by a faraway noise which is more interesting than Andrew's faraway noise. Then I want to eat, so I give up.

I mean, really, he's just become all Flock of Seagullsy, with an 80s synthethizer, and one key, High C, stuck down forever.

Like a Yoko Ono album in drag.

Paddy O. said...

Richard, your comment reminded me of a passage from Chesterton's book on Francis of Assisi.

In a section on the culture surrounding the rise of Christianity, he notes Nero's sadism, then he writes, "But the truth I mean is something much more subtle and universal than a conventional catalogue of atrocities. What had happened to the human imagination, as a whole, was that the whole world was colored by dangerous and rapidly deteriorating passions; by natural passions becoming unnatural passions. Thus the effect of treating sex as only one innocent natural thing was that every other innocent natural thing became soaked and sodden with sex. For sex cannot be admitted to a mere equality among elementary emotiosn ore experiences like eating and sleeping. The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant.

"There is something dangerous and disproportionate in its place in human nature, for whatever reason; and it does need a special purification and dedication. The modern talk about sex being free like any other sense, about the body being beautiful like any tree or flower, is either a description of the Garden of Eden or a piece of thoroughly bad psychology, of which the world grew weary two thousand years ago."

Anonymous said...

Jonah’s position seems to be that he disapproves of discrimination against gays, and is in favor of NJ-style civil unions, but he doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it.

So, he’s apparently capable of recognizing discrimination, but unwilling to oppose it too loudly, probably out of a desire to stay on the good side of his lizard-brained compatriots, or reluctance to cast his lot with the liberals on any issue. Cowardly seems like a fair description to me.

As for his claim that it’s not a major civil rights issue, that just seems dishonest.

dklittl said...

I find it terribly hypocritical for this quick determination that somehow Mary Cheney is a private person who should remain out of the public eye. She's worked for the Vice-President, advocated for the Republican party and now even written a book attempting in a pretty ham-handed manner to eviscerate Democrats for their stance on gay rights. The notion that she's some Terri Schiavo thrust in the middle of this debate seems pretty flimsy.

price said...

You know how you can read a political essay from decades ago that in hindsight ended up being really wrong or misguided? It could even be well-written and thoughtful, but you're still going, 'boy, that guy sure was off-the-mark.'

Sometimes I get that feeling WHILE reading an essay, like Jonah's response. There are strong arguments, but you just know hindsight will not be kind.

There's probably a retirement home somewhere filled with op-ed columnists who opposed miscegenation, and they're probably all really nice, well-reasoned folks. And I hope they are setting up a cot for Kathryn Jean Lopez, who faces an uphill battle against Hindsight.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I agree with Zeb's criticism of the logic that one's opposition to gay couples' use of artificial insemination means babies eligible for adoption should rot instead of be adopted. But I think that, if your argument is that gay couples should not use artificial insemination because a baby deserves to be brought up by both of its biological parents if possible (Mark's view above), then you should logically also oppose reproductively-challenged straight couples using artificial means of reproduction involving egg or sperm donation.

Personally, I sympathize with the desire of gay or straight couples who want to have genetically-related children, but I also actually kind of agree with Mark that it is essentially a selfish decision on the couples' part to take extraordinary measures to have genetically-related children in lieu of adopting from the pool of needy children out there.

knoxgirl said...

I happen to support gay marriage, but the sort of rigid, absolutist approach taken by Sullivan--and so many other proponents of the movement--has worried me for quite a while.

I abhor anti-gay sentiment, but I certainly can see that a heck of a lot of people just don't care that much (especially if they don't know any gay people well.) Expecting them to get worked up and advocate to the same extent as people who are personally invested in gay marriage is unrealistic.

Then to take it a step further and act like those people are bigots who are coarsely turning their backs on the oppression of a minority, goes a long way toward alienating them.

As far as Mary Cheney, I think it's gross that she's become a pawn in all this, but she's way too entrenched in politics to escape it. She's not just the VP's daughter.

downtownlad said...

The real issue is not Mary Cheney, it's the tragedy she is willfully imposing on her unborn child. And by extension, on society at large by bringing into the world a child in this way. - Mark

I am 100% in agreement with you Mark. Mary should just do the right thing and get an abortion already. For the good of the child.

price said...

Okay, look.

All parents, gay or straight, have children for selfish reasons. Some children exist due to their parents' narcissism or pride. Some parents just want a play thing. Many children are just flat-out accidents.

Committed, responsible, and (statistically) more affluent parents are going to extraordinary lengths to have children. Re-emphasizing the value of parenthood should be applauded. Anyone who has a problem with this needs to get over their discomfort about gays even existing. Let's go to the root of it, people.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

"Sorry" as they say, but who CARES?

Militant islamists are trying to destroy our civilisation.

China's economy is dependent upon American consumers at a time in which said consumers are discovering their house is not a permanent (and unlimited) ATM.

India is successfully building its own ballistic missile submarines.

Japan is within 30 days of usable nuclear weapons, should they feel forced to pursue that path.

Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Russia (to name just a few) are expropriating foreign investments that just two years ago they coaxed into their countries.

Arabs hold tens of thousands of slaves.

Non-muslim populations in Europe are crashing.

Pornography and child abuse are at record levels.

Plenty of other equally important, and discouraging things -- insert your favourites -- are going down.

And we're paying attention to whether a couple of carpet crunchers are having a baby ? Puh-lease.

Talk about sleep-walking towards the abyss ...

Jeff said...

Good luck with the whole "children don't need fathers" thing, it works so well in the ghetto! I suppose there must be some magical white upper-middle class method that will make it ok for Mary Cheney's kid to think her father didn't care enough about her to be involved in her life. It takes a village, enough love, blah blah blah- all the kid will know is "I don't have a daddy".

Sigivald said...

Dave: Calling him a bigot rather than telling us how he's wrong, is not very effective.

(And can't he just be wrong, rather than an icky ol' bigot?

Note that his objection is not to lesbians having children, but to artificial insemination, and children without fathers being part of their mothers' lives. This applies equally to single parenthood. Is it bigotry to think that a single mother's child might not have it as well off as one with both parents?

If so, how? It's both plausible in itself and, as far as I know, plausibly justified by the overall data.

If not, what's the difference - given what Mark actually said, which didn't involve homosexuality, but lack of both genders of parent?

[Which is why Joseph's point, I think, involves misreading - I read Mark as saying that kids need Fathers and Mothers, not that they must be the genetic Father or Mother. Roles, not genetics.]

The issues aren't quite the same, after all.

And note that I say all this as someone in favor of either getting the State entire out of the marriage/union business or letting gay people have them, though I'd prefer it happen naturally via democratic process, as seems inevitable.

But simply calling him a bigot after misreading/not reading what he said isn't going to be an effective mode of argument.

Yay, parentheticals!)

downtownlad said...

Let's take a hypothetical example:

13 years from now, Dick, Lynn, Mary, and Liz Cheney are riding in a car. Dick Cheney - the driver - has a heart attack - and they all crash and die. Mary Cheney's daughter was at home with Mary's partner, Heather Po.

Guess what happens to the daughter? Well under Virginia law, Heather cannot be recognized as a parent. In fact - it's illegal for Mary to even specify in her will that Heather will be the guardian, in fact it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL to do that in Virginia.

So guess what? The child, a 13 year old who has been raised her entire life by Mary and Heather, is confiscated by the state and put in a foster home. Heather Po is just a stranger in the eyes of the law.

I think that's sick. And Jonah Goldberg thinks it is wrong of us to criticize him for being silent on a matter that is so clearly detrimental to the child. I say bullshit. George W. Bush actively encouraged the passage of that constitutional amendment in Virginia. Damn right this is news.

And while this is hypothetical for the Cheney's, this HAS happened with other gay parents - where a child is taken away - and the other parent never gets to see the kid again.

That's "family values" for you though.

downtownlad said...

Note that his objection is not to lesbians having children, but to artificial insemination

That's right. Kids should be conceived the old fashioned way - with good old fashioned sweaty sex.

Just like Jesus was conceived.

Anonymous said...

This seems like an argument about tone rather than substance. Is it possible to agree with both Andrew Sullivan and Jonah Goldberg? Completely!

Andrew Sullivan's position seems to be: Mary Cheney's having a baby! Yaaay! See? See, you conservative assholes! You were wrong, wrong, wrong and now you should realize what a bunch of total assholes you are. How can you live with yourselves, you ridiculous assholes?

Jonah Goldberg's position seems to be: Mary Cheney's having a baby. Remember when this used to be a big deal? It's so not a big deal now. Ho-hum. Just another day in that great country we call America.

Andrew Sullivan: Aiieee! But what about gay marriage? Don't you see how Mary Cheney having a baby means all conservatives opposed to gay marriage are Nazis???? And someday, the real conservatives will wake up ... and kill the Nazis???

Jonah Goldberg: I continue to oppose gay marriage, but I like civil unions. I've always felt that way. Ho hum. Another day in that great country we like to call America.

Net-net: Mary Cheney's baby is symbolic of nothing. It's fine that she's having one. It doesn't tilt the playing field on gay marriage one way or the other. Those who are for it, are still for it. Those who are against it, are still against it. But both sides embrace Mary Cheney's choice.

The true significance of this is those few who don't embrace her choice on the basis of her sexuality are increasingly marginalized. Having been an involuntary single parent for a few years, I can almost get to where I agree with "mark," except he's aiming his diatribe at the wrong example. Mary Cheney has a partner. It is just as likely that she will stay with her partner as it is that any other marriage with children will endure through the period of childhood. The "real tragedy" is that such a huge percentage of these partnered relationships -- marriages, civil unions, friends with benefits but, oops, no birth control, whatever --will break up and disregard the impact on their children. The concerns of "mark" should be considered as fully addressed if Mary Cheney manages to stay with her partner til the kid's 18.

And that's why I'm a strong proponent of gay marriage. To give people like Mary Cheney the strongest possible incentive to keep her family intact.

P.S. to Mark, as for a male role model for this child? You ever heard of Mary Cheney's dad? I think he'll do.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Sigivald: [Which is why Joseph's point, I think, involves misreading - I read Mark as saying that kids need Fathers and Mothers, not that they must be the genetic Father or Mother. Roles, not genetics.]

Mark's comment above speaks of "children who are conceived through artificial insemination, who ache for fathers that were never a part of their or their mother's lives." I then checked out Mark's blog, in which he makes both the dual-gendered parenting argument and the geneological/genetic argument at greater length:

"Likewise I think it's beyond debate that, as the commenter noted, we strongly desire and need to know our biological, geneological lineage. We want to know our real parents, our real grandparents. We want to be able to trace our line back in time. We want to look at family photos and see the blood ties in the faces of the people of our family. That is what is normal. That is what's built into us, that is what helps ground us and give us psychological stability. That is what our social norms should be supporting because it is what builds a stable and mentally healthy society for all of us who otherwise have to live in cities threatened by teenage male thugs and welfare-dependent female sluts."

When I wrote my comment, I forgot that Mark's arguments weren't all spelled out in his comment.

Abraham said...

DTL, I can't believe how racist you are to remain silent on the genocide in Darfur. For you to remain silent on an issue that results in the death of millions is simply beyond the pale. How you can sleep at night, I cannot guess.

Zeb Quinn said...

Joseph Hovsep wrote

If your argument is that gay couples should not use artificial insemination because a baby deserves to be brought up by both of its biological parents if possible (Mark's view above), then you should logically also oppose reproductively-challenged straight couples using artificial means of reproduction involving egg or sperm donation.


Yeah, well, as a matter of fact I'm not all that keen on "using artificial means of reproduction involving egg or sperm donation" for anyone. But even that isn't my concern. I stated it, you elided it. I do not blithely accept the apparent implicit acceptability of conceiving a child with the precedent intention of forever depriving it of having a father in its life. Hey, color me old school.

downtownlad said...

Abraham - I'm not silent about Darfur.

I really couldn't give a shit about it actually. If they want to fight a civil war and commit genocide - it's their problem - not mine.

downtownlad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
downtownlad said...

I should be more clear. Jonah Goldberg is trying to have it both ways by pretending that yes he does support gay people and no he doesn't suppot discrimination against gays.

That's obviously bullshit. He doesn't give a shit about them. And he couldn't care less about things like gay marriage or things like Virginia's laws that forbid gay people from entering into contracts.

Why? Because Jonah is not gay and he knows these laws will never impact HIM.

Fine - he's allowed to think that way. But stop the pandering bullshit of pretending that he really does care about gay people when he doesn't.

Me - I don't give a crap about Darfur. But then again, you don't see me going out there saying "Oh - how dare you say I don't care about Darfur. The situation is horrible, etc., etc. , etc." I'm silent about it for exactly that reason. Because I don't lose a wink's sleep if a few million foreigners are being slaughtered. I'm certainly not glad it's happening. It is sad. But I did zero to contribute to the situation - so I don't see why I should be tasked with fixing it.

Robert said...

I'm still a bit bemused by the brouhaha around this. Most of the gay and lesbian parents I know or know of either adopted or reproduced in the context of a heterosexual relationship (e.g., pre-coming out marriage).

My husband and I have two adopted sons (now nine and five). I wonder what all the 'where's the father?' crowd would have to say about raising two boys without mothers. Of course, if they'd stayed in the foster care system, they'd still be fatherless. Would that have been preferable?

Regarding Finn Christianson's possibly rhetorical question - one of the reasons why gay or lesbian couples are touted as 'good' parents is that we/they are typically _intentional_ parents - for example, my husband and I worked for over two years to qualify as adoptive parents, went through an obligatory training session (ten weeks), and had home visits for a year before we were approved.

If straight couples had to go through all that, we'd have fewer, but possibly better, parents - and the foster/adopt industry would wither away.

downtownlad said...

Jonah Goldberg doesn't think it's anyone's business to interfere with Mary Cheney's personal life.

Funny, because he DOES think that it's HIS business to interfere with MY personal life - by telling me who I can and cannot marry.

tcd said...

Robert, What a crock of shit. Only gay parents can be good parents? Are you kidding me? Great way to win support for your position, let's attack the heteros. What about the post-coming out gays who abandon their straight marriages and the children of those marriages? Are they good parents, too?

Shanna said...

As for his claim that it’s not a major civil rights issue, that just seems dishonest.

I can’t imagine why that should be dishonest. Just because you agree with gay marriage or civil unions doesn’t mean you think it’s a “major” civil rights issue. I do think the Virginia law seems to suck.

Also, the idea that simply because you do not rant and rave at the sky about an issue means you are actively against it or a bad supporter or even a hypocrite is ludicrous. You can agree with this issue and wait to see how it plays out and vote as you think best without it concerning your daily life too much if you are not personally involved. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I voted against the anti-gay marriage amendment in Arkansas with the full knowledge that it was going to pass with a large percentage of the vote and although I disagreed with the vote I didn’t bother getting too worked up about it simply because there was little point.

It is probably ideal for children to have a male and female parental figure, but many children do not have ideal childhoods. Many children are living in single parent homes, are orphans or have abusive or neglectful parents. Being the child of two loving parents has to be preferable to some of the other options. I prefer to see adoptions simply because there are children out there who need love, but I am certainly not going to condem any couple for wanting to have children of their own flesh and blood.

Shanna said...

Robert, What a crock of shit. Only gay parents can be good parents?

I really, really don't think that's what he was saying. I think he was saying that parents who consciously set out to be parents and are making an effort might be preferable to someone who doesn't plan to have children. Which is perfectly reasonable, although not true in all cases of course.

price said...

"I don't care what you do, therefore my natural instinct is to limit your options."

Joseph Hovsep said...

tcd: Robert, What a crock of shit. Only gay parents can be good parents? Are you kidding me?

That's not what he said at all. In fact, he rejected that idea. He was responding to Finn's question about how gay parents compare to straight parents and whether gay parents don't face the same pitfalls. Its pretty reasonable to suggest that a couple (gay or straight) that goes through years of soul-searching, submits to being investigated by authorities, and takes class on parenting prior to becoming parents may statistically be better parents than the average couple who stumble upon parenthood accidentally. He didn't say that only gay couples can be good parents or that gay parents are better than straight parents. He said intentional parents may be better than unintentional parents. It seems to me like a pretty reasonable and thoughtful response and you called it a "crock of shit".

tcd said...

Shanna, I think Robert also assumes that straight couples do not consciously think before procreating. That is how I interpret this sentence from Robert, "If straight couples had to go through all that, we'd have fewer, but possibly better, parents - and the foster/adopt industry would wither away." Emphasis on the "fewer".

Shanna said...

Shanna, I think Robert also assumes that straight couples do not consciously think before procreating.
Some of them don't. I think the point is that *all* gay parents have to think before procreating because it's not going to happen by accident.

Anonymous said...

Funny, because he DOES think that it's HIS business to interfere with MY personal life - by telling me who I can and cannot marry.

But marriage is not "personal." It's a public declaration, as well as a legally binding contract. Your "personal life" entails who you are friends with, who you sleep with, who you live with. Gay marriage is a step beyond that -- turning a gay relationship into a legally binding contract.

Just for the sake of precision (which I know is losing battle with DTL), what Jonah Goldberg is really doing is opposing the attempt of two consenting adults of the same gender to partake of a legal right on an equal basis with two consenting adults of the opposite sex.

You demagogue and confuse the issue by making it seem as if Goldberg and every other person who rejects gay marriage is literally reaching into your personal life and telling you how to live it. They're not. And that's progress compared to your status 30 years ago. 30 years ago, it would have been the rare conservative who would say he supported any anti-discrimination laws to protect the rights of gays for basic things like housing, employment or protection against hate crimes. As much as you try to foment paranoia about this subject, the fact is, progress in "mainstreaming" gay rights and gay culture is pretty breathtaking.

Condemn Goldberg, if you wish, for being deaf to your petition for equal legal rights. But understand, too, that this is a new civil rights claim, and like all the petitions for civil rights that came before it, it takes time for the merits of justice to gain acceptance. There was a time when decent people -- not knuckle-dragging bigots, but intelligent, educated and liberal-minded people -- thought "separate but equal" with regard to the races was good public policy, in everyone's best interests. Now that position seems ridiculous. Are today's "enlightened" people any smarter, any more compassionate? Hardly. The difference is time, plus the persistence of those who argued their case in the right way -- like Dr. King, who showed that equal treatment for blacks was mandatory in order for American society to live up to its own self-proclaimed ideals. This is how Lincoln argued his case, too -- saying the ideals of the Founding Fathers were the basis of his opposition to slavery.

I firmly believe that, eventually, the vast majority of Americans will see the logic and justice in gay marriage. But you delay that day from arriving if you persist in calling those who don't yet get it insulting names like "brownshirts" or "bigots," or if you make fanciful claims about their hatred of you, which they've never demonstrated.

Joseph Hovsep said...

tcd: I think Robert also assumes that straight couples do not consciously think before procreating.

I'm sure most couples do lots of preparing before becoming parents, but plenty of people have sex without thinking about or being ready for having kids, and certainly without having gone through the extensive preparation Robert and his partner had to go through. Those accidental pregnancies unsurprisingly tend to happen much more often among straight couples than gay couples. So, there would be fewer kids if everyone went through the process he and his husband went through prior to becoming parents and I don't see why that suggestion should so offend your sensibilities.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

Echo johnstodderinexile's 12:46 comment.

tcd said...

Joseph said, "the average couple who stumble upon parenthood accidentally." Really, so you've taken a poll of straight couples and have evidence that the average couple stumbles upon parenthood accidentally? None of the straight couples planned their families ever? Seems you're making the same assumptions about straight couples as Robert.

price said...

I mostly agree with johnstodderinexilem, but wanted to point something out. He seems to be saying, essentially, "chill out" to people who are overly passionate about this subject, and that in due time society will come around as it did with African-American bigotry.

My question is, was the Civil Rights movement of the 60s successful because everyone chilled out and waited for society to come around? I happen to think that the outspoken obnoxious few were what coerced society into coming around. I think it was "liberal judges" who made the correct decisions before the populace finally did. If society does indeed come around, it's because we will continue to harshly criticize people with weak arguments until they can no longer be used.

Another good reason for impatience is that we have some very clear, well-known successes in the civil rights movements of the 1900s. Unlike the populations back then, we definitely should know better by now what civil liberty really means.

tcd said...

"So, there would be fewer kids if everyone went through the process he and his husband went through prior to becoming parents and I don't see why that suggestion should so offend your sensibilities."

It offends my sensibilities because I don't want Big Brother to tell me and my husband when and how we should have kids. If you want and/or support gay marriage, argue for it on its own merits. Don't drag heterosexuals into it by spotlighting the screw-ups among us and asking for government intervention so gay people can feel better about themselves. You "progressives" on the left are no better than the religious right. Both sides are full of shit.

downtownlad said...

Johnstodderinexile - That's right. Let's blame any setback on gay rights on those "uppity" gays who demand equality.

Just like those black people in the 50's should have known their place - in the back of the bus.

I suppose you're one of those people like Pat Buchanan who blames Matthew Shepphard's murder - on Matthew Shephard! because we all know he shouldn't have made those moves on those straight guys.

Sorry - but you can't shut me up.

Joseph Hovsep said...

tcd: Joseph said, "the average couple who stumble upon parenthood accidentally." Really, so you've taken a poll of straight couples and have evidence that the average couple stumbles upon parenthood accidentally? None of the straight couples planned their families ever? Seems you're making the same assumptions about straight couples as Robert.

Neither of us is making the assumption you are accusing us of making. The full sentence of mine from which you quote reads (italics added):

"Its pretty reasonable to suggest that a couple (gay or straight) that goes through years of soul-searching, submits to being investigated by authorities, and takes class on parenting prior to becoming parents may statistically be better parents than the average couple who stumble upon parenthood accidentally."

The point is to suggest that the average couple who prepares extensively for parenthood may be better suited to parenthood than the average couple who enters parenthood accidentally. I specifically used the vague term "couple" and noted "gay or straight" to avoid the interpretation you seem to so desperately want to make.

In case the logic is not clear, gay couples predominantly (though admittedly not 100%) have sex that is not capable of procreation whereas straight couples predominantly have sex that is capable of procreation. Hence, the basis for the observation that gay couples aren't likely to have accidental pregnancies and straight couples do have accidental pregancies. I did a quick google search and came across this article, noting that 49% of the pregnancies concluding in 1994 were unintended. I can't verify the figures, but I think its safe to say that unintented pregancy is not uncommon and it is an issue that is faced almost exclusively by straight couples.

downtownlad said...

And sorry - I will never think that people who favored segregation laws were "decent". They weren't. They were bigots. Every single one of them.

Paddy O. said...

Sorry - but you can't shut me up.

DTL, the Malcolm X of gay rights.

downtownlad said...

I'll take that as a compliment.

Although I don't advocate violence against straight people. At least not yet.

downtownlad said...

And I'd like to see any evidence that being raised by a mother and a father is "ideal". Every study I've read on this matter has shown that children raised by gay parents turn out just as good as those raised by straight, married, parents.

Believe me - I'd have much preferred to be raised by two gay parents than the two bigoted parents who raised me.

Joseph Hovsep said...

tcd: No one is arguing for government intervention or telling you when and how you should have kids. Nor did Robert or I say anything about gay marriage. It was a simple observation planned parenthood is better than unplanned parenthood. You seem so eager to take offense at something that seems so innocuous and obvious.

SteveR said...

DTL: After some of the weak trolling commenters we've had around here lately, its good to have you back. Some one who thinks for himself.

paul a'barge said...

Sullivan taunts. It's a political -- and bloggerly -- strategy

Sullivan is a liar, a bully and a coward. That's not taunting. Here's hoping that character flaws that rise to the level of Sullivan do not become the bloggerly norm.

AS for Mary Cheney, she is part of the discussion because she is the blood relative of the vice president of this country

Wrong. Cheney is part of the discussion because she wrote a book and because she campaigned for her father. Had she preferred to stay out of it, she would have a perfect right to privacy, and those of us with a shred of decency would defend her right to be left out of the discussion. She joined the discussion, not the other way around.

I'm sure that her baby will be far better off than any of the naturally conceived single parent children raised in the ghettoes

There's a logician's term for this kind of argument, and ... wait, oh yes, it's "bunk".

It is perfectly possible for Cheney's child to suffer because Cheney has denied her child a father AND be better off than a child in the ghetto. The relative does not negate the premise, or something like that.

downtownlad said...

I dunno Joseph. I always thought that a high school girl who gets knocked up by her boyfriend made the best parents.

Or some white trash girl who marry's a white trash boy - they make great parents too. I mean just look at Britney . . .

tcd said...

"submits to being investigated by authorities..."
Sure, Robert, you're not arguing for government intervention at all.

DTL, Britney Spears is hardly representative of traditional marriage or good parenting. If you agree with me on that point, then I will agree not to let your comments on this blog color my perception of the average gay person. That's a good thing, otherwise I would think all gay people are as insane as you.

Joseph Hovsep said...

tcd: Those are my words, not Robert's and I was referring to the requirements for adoption, not suggesting it be imposed on anyone before they can give birth. Please.

Robert said...

Government intervention is a fact on the ground (so to speak) in childrearing in this country.

Our second son (currently foster, on track for adoption) has his current circumstances monitored by a social worker, case worker, pediatrician, pediatric psychiatrist, therapeutic kindergarten teachers, and a court-appointed attorney to supervise the whole program.

If one-tenth the staff and budget had been allocated to determine if his biological parents were at all fit to raise a child, how much human misery might have been averted?

The stubborn insistence that it is the absolute and unquestionable right of all fertile adults to procreate at will, regardless of the consequences, used to baffle me. Now it depresses me. I'm very grateful that my husband and I have the opportunity to help two young people grow up, but it's clear to me that, in a more sensible and humane society, we would not be needed for that task.

Anonymous said...

Robert: If one-tenth the staff and budget had been allocated to determine if his biological parents were at all fit to raise a child...

This sounds suspiciously like a call for a government agency to determine "fitness for procreation" of everyone. It's straight out Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant series, which I hadn't thought about in years: overpopulation was a problem, so birth control was added to the water supply, and to have a kid you had to apply for the antidote so you could conceive.

And yet Robert thinks that such a society would be more sensible and humane.

What I want to know is, who staffs the government agency? Who would you trust to make that kind of decision for everyone? My answer: no one.

Robert said...

Joan asked
'who staffs the government agency?'

Who currently staffs Child Protective Services, or the Department of Social Services at the county level? We currently have government agents acting to remove children from their homes, put them in foster care, and, in some circumstances, legally terminate the 'parental rights' of their biological parents, and remand them into the legal custody of foster or adoptive parents.

Do you suggest that these governmental actions are illegitimate? Are CPS or child welfare workers violating the social contract when they engage in them?

The situation described here is real, and is happening all across this country. Given that, I am genuinely curious as to why the ounce of prevention raises hackles far more than the pound of cure.

We (as a society) are already judging whether specific individuals are qualified to be parents - my concern is, we are waiting until they have actually BECOME parents before doing so.

hdhouse said...

i think its great that an obviously commited couple choose to have and raise a child. the family is well to do and the child will never know want or hunger or lack of love.

good for them. rejoice in a new life.

if a pregnancy is political shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you're one of those people like Pat Buchanan who blames Matthew Shepphard's murder - on Matthew Shephard! because we all know he shouldn't have made those moves on those straight guys.

You suppose incorrectly.

Downtown Lad, not only do you "think for yourself," but if you can't counter another poster's argument, why, you just go make stuff up! In fact, why not save this little pearl for every argument you have with anybody, on any topic!

Bank employee: I'm sorry DTL, but you don't have any money in the bank. Your check bounced.

DTL: "I suppose you're one of those people like Pat Buchanan who blames Matthew Shepphard's murder - on Matthew Shephard! because we all know he shouldn't have made those moves on those straight guys."

DTL's roommate: God damn it, DTL, you left all your dirty dishes in the kitchen all weekend and now there's mold growing on them. Why can't you be more responsible?

DTL: "I suppose you're one of those people like Pat Buchanan who blames Matthew Shepphard's murder - on Matthew Shephard! because we all know he shouldn't have made those moves on those straight guys."

This brilliant rhetorical technique will quickly be adopted by the Oxfor Union and other prestigious debating societies. You'll go down in history!

Revenant said...

Sullivan doesn't really write for people who actually follow other pundits, which is why he can get away with nonsense such as his remarks about Goldberg.

He is, however, correct (blind squirrels, etc) that Mary Cheney has specifically made her private life a public issue several times in the past, and thus can't reasonably be expected to be shielded from such attention even if she wanted it.

Anonymous said...

I mostly agree with johnstodderinexilem, but wanted to point something out. He seems to be saying, essentially, "chill out" to people who are overly passionate about this subject, and that in due time society will come around as it did with African-American bigotry.

Actually, that's not what I said. I pointed specifically to the persistence of Dr. King in pressing the need for equality. King was in no way saying "chill out" to anybody. I don't think he ever compromised, once. He served time in jail. He and his followers were beaten, and still he kept going.

What I'm talking about is following the way King argued his case. DTL and the thousands of "activists" like him act as if a goal such as gay marriage can be achieved by a concerted campaign of cowardly name-calling -- a sort of rhetorical race to the bottom -- focused indiscriminately on friend and foe alike.

History suggests that, to the contrary, social change is made by brave, bold people who won't shut up or give in, but whose message appeals to our highest principles, those enshrined in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and, in Dr. King's case, the Old and New Testaments. Gay marriage can be argued in such a way, and it will begin to gain acceptance once enough gay leaders figure out how to do it.

Anonymous said...

We currently have government agents acting to remove children from their homes...
Do you suggest that these governmental actions are illegitimate? Are CPS or child welfare workers violating the social contract when they engage in them?


CPS and child welfare workers seem to be either a) overworked, underpaid, tireless advocates for their charges or b) complete incompetents who have found a position wherein they can successfully hide the fact that they're not fit for any responsibility, period.

Is anyone really happy with the performance of their local CPS? Has anyone ever read a story about the glowing work that CPS does? How many children does CPS actually protect, and how many does it terrorize?

Don't go holding up CPS and child welfare workers as examples of the great work the State is doing in protecting the family. The organizations are rife with sloth and corruption; here in AZ we've had a couple of high-profile cases of kids who died because CPS let them slip through the cracks, knowing that there was abuse going on in the home, and doing nothing about it.

Would some pre-conception counseling be a good idea? Sure, the same way pre-marital counseling is a great idea. The problems come when you want to 1) describe what the contents of such a course should be and 2) mandate that everyone take the same course, not to mention 3) threaten the reproductive rights of anyone who might disagree with the content of such a course, or the fact that they have to take it in the first place.

Raising a child is not like driving a car. You can't impose a licensing exam on would-be parents, for the simple reason that it's so very, very easy to make babies for the majority of people. Are we going to start throwing pregnant women in jail, or forcing them to have abortions, if they haven't passed the course? And what about the men who impregnate them, do they get off scot free?

You really need to think these ideas through, Robert.

knoxgirl said...

History suggests that, to the contrary, social change is made by brave, bold people who won't shut up or give in, but whose message appeals to our highest principles, those enshrined in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and, in Dr. King's case, the Old and New Testaments. Gay marriage can be argued in such a way, and it will begin to gain acceptance once enough gay leaders figure out how to do it.

I agree, I agree, into infinity!

Joe Baby said...

Is a kid better off with a man and woman as parents instead of two homosexual parents?

downtownlad said...

Gay marriage can be argued in such a way, and it will begin to gain acceptance once enough gay leaders figure out how to do it.

Wrong. Gay marriage will be accepted once the bigots die off. Polls make it quite obvious that it is older Americans who are bigots. Most young Americans are not.

As I've said before - that's why I'm happy every time I read the obituaries.

downtownlad said...

And johnstodderinexile - as a lifetime member of the Oxford Union - I think I know a hell of lot more about that debating society than you do.

It's amazing you even know it exists.

downtownlad said...

DTL and the thousands of "activists" like him...

As Dan Savage said - better to be a gay activist than a gay doormat.

Sorry - but straight people like johnstodderexile are in no position to tell gay people how they are supposed to feel.

Revenant said...

As Dan Savage said - better to be a gay activist than a gay doormat

While probably true in a selfish, "what makes you feel good about yourself" sense, it is pretty obvious that gay rights and gay marriage would benefit enormously if you personally never spoke to anyone ever again.

Al Maviva said...

Basically, I think anybody that doesn't go out and have gay sex *right now* and then rent a billboard proclaiming their friendliness to gay rights, is a homophobic gay basher bigger than Fred Phelps, and might as well have killed Matthew Shepard with his or her own bare hands. Any true conservative - or true liberal, or true moderate - would be threatening to overthrow the lawful government by violent means if they sincerely believed what you said about opposition to slavery, basic human rights, and your committment to your beliefs. Because the denial of marriage rights to homosexuals is an oppression unprecedented in the history of mankind, 6 million Jews have nothing on all the gay people who are being denied the right to marry. All the victims of communism are irrelevant when compared to the lukewarm civil unions allowed in New Jersey and Massachusets and Vermont. You sick, sick gay-haters who play out your daddy issues by refusing to do this might as well be murdering all gay people in cold blood every day. You should be drawn, quartered, set alight, publicly pilloried, and forced to write in your own blood a confession of your massive evil hatefulness and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...

/s
Andy Sullivan
- The Voice of Sweet Reason

Kevin P. said...

downtownlad, are you representative of most gay people?

Because you're obnoxious and I wonder if most gay people are obnoxious.

And no, I don't really know many gay people, so you're serving as their ambassador.

Anonymous said...

As I've said before - that's why I'm happy every time I read the obituaries.

I'm a flawed human being, full of contradictions, and despite desires to the contrary I continue to hurt my fellow man in ways both both intentional and unintentional.

And yet, and yet - I am comforted by the fact that when I die, it will be with the knowledge that I have at least been a better man than ghoulish, bitter, hate-filled DTL.

downtownlad said...

The last four comments are typical of the anti-gay bigots.

We'll work for laws that make gay people second class citizens, i.e. preventing gays from serving in the military, preventing gays from adopting children that they have raised their entire lives, preventing gays from entering into contracts with each other.

Like I've said before. The anti-gay bigots don't get to decide who is an anti-gay bigot. Gay people do.

But whoa - God forbid that gay people actually take offense at these laws!

How dare they! The nerve.

And if they do - well all the more reason to hate gays. Because they're just oh so sensitive.

downtownlad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
downtownlad said...

And Kevin P. - What is obnoxious are people like you who vote in favor of laws that will prevent Heather Poe from having any legal rights with her own child.

That is obscenely obnoxious. And it is obnoxious for you to tell me that I'm not even allowed to be offended by that.

You know - maybe Christianity should be banned. Because of Kevin P. is typical of most Christians, then it is obvious that most Christians are obnoxious and it is a particularly abhorrent religion.

downtownlad said...

And disregarding the attacks on me, which always seem to pop up when ever I date to offer my opinion, people need to get back to the topic at hand.

If Mary Cheney dies in a car accident, Heather Poe will have zero rights with her child. It will be confiscated from her and she will be FORBIDDEN from adopting the baby (since she's gay).

How is that good from the child?

Anonymous said...

DTL - statements you've made on this very thread exposing your casual disregard for other men's lives mark you as a repugnant human being, quite apart from your sexual orientation. Surely you'll concede that since homosexuals deserve equal treatment - a position I agree entirely with, by the way - then I am obligated to recognize that you too can be a moral homonculus in your own right - exactly like the people you oppose. Judging by your strident and ironically, reactionary comments I am beginning to suspect you are actually worse than them.

downtownlad said...

Casual disregard for other people's lives?

Exactly how?

Sorry - but it is quite obvious that if you look at demographic trends and polling, the only way gay people are going to gain true equality is through the passage of time, as the old people die off. And as more people are born.

Guess what? People die. I'm going to get old and die too. I'm not glad that people die - but I am glad that every day, more bigots die and more non-bigots are born.

I don't like getting old, but at least the one positive aspect of it is that the bigots are getting old along with me. And at least the next generation of gay people will not have to deal with the same bullshit that we do, which is living amongst a bunch of homophobes who constantly judge you solely based on your sexual orientation.

Anonymous said...

DTL -- You're delusional if you think you're being judged on the basis of your sexual orientation. You're being judged on the dishonest and moronic statements you make right here on threads like this.

I don't believe you're actually gay. I think you're a right-wing homophobe using a sock-puppet identity to defame gays. that's the likeliest explanation for your relentless, tone-deaf campaign to make a complete ass of yourself.

It's not working. It would never occur to me or any other enlightened person to hold the gay community accountable for a cretin like you. So go back to your buddies in the KKK. Your mission failed.

amba said...

Sullivan: "In fact, it is now the only coherent conservative position on a matter made impossible to avoid by the living, breathing reality of a mother and her child."

Just makes you go "Holy infant, so tender and mild," doesn't it?

At this season, and coming from an avowed Catholic, it's impossible not to hear an allusion to that other Mary -- right? Do you think that was a conscious or unconscious trope on Andrew's part, turning Mary Cheney into the gay Madonna, giving birth to a new dispensation?

tjl said...

Kevin P. addresses DTL:

"you're obnoxious and I wonder if most gay people are obnoxious;"

and then Kevin P. reaches a breathtaking conclusion:

"I don't really know many gay people, so you're serving as their ambassador."

Oh my God, I can't believe I'm reading this. If Kevin P., or any other reader, is misguided enough to believe that DTL is the gay ambassador, they'll be inclined to send that ambassador packing and declare war.

Kevin, most gay people can be obnoxious when occasion warrants, but few wish to be obnoxious in the special, non-stop, hyperbolic fashion of DTL. Please don't make any overbroad conclusions from his posts here, which express a viewpoint that is unique to DTL.

downtownlad said...

Wow tjl - I actually agree with you.

I find it offensive that a straight bigot is going to tell me that I must act as a gay "ambassador" whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean.

I'm allowed to get pissed off when I see bigoted anti-gay laws being passed. And I'm allowed to call those who favor those laws bigots. If other gay people want to engage the bigots in a "conversation" well they can go ahead. But that approach is not for me and never will be.

And it's mighty offensive for straight people, who have absolutely zero clue what it's like to face discrimination and hatred because you are gay, who don't know what it's like to have your family no longer speak to you simply because you are gay, it's offensive for those straight people to say I should just have a jolly good attitude towards those who are at the root of the problem.

And if I piss people off - well boo hoo.

Back to the topic. Heather Poe will have no legal rights to parent her child should Mary Cheney die. So the child will be yanked away from the mother she has known her entire life.

George Bush favors that law. Shouldn't somebody call him on it?

downtownlad said...

And johnstodderexile - I know as a fact that most gay people agree with my sentiments. Just go on any one of the major gay blogs and you will see comments that echo mine again and again and again.

More than half of the gay people I know have horrendous relationships with their families, with many having zero contact, having been shunned as soon as they came out. So they know bigotry firsthand.

While it may disturb you to see that bigoted laws have real world consequences (i.e. a bunch of really pissed off and alienated gay people), I'm happy to serve as a daily reminder of it.

Al Maviva said...

TJL - hah. Good one. If DTL is the gay ambassador, I'm guessing he's representing the gay equivalent of North Korea, and inflicting pain on all those who fail to express gay Juche with sufficient enthusiasm.

And as for you, DTL, if you can't help but conflate my comment - a slam on Andrew Sullivan - with anti-gay bigotry, then you've lost perspective wayyyy worse than St. Andrew of Sullivan, Laird of all Fleet Street and the British Isle of One.

Joe Baby said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Baby said...

Heather Poe will have no legal rights to parent her child should Mary Cheney die. So the child will be yanked away from the mother she has known her entire life.

Be damned if I'll take your word on it.

Look here: Equality Virginia -- Adoption & Surrogacy

Info on:
Second Parent and Joint Adoptions
Last Will and Testament
Standby Guardianship
Temporary Guardianship and Health Care Power of Attorney
Co-Parenting Agreements
Joint Custody Agreements

downtownlad said...

Joe,

The baby is legally Mary Cheney's. How in the world can Heather Poe adopt the child of Mary is the legal mother? Contracts between gay people are UNCONSTITUITIONAL in Virginia.
A mother who had a civil union in Vermont yanked the child away to Virginia, and the other mother had zero right to even see that child in Virginia Courts. It's only when an appeals court sent the case back to Vermont court that the other mother even got a custody hearing.

downtownlad said...

And from the link you sent me (did you even bother to read it????)

"Unfortunately, it appears that Virginia will not allow either second-parent or joint adoptions by same-sex couples. In addition, at present, Virginia will not issue a new birth certificate for a child born in Virginia who has been adopted by a same-sex couple. Judge Randall Johnson of the Richmond Circuit Court ruled that Virginia is not required to issue a new birth certificate for such children because doing so would conflict with Virginia's policy of prohibiting joint adoption by unmarried couples. An application for appeal in this case is being prepared. (Both the District and Maryland will reissue birth certificates reflecting same-sex parents for children born in their jurisdiction and subsequently adopted through a second-parent or joint adoption.)"

Joe Baby said...

I'm not an expert on VA family law. But I'll take the advice of an organization like EV over the fearful absolutes you're selling.

Ann Althouse said...

Amba: It's definitely intentional. Look at the cover illustration in TNR. I talk about this in the Bloggingheads I did with Jonah Goldberg, which I hope to see on the web some day.

downtownlad said...

Joe - I'm just taking the quote from the link you sent me. You don't trust your own sources?

Robert said...

I'm perturbed. Why don't _I_ get to be the gay ambassador?

On a more serious note, due to California law, my husband and I (though not legally married) were able to legally adopt our first son. According to the State, he has two fathers and no mother.

I have no doubt that some people would find that appalling, but they had their chance to adopt him themselves, and they didn't. Pity, he's a wonderful boy, and will no doubt grow up to be a remarkable man.

And, just occurred to me - back in the '70s, one of the criticisms leveled at gay men was 'they're so selfish, they decline to participate in the heavy lifting of society (e.g., marriage, childrearing)'. Now, we're selfish because we _want_ those things. Curious.

downtownlad said...

I nominate Robert as the gay ambassador!

I'll be starting up the gay equivalent of the Black Panthers. The Pink Pathers maybe????

But Robert - Don't get pulled over for a parking violation in Virginia. They might take your kid away from you.

Kip said...

The institution of marriage exists because it's a free world and we ordinary people have no wish to dictate who can and can't have a child and in what circumstances. That would be tyranny.

So instead we all decided it would just be better to support the traditional marriages that we all had determined, over thousands of generations, to be the best for kids, society and civilisation.

Unmarried mothers, gay relationships with stepchildren, artificial insemination, privately arranged single adoption, whatever -- no one is stopping any of those things. It's a free world, reproduction is your right.

But no, that's not enough for you guys. You want to overthrow the right of ordinary folks to idealise and support what they regard as ideal and worth supporting.

It's not enough for you to be free, others must be forced to deny what they love and bow down in worship to your gods.

And that's where the tyranny lies.

Joseph Hovsep said...

DTL: I know as a fact that most gay people agree with my sentiments.

If I recall correctly, you have described yourself in previous posts here as a conservative/libertarian which would seem to automatically disqualify you from representing "most gay people." Based solely on the confrontations you have with other gay commenters on this blog, I think its fair to say you don't represent most gay people.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Kip: we all decided it would just be better to support the traditional marriages that we all had determined, over thousands of generations, to be the best for kids, society and civilisation.

Read some history. Thousands of generations? The modern romantic marriage where one man and one woman live alone in a house with their kids is a very modern invention. Big extended families and clans are the way kids have traditionally been raised over thousands of generations (it takes a village). You might not like gay couples raising kids together but don't pretend that the insular, isolated way straight married couples raise kids today is some kind of natural law.

But no, that's not enough for you guys. You want to overthrow the right of ordinary folks to idealise and support what they regard as ideal and worth supporting. It's not enough for you to be free, others must be forced to deny what they love and bow down in worship to your gods.

No one is arguing that ordinary folks like you can't idealize and support your way of life. I think gay parents are miffed at self-defined "ordinary people" telling them they are not "ordinary" enough to raise families like everyone else. Gay-friendly people are not demanding anyone bow down and worship their gods (apparently not the same gods you ordinary anti-gay folk worship?). Love what you want, hate what you want, advocate what you want, worship what you want and set up your family as you want. That's what gay-friendly people want for themselves and for everybody.

Revenant said...

Like I've said before. The anti-gay bigots don't get to decide who is an anti-gay bigot. Gay people do

You can use whatever definitions you want. Gays are 3% of the population. You need at least 50% on your side. That means convincing 47% of the population that you're right.

Which means that (as intelligent supporters of gay rights realize) how the heterosexual comminity views gay rights is at least sixteen times as important as how the gay community views gay rights. Which is why your "insult your way to freedom" strategy is retarded.

Joseph Hovsep said...

DTL: More than half of the gay people I know have horrendous relationships with their families, with many having zero contact, having been shunned as soon as they came out.

That's not consistent with my experience. Granted I came of age in the mid-90s and you came of age in the early-80s and a lot changed in terms of public attitudes towards gays and lesbians in that time, but still my experience shows that most gays and lesbians I know have decent relationships with their families and the families where anti-gay prejudice has played a big role have bigger problems than just the rejection of sexuality they're dealing with. My parents and my partners' parents are supportive and inclusive and good parents. That's not to say our mothers reacted with dry-eyed reasonableness when first confronting the issue, but that's natural. In fact, I think it probably makes many family relationships stronger to go through the process of understanding and accepting each other despite what may be unwelcome news.

In my experience, that has been the more common situation in families with gay kids and not disowning upon coming out that you describe. Those bigots who disown their kids for being gay should be condemned, but they are a small minority in my generation.

tjl said...

"Those bigots who disown their kids for being gay should be condemned, but they are a small minority in my generation."

They were a small minority in the 80s generation too, but DTL would never admit that his own experience was unusual (and, one suspects, at least partially self-inflicted). Instead, DTL would have everyone believe that his tale of family rejection is some vast, all-inclusive paradigm of gay exclusion and woe.

Not so.

Marty said...

Seems like common bigotry to me, that Ms. Cheney has "disowned" her own child's father before s/he is even born, for no better reason than gender bias.

Fatherlessness is no less of a tragedy because mom is gay, than it is because dad is (drunk, violent, dead, in prison, etc).

Anonymous said...

Thus sayeth Marty: "Seems like common bigotry to me, that Ms. Cheney has "disowned" her own child's father before s/he is even born, for no better reason than gender bias."

Um, for the umpteenth time, being gay or lesbian has ZERO to do with hating or being biased against the gender opposite one's own, no more than heterosexual men are driven by bias against other guys, or heterosexual women are driven by bias against other gals. Sheesh, enough with the canards, OK?

And this child would not exist in the first place were her/his mom not a lesbian who decided, in this time and place, to conceive in partnership with Ms. Poe. Hell, maybe even Ms. Poe wielded the turkey baster amid torrid lovemaking, not so far from "traditional" scenarios.

To read some of these comments, one would think that kids born via IVF, or AI, or donor eggs, or surrogate moms carrying another woman's fertilized egg, etc etc, are all being done irreparable harm. Personally, I think not having been brought into existence in the first place would constitute the real "harm."

Anonymous said...

People are making a lot of assumptions about Mary Cheney's pregnancy. We don't know that she's denying the child a father, for example. Some lesbian parents use known donors, or co-parent with gay (or straight) men.

I know one child being raised by four parents: a gay couple and a lesbian couple-- the boy's biologic parents and their partners. The boy is doted over by four parents and eight grandparents.

Virginia's laws, by the way, are not supportive of children remaining connected to their biological parents. Under Virginia law, being a lesbian is evidence of being an unfit mother. Sharon Bottoms had her son taken away from her because she was a lesbian, a decision that was ultimately affirmed by the Virginia Supreme Court.

http://www.apa.org/psyclaw/bottoms.html

Lesbian mothers in Virginia can't assume they'll be allowed to raise their own biological children. I doubt Mary Cheney is worried about this-- the privileged elite don't live by the same rules that kept Sharon Bottoms from being able to raise her son.