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A pre-mortem for gay marriage in California:

Ann Rostow, one of the most gifted writers and trenchant analysts of gay politics anywhere, offers some thoughts on what now appears to be the losing campaign to save gay marriage in California:

Winning the Prop 8 fight will now take a last minute turnaround, and our message in the next two weeks cannot be a tame appeal to "fairness" or even an attack on the "lies" of the other campaign. But I have the rising fear that it may be too late to reverse direction, absent a sudden burst of opposition by the governor and the state's top leaders.

Throughout this campaign, we have once again hid the face of same-sex couples and given a free pass to those in the middle of the electorate who are uncomfortable with gay relationships. Instead of challenging that atavistic premise, we have nodded our collective heads and said something on the order of "Hey, we understand that gay couples make you a little queasy, but for God's sake don't write us out of the constitution."

You know what that message actually means? It means that it's just fine to feel queasy. It implies that we ourselves feel queasy in a way. We can see your point! It's a losing strategy and it has lost us every same-sex marriage election, save one (Arizona 2004) that we've ever fought.

I read that when newsman Rex Wockner challenged this approach, our campaign leaders told him that the ads weren't directed at our community, they were directed at the swing voters. Focus groups showed that these fence sitters were indeed swayed by the namby pampy style.

Well, of course we want to direct our message to the middle. But you know what? There's another way to sway those voters. There's a positive message to be sent about what kind of state you want to live in, what kind of person you want to be, and what kind of assumptions you're bringing to the ballot box. . . . Who are you, swing voter? Look in the mirror and make a decision. And while you're at it, take a look at a few gay couples who have not brought civilization to its knees by getting married. Look at their kids, their lives, their happiness, their futures. Were these messages ever tested in the focus groups? How many approaches were considered before we fell back on the tried and failed defensive political postures of the past?

A positive message would have pre-empted attack ads. Instead we fell into their traps, forcing ourselves to insist that California can become a marriage equality state without a corresponding commitment to equal rights throughout its institutions. No, gay marriage won't be taught in schools if Prop 8 fails. But neither will the idea that gay marriage is wrong. We can't tell the voters that they can vote against Prop 8 on one hand, and preserve a homophobic public policy on the other. They can't, and they know it and we should have asked, not just for the status quo of the last five months, but for a future of respect. We could have described that future in an attractive way and I think we'd be in better shape today if we had.

Andrew Sullivan expresses similar doubts about the campaign to defeat Prop 8 here.

Trying to win "gay marriage" through a campaign that never mentions "gays" and hardly ever mentions "marriage" does seem counter-intuitive. I doubt voters can be bamboozled into thinking that a consequence of a "no" vote on Prop 8 is anything other than the (probably) permanent establishment of gay marriage and an implicit public declaration that homosexuality is unobjectionable. A vote against Prop 8 is a vote for gay marriage; a vote for Prop 8 is a vote against gay marriage. For most voters, pro and con, I doubt it's any more complicated than that.

What's interesting to me is that both sides have avoided the merits of allowing gay couples to marry. Gay-marriage supporters have done so, with focus-group tested messages in hand, because they suspect a large group of people even in a progressive state are still deeply uncomfortable with homosexuality and certainly don't like gay marriage. Gay-marriage opponents have done so, I presume, because they know that Americans don't like to be seen as discriminating or opposing civil rights. So they paint gay marriage, instead, as itself a threat to the rights of religious people and parents. The theory seems to be that the side that's most seen as defending rights is the side that wins.

I doubt that any months-long campaign of television ads, no matter their content, could really change the basic impulses most people have on this issue. Those impulses, whether they lead you to support or oppose gay marriage, are developed over a lifetime of experience. Very few people come to this issue without some fairly strongly held views. Such views are hard to dislodge.

Still, there's something to Rostow's hope that one day gay-marriage supporters might actually argue that gay marriage is a good thing. If we're going to lose these ballot fights anyway, why not fight the good fight rather than the agnostic one?

Randy R. (mail):
Totally agree. I'm tired of trying to convince people that I'm not sick, a predator, a sex fiend, a devil worshipper and so on. It's like trying to prove a negative "I'm not as bad as you think I am!"

Studies and anecdotes show that when you actually get to know a gay person, and even become friends with them, you realize that they are people just like everyone else. Some are jerks, some are saints. Just like when you get to know a black person, you stop seeing their skin color and see them as a person.

Having a campaign that ignores the central issue is just stupid. heck, even Ellen's 30 second spot never mentions that she got married to a woman, and doesn't show any pictures of the two of them. They need to show gay men holding hands and even kissing. (And not just the very well cut circuit boys!) They should have a spot of a lesbian couple in the 60s talk about how they've been together for decades. That really resonates.
10.17.2008 4:04pm
Randy R. (mail):
BTW, regarding focus groups. I was so angry in the 2004 election because the Prez of the HRC kept ducking the issue of gay marriage and gay rights. Whenever she appeared on tv, the moderators would ask her her thoughts on gay marriage and rights, and she would reply that the American people would prefer to talk about health care and the economy. Which, of course, left the door open for our opponents to rail on against gays.

We lost badly in that election, and she was chucked soon after. Her excuse was that the focus told her that people would rather talk about health care than gay rights.

At some point, you have to be a leader, not a follower, if you want social change.
10.17.2008 4:07pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Except, Randy R., homosexuality by definition is a perversion. You can't change something that defines a term unless you want to get Orwellian.
10.17.2008 4:08pm
FantasiaWHT:

Very few people come to this issue without some fairly strongly held views. Such views are hard to dislodge.


Then why do the polls swing so much? I tend to agree with you, which is one of the reasons I completely mistrust polling data.
10.17.2008 4:10pm
Arkady:

What's interesting to me is that both sides have avoided the merits of allowing gay couples to marry.


I think Jack McCoy had the best take on this: "Let 'em marry and be as miserable as the rest of us."
10.17.2008 4:10pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Eventually, gay marriage will be passed legislatively. I know that it is not fast enough for people like Professor Carpenter, but in the long run everyone will be better off if the issues wins at the ballot and is not imposed by judges.

I would vote against it. Eventually, I may come around to the other side, but I am sure the majority of Americans will someday.
10.17.2008 4:14pm
Drea (mail):
Unfortunately, having this statement in the state constitution will make it harder for gay marriage to be passed legislatively in California.
10.17.2008 4:17pm
Oren:

Except, Randy R., homosexuality by definition is a perversion.

Perversion of what? The name Randy is a perversion of the name Randall, 10 Things I Hate About You was a perversion of Taming of The Shrew.

Despite being straight, I can tell you in advance that whatever homosexuality is a perversion of, I want no part of it.
10.17.2008 4:17pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
"Throughout this campaign, we have once again... given a free pass to those in the middle of the electorate who are uncomfortable with gay relationships. Instead of challenging that atavistic premise..."

Hey, that's a great strategy. Attack the people whose votes you want as a bunch of homophobes. That can't possibly go wrong...
10.17.2008 4:24pm
Mike& (mail):
It's time for people to start treating opponents of gay marriage they way we treat other bigots - with disapprobation.

Reasonable minds cannot disagree about this issue. If you do not want gays to marry, you're every bit the bigot as those in the South during Jim Crow.

Once we start treating Prop 8 people like the bigots they are, they will be the ones forced into the underground. As it is now, people hide the way they are born; where as people who choose to be hateful do so in public. This state of affairs must end.
10.17.2008 4:28pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Right on. A "Give Love a Chance!" campaign.

How about an ad with a gay couple where one is white and one black. "Fifty years ago we couldn't marry because of race. 'Everyone knew' mixed marriages would lead to huge problems. But they didn't, and neither will same-sex marriages. Give Love a Chance."

Another approach would be, "Look at hetrosexual marriage under the 'protection' of government, and tell me how gay marriage can screw it up any worse."

I share the belief that gay rights organizations may be their own worst enemy. Side example: The Pink Pistols, the gay gunowner group, consistently reports that they get a much better reception at gun rights conferences than they do at gay rights conferences.

How's that for irony?
10.17.2008 4:29pm
Monty:
My position is that state recognition of religious marriage violates the establishment clause...

The states should recognize civil unions between any two consenting adults. Leave the definition of marriage alone, but give it no legal recognition...

Religious groups would get to preserve the sanctity of marriage all they want, same sex couples would get the legal recongnition they deserve, and everyone would be happy. Except no one would accept that arrangement, but thats besides the point.
10.17.2008 4:32pm
wm13:
"Unfortunately, having this statement in the state constitution will make it harder for gay marriage to be passed legislatively in California."

Which is why attempting to implement gay marriage through the courts is such a foolish strategy, because it provokes a backlash.

The situation is totally different than it was with segregation. There, a national majority disapproved of segregation, and the courts acted as agents of the national majority in forcing a local minority to accede to the national consensus.

For myself, I am not sure what I think about gay marriage, but I know what I think when a court tells me that my vote doesn't count, or when a human rights commission takes away my free speech, or when Prof. Carpenter deletes one of my comments.
10.17.2008 4:33pm
JDS:
I just don't get it... My long-time live-in girlfriend and I would love to be able to be Domestic Partners - it offers the key benefits of marriage (e.g. insurance) without the Federal income tax consequences (which has kept us from marrying).

Now Prop.8 probably wouldn't force same-sex couples to file joint Federal tax returns, but why take the chance? Symbolism is one thing, but why risk the money?

The flip side of this, of course, is that it's foolish to deny joint filing status to couples that are more likely to consist of two high-earning individuals and less likely to have children and other tax deductions. So I am definitely in favor of Federal [income tax] recognition of same-sex couples.
10.17.2008 4:36pm
CogDis (mail):
Drop the talk about rights and hospital visits. Talk about how marriage provides meaning to your life - Personally! Straight people know this to be true. Talk about how marriage promotes emotional, financial, and societal stability - the CONSERVATIVE CASE for same-sex marriage. This tells people what is in it for THEM - a more cohesive, stable, fulfilled society.
10.17.2008 4:38pm
Ken Mitchell (mail):
As a Libertarian, I should approve of gay marriage, or at least, I shouldn't object. As a happily-married heterosexual, I really don't have a dog in this fight, so again, I shouldn't care.

I'm voting yes on Prop 8 to ban gay marriage, and here's why I'm violating my Libertarian principles to do so; I STRONGLY object to activist judges repealing laws that they don't like and writing laws that they do.

The people of California have ALREADY voted to ban gay marriage, and the State Supreme Court voted 4-3 to overturn the will of the voters. The voters may be stupid, bigoted and unreasonable people, and they often are - but when the people submit an initiative proposition to the ballot and it PASSES, I'm not sure that any state court has the authority to overturn them.

In this case, virtually the same proposition has been rewritten as an amendment to the California Constitution, which will then overrule the judges.

A plague on both their houses!
10.17.2008 4:39pm
c.gray (mail):

What's interesting to me is that both sides have avoided the merits of allowing gay couples to marry


Isn't that the least interesting aspect?

Both sides are driven by small groups of activists aware that their particular views are simply not shared by the majority of California voters. They also know that, at least in the short term, it is simply not possible to move a solid majority over to their way of thinking. So neither group really wishes the majority to think deeply about the merits of their particular argument...it's just too risky.

So they bombard the voters with images of popular celebrities or appeals to protect marriage, children, religious freedom, or maybe just a picture of puppies. After all, almost everybody likes puppies.
10.17.2008 4:39pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

If you do not want gays to marry, you're every bit the bigot as those in the South during Jim Crow.


Yeah, right. Or maybe that people that behave contrary to biology are mistakes of nature and ought not be encouraged except at the peril of our continuing existence.
10.17.2008 4:42pm
wooga:

It's time for people to start treating opponents of gay marriage they way we treat other bigots - with disapprobation.

Reasonable minds cannot disagree about this issue. If you do not want gays to marry, you're every bit the bigot as those in the South during Jim Crow.

Once we start treating Prop 8 people like the bigots they are, they will be the ones forced into the underground. As it is now, people hide the way they are born; where as people who choose to be hateful do so in public. This state of affairs must end.



That strategy won't work, when the primary thrust of the pro prop 8 campaign is "over 60% of Californians already voted to ban gay marriage."

It is simply impossible to try and shame the majority into submission. Shame only works when the people targeted are socially ostracized. Calling people bigots, and dismissively claiming that 60% of the population is unreasonable, is NOT going to win any converts. If anything, it pisses people off at the time when you are asking for their sympathy!

Here's the basic fact. It is perfectly legitimate to legislate morality - we do it all the time. Most people believe homosexual behavior to be immoral. You aren't going to win on the immoral/moral issue in the foreseeable future.

The pro-SSM strategy should be libertarian, arguing that individual rights should trump the state. Unfortunately, it seems there are virtually no gay anti-statists left in America.
10.17.2008 4:42pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Here is a new video ad in favor of Prop 8. Funny, but not persuasive.
10.17.2008 4:43pm
arnold begintyvale:
I don't feel strongly one way or the other about Prop 8 - but I do believe that the ads in favor of Prop 8 are just awful
10.17.2008 4:45pm
pete (mail) (www):

Drop the talk about rights and hospital visits. Talk about how marriage provides meaning to your life - Personally! Straight people know this to be true. Talk about how marriage promotes emotional, financial, and societal stability - the CONSERVATIVE CASE for same-sex marriage. This tells people what is in it for THEM - a more cohesive, stable, fulfilled society.


The thing is you do not need the state to endorse your marraige for it to provide meaning to your life. I would have married my wife even if the state did not recognize the marraige and I suspect that the vast majority of other heterosexuals would have too. If gay people want to have marraige ceremonies that are not legally binding and then live together for the rest of their life no one is stopping them.
10.17.2008 4:48pm
Mike& (mail):
Yeah, right. Or maybe that people that behave contrary to biology are mistakes of nature and ought not be encouraged except at the peril of our continuing existence.

So you think that underpopulation is a legitimate concern?

Some folks certainly shouldn't breed. The next time you look into the mirror, you'll see one.
10.17.2008 4:48pm
darelf:
Not the first time I suppose, but neither the original post, the quoted article nor any of the comments have put forward any argument for or against that make any real sense at all.

I know I'm not a California voter anymore, but if I were I'm sure I would vote for Prop 8 on the theory that since no one can come up with a good, logical reason to change this tradition we should probably keep it for now. The fact that the anti-gay marriage side can't come up with any good arguments just makes it no worse than the pro- side.
10.17.2008 4:51pm
Nathan_M (mail):

Here is a new video ad in favor of Prop 8. Funny, but not persuasive.

I don't know about "funny", but it is ironic that the group paying for this, and which is too scared to talk about gays, calls itself the "Courage Campaign". It's no wonder the anti-prop 8 people aren't doing well.
10.17.2008 4:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
Ryan: "Hey, that's a great strategy. Attack the people whose votes you want as a bunch of homophobes. "

Ryan, please read Skylar.

Ken: As a Libertarian, I should approve of gay marriage, or at least, I shouldn't object. As a happily-married heterosexual, I really don't have a dog in this fight, so again, I shouldn't care. "

And yet, you'll vote against gay marriage because you don't like the fact that a few judges voted on the issue. So does that mean that if the judges voted down on SSM, you would be voting for it?

Love how you treat people's lives like it's a game.
10.17.2008 4:53pm
A Berman (mail):
Dale,

You can't bludgeon the people with a court ruling which implies that they are bigots, and then appeal to their higher nature.

You want to convince people that gay marriage is not a threat? Drop all the court battles. Drop the goal of multiple court rulings in multiple states leading up to a Supreme Court challenge against all State bans on same-sex marriage.

-A B
10.17.2008 4:54pm
Mike& (mail):
Shame only works when the people targeted are socially ostracized

Then it's time to grow and pair, and to start letting people know that their bigotry will not be tolerated.
10.17.2008 4:54pm
Michael B (mail):
There is nothing "atavistic" about opposing gay marriage. To the contrary, it is arguably atavistic to support gay marriage since the lengthier anthropological history (as reviewed herein) reflects the fact that human sexuality is polymorphous, not simplistically discrete. (That is also the underlying reason why "perversion" will never ring entirely true as a pejorative against homosexuality.) Extended excerpt from the link:

"... Men have had sex with women and with men; with little girls and young boys; with a single partner and in large groups; with total strangers and immediate family members; and with a variety of domesticated animals. They have achieved orgasm with inanimate objects such as leather, shoes, and other pieces of clothing, through urinating and defecating on each other (interested readers can see a photograph of the former at select art museums exhibiting the works of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe); by dressing in women's garments; by watching other human beings being tortured; by fondling children of either sex; by listening to a woman's disembodied voice (e.g., "phone sex"); and, of course, by looking at pictures of bodies or parts of bodies. There is little, animate or inanimate, that has not excited some men to orgasm. Of course, not all of these practices have been condoned by societies -- parent-child incest and seducing another's man's wife have rarely been countenanced -- but many have, and all illustrate what the unchanneled, or in Freudian terms, the "un-sublimated," sex drive can lead to."

Also:

"Judaism placed controls on sexual activity. It could no longer dominate religion and social life. It was to be sanctified -- which in Hebrew means "separated" -- from the world and placed in the home, in the bed of husband and wife. Judaism's restricting of sexual behavior was one of the essential elements that enabled society to progress. Along with ethical monotheism, the revolution begun by the Torah when it declared war on the sexual practices of the world wrought the most far-reaching changes in history."
10.17.2008 4:55pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Mike&, Yes, underpopulation is a problem, in the long term. Developed nations have negative growth. As the rest of the world grows in prosperity, and let's hope they do, they are equally susceptible to the same trend.

I wish we could get back to the point in our culture where homosexuality was properly viewed as a bad result. We don't encourage any other type of malady the way homosexuality is now encouraged and exalted.
10.17.2008 4:56pm
Sweating Through Fog (mail) (www):
Even if Prop 8 passes it will have no effect. The court has shown that it is determined to have its way in this matter. The constitution means what the court says it means, and so the court will find a way of interpreting this amendment out of existence.
10.17.2008 4:58pm
LM (mail):
I have no polling data, but as a hetero opponent of Prop 8, I'll bet its success has been driven mostly by that stupid Gavin Newsom clip. What an obnoxious reinforcement of all the culture war messages about gay rights being in militant, triumphalist opposition to Joe Sixpack's right to raise his kids with "traditional values."

(BTW, wouldn't Joe Sixpack be a great name for a gay porn star?)
10.17.2008 4:58pm
Mike& (mail):
As a Libertarian, I should approve of gay marriage, or at least, I shouldn't object. As a happily-married heterosexual, I really don't have a dog in this fight, so again, I shouldn't care.

So what other cases have so inspired you to take to the ballot box?

Oh, none?

It just so happens to be that in 2008, for the first time ever, judges engaged in judicial activism. You must fight this. Yeah, OK.

No one is buying that line of b.s. Well, your friends in Ohio probably will believe you.
10.17.2008 4:59pm
Steve:
As a liberal, I personally find the conservative argument for gay marriage more compelling. But I think history shows that equality always ends up as the winning argument in the long run.

Dan Savage persuasively argued that it's much easier to convince someone to grant you equal civil rights than it is to convince them to like you or approve of you.
10.17.2008 5:06pm
John McG (mail) (www):

Reasonable minds cannot disagree about this issue. If you do not want gays to marry, you're every bit the bigot as those in the South during Jim Crow.



Another winning strategy -- I'm sure people can't wait to vote for a future in which they will share a historical legacy with Bull Connor and George Wallace.

Same sex marraige was a fringe issue until about 10 years ago. Are you saying that every political leader before then did not have a reasonable mind? Barack Obama does not have a reasonable mind? Joe Biden? John Kerry?

We are talking about a broad re-definition of a bedrock institution of our society. People can think that's not such a great idea without being bigots.
10.17.2008 5:08pm
Oren:

Yeah, right. Or maybe that people that behave contrary to biology are mistakes of nature and ought not be encouraged except at the peril of our continuing existence.

Biology is filled with homosexual conduct. In fact, monkeys (being our closest relatives, I thought they might be relevant) are quite frisky, engaging in all sorts of conduct. Other animals are pretty gay too.

Of course, "it happens in nature therefore it should be allowed" isn't any better at determining optimal social policy than "it doesn't happen in nature therefore it should be forbidden". Both are rubbish.
10.17.2008 5:16pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
As a gay man who is also a strong republican, I must admit that I find the conservative legal arguments more convincing. I don't like the courts forcing the issue on the people. In some states, it's a bit silly to say that the constitution requires gay marriage, but I understand that California was a little different in that regard. I am absolutely opposed to the federal courts reading a right to gay marriage into the Constitution in the absence of an amendment that covers the issue. The 14th Amendment has been stretched way too far.
10.17.2008 5:16pm
John425:
Gays object to the word "perversion" but by using almost any other definition it comes out to the same thing.

The norm of human society (97%) is heterosexuality. Any wandering off from that norm is a "deviation". You may not like the term "deviation" either but it describes the variance. Hmmm. On second thought; how about calling them "variants"?

Democracy does not require that a social construct be 100% applicable.
10.17.2008 5:17pm
Brett:
I'm a permanent by-mail voter, and I've already submitted my ballot marked against Prop 8. It will sadden me terribly if the measure passes.

That said, I think the most effective ad of the campaign, on either side, is the pro-Prop 8 one which shows snippets from Gavin Newsom's triumphalist speech to supporters just after the California Supreme Court decision. That speech was sufficiently over the top that a pro-Prop 8 ad leveraging it was entirely predictable -- but that doesn't make it any less potent. Newsom had a perfect opportunity to show a little grace in victory to try and build a less turbulent political glide path for the decision, and couldn't help but deliver what amounted to a steaming pile of unctuous, imperious douchebaggery. And now the measure's supporters are using that speech to beat its opponents like a Salvation Army bell.

I give credit to Newsom for forcing the lawsuit, but with political friends like him, gays in California don't need enemies.
10.17.2008 5:18pm
David Larsomn (mail):
My support for Prop 8 has nothing to do with an aversion to the idea of gays marrying per se. I would have no problem with a proposition specifically validating gay marriage. What I object to is the illicit, anti-democratic, and in fact downright tyrranical hubris of the California Supreme Court in attempting to force it down our throats by making up out of whole cloth a "right" to gay marriage not actually grounded in the CA constitution as it was written as opposed to how guests at the justice's cocktail parties believe it should have been written, essentially telling the people, from whom after all all just power is purportedly derived, "we know you voted against this but you are a bunch of ignorant rubes and can all go to hell." If y'all want gay marriage, you probably can get it eventually--just keep putting it up to a vote via the proposition process and it will likely be a matter of time. I am tired of the idiotic, unelected "elites" trying to disenfranchise me. But then maybe thats just me.
10.17.2008 5:20pm
Oren:

Along with ethical monotheism, the revolution begun by the Torah when it declared war on the sexual practices of the world wrought the most far-reaching changes in history."

That's a curious Judaism that they are describing. At least most modern Jews cannot be said to be at war with human sexuality (the only exception being adultery, but one that most readily accept).
10.17.2008 5:21pm
Mike& (mail):
Yeah, right. Or maybe that people that behave contrary to biology are mistakes of nature and ought not be encouraged except at the peril of our continuing existence.

Sying that something is good (or not) because it conforms with nature is completely ignorant of what nature really is. Civilization is consent and freedom. Nature is rape and tyranny.

Do you really want to return to a state of nature?
10.17.2008 5:22pm
Crackmonkeyjr (www):
Monty: The government doesn't recognize religious marriage. While most people tend get civil marriages and religious marriages at the same time, neither is a precondition for the other. If you don't want the government messing with your religious marriage, don't get a marriage license. You will be married in the eyes of your church, but not in the eyes of the government. Similarly, you can choose to just have a civil marriage and keep the priest out of it.
10.17.2008 5:33pm
Steve P. (mail):
I wish we could get back to the point in our culture where homosexuality was properly viewed as a bad result. We don't encourage any other type of malady the way homosexuality is now encouraged and exalted.

Gay Derangement Syndrome!
10.17.2008 5:34pm
Yankev (mail):

That's a curious Judaism that they are describing. At least most modern Jews cannot be said to be at war with human sexuality (the only exception being adultery, but one that most readily accept).
Oren, nowhere did he say that Judaism was ever at war with human sexuality. He said that Judaism declared war on the polymorphous sexuality that was prevalent in the ancient world, where anything and everything was accepted. Read it again: "sexual practices of the world" as opposed to sanctifying private sex between a husband and wife. Think again -- what is the Hebrew term for the first stage of a marriage, when the woman becomes forbidden to all other men? Kiddushin - which of course means sanctification. And even within marriage, as you know, Judaism demands that the partners treat each other with love and respect in their sexual life as in everything else, and that they sublimate their sexual life to the demands of G-d by abstaining from sex at certain times.

Have a good Shabbos.
10.17.2008 5:38pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Most Americans -- if not a large majority -- have nothing against homosexuals and would be pleased as punch to just live-and-let-live. But they don't want homosexuality thrown in their face, rubbed in their nose and jammed down their throats. Court imposed gay marriage does all of that.
10.17.2008 5:38pm
Yankev (mail):

Sying that something is good (or not) because it conforms with nature is completely ignorant of what nature really is. Civilization is consent and freedom. Nature is rape and tyranny.
And as Oren pointed out, nature also includes plenty of examples of homosexual activity. I doubt that any animal attaches a stigma to how another animal may choose to gratify itself.

The ability to control one's actions and not give into one's lusts or appetites is the single biggest difference between humans and animals.
10.17.2008 5:42pm
Oren:
Yankev, I missed the past-tense construction of "sexual practices of the world". My apologies and shabbat sameach.

Bpbatista, I would gladly vote for an amendment to the state constitution declaring that only an act of the legislature has the right to define the contours of marriage (within the bounds of Loving v. Virginia, of course, but that's not a matter for the States).

Prop 8 is not a proposition against court-ordered gay marriage, it's a prop against gay marriage itself.
10.17.2008 5:46pm
A Law Dawg:
The ability to control one's actions and not give into one's lusts or appetites is the single biggest difference between humans and animals.


Nonsense. When has an animal been observed controlling its actions in such a way?
10.17.2008 5:49pm
Yankev (mail):
Michael B, out of curiosity, are your quotations from Dennis Prager, and if not, where are they from?
10.17.2008 5:55pm
pete (mail) (www):

As a liberal, I personally find the conservative argument for gay marriage more compelling. But I think history shows that equality always ends up as the winning argument in the long run.


Tell the ERA that.
10.17.2008 5:56pm
Helene Edwards (mail):
Look, if I vote for gay marriage, do queers agree to stop talking like that and to swear off critical mass?
10.17.2008 5:57pm
MadHatChemist:
Gay marriage isn't about tolerence, freedom, &c. It is about one group of people forcing their morality on others, and remolding society to do it via the machinations of the state.

It is hypocritic to say that those who oppose gay marriage are bigots because they want the law to reflect their morality, while turning around and declaring marriage to be sacred and to be proected from polygamy and incest...because those things are mroally wrong!

If you believe that discrimination means anything less then government validation and enforcement of that view (e.g in the workplace, a government.community center, schools, &c.), then how can you deny such validation towards those who have a different perception of marriage as you?

Who does it hurd if incestuous couples get married (isn't incest in California not a crime anyway)? Who does it hurt if more then two people want to enter in a sacred union? So much about tolerence from the gay rights crowd.
10.17.2008 6:00pm
c.gray (mail):

It is about one two groups of people forcing their morality on others, and remolding society to do it via the machinations of the state.


Fixed it for you.

It's pretty clear both hope to do this.
10.17.2008 6:07pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Perhaps gays should have sufficient respect for themselves to marry each other without begging permission from the rest of the population. For thousands of years couples married without a license, judge, or referendum. If one wants to partake of the basic institution, why define it as a license, $25, legal age, and two witnesses? Why define it as hospital visitation, tax breaks, joint custody, and inheritance? It appears many gays think marriage wouldn't exist without the state legislature or judge to hand out goodies.

Gays are asking for permission to marry rather than simply standing on their own two feet and saying, "We are married, whether you recognize it or not. We hold ourselves out as being married. We live as a married couple. We say we are married, because it's our decision, we did it, nobody but us can do it, and nobody but us can undo it."

The Catholic Church is a leading opponent of gay marriage, but even it says that a marriage is created by the couple themselves, not by a priest, minister, judge, or legislature.

Until gays create their own marriages, exercise a right they claim they have as human beings, and recognize their own marriages, why expect anyone else to care about them?
10.17.2008 6:09pm
MadHatChemist:
c.gray:

ONE group wants to use the state to change and mold society to fit its morality.

The other group wants the state to reflect society as it is.

It is the former that you have to worry about, since your opinions and theirs might not always be the same.
10.17.2008 6:10pm
Crackmonkeyjr (www):
Elliot123:
What the heck are you talking about. Plenty of gay couples get "married" in their own eyes and the eyes of their friends and families. That is already over and done with. What they want is for these marriages to be recognized by the state, just like any other committed couple.
10.17.2008 6:13pm
Oren:
MHC, "society as it is" is a pretty vague conceit.


Why define it as hospital visitation, tax breaks, joint custody, and inheritance?

Because those are benefits available to hetero married couples that cannot simply be contracted into by the parties.
10.17.2008 6:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The norm of human society (97%) is heterosexuality. Any wandering off from that norm is a "deviation". You may not like the term "deviation" either but it describes the variance. Hmmm. On second thought; how about calling them "variants"? "

Then you have no problem with calling all left handed people perverts and deviants. Or blue-eyed people. Or bald people. or whatever, right?

"But they don't want homosexuality thrown in their face, rubbed in their nose and jammed down their throats. Court imposed gay marriage does all of that."

And yet, after the court imposed SSM in Massachusetts, approval of SSM has actually risen. How could that have happened?

"The ability to control one's actions and not give into one's lusts or appetites is the single biggest difference between humans and animals."

Sure thing. But when a straight pledges lifelong celebacy, as in the case of a catholic priest, he does so voluntarily. When it comes to gays, it's someone else who is saying that they should be celebate.
10.17.2008 6:14pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Here's the basic fact. It is perfectly legitimate to legislate morality - we do it all the time. Most people believe homosexual behavior to be immoral. You aren't going to win on the immoral/moral issue in the foreseeable future.

The pro-SSM strategy should be libertarian, arguing that individual rights should trump the state. Unfortunately, it seems there are virtually no gay anti-statists left in America.


To quote Sgt. Stedenko from "Up in Smoke" you are a stupid stupid man.
10.17.2008 6:15pm
Mike& (mail):
But [straight Americans] don't want homosexuality thrown in their face, rubbed in their nose and jammed down their throats.

I feel ya, bro. I'm so sick of those fags inviting me to their weddings. It's like I can't keep my social calendar straight! I swear if I get another pink invitation, I am going to go postal!

Get a clue, dude. Gays don't care about you. They want you to return the favor: Stop caring about them by leaving them alone.
10.17.2008 6:16pm
Randy R. (mail):
madhat: "Gay marriage isn't about tolerence, freedom, &c. It is about one group of people forcing their morality on others, and remolding society to do it via the machinations of the state. "

Please tell me how the states of Massachusetts has been remolded since they have recognized gay marriage. And if it has been remolded for the worse, then why is approval so high?
10.17.2008 6:16pm
MadHatChemist:
Randy R.:

Their supreme court decreed it. With the power of law behind it and its continued existance thus protected, it becomes a new "normal." It becomes a fait accompli.

But listen to the howls if you dare want to expand marriage to be something beyond what gay marriage supporters believe -- why, such things are unnatural and immoral!
10.17.2008 6:20pm
Christopher Phelan (mail):
Mike&writes
Get a clue, dude. Gays don't care about you. They want you to return the favor: Stop caring about them by leaving them alone.


Fine. So if I'm a florist or caterer and choose to leave gays alone by refusing to participate in the ceremonies, you're ok with that? If I'm a tax preparer who refuses to recognize gay marriage by helping a couple file under "married filing jointly", you're ok with that?
10.17.2008 6:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
madhat: "Their supreme court decreed it. With the power of law behind it and its continued existance thus protected, it becomes a new "normal." It becomes a fait accompli."

And so in 49 states, being gay isn't normal, but only Massachusetts (and now Connecticut) it is? Okay, even if true, how does that change anything?

And what's wrong with gay being normal? Or are you one of those silly people who think that being gay is a choice? Because you certainly sound like you are afraid that if homosexuality is considered normal, people will start converting in droves for all the wild benefits we confer upon the converts.

For me, it's normal. For you it's not. No court decision or referedum is going to change that. It's called 'reality'
10.17.2008 6:29pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Randy R. babbled

Ken: As a Libertarian, I should approve of gay marriage, or at least, I shouldn't object. As a happily-married heterosexual, I really don't have a dog in this fight, so again, I shouldn't care. "

And yet, you'll vote against gay marriage because you don't like the fact that a few judges voted on the issue.


I'm curious, Randy. Is that problem that you just don't know how to read? Or that you're too dishonest to respond to those who disagree with you?

If you don't believe that democracy and the rule of law are important, then you are worthless scum.

If you do believe they're important, than the fact that 4 creeps decided to stomp all over them should bother you, no matter what their excuse for doing so.

Does the rule of law matter more than your feelings? Hell yes! Does democracy matter more than your feelings? Hell yes!

You want SSM? Fine. Convince the voters they should give it to you.

Until you decide to do that, and get out of the courts, you deserve to lose.
10.17.2008 6:30pm
MQuinn:
MadHatChemist said:

Gay marriage isn't about tolerence, freedom, &c. It is about one group of people forcing their morality on others

No. In fact, it is the opponents of gay marriage that are forcing their morality on others. The proponents of gay marriage merely want gays to be treated like heterosexuals -- these proponents do not wish to compel or restrict any form or heterosexual action. Conversely, the opponents of gay marriage wish to restrict the gay lifestyle.
10.17.2008 6:32pm
MadHatChemist:
Randy R.:

It is about using the state to manipulate and impose one's vision of the way things ought to be on society, and hypocritically doing so under the guise of "tolerance" -- while denying others the legitimacy to do the same.
10.17.2008 6:32pm
MadHatChemist:
MQuinn:

No. In fact, it is the opponents of gay marriage that are forcing their morality on others. The proponents of gay marriage merely want gays to be treated like heterosexuals -- these proponents do not wish to compel or restrict any form or heterosexual action. Conversely, the opponents of gay marriage wish to restrict the gay lifestyle.


If someone in a business, or school, or trying to use a community hall, &c. wants to say "pffft" to heterosexual marriage, that is fine with me. What gay marriage means is that you can still disagree...if you doing it alone and at home in the closet. You will be forced to act against your beliefs and hide the fact that you have a moral problem with it. But then, that's what the left REALLY means when the say "tolerance."
10.17.2008 6:38pm
hazemyth:
Elliot123:

I think you're actually making the point against your own argument. Gays have long created their own 'marriages', in the sense of forming lasting, loving, cohabitating relationships. As an example, the first couple legally married in California had been together for decades. The fact that you, and others, are apparently ignorant of this fact is precisely why many gays seek a public, civic recognition of their marriage.
10.17.2008 6:41pm
A question for the lawyers... (mail):
Doesn't California's civil union law already gives gay couples all the equivalent rights of marriage, except for having the state call the union a marriage?

If yes, it seems to me that the gay establishment made an incredible tactical error and deserves what it gets if Prop 8 passes. People in California spoke on the issue in 2000, and the civil union laws seem to be a reasonable compromise on the issue. I'll be voting Yes to protect the tradition marriage. Still, I think that in the long-run there will be gay marriage in the whole country.

Can anyone explain what additional rights gays won through the court ruling that they didn't have with civil unions (other than the title of being married)?

It's not homophobic to oppose gay marriage or even think homosexuality is immoral. What is homophobic anyway but someone who doesn't support your view on that issue! I thought my sister living with her now-husband before they were married was immoral. Does that make me shackupaphobic?

Society has created rules of morality for a reason, which social liberals refuse to even think about. Most of us are willing to let other people choose their own lifestyles, yet still remain civil and even be friends. Nevertheless, we don't need to make laws that discourage and damage the main pillar of strength in society--the family, with a mom and a dad. I wouldn't approve of making it easier or more legally convenient for my sister to shack up. Why should I do so for gays? This issue is fundamentally about families, and what is best. No one can reasonably argue that having a married, loving mom and dad is anything but the best scenario for kids.

But back to my question--what was wrong with civil unions? I oppose those too, obviously, but at least from a democratic standpoint it was a reasonable compromise with an ridiculously vocal minority group.
10.17.2008 6:47pm
CogDis (mail):
Pete,

You totally ignored the bulk of my argument. Talking about marriage giving meaning to your life helps to make a CONNECTION with straight people. After establishing this connection then remind people one of the key upsides to (state-recognized) marriage:

"(M)arriage promotes emotional, financial, and societal stability - the CONSERVATIVE CASE for same-sex marriage. This tells (straight) people what is in it for THEM - a more cohesive, stable, fulfilled society."

This is in addition to (and somewhatover-lapping with) the primary reason for state recognition of marriage - the welfare of children.

I do not say you are a bigot if you oppose same-sex marriage, in fact I do not necessarily view it as a right. I simply believe that same-sex marriage will benefit not only individuals, but also society. That argument should be advanced at least as strenuously as the rights argument (imho of course).

I will add one more thing. People advancing the idea of same-sex marriage are asking for something (official recognition of their marriages). When you are asking for something it is always a good idea to tell the people from whom you are requesting it WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM. Make a connection with them - personnally, emotionally. Tell them why you want it and tell them what benefit THEY will receive. You aren't going to get what you want by telling them that they are bad people (bigots) if they do not vote your way. Like it or not - that is the way it is.
10.17.2008 6:52pm
CDR D (mail):
I wonder what "Joe the Plumber" thinks about this issue, since "plumbing" is at least tangentially involved.

The slime-stream media has interviewed him on everything else, so why not this?
10.17.2008 6:55pm
Salaryman (mail):
I second the comments about what an arrogant, condescending, flaming a**hole Gavin Newsom is. Electioneering hint to activists of all political stripes: don't go on camera telling your political opponents that your policies are going to be enacted "whether they like it or not," and even if you feel that you have to, try not to be a supercilious, sneering pr*ck about it (if that's at all possible).
10.17.2008 6:55pm
The General:
really, any campaign based on insulting and shaming the people they're trying to persuade is doomed to failure. It is also revealing as to why the pro-gay marriage activists run to court instead of the people when trying to impose their radical agenda on the rest of the state - people don't agree with them and they know they'll lose when their agenda is put to a vote.

Also, they're a bunch of liars. The anti-prop 8 crowd is just downright lying about teaching children about gay marriage.


The latest press release from the Protect Marriage Yes on 8 campaign in California rather cleverly points out the same groups now charging its a lie public schools will teach about gay marriage whether parents like it or not — were just in court in Massachussetts filing amicus briefs arguing parents don't have any right to opt their children out of the pro-gay marriage curriculum.

From the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Amicus Curiae Brief:

"In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected under the state constitution, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents." [p 5]

From the Human Rights Campaign Amicus Curiae Brief:

"There is no constitutional principle grounded in either the First Amendment's free exercise clause or the right to direct the upbringing of one's children, which requires defendants to either remove the books now in issue -- or to treat them as suspect by imposing an opt-out system." [pp1-2]

From the ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief:

"Specifically, the parents in this case do not have a constitutional right to override the professional pedagogical judgment of the school with respect to the inclusion within the curriculum of the age-appropriate children's book…King and King." [p 9]

Which side is really telling the truth here about its aims?


It isn't the side promoting their beliefs and being honest in the debate. The side that is trying to hide their true agenda and subvert the democratic process is the anti-prop 8 side.
10.17.2008 6:57pm
EH (mail):
The states should recognize civil unions between any two consenting adults. Leave the definition of marriage alone, but give it no legal recognition...

How about we just strike the word "marriage" from the law and replace it with "civil union?" Leave marriage to the churches and the legal rights to civil unions.
10.17.2008 7:00pm
c.gray (mail):

The other group wants the state to reflect society as it is.


Not really.

Most voters (I suspect, anyway) do not want homosexuals stuffed back into the closet, and are sympathetic to the practical legal and financial problems homosexual's face, both as individuals and as couples. But they also have deep reservations about an unprecedented rejiggering of one of civilization's most basic institutions, and don't want to be bullrushed into it until people have time to think through the full implications. And some are also concerned that such a change not be made by sweeping judicial fiat with no input from the normal democratic process, and seemingly in open defiance of it.

Both the "No" and "Yes" backers, OTOH, hope to use a major change in the law to argue that their position ought to be considered normative, now and for all time, and that their opponents are wicked scoundrels who want to corrupt our most sacred values, ignite social conflict, and stomp on cute little puppies.
10.17.2008 7:06pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"The fact that you, and others, are apparently ignorant of this fact is precisely why many gays seek a public, civic recognition of their marriage."

If that's the case, and I and many others are indeed ignorant of it, all these marriages must be taking place in the closet. Where are the ads showing thousands of couples affirming their own marriages? Where is the public proclamation of marriage? We constantly hear from SSM supporters about the committed and loving gay couples who have been together for 30 years, but we never hear they are MARRIED. Why not? Why be so shy?

Where are the gays proclaiming they are actually married? Perhaps they do tell their friends and family, but they then deny they are married in any public discourse on the topic. They say they can't because they don't have someone's permission. They don't stand up and say they do marry, and anyone with half a brain should recognize it. They give the state the power to determine if they are married. That is rolling over and surrendering.

If they can't get that simple fact across to the voting poulation of California, then they are either 1) not married, or 2) abysimally incompetent.

I haven't even heard James Dobson denying gay claimes they are married. He doesn't have to bother because they don't make the claim in public.
10.17.2008 7:07pm
Oren:
Greg, as I said before, I would have no problem voting on an initiative that would reverse the court's decision and declare that only the legislature can define the boundaries of marriage. That would be letting the voters decide.

EH, everyone floats this proposal but no one stands behind it.
10.17.2008 7:09pm
Mike& (mail):
Fine. So if I'm a florist or caterer and choose to leave gays alone by refusing to participate in the ceremonies, you're ok with that? If I'm a tax preparer who refuses to recognize gay marriage by helping a couple file under "married filing jointly", you're ok with that?

Fo rizzle.

And if you're a church, you shouldn't have to hold a ceremony for them.

Freedom means freedom for everyone.
10.17.2008 7:13pm
Adam J:
David Larsomn - So you're voting for a law that legislates bigotry because a few judges ruled that the state couldn't discriminate against homosexuals? Yeah... I buy that argument. Whether you vote Prop 8 up or down, you've already taken the power from the judges. And yet you're voting to endorse bigotry. Shameful. Why don't you just admit you're just a bigot like Skyler and MadHatChemist do.
10.17.2008 7:15pm
devoman:
...people that behave contrary to biology are mistakes of nature...

There are no "mistakes" in nature; only variation.
10.17.2008 7:15pm
Michael B (mail):
Yankev,

Yes, perhaps you missed it, the link was provided in the earlier comment, but here it is again.

It is, by the way, an abridged version of a lengthier and better documented essay, but the lengthier version is available on-line - last time I checked - via a small price at one of his websites. Regardless, the abridged version catches most of the critical points and it is an anthropological and socio-historical review, soundly and cogently rendered.
10.17.2008 7:25pm
Michael B (mail):
"There are no "mistakes" in nature; only variation." devoman

True, but from a purely and wholly a-moral and mindlessly "objective" vantage point only.

The deeper irony reflected in that statement is that a moral or meta-moral superiority is claimed, is posited as a type of final moral authority.

That's worth noting in part for its own sake and in larger part because it's emblematic of many other, similar moral and meta-moral lines of argumentation.
10.17.2008 7:33pm
LM (mail):
The anti-8 campaign needed a TV ad spokesman like Greg Q to remind voters that as much as Gavin Newsom's triumphalism may piss them off, the alternative is even worse.
10.17.2008 7:37pm
John D (mail):
Ken,

Libertarians ought to love what the court did.


I'm voting yes on Prop 8 to ban gay marriage, and here's why I'm violating my Libertarian principles to do so; I STRONGLY object to activist judges repealing laws that they don't like and writing laws that they do.


We had three laws: one on equal protection, two banning same-sex couples from marriage. The court determined that the two were in violation of the equal protection one (which was a constitutional protection).

They didn't write any laws, they struck out two.

Let me say that again: no new laws were written and two laws got deleted. We're free of two whole laws.

Sounds libertarian to me.
10.17.2008 8:09pm
Colin (mail):
Michael, you've been trying to convince people that Prager has something valuable to say for two years now. It was weak sauce then, and it hasn't improved over the years.

Maybe one day he'll write, and you'll cite, a second article?
10.17.2008 8:15pm
MQuinn:
MadHatChemist said:

What gay marriage means is that you can still disagree...if you doing it alone and at home in the closet. You will be forced to act against your beliefs and hide the fact that you have a moral problem with it.

No, MadHatChemist. Thanks to our Constitution, if gay marriage is legalized, you can still disagree, and you may do so in the open public. Further, you would still be able to enter into heterosexual marriage. Conversely, if gay marriage is outlawed, then you will have banned an entire, sizable class of humans from enjoying one of life's most sacred privileges -- marriage.

See the distinction? -- whether or not gay marriage is legalized, there are individuals that will disagree; but there is only one option that will disallow a class of our co-equal citizens from marrying. Thus, a ban on gay marriage imposes morality on gays; but a lift on the ban imposes nothing upon non-gays.
10.17.2008 8:21pm
Joshua:
The General: really, any campaign based on insulting and shaming the people they're trying to persuade is doomed to failure.

Tell that to Barack "Vote for me or you're a racist" Obama.
10.17.2008 8:26pm
DangerMouse:
But back to my question--what was wrong with civil unions? I oppose those too, obviously, but at least from a democratic standpoint it was a reasonable compromise with an ridiculously vocal minority group.

It's about using the law to prosecute people who think homosexuality is immoral. The idea that a florist or tax-preparer would be allowed to run their business by adhering to their moral objections towards homosexuality is a complete farce. Of course dissent against homosexuality would not be permitted. That's why The General is correct to show how pro-homosexual "marriage" groups in one state say that they won't force people to teach kids about homosexual marriage, while in another state they are advocating such force.

As Randy has been saying, it's about "normalcy." They want to be normal. But homosexuality will never be normal. And so they use the power of the state to redefine, and ultimately destroy, marriage. Then they use the power of the state to teach people how homosexuality is great. Then they persecute Catholic adoption agencies, New Mexican photographers, etc. for acting on their religious beliefs. In this quest for normalcy, there is nothing sacred worth preserving. Especially not the rule of law.
10.17.2008 8:42pm
CogDis (mail):
Joshua,

When has Obama said anything even remotely akin to "Vote for me or you're a racist"?
10.17.2008 8:45pm
CDR D (mail):
The REAL, numero uno, supercilious sneering prick is not named "Gavin Newsome" (although he certainly is one).

The zenith of supercilious sneering pricks has a name:

Ronald George...

...who, using his Ouiga Board, knew exactly what the framers of the California Constitution meant when it was ratified on May 7, 1879.

I'm going to remember it when he is on the ballot next time. Rose Bird redux. I'll volunteer for any campaign to put his sorry supercilious butt in retirement.
10.17.2008 8:48pm
DangerMouse:
When has Obama said anything even remotely akin to "Vote for me or you're a racist"?

Gee, Congressman Murtha just said it yesterday. Obama's supporters are blasting it from the rooftops. But this is kinda off thread.
10.17.2008 8:56pm
CogDis (mail):
Please cite the quote where Murtha said that if you do not vote for Obama then you are a racist.

To acknowledge that there exist people who will not vote for Obama because of his race is not in any way equivalent to saying that if you do not vote for Obama then you are a racist. Or maybe you believe that there are absolutely ZERO people who will refuse to vote for Obama because of his race? Since there are people who have admitted as much, that would prove that the number of people is > zero.
10.17.2008 9:03pm
calmom:
LM (above) read my mind. The campaign to legalize gay marriage in California was poisoned from the outset by Mayor Gavin Newsom, flouting the law, and militantly imposing his opinions in the place of those of the voters of California. The poisoning was furthered by the Cal Sup. Ct. deciding this again against the wishes of the people.

The vote will be close. It might even pass. But gays cannot win over the undecided by calling them bigots or by saying 'we're going to go around the wishes of the electorate'. It may take longer but the campaign for gay marriage needs to appeal to people's hearts.

BTW, I am a California voter and I'll likely vote NO on 8.
10.17.2008 9:05pm
calmom:
BTW, the more effective ad for Prop 8, is the 'King and King' ad in which the cute little first grader (Hispanic girl) comes home with this book and says "Mommy, I learned today that I could marry a princess". The mother looks shocked and then has to have 'the talk' with her daughter about things she looks like she'd rather not discuss at such a young age.

Although I could be wrong, I think that what is taught in school is a separate issue. But others may not see it the same way.
10.17.2008 9:16pm
Brian K (mail):
i like the shifting of the goalposts that conservatives do. at first it's the legislature that must allow gay marriage. but once the CA legislature did that (IIRC, they did it twice and schwarzenager said the courts must decide, which ruled for the pro side) the debate shifted to the people must say it and it must be by referendum. once the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives differed from what they wanted, it wasn't enough. it doesn't take much foresight to know what'll happen when the people vote down these referendums...conservatives will head to the courts. it wouldn't be the first time. (e.g. abortion, guns, gays, affirmative action, free speech, etc)
10.17.2008 9:39pm
Brian K (mail):
If you don't believe that democracy and the rule of law are important, then you are worthless scum.

where you were when bush was breaking those laws? or when conservatives were trying to prevent people from taking part in that democracy?

oh, i get it. my mistake. "democracy" and "rule of law" only apply when the result is one you agree with.
10.17.2008 9:41pm
Brian K (mail):
What gay marriage means is that you can still disagree...if you doing it alone and at home in the closet. You will be forced to act against your beliefs and hide the fact that you have a moral problem with it. But then, that's what the left REALLY means when the say "tolerance."

and this differs from the anti-gay marriage side how?
10.17.2008 9:43pm
Brian K (mail):
I just love how many so called libertarians and conservatives on this website believe that civil rights should be up for majority vote.

i'll never understand how conservatives became known as the party that follows the constitution.
10.17.2008 9:48pm
Perseus (mail):
I would have no problem voting on an initiative that would reverse the court's decision and declare that only the legislature can define the boundaries of marriage.

That's not how things normally work in California. Why should the particular topic of marriage be left to state legislature to decide? (I could understand the case for eliminating the initiative process altogether).
10.17.2008 9:52pm
Brian K (mail):
Where is the public proclamation of marriage?

have you tried reading a newspaper? you know, that place where many heterosexual couples announce their nuptials.
10.17.2008 9:53pm
Brian K (mail):
Or maybe you believe that there are absolutely ZERO people who will refuse to vote for Obama because of his race?

i'm pretty sure this guy won't be voting for obama.
10.17.2008 9:55pm
Michael B (mail):
Colin, predictably, you offer a sneer - nothing beyond that. One might also cite the fact that pi equals the quotient of a circle's circumference divided by its diameter; it's no less true if cited once or numerous times.

The fact remains it (this) is a transparent, cogently rendered and well documented monograph. Whether one agrees or disagrees, one can do so on the basis of that transparently rendered line of argumentation. By contrast, your sneer, to put it in the kindest of terms imaginable, is opaque.
10.17.2008 10:00pm
Perseus (mail):
I just love how many so called libertarians and conservatives on this website believe that civil rights should be up for majority vote.

That assumes that this is a matter of civil rights, which many of us categorically deny.
10.17.2008 10:04pm
Angus:

What I object to is the illicit, anti-democratic, and in fact downright tyrranical hubris of the California Supreme Court in attempting to force it down our throats by making up out of whole cloth a "right" to gay marriage not actually grounded in the CA constitution as it was written
Yep, that's almost the exact language Southerners used in 1954 to protest Brown v. Board of Education.Southern Manifesto
Though there has been no constitutional amendment or act of Congress changing this established legal principle almost a century old, the Supreme Court of the United States, with no legal basis for such action, undertook to exercise their naked judicial power and substituted their personal political and social ideas for the established law of the land.

This unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.
10.17.2008 10:09pm
Michael B (mail):
"... as much as Gavin Newsom's triumphalism may piss them off, the alternative is even worse." LM

An anemic defense, LM. In fact, worse than anemic, it might more accurately be described as malignant since it treats underlying Constitutional principles in, at best, a cavalier fashion. You prefer judicial fiat over the democratic process, over "We the people ..." as reflected in the preamble, the opening and paramount clause of the U.S. Constitution?

Tellingly, the "alternative" you linked to in this thread in precisely the alternative reflected in "We the people ...", the paramount Constitutional principle.
10.17.2008 10:11pm
jrose:
at first it's the legislature that must allow gay marriage. but once the CA legislature did that (IIRC, they did it twice and schwarzenager said the courts must decide

All that Arnold wanted the Courts to decide is whether the legislature impermissbly overruled Prop 22. In the same ruling that found Prop 22 unconstitutional, the court ruled the legislature overstepped its bounds.
10.17.2008 10:44pm
jrose:
That assumes that this is a matter of civil rights, which many of us categorically deny

That's a fair way to frame this debate. IMO, it's a civil right.
10.17.2008 10:45pm
jrose:
I would have no problem with a proposition specifically validating gay marriage. What I object to is the illicit, anti-democratic, and in fact downright tyrranical hubris of the California Supreme Court

So, if the Proposition passes, resluting in repudiation of the unlawful court, are you going to immediately and enthusiastically support another Constitutional proposition (unprompted by the court) that reverses this proposition and gets the issue right on the merits?
10.17.2008 10:58pm
Brian K (mail):
That assumes that this is a matter of civil rights, which many of us categorically deny.

fascinating. i better not here you complain anymore that your rights are violated. i "categorically deny" that you have any rights at all.
10.17.2008 11:12pm
Michael B (mail):
Angus (and others),

It (your and others' racially based analogy and arrogation) is no more valid than an analogy with bestiality is viable from a different perspective. Only in a highly restricted sense can either of those analogies be forwarded more viably. (Such a presumptive arrogation has also been denounced by black civil rights leaders, not least of all because of their concern that it dilutes and as such robs the far more basic civil rights cause as such.)

You certainly can attempt to forward any analogy or argument you care - and therein attempt to arrogate most anything to your cause - but absent a more conscientious and explicit acknowledgement of the sundry differences involved it will reflect a sophistry at best and at worst will reflect an unconscionable leveraging and presumption.

Btw, in terms of applicable analogies, the specious quality of such an arrogation is also reminiscent of the specious manner in which militant and presumptively "progressive" homosexual activists arrogate the label of "science" to their cause when in fact the science does not support a deterministic/genetic view of homosexuality or human sexuality in general. Far more often than not those advancing such arguments have little or no appreciation of the cellular, molecular, genetic and epigenetic biological factors involved. And those are merely reflective of the biological factors and indeterminacies - thus reflect nothing of the morphological, environmental, familial, broader social, etc. complexities.

(Otoh, I'm limiting the applicability of this latter analogy to the specious quality involved in both examples and transparently acknowledging that limited scope.)
10.17.2008 11:13pm
Maciej Stachowiak (www):
I thought this was a libertarian blog. And I see people claiming to be libertarians. But I see some of the same people arguing that (a) majority vote should take precedence over liberty, to the extent that they'd vote with a majority they disagree with; and (b) there's nothing wrong with legislating morality.

If you believe either of these things, you are not by any stretch of the imagination a libertarian.

I prefer the honesty of the people who outright say they think homosexuality is gross and wrong, and they would like to use the power of the state to enforce this view.
10.17.2008 11:23pm
jrose:
science does not support a deterministic/genetic view of homosexuality or human sexuality in general

And that's yet another fair way to frame the issue. Or as Jon Stewart put it, this is "a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish."
10.17.2008 11:34pm
David Warner:
Pre-mortem? At most a hiatus, and a useful bloody shirt for various flavors of left to wave until it ends and long after. Alas.

Trading short-term gain for long-term pain.
10.18.2008 12:13am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Have you tried reading a newspaper? you know, that place where many heterosexual couples announce their nuptials."

Yes, the same place municipalities publicly announce competitive bids for street paving contracts and police auctions in incredibly small print. You think that's how people learn heterosexuals are married? Some poeple think defending the minimums and making legal arguments to each other is going to change their situation. Good luck.
10.18.2008 12:37am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmm.

1. I used to be pro-gay marriage.

2. I am now completely opposed to gay marriage.

3. Proponents of gay marriage should make their case to the voters and go through the legislature.

4. I'm opposed to gay marriage because of all the legal crap gay marriage activists have pulled over the years.

Frankly the courts, and judges, have far too much power as it is. Losing a vote is acceptable. Having a judge render a decision and then stuff it down my throat is not.

So here's to outlawing gay marriage. One day you folks will change direction and appeal to the voters instead of the courts.
10.18.2008 12:37am
Perseus (mail):
i better not here [sic] you complain anymore that your rights are violated.

You continue merely to assume that it is an issue of "civil rights" as if it were self-evident. Most citizens and courts in most jurisdictions don't seem to regard it as such, so the onus is on your side to make the case.
10.18.2008 12:41am
LM (mail):
Michael B,

Tellingly, the "alternative" you linked to in this thread in precisely the alternative reflected in "We the people ...", the paramount Constitutional principle.

Really? I wasn't aware it was a Constitutional principle to call judges "creeps" and others we disagree with "worthless scum."
10.18.2008 12:43am
Randy R. (mail):
"we don't need to make laws that discourage and damage the main pillar of strength in society--the family, with a mom and a dad. I wouldn't approve of making it easier or more legally convenient for my sister to shack up. Why should I do so for gays? This issue is fundamentally about families, and what is best. No one can reasonably argue that having a married, loving mom and dad is anything but the best scenario for kids. "

And please show how the main pillars of strength have been harmed at all in Massachusetts after several years of gay marriage. Or in Canada, S. African, Spain, Belgium or the Netherlands.

I keep asking this questions, and no one responds. Instead, all I hear is this fear that if gays are allowed to marry, suddenly your lives will change irrevocably.

Well, I suppose if you hate gays so much that your life is centered around condemning them, and your job at work is to try to keep gays from having sex, then yes, you might be a bit inconvenienced. But otherwise, no one has shown any harm to themselves, either real or imagined.

Basically, y'all just dont' want gays to get married because you are afraid that somehow you won't be able to show your distaste for us anymore.

Don't worry! There are many people in Massachusetts who are just like you and are able to insult us as you all have.
10.18.2008 1:11am
David Warner:
Randy,

"I keep asking this questions, and no one responds. Instead, all I hear is this fear that if gays are allowed to marry, suddenly your lives will change irrevocably."

To the extent that a viable argument exists, and I believe that it does, the change would be anything but sudden. Dale Carpenter and others on this blog have convinced me that more pressing and tangible arguments countervail the first. Others are being convinced in a similar manner every day.

Attributing the worst motives to those you seek to convince is unlikely to increase the rate at which this happens. You also have death on your side, so some magnanimity in anticipation of victory could bear long-term fruit.
10.18.2008 2:02am
A question for the lawyers... (mail):
Randy R.--

I don't think that anyone argues that if gays can marry, all of the sudden families will be destroyed. This is just another significant step in the decline of traditional families. It doesn't take a lot of looking to see how screwed up kids are from growing up in broken or single parent homes. This comes from things like easy divorce, the increased sexualization of our culture etc. You can't seriously argue that the state of families in this country is improving. Sorry, but many people just don't think that gay parents are a net positive.

It's pathetic for you to claim people are afraid of being unable to show distaste toward gays. Sure there are some haters, but it's possible to disagree with someone's moral decisions without hating them. I still loved my sister who shacked up with her boyfriend. I have gay friends. and there are gay people I admire for various reasons. The reality is, Randy, people like you are mostly projecting your own intolerance of other people's views. Seriously, would you even be friends with someone who, say, plans to vote for McCain? Someone who goes to conservative Christian church? I bet I have more gay friends than you have Republican friends.

But answer my question, Randy: Why wasn't the compromise of civil unions good enough for you? Why do gay activists have to force your morals on society--against the voter will from 2000? Like I said, if Prop 8 passes, the gay activist community will get the setback to their cause that they deserve.
10.18.2008 2:25am
Elliot123 (mail):
"You can't seriously argue that the state of families in this country is improving."

Of course it is. Compared to most of human history, parents are far more likely to live to their kid's 18th birthday, children are much more likely to survive childhood, and the rate of mothers dying in childbirth is greatly reduced. A half-dead family is hardly an improvement over a live family. Neither are orphans.

"Why do gay activists have to force your morals on society--against the voter will from 2000?"

Excellent point. They don't have to, they choose to. It reminds me a bit of all those Christians who stand before God and vow to marry for life then get divorced, forcing their own morality on society. If it weren't for all those divorced Christians, just think how improved the families in this country would be. Are Christians anti-family?
10.18.2008 3:21am
John D (mail):
Elliot123,

And what about those men who promise to "love, honor, cherish," or whatever the current formula is, and then go cheat on their wives?

The Bible is clear that adulterers ought to be killed, yet the Prop 8 campaign hasn't bothered to suggest that they might be inclined to "protect marriage" by making marital transgressions subject to capital punishment.

I think that's a fine trade-off. As a gay man, I'm willing to forgo marriage if Californians are willing to impose the death penaly with no possibility of appeal or commutation to those who violate their marital laws through adultery or divorce.

Yeah, let's protect marriage with the full force of the state!

If they want to claim that it's about morals, let's enforce those "traditional" morals. Do Californians really want "till death do us part," because I'm ready to relax my opposition to the death penalty for this particular circumstance.
10.18.2008 3:29am
John D (mail):
Another thought:

Many commenters here dispute that marriage is, as the Supreme Court put it in the Loving decision: "a fundamental human right."

Got that, kiddies:

marriage is a fundamental human right

Tattoo that on your foreheads, please.

And stop trying to deny my fundamental human rights.

Thanks.
10.18.2008 3:42am
Splunge:
You know, Prop 8 pisses me off. On the one hand, I'm perfectly happy to have gay couples acquire whatever legal rights and responsibility het couples do. (Which they already have in California anyway.) Live and let live. If some day most Californians felt we should use the word "marriage" for that, too...well, I could deal. If it's what the people want, so be it.

But. As more than one person has said, I will not stand for having a couple of fucking lawyers, scum of the Earth, little better than used-car salesmen, people whose convictions are for rent by the hour, for God's sake, rear up on their hind legs and tell me what justice and fairness demands of the most ancient social institution there is.

So "yes" on Prop 8 it is, to put those arrogant pricks on the California Supreme Court back in place. I feel really bad for the gay people who will be hurt by this, but they're a small minority, and their injuries will be almost all psychological. That can't compete with the necessity of enforcing the ultimate sovereignty of the people.

You'd think they would have learned something after Rose Bird. But apparently you can be a brilliant judge and also a damn fool.
10.18.2008 4:30am
Anonymous for now (mail):
Dale Carpenter said
Throughout this campaign, we have once again hid the face of same-sex couples and given a free pass to those in the middle of the electorate who are uncomfortable with gay relationships. Instead of challenging that atavistic premise, we have nodded our collective heads and said something on the order of "Hey, we understand that gay couples make you a little queasy, but for God's sake don't write us out of the constitution."

You know what that message actually means? It means that it's just fine to feel queasy. It implies that we ourselves feel queasy in a way. We can see your point! It's a losing strategy and it has lost us every same-sex marriage election, save one (Arizona 2004) that we've ever fought.

Dale, I support same-sex marriage. I support even more the idea of having only civil unions for both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and getting the government out of the marriage business, because I think most people see marriage as a religious or cultural institution.

With that said, I have to ask: Who the hell are YOU to tell me I can't feel queasy? Do you think it's something I can turn on and off at will?

I believe (and I think you probably do too) that being gay is not a CHOICE, that it's something that a person IS, whether through genetics, or imprinting, or some other process that we don't yet understand. Why can't you grant the possibility that the unease felt by some straights at seeing public displays of affection by gay men is also the result of genetics, or imprinting, or some other deeply ingrained process?

I have gay friends, I've had gay supervisors at work, I've been to gay weddings, and everything has been cool. Intellectually I'm OK with homosexuality, although it's not for me - I just don't feel or understand the attraction. But still, when I see PDAs by gay men, something inside me goes "Ewww...." I don't choose to feel this way, I just do. It's been this way for as long as I can remember, and AFAIK nothing in my past ever triggered it. I'd get rid of it if I could. I can override it, but doing so is a conscious, deliberate effort and it's still there underneath. I think the "ewww" response is just the way some straight male human beings are wired.

So with THAT said, I have to ask: If I'm right, wouldn't that be a reason to change your strategy for acceptance of same-sex marriage? ACKNOWLEDGE that some people do feel queasy, and that it's not their fault. Just as it's not the fault of other people that they're attracted to members of the same sex. Don't condemn straights who feel this way - we're not bigots any more than gays who aren't attracted to women are sexists. Use a little sympathy and try to get people to work around the reaction, instead of telling potential allies that they're atavistic scumbags.
10.18.2008 4:33am
John D (mail):
Splunge,

Okay, you hate lawyers. Strange position to take as a visitor to this blog, but...

Just for the record, what do you suggest Supreme Court justices do when laws are in conflict? As I pointed out in an earlier comment, California has broad equal protection laws. The narrow restrictions of the marriage laws violated those equal protections.

Should the justices take a zen-like awe over the contradictions?

Do you have other Supreme Court decisions you're opposed to, or are you opposed to all judicial decisions as a matter of principle?
10.18.2008 4:45am
Perseus (mail):
Got that, kiddies: marriage is a fundamental human right

1) I'm too old to be a "kiddie."
2) Just because the Supreme Court says it's so doesn't mean we must agree with it (I take it that you would have found Bowers v. Hardwick unobjectionable when it was the law of the land).
3) Even if marriage is a fundamental right, it doesn't necessarily follow that same sex couples are entitled to be married any more than polygamists are.
10.18.2008 4:47am
Michael B (mail):
John D,

Citizens, whom legislators are sworn to represent, are not "kiddies." Take that to heart for a change. Likewise, take your issue to the voting public - and therein reflect a respect for the underlying Constitutional principles reflected in "We the people ..." and reflected in other tenets of the U.S. Constitution as well. Got that? Tattoo it whereever you please and stop attempting to usurp those fundamental Constitutional tenets via judicial fiat and via elitist dicta in general, in lieu of more cogently rendered forms of suasion. Thanks.

LM,

Regardless of the lack of more genteel language, the principle he is promoting is what was emphasized. (As to more genteel manners and language, you being a defender and promoter of jukeboxsneer's flim-flams would seem to reflect a certain contrast.)

Maciej Stachowiak,

Please name one, lone, single law on the books that does not "legislate morality," either directly or indirectly. The law's very purpose is to "legislate morality." Citizens and legislators can decide what aspects of society's moral/ethical concerns are deserving of legislative enactment, but every law on the books is one that "legislates morality" in one sense or another; laws are not enacted to legislate abstractions.
10.18.2008 4:56am
Michael B (mail):
... the science does not support a deterministic/genetic view of homosexuality or human sexuality in general. Far more often than not those advancing such arguments have little or no appreciation of the cellular, molecular, genetic and epigenetic biological factors involved. And those are merely reflective of the biological factors and indeterminacies - thus reflect nothing of the morphological, environmental, familial, broader social, etc. complexities.
"And that's yet another fair way to frame the issue. Or as Jon Stewart put it, this is 'a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.'" jrose
That's not at all what was suggested. Strawmen are strawmen only. Raise 'em and knock 'em down all you care, doing so adds literally nothing to the viable set of issues that are deserving of respect.
10.18.2008 5:11am
John D (mail):
Perseus,

Of course I found Bowers v Hardwick objectionable. I disagreed with its reasoning, not with some abstract principle of "black-robed tyrants." My objections to Bowers were that the private sexual behavior of adults were an essential freedom of choice. I was amazed when it became the central argument of Lawrence.

Certainly courts can provide reasoning that leaves any or all of us scratching our heads and saying, "just what the heck could they have been thinking?"

But from your objection, are you claiming that marriage is not a fundamental human right? More specifically, are you claiming that Loving was decided incorrectly?

Michael B,

I'm not sure of the underlying Constitutional principle you're drawing from "we the people," unless it's to say that majority rule is always right. This is not the case, and I think can be countered with:

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity


I seek that liberty that derives from my reading of Loving and Lawrence (and other decisions). Homosexuality is neutral under the law. Why then should it be grounds for discrimination for marriage rights?


I suspect that your rejoinder is that Lawrence (if not Loving as well) was incorrectly decided. If this is your view, could you please give a cogent explanation, if your opposition to same-sex marriage is based on something else, could you explain?

And, once again, if judges ruling on conflicting laws is, as you put it, "judicial fiat," what is the appropriate course for judges when laws are in conflict?
10.18.2008 5:37am
LM (mail):
Michael B,

Regardless of the lack of more genteel language, the principle he is promoting is what was emphasized.

That may be what you're emphasizing. It just doesn't happen to be what my comment (which you criticized) was about. Since I took no position at all on those principles, obscured that they were by the bile that was the sole subject of my comment, you're attacking a straw man.

As for jbg, I doubt you really want us to hijack this thread for that argument.
10.18.2008 6:26am
jrose:
the science does not support a deterministic/genetic view of homosexuality or human sexuality in general

Or as Jon Stewart put it, this is 'a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish'

Stewart was mocking those who believe (homo)sexuality isn't primarily immutable. Weren't you arguing that sexuality is not analogous to race because sexuality is significantly mutable? So, where is the strawman?
10.18.2008 9:14am
jrose:
Just because the Supreme Court says it's so doesn't mean we must agree with it

You disagree with the SCOTUS precedents on marriage?

Even if marriage is a fundamental right, it doesn't necessarily follow that same sex couples are entitled to be married any more than polygamists are

What is your argument for including opposite-sex couples, but excluding same-sex couples and polygamous relationships?
10.18.2008 9:19am
Angus:
Attributing the worst motives to those you seek to convince is unlikely to increase the rate at which this happens.
Politically wise? No. Has the benefit of accuracy? Yes. The vast majority of opposition to gay marriage in this country comes from dislike of homosexuals. That's the problem. If we don't admit the problem, how can we begin to address it?

I suppose time will do much of it. Younger people are more accepting of homosexuality, while older generations are not. So I suppose as bigoted generations die off, the balance will slowly tip, much as it did for segregation and disfranchisement from the 1890s to the 1950s.
10.18.2008 10:10am
Randy R. (mail):
Lawyers:" It doesn't take a lot of looking to see how screwed up kids are from growing up in broken or single parent homes. This comes from things like easy divorce, the increased sexualization of our culture etc. You can't seriously argue that the state of families in this country is improving."

Even if true, how is that gays have anything to do with this? If you are seriously concerned about this, then outlaw divorce, or make it more difficult.

" Sorry, but many people just don't think that gay parents are a net positive."

Sorry, but many gays DO have children. Mostly through adoption. And every adoption agency out there has stated that gays make just as good parents as straights. Gay parents ARE indeed a net positive. It is much better to allow gays to adopt kids than to keep them in orphanages in China, or in foster care here in the states.

"It's pathetic for you to claim people are afraid of being unable to show distaste toward gays. Sure there are some haters, but it's possible to disagree with someone's moral decisions without hating them."

Anyone who claims that gays can't be as good parents as straights is wrong and prejudged against gays. The difference is that I admit that some people are good parents, and some are bad, but it has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and it has nothing to do with 'the decline of the American family.'

" Seriously, would you even be friends with someone who, say, plans to vote for McCain? Someone who goes to conservative Christian church? I bet I have more gay friends than you have Republican friends."

My sister is deeply conservative Christian activily working for the Republican party and McCain. We love each other immensely.

"But answer my question, Randy: Why wasn't the compromise of civil unions
good enough for you?"

Would you accept civil unions for yourself and your female partner if marriage was allowed for everyone else? I don't think so. Same reasoning for me.

"Why do gay activists have to force your morals on society?" For the same reason that people forced their morals on society when the Supreme Court ruled that interracial marriage should be allowed. Back in the 60s, 80% of the people were against interracial marriage, and many people were angry that this 'immorality' should even be allowed. What were people afraid of back then? Why excatly did 80% of Americans thought that interracial marriage should be banned? What were they afraid of?

I don't know. Perhaps you can tell me. But whatever they were afraid of, it never came to pass. And today, few people are afraid of interracial marriage. And today, anyone who says that they are against interracial marriage would be called a bigot, and rightly so in my book. So when I say that people are merely afraid of gay marriage, I ask, what are they afraid of? Do you seriously think that people will no longer get married if gays get married? Hasn't happened in the places where there is gay marriage. Afraid that straights will abandon their kids? That divorce will increase? That kids will more likely take up pot?

At some point, you have to admit that: the problems of the family have nothing to do with gay people. Afterall, we are only about 2% of the population, right? And you have to admit that none of your fears have come true in Massachusetts or any of the other countries that allow gay marriage. I keep asking over and over -- where is any of the harm that you think will happen occuring in Spain, S. Africa, Belgium, Netherland and Canada, where gay marriage is allowed. And NO ONE can come up with an answer.

Generally speaking, if you are looking to see how something will play out, you look where it's implemented. Try it sometime.
10.18.2008 10:14am
Robert West (mail) (www):
Still, I think that in the long-run there will be gay marriage in the whole country.

I don't know why you would think that.

On the order of a quarter of the states have enacted constitutional provisions to ban it.

In California, one of the most liberal states in the country, the legislature has twice passed a gay marriage law, only to have it vetoed by the Governor under the theory that the courts or the people should decide, not the legislature.

And yet when the courts decided, a large number of people will vote against it because the legislature should have decided (never mind that it did!).

If Proposition 8 passes, if a majority of the voters in California are seen to not support gay marriage, legalized gay marriage will be dead for a generation or more across the country, except in the two states where it is already legal. Because if gay people have no hope in California, where do we have hope?
10.18.2008 11:42am
Brian K (mail):
Yes, the same place municipalities publicly announce competitive bids for street paving contracts and police auctions in incredibly small print

Thank you for proving my point and refuting your own. you said "Where is the public proclamation of marriage?". the answer is in newspapers. just because you don't like how they proclaim it doesn't mean they don't.
10.18.2008 12:00pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
Elliot123, I have two questions:

(a) how do you expect gay couples to proclaim that they are married? I'm a married gay man whose marriage has not been legitimate by the state; I had a public wedding with friends and family invited; I tell my coworkers and fellow students that I am married and refer to my husband as my husband. What else would you have me do? I don't think I'm doing any less than the average straight married man does to announce that I'm married.

(b) I've been told to my face that I'm not really married, by a straight person, because the state doesn't recognize my marriage, and I live in a very liberal area. Given that fact, wouldn't it be the course of least confrontation to not claim to be married in places where I'm unsure of whether such a claim will be controversial, and isn't it preferable in a professional environment to follow the course of least confrontation?

Regardless of what you think, gay people do get married all of the time, and are accepted as married by their friends and family. And that is really what this debate is about: it's not about asking the state to change the definition of marriage. It's about asking the state to recognize that for many people, the definition has already changed.
10.18.2008 12:08pm
Brian K (mail):
You continue merely to assume that it is an issue of "civil rights" as if it were self-evident. Most citizens and courts in most jurisdictions don't seem to regard it as such, so the onus is on your side to make the case.

I just pointed out how ridiculous your counter argument was. it is not a civil right because you "categorically deny" it to be one. That essentially means you have no rights...all you have are privileges and abilities that are granted to you at the sole discretion of whoever happens to be in power. I can deny you any "right" because i categorically deny that it exists. (and it is liberals who are called anti-american!)
10.18.2008 12:42pm
Brian K (mail):
But still, when I see PDAs by gay men, something inside me goes "Ewww...." I don't choose to feel this way, I just do.

i go "Ewww...." when i see PDAs of hetero couples (except my own of course) and "YAY...." when i see PDAs of attractive lesbian couples. I also go "Ewww...." when I see people smoking, dog poo on the ground, fat people in skimpy clothing, homeless people peeing on the side of a building, religious fundamentalists trying to deny some group their rights and, last but not least, pt cruisers. (this list is by no means exhaustive).

and yet, i haven't tried to make any of these things illegal nor have i tried to restrict the rights of people who don't go ewww to these things or people who actually enjoy these things. if you try to restrict the rights of someone just because it makes you feel funny then you should be called out on it.
10.18.2008 12:52pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"(b) I've been told to my face that I'm not really married, by a straight person, because the state doesn't recognize my marriage, and I live in a very liberal area. Given that fact, wouldn't it be the course of least confrontation to not claim to be married in places where I'm unsure of whether such a claim will be controversial, and isn't it preferable in a professional environment to follow the course of least confrontation?

Of course keeping quiet would be the course of least confrontation. If one values avoiding confrontation more than acknowledging and honoring one's marriage, then that's the road to take.

So, I think you make my case. Gays won't marry on their own, and when they do, they keep it in the closet. If that's their attitude, why should they expect anyone else to give a damn about them?

Actually, wouldn't staying completely in the closet be the course of least confrontation? What if a coworker told you you were a bad person for being gay?
10.18.2008 1:02pm
c.gray (mail):

And please show how the main pillars of strength have been harmed at all in Massachusetts after several years of gay marriage.


Because, after all, the effects of such changes are always perfectly apparent after three or four years.
10.18.2008 1:24pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
Eliot123: I can only speak for myself. If a coworker told me I was a bad person for being gay, and he did this at work, I would tell him he was wrong, but would not argue with him beyond that; as an employee my job is not to fight with my coworkers.

But I don't see how I make your case otherwise. I'm married. I'm out to my friends, family, and coworkers. I'm unwilling to live in the closet.

What more do you want people like me to do?
10.18.2008 1:28pm
Anonymous for now (mail):
> "But still, when I see PDAs by gay men, something inside me goes "Ewww...." I don't choose to feel this way, I just do.

i go "Ewww...." when i see PDAs of hetero couples (except my own of course) and "YAY...." when i see PDAs of attractive lesbian couples. I also go "Ewww...." when I see people smoking, dog poo on the ground, fat people in skimpy clothing, homeless people peeing on the side of a building, religious fundamentalists trying to deny some group their rights and, last but not least, pt cruisers. (this list is by no means exhaustive).

and yet, i haven't tried to make any of these things illegal nor have i tried to restrict the rights of people who don't go ewww to these things or people who actually enjoy these things. if you try to restrict the rights of someone just because it makes you feel funny then you should be called out on it.

Maybe YOU haven't, but others sure have!

- smoking: illegal in most indoor public spaces, even becoming illegal outdoors
- dog poo on the ground: illegal in most cities
- fat people in skimpy clothing: derided
- homeless people peeing on the side of a building: illegal
- religious fundamentalists trying to deny some group their rights: usually ruled illegal
- last but not least, pt cruisers: you are one sick puppy

These things aren't equivalent. Are you going to march for the right of people to have their dogs leave turds on city sidewalks?

But that wasn't my point. Let's assume many people have an ingrained "ewww" reaction to these things. If you're looking for sympathizers for your cause, are you going to tell people: "If you don't support my right to urinate on the side of a building, you're an atavistic bigot!"?
10.18.2008 1:44pm
Anonymous for now (mail):
BTW, I see now that I accidentally attributed Ann Rostow's quoted words to Dale Carpenter. Sorry about that.
10.18.2008 1:49pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"But I don't see how I make your case otherwise. I'm married. I'm out to my friends, family, and coworkers. I'm unwilling to live in the closet."

Unless I misunderstand you, you are keeping your marriage in the closet to avoid confrontation because a coworker doesn't like the idea. If you are unsure if your marriage will be controversial, you keep it in the closet.

So, why should I bother acknowledging your marriage if you won't even acknowledge it yourself? I don't mean to be insulting, but it doesn't seem there really is much to acknowledge.

What more can you do? Acknowledge your own marriage regardless of what other people think about it.
10.18.2008 1:57pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
Eliot123: all of my coworkers know I'm married. If someone asks if I'm married, I'll answer honestly. If it is a natural thing in the conversation, I'll talk about it.

But at the same time, I'm not going to bring it up without context, any more than you'd bring up your marriage without context. I don't need to tell the clerk at the supermarket that I'm married; he doesn't care, he just wants me to give him my money and go away so he can help the next customer. And I have a duty to my employers to not bring it up with customers if there is a danger that doing so could cause my employers to lose the customer, just like I wouldn't bring up my religion, or my views on politics, in similar circumstances.

The intersection of personal and professional life is a difficult topic for many people, gay and straight, because there are two conflicting desires: on the one hand, I want to be able to live my life as I see fit, and be open and honest about it, and freely broadcast my views; yet on the other hand, I have a duty to my employer to not undermine my employer's business by doing any of these things.

--------------

I have a more specific ethical/legal problem, however. I'm working as a poll worker on election day. As a poll worker, I am not allowed to engage in electioneering; not only is it illegal, it is immoral for me to use my position as the guy running the election to try to influence how people vote.

Am I allowed to talk to the other members of the precinct board about my marriage?
10.18.2008 2:30pm
John D (mail):
Robert,


Am I allowed to talk to the other members of the precinct board about my marriage?


Easy answer.

If you say "my husband," you're not advocating for any position. After all, if a female precinct board member says, "my husband," you can't claim that's electioneering.

However, if you say, "my husband and I are [against|for] [any particular measure or candidate]," then you've crossed the line.

Personally, I feel that all gay people in committed relationships should use "spouse," "husband," and "wife." Eventually, when marriage is recognized as a right that cannot be limited to opposite-sex couples, I'll expect people to be more clear.
10.18.2008 2:58pm
Perseus (mail):
I just pointed out how ridiculous your counter argument was. it is not a civil right because you "categorically deny" it to be one.

And I merely pointed out how unfounded your original assertion was, namely, that it's obvious that same sex marriage is somehow a civil rights issue (which should not be left to simple majority of voters to decide). The only people who seem to accept that proposition as self-evident are the chattering classes (especially my colleagues in academia).

Would you accept civil unions for yourself and your female partner if marriage was allowed for everyone else?

Certainly. But then again, I'm not like most people in modern democracies, who (as Tocqueville predicted) view any perceived inequality as some great slight to their own fragile sense of dignity.
10.18.2008 3:47pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
The one bit of good that might come out of the success of the proposition is a better understanding by the folks advocating for recognition of SSM is that the courts aren't a shortcut for persuading the public, but a complement to it.

The state recognizing SSM isn't about persuading het folks squicked by homosex not to be squicked, but to understand that these are real people, with real relationships, and real families that simply ought to have the same legal standing as other marriages. Doing that without trying to demonize the folks who, as of yet, just don't get that, isn't easy, and won't happen quickly.
10.18.2008 3:54pm
Perseus (mail):
But from your objection, are you claiming that marriage is not a fundamental human right? More specifically, are you claiming that Loving was decided incorrectly?

1) Re: Loving. I think that the Court should have based its decision solely on equal protection grounds. Claiming that the statutes were also a violation of liberty under the due process clause of the 14th amendment was unnecessary as well as objectionable (if one is skeptical of substantive due process as I am).

2) I do deny that legal/civil marriage is a fundamental human right, which means that the government may get out of the marriage business if it is so inclined.
10.18.2008 5:17pm
jrose:
I do deny that legal/civil marriage is a fundamental human right, which means that the government may get out of the marriage business if it is so inclined.

What about marriage as an Equal Protection fundamental right per Zablocki?
10.18.2008 5:22pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Doing that without trying to demonize the folks who, as of yet, just don't get that, isn't easy, and won't happen quickly."

That's a good point. Note that SSM advicates almost all say homosexuality is something they are born with, and their attractions are not something they have chosen. They expect us to accept this on their word, since that's really all there is to back it up.

Yet, at the same time, they don't seem very open to the notion that others may be born with an aversion to homosexuality, something they were born with, and over which they have no control. The people who display this also expect us to accept it on their word, since they, too, have nothing else to back it up.

So, is name calling a recommended tactic for getting votes from these people? I realize it's an emotional release to heap abuse on folks, and for some it's probably a fair trade to cement in an anti-SSM vote in order to feel good for a moment. But, how does that advance any cause but James Dobson's?

How well does name-calling in general work in getting people to change their behavior? For example, how many gays are inclined to adopt the straight life because someone calls them nasty names? Do they think others are somehow more vulnerable to verbal abuse?
10.18.2008 6:08pm
wooga:

I just pointed out how ridiculous your counter argument was. it is not a civil right because you "categorically deny" it to be one. That essentially means you have no rights...all you have are privileges and abilities that are granted to you at the sole discretion of whoever happens to be in power. I can deny you any "right" because i categorically deny that it exists. (and it is liberals who are called anti-american!)

Brian K,
Where do 'rights' come from? Do I have a right to run naked through the streets?

If you assume that rights are created by the legal system, than you should acknowledge that rights can be taken away by the legal system.

The other alternative... which is what the USA follows, is that "inalienable rights" are those provided by the Creator. The 'Bill of Rights', as it is called, does not go around saying "People have a right to do a, b, and c" but rather says "the government cannot take away rights a, b, and c." It assumes that those rights existed prior to the government... meaning they are god-given rights.

So the 'right' to SSM is either god given, or law given. If there is no law granting a right to SSM, and you believe God has not given man that right either, then you are free to deny the existence of any such right at all. This is an intrinsically American point of view.

This is part of why there can be no logically consistent atheist, libertarian, pro civil rights position.
10.18.2008 6:46pm
LM (mail):
Elliot123,

I agree
.
10.18.2008 7:51pm
hazemyth:
This dialogue is really fascinating. I have learned something from it, though I can't say it pleases me.

I can only assume that a number of the swing Prop 8 voters that have posted above are in earnest when they express their disapproval of gay marriage because of their outrage concerning judicial authority. But it does strike me that people tend to make this complaint regarding procedure only in reference to certain outcomes, i.e. those outcomes that are vociferously contested by certain conservative advocacy groups.

I gotta say, as earnest as they are, I think these people have been played. Their sense of entitlement has been made to feel injured, though the ruling effects them little or not at all. As a result, they've been encouraged to oppose something they normally wouldn't, on it's own grounds.

Based on that, it would seem that gay rights advocates have chosen the wrong strategy -- not by opposing discrimination in the courts but, as the blog entry observes, by failing to keep the central argument about the realities of gay marriage itself.

Still, I can't bring myself to regret a court ruling that states boldly that discrimination contravenes the principles of an American state. To do so would be a capitulation to the dirty rhetoric that has manipulated these swing voters.
10.18.2008 9:06pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Still, I can't bring myself to regret a court ruling that states boldly that discrimination contravenes the principles of an American state."

Note how the state constitutional amendments can change the principles of an American state.
10.19.2008 12:07am
Chairm (mail):
Ann Rostow wrote:
It implies that we ourselves feel queasy in a way. We can see your point! It's a losing strategy and it has lost us every same-sex marriage election, save one (Arizona 2004) that we've ever fought.


Actually, the campaign in Arizona that opposed the marriage proposition did not emphasize "gay marriage" but instead made the central issue something about cohabitating couples -- senior couples in particular.

No campaign has won based on placing "gay marriage" at the center of the fight over a proposition, referendum, or state amendment. None.

It would be the honest approach to do so, win or lose. Just state, in plain language, the essentials, or the core meaning, or the nature of the relationship type that you have in mind.

Then describe the legal requirements that would define that core meaning.

Of course, the problem with that honest approach would be that you'd describe something that is NOT marriage but rather some alternative arrangement that you want to attach to marital status.

And, the honest approach would concede that this alternative arrangement should not be so exclusive as to be about gay identity. Instead it should be about providing protections for vulnerable families -- whether or not they are headed by sexualized types of relationships. These are nonmarital but still worthy of at least tolerance and, for the most part, societal protections -- including those that the state can provide.

Marriage, at its core, is 1) sex integration, 2) responsible procreation, and 3) these combined as a coherent whole (i.e. as a social institution). It is foundational to civil society and is not owned by the government.

On the other hand, provisions for protective status for the more vulnerable families among us, well, that starts with civil society but would be manifested primarily in government policy and in legal incidents. This would not be foundational and it would be far more dependant on government than is the social institution of marriage.

As it stands, today, I don't think that the pro-SSM campaign, and certainly not the anti-Prop-8 campaign, has made the case FOR "gay marriage", nor even for a protective status, but rather, the arguments made have amounted to something that already has long-existed.

That is: provision for reciprocal beneficiaries, which does not require a relationship status, at law. This can, and has, evolved and can become uniformed across the country. But that requires energy and an organized effort, none of which will be forthcoming unless the focus turns away from trying to change marriage recognition and instead turn to enacting (not imposing) a solution for the actual problems (identified already).

But that's the honest approach to treating people with equality and providing for vulnerable families.

The SSM campaign, and, yes, the anti-Prop-8 campaign, is fueled by gay identity politics, not by a pursuit of justice nor by a pursuit of equality. Not truly. It is really about pushing for approval of gay identity -- and in particular it is about innocluating a form of identity politics that is gaycentric.

That said, the pro-Prop-8 campaign in California has been effectively striking directly at puncturing the pipeline that carries the fuel that drives the SSM campaign in that state and elsewhere.

One side has skirted making this about the core of the social institution of marriage; the other side has shied away from describing the core of the relationship type they have in mind when they refer to "gay marriage".

But the state amendment, as proposed, is indeed an affirmation of the core of marriage.

Civil Union is merely a poor idea that has been superficially attached to the hip of marital status. It is "gay marriage" (a term that is an oxymoron) in all but name. However, as such it is far more exclusive than marriage -- and is so on arbitrary grounds since its core should not produce such exclusivity.

It is not a slippery slope argument to point out that nothing about the one-sexed arrangement is intrinsically sexual and so should not exclude closely related people. Nothing about it invokes responsible procreation, nor sex integration, so it should not exclude more than two partners. There is no love requirement but people can consent to reciprocal dependencies without confusing the arrangement with marriage. The boundaries of marriage do not apply, in principle, to the relationship type that is one-sexed. In fact, the boundaries of marriage have no rational basis in the context of "civil union" or "domestic partnership", neithe rof which are actually a form of marriage.
10.19.2008 4:26am
John D (mail):

The SSM campaign, and, yes, the anti-Prop-8 campaign, is fueled by gay identity politics, not by a pursuit of justice nor by a pursuit of equality. Not truly. It is really about pushing for approval of gay identity -- and in particular it is about innocluating a form of identity politics that is gaycentric.


I call BS.

While the "reciprocal beneficiaries" would address some of the problems same-sex couples face in real life, what we really need is the package of rights and responsibilities that come with marriage. If it addressed all of the problems, it'd be more like marriage than civil unions/domestic partnerships are.

Do we need approval. Nope. And that's not part of the marriage package anyway. I mean, "approval" sounds like something out of an advice column. I've seen that letter where someone feels a relative has married someone of the wrong status or group. Their own relatives don't approve of the marriage.

It's tough. It's harsh. It happens.

Happily, my relatives approve of my choice. They love my husband. Not that it matters for the legal aspects.

I'm just here for the benefits. We have a package we give to people who want these benefits: it's called marriage. And it has nothing to do with procreation.

Marriage has nothing to do with procreation.
If you really think it does, you have to explain why the elderly and infertile can marry. Worse, you said, "responsible procreation." I read a horrible story recently about a couple that abused their daughter. Was that "responsible"?

The battle over same-sex marriage has very little to do with marriage itself. And everything to do with bigotry against gay people. And yes, I'm not going to soft-pedal the words. If you think that gay people should be denied some of the rights and protections that are meant to be for all, you are simply a bigot.
10.19.2008 1:53pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
Note how the state constitutional amendments can change the principles of an American state.

Granted. And the actual question before the voters of California is: should it be one of the principles of our state that gay couples should be treated differently by the state than straight couples, or should it be one of the principles of our state that they should be treated the same?

I think everyone who is voting "Yes" because they are angry at the Supreme Court is misguided; rather than taking their anger out on the judges involved by voting them out of office the next time they're up for re-election, they're deciding to use some other issue as a proxy, and they're not voting on the actual question the voters are being asked.
10.19.2008 2:16pm
John D (mail):
Robert,

In an earlier comment, Chairm suggested that the supporters of same-sex marriage are not being honest about their motivations. I disagree with Chairm, and I feel that if you're going to accuse your opponents of insincerity, you need to back up your claim.

I'm going to accuse those who claim to be "sending a message to activist judges" are insincere. They do not back up their claims with a concern for gay people. For these people, there is no valid way in which same-sex couples can obtain same-sex marriage.

For that matter, I have frequently seen invective against the judiciary paired with invective against gay people.

Those who claim to be "sending a message to judges" need to back up their claims.
10.19.2008 2:29pm