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December 21, 2008

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I have a lovely image of gay couples being married in California as many thousands of hang gliders fly overhead.

Not that it really matters, but yes businesses have to deal with the validity of people's marriages -- that of their employees. It affects who is covered by benefits and such.

What does it mean to say that "businesses would be forced to recognize gay marriage"? Do supermarkets or Home Depots or pet grooming facilities normally have to take a position on the validity of people's marriage?

As a supporter of Prop8 wrote on my blog: “Sure, and theoretically this works. However, we have ramifications to this, which would directly impact a person’s freedom of religion - say a Christian business owner forced to provide health insurance [to a same-sex spouse] against his religious beliefs. Is he supposed to just ‘get over it’?” (Jesus just sat down with sinners, he didn’t offer them health insurance!)

For these people, homophobia is the central tenet of Christianity: it matters more than anything else.

The claim that pastors would "have to marry gays" is a lie: the assertion that Californian schoolkids will be taught that being gay is OK is true, but the legislation requiring that was passed before the court decision on marriage in May, and is unaffected by the vote on Prop8 in November.

The problem for parents like that is that they have to indoctrinate their children carefully and not let them hear other views, because otherwise small children are remarkably unconcerned about gay marriage. If you want them to disapprove, 'they have to be carefully taught'.

Well, that's the same for every form and type of bigotry, Magistra.

Some of the people who oppose same-sex marriage undoubtedly do so because they themselves, at immense personal cost both to themselves and to the person they married, got married contrary to their sexual orientation - and they don't see why anyone else should be happy if they can't.

Others may well be pretty much convinced that they won't be able to persuade a lesbian or gay child of theirs to make an unhappy mixed-sex marriage and live in the closet all their life if, out in the real world, their queer offspring can see examples of long-term, happy marriages between same-sex couples.

And still more may just be freaking out because of people like Obama's BFF Rick Warren, and Warren's chum James Dobson, who tell them that same-sex marriage is something to be awesomely scared of and, in their closed communities, they've never encountered for themselves an out lesbian or gay man or any same-sex couple/their family.

this post seems somewhat dishonest, I'm for gay marriage and in my opinion making it legal will lead to the following:

Businesses will have to recognize them as legal, has to do with benefits as stated above. So what, they're married, you give them benefits - the only way that should be a problem if you come from a philosophical standpoint that giving people benefits is socialism.

Pastors will have to perform marriage - probably not right away, but yeah in another 15 years after the legalization of marriage it will be pretty much a given for most churches. That's progress. Sorry they don't believe in progress.

Teachers will teach that it is ok. I would hope so, and you're being sort of disingenuous to suppose that won't have an effect. You don't want them teaching that creationism is correct because it will have an effect. Certainly there are differences between these two things, such as the theory of evolution is a scientific theory and the idea that homosexuality is immoral is an article of their religious faith but just as you don't want one thing to be taught they don't want another one.

bryan: Pastors will have to perform marriage - probably not right away, but yeah in another 15 years after the legalization of marriage it will be pretty much a given for most churches.

Not at all. No rabbi has to perform a marriage between a Jew and a Gentile. No priest has to perform a marriage between two paraplegics. No Mormon bishop has to perform a marriage between two people who've been married before and divorced. No minister in an all-white segregated church has to perform a mixed-race marriage. And no pastor of a homophobic church has to wed a same-sex couple.

Byan: Do Catholic Priests have to marry people who have been divorced? Do Rabbis have to perform interfaith marriages?

Churches don't have to marry anyone they don't want to for any reason. Period.

The opening sentence says "opponents of Proposition 8" when it means "supporters of Proposition 8".

In politics, people sometimes assume that normal, obstreperous kids and adolescents are somehow transformed into docile, sheeplike beings who accept every word their teachers say. As a teacher, I find this very selective faith in us and our awesome powers quite perplexing.

Yeah, like, what's up with people complaining about teachers leading prayer in public schools? These kids today are such hardened targets ... I don't even know why we worry about curriculum or what teachers say in the classroom.

And these are the people that are supposed to be mollified by Obama inviting Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration, right?

You'll pardon me if I think, instead, that these people can go directly to hell, do not pass "Go," do not collect $200.

ANd for those who don't click through hilzoy's first link in her post, I would be remiss in not calling attention to this:

Proposition 8 advocates on Friday also announced they had beefed up their legal team with former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated the Monica Lewinsky affair during former president Bill Clinton's tenure.

Starr, dean of Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California, will plead Proposition 8's case before the Supreme Court, the activists said.

Like a bad freaking penny. Given his apparent prurient interest in other people's sex lives, can we please please please PLEASE dispense with all the "It wasn't about a blowjob, it was about perjury" horsecrap from the right-wing hacks of the world?

I think that if you have three adult children living at home you have more to worry about than who is marrying who.

And Robbie gave up "Days of Our Lives," the soap opera she had been watching since high school."

OK, now I’m convinced that these folks are serious about their cause.


Businesses will have to recognize them as legal, has to do with benefits as stated above.

On July 10, 2004 legislation went into effect requiring businesses in NJ to recognize domestic partnerships. It provided for "limited healthcare, inheritance, property rights and other rights and obligations".

I was working with a major insurance company in the state at the time and was involved with changing the software they used to quote health insurance. I don’t recall any riots in the street. I don’t think even one business closed their doors rather than provide healthcare for teh gays. In fact, it was all pretty painless. Downright unremarkable in fact.

I just can't fathom why people need to turn this issue into some sort of monster. Live and let live.

But then anyone that watches soap operas isn't really a thinking person.

From the LATimes story on the Ferreiras, who have had some problems of their own.

"Robbie points out that Skyline Church offers counseling for people who are "struggling with same-sex attraction," and its pastor has told his congregation to save gay people by giving them love.

"We hate the sin," Abel often declares, "not the sinner."

Abel said he knows what it is to sin. A former drug user, he found Jesus while serving time in prison.

After he was released, he toured the state, telling his conversion story at evangelical gatherings. He met Robbie at a revival in Barstow.

They were married, had three children and then divorced. Ten years ago, they remarried. In the interim, Robbie had married and divorced another man.

The Ferreiras insist their divorces do not make them hypocrites in the fight for Proposition 8 and the preservation of the "sacredness" of marriage. They say it just proves that they are flawed people like everyone else.

"Divorce is ugly. God hates divorce," Abel said. "We're all broken people."

========

This explains a lot to me. Religion filled the void that Abel previously fed with drug abuse and crime.

The Ferreiras pride themselves in having turned their lives around after his criminal past and drug addiction, and their divorce, which probably traumatized their 3 young children. (Youngest daughter Brooklyn is 18; couple was remarried to each other 10 years ago -- after Mom married and divorced another man in the interim -- that's a lot for an 8 year old to adjust to.)

The crimes, drug abuse, being saved by Jesus, marriage, divorce, marriage/divorce to a third party, and remarriage are all conscious and personal choices the Ferreiras made.

They get choices. Gay people do not. You do not choose your sexual orientation, it's genetic, as is eye color or your gender.

The Ferreiras are probably comforted and supported by their church as a family that has survived multiple ordeals (many of their own making!) and come through stronger.

But hate the sin, love the sinner. They stand in judgment of others. They refuse to see gay people as equally human, and equally deserving of a loving, committed relationship and family life.

Moral examples for us all.

Bryan: Pastors will have to perform marriage - probably not right away, but yeah in another 15 years after the legalization of marriage it will be pretty much a given for most churches.

Bryan, guess you don’t get to church much. Our Lutheran minister refused to marry the daughter of my cousin because she and her intended had been living together—and both were members of the church. At the time; they’ve since gone elsewhere to a more accommodating congregation. But ministers don’t have to marry anyone; they can and do say no all the time, whether it be kids like my cousin’s daughter or people who won’t attend those bogus ‘marriage counseling’ sessions prior to the wedding.

hey, don't lump all soap fans in with these guys - I've been watching guiding light since childhood (grandma watched it) and I read this blog......
and I sometimes like to think.

And Robbie gave up "Days of Our Lives," the soap opera she had been watching since high school."

"Like sands in an hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives"

Strange, the show itself was supposed to be a bit racier than the average fare. This, from the Wikipedia page

By the 1970s, critics deemed Days to be the most daring daytime drama, leading the way in using themes other shows of the period would not dare touch, such as artificial insemination and interracial romance.

and this

One of the longest-running storylines involved the rape of Mickey Horton's wife Laura by Mickey's brother Bill. Laura confides in her father-in-law Dr. Tom, and the two agree that her husband Mickey should never know. The secret, involving the true parentage of Michael Horton (a product of the rape) and Mickey's subsequent health issues as a result of the revelation, spanned episodes from 1968 to 1975. The storyline was the first to bring the show to prominence, and put it near the top of the Nielsen daytime ratings.[26] Another love triangle, between lounge singer Doug Williams, Tom and Alice's daughter Addie, and Addie's own daughter, Julie, proved to be very popular around the same time. The storyline culminated in the death of Addie in 1974 and the marriage of Doug and Julie in 1976.

Some other prominent story lines
In addition to the love triangles of Bill/Mickey/Laura and Doug/Julie/Addie, other memorable storylines include the 1968 story of amnesiac Tom Horton, Jr., who returns from the Korean War believing he is someone else and then proceeds to romance his younger sister Marie;[26] the twenty-year tragic love triangle when John Black steals Marlena Brady from her husband Roman;[26] the 1982 "Salem Strangler" (Jake Kositchek, who was nicknamed "Jake the Ripper"), who stalks and murders women

But these are obviously better than anything concerning teh gays.

DOOL used to be a popular lunch time view in various dorms when I was in university, but apparently, their dalliance in gay characters was short according to this

Days of Our Lives (daytime serial drama) NBC 1965-present. In 1977 the unhappily married Sharon Duval (Sally Stark) admitted to her dear friend Julie Williams that she was bisexual and was in love with her. The story line was quickly wrapped up when problems broke out backstage between head writer Pat Falken Smith and the NBC top brass.

If you want them to disapprove, 'they have to be carefully taught'.

I'm sorry, but this is remarkably naive. During formative periods (say, 5-9 years old), it is really easy for a parent or other influential figure to instill a lasting impression about the "wrongness" of a certain activity or state of being simply by playing upon the visceral, emotional instincts of a child perceiving a "differentness". To call upon a cliche, "first impressions matter".

If the first thing that a child hears about gay marriage is that it is "gross" and therefore "makes God angry", that damage will likely be permanent. Takes five minutes, no careful indoctrination necessary.

Ok, maybe it's different in Catholic or Private school, but I went to public school and I don't remember the lesson about heterosexuality being OK. Maybe I was sick that day, or maybe I was out sinning, but I missed it.

Live and Let Live is right on.

Ok, maybe it's different in Catholic or Private school, but I went to public school and I don't remember the lesson about heterosexuality being OK. Maybe I was sick that day, or maybe I was out sinning, but I missed it.

It was, at least when I was in high school a decade ago, taught primarily by negative implication. In health/sex ed classes, there was scarcely a mention of homosexuality, as if the subject was taboo. Hence, the default context of the entire discussion was about heterosexuality, and permutations thereof.

I think several folks in this thread are misunderstanding the point Bryon was trying to make. He wasn't saying that churches will be legally required to marry gays (that is indeed a lie). Rather, he was saying that social pressures arising from within the congregation itself will gradually transform those churches into ones that recognize the legitimacy of gay marriages and willingly marry gays. And yes, I do think that's inevitable if gay marriage is legalized - and it's a good thing! After all, churches are theoretically allowed to refuse to marry a mixed-race couple, but how many today would actually do so? Most people today would refuse to attend such an openly bigoted church, and churches without congregations don't stay in business long.

(Sure, there would be some holdouts. I don't see the Catholic church changing; they don't ordain women or remarry divorced persons, even though neither one would be a very controversial move in the eyes of the larger American society. But most Protestant churches, which are more directly controlled by their congregations, yes, they would over time change and allow gay marriage as their worshippers themselves became more comfortable and accepting of it. The Ferreiras are right about that; the problem is social progress frightens them. They seem to be very frightened people in general, which is probably one big reason why they're religious in the first place; it gives them something 'unchanging' to cling to in a very changeable world.)

You're all right; I wasn't thinking of businesses providing benefits. Somehow, I got this image in my head of e.g. a florist inquiring about the state of my (nonexistent) marriage before selling me flowers, and it crowded out the rest. Sorry about that.

I do not agree that pastors will be forced to do anything, unless, as dlnevins supposes, by pressure from their own congregation. But surely they have better ways of guarding against that; and surely also their denominations could ban gay marriage for people within that denomination, if they chose. Moreover, that has nothing to do with invalidating existing marriages.

I'm glad geographylady spoke up; I know tons of thinking people who watch soaps.

And thanks for pointing out the supporters/opponents thing: serves me right for posting too late. I fixed it.

"And these are the people that are supposed to be mollified by Obama inviting Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration, right?"

My sentiments exactly: Obama seems foolish extending olive branches to folks who will use them for firewood.

Isn't Days the soap opera that gave us the first daytime "super-couple", Luke and Laura, by hooking up a rapist and his victim?

Shouldn't Robbie have given up her soaps in order to look for a job now that her husband, the guy with the criminal record, no longer has one? Salvation or not, he's up against about a million or so folks who don't have a criminal record on their resume.

Also, the Mormons won't even allow non-members in to witness their own children being "Sealed", much less be forced to perform a ceremony for anyone who doesn't meet their rigorous standards.

Folks here are sounding more and more like what they want to accuse opponents of gay marriage of being - intolerant. Religion, when it involves a belief in a personal God, is going to have principles and guidance for behaviors that distinguish between what is believed to be right and what is believed to be wrong. Our culture's secular component, when compared to its Christian component, has a far narrower range of behaviors that are deemed wrong (sinful). Just because many behaviors that Christians believe to be wrong are tolerated within our civil society does not mean that those who consider themselves Christians find those behaviors acceptable. That does not, to me, represent intolerance but adherence to their religious beliefs. Marriage, to these religious adherents is more sensitive than many other issues because of family and children.

My preference is to have this disagreement in a civil and respectful way without automatically judging those of opposing views as being intolerant and bad people.

"Parenthetical note: it's odd how when politics enters the picture, people sometimes acquire a faith in the Svengali-like powers of teachers that makes absolutely no sense at all."

It is even odder than that, Hilzoy. These are the same people who think teachers are totally incompetent at teaching things like, Math, History, English... (unless of course, they are freed from the evil unions) But if they are teaching about "gayness" they are absolutely all powerful.

Just wait, this will soon be portrayed as yet another plot of the evil unions.

My preference is to have this disagreement in a civil and respectful way without automatically judging those of opposing views as being intolerant and bad people.

Doesn't initiating a lawsuit to take away another couple's marriage license (to whom you have no connection) cross that line?

So what if businesses and insurance companies have to recognize gay marriage? Your obligations to your employees don't end when they disclose their religious orientation, why should they end when they have a gay marriage? If you insure *families* what difference does it make if the family is two men and their kids, or two women, or a man and a woman? It doesn't cost anything different so its not a financial catastrophe. And as for its moral implications? well, as hilzoy points out jesus sat down with tax collectors and whores and though its true we don't know if he wrote them any insurance policies the one thing we *do* know is that he *threw the moneylenders* out of the temple and demanded that people stop mixing their monetary and social interests with their religion. When he said "render unto ceasar" etc... the strong implication was that what is done in civil society at the behest of civil society stays in civil society while what you do spiritually or religiously is a purely personal matter between you and g-d.

aimai

So what if businesses and insurance companies have to recognize gay marriage? Your obligations to your employees don't end when they disclose their religious orientation, why should they end when they have a gay marriage? If you insure *families* what difference does it make if the family is two men and their kids, or two women, or a man and a woman? It doesn't cost anything different so its not a financial catastrophe. And as for its moral implications? well, as hilzoy points out jesus sat down with tax collectors and whores and though its true we don't know if he wrote them any insurance policies the one thing we *do* know is that he *threw the moneylenders* out of the temple and demanded that people stop mixing their monetary and social interests with their religion. When he said "render unto ceasar" etc... the strong implication was that what is done in civil society at the behest of civil society stays in civil society while what you do spiritually or religiously is a purely personal matter between you and g-d.

aimai

Well, think about it. If someone (not otherwise connected) believes that marriage is not the appropriate action for joining gay couples in an official way, if they have a recourse through a lawsuit to stop such a precedent, then it will be decided in a court, which is our usual way of resolving disputes in the public realm.

Isn't Days the soap opera that gave us the first daytime "super-couple", Luke and Laura, by hooking up a rapist and his victim?

No, that was "General Hospital."

Folks here are sounding more and more like what they want to accuse opponents of gay marriage of being - intolerant.

Almost exactly ten hours between the original post and "Now we see who the REAL bigots are!" Tell me, exactly why are people supposed to be tolerant of someone holding them down and pissing in their faces?

Religion, when it involves a belief in a personal God, is going to have principles and guidance for behaviors that distinguish between what is believed to be right and what is believed to be wrong.

I'm pretty sure that all religions have such guidance regardless of whether they involve belief in a personal God. (Whatever THAT is.) In any case, such guidance rarely extends to FORCING others to abide by those some principles. And in the particular case of Christianity, such force is the antithesis of its namesake.

Just because many behaviors that Christians believe to be wrong are tolerated within our civil society does not mean that those who consider themselves Christians find those behaviors acceptable.

Great! Then I suggest that these Christians refrain from engaging in those behaviors and leave others right the hell alone.

That does not, to me, represent intolerance but adherence to their religious beliefs.

Which religious belief is it again that requires forcing strangers to adhere to your beliefs?

My preference is to have this disagreement in a civil and respectful way without automatically judging those of opposing views as being intolerant and bad people.

I think trying to actively destroy the marriage of two complete strangers just because you are a Christian is, in fact, the very definition of being a bad, intolerant person.

GoodOleBoy, are you married? Because if you are, I don't think I like your marriage, and I'm going to take you to court to have it dissolved. Are you OK with that?

GoodOleBoy: I do not ask anyone to approve of gay marriage. I only ask that they not deprive other people of the right to marry.

As to this: "If someone (not otherwise connected) believes that marriage is not the appropriate action for joining gay couples in an official way, if they have a recourse through a lawsuit to stop such a precedent, then it will be decided in a court, which is our usual way of resolving disputes in the public realm." -- not everything people think is wrong should be criminalized. Being a jerk, for instance, is not criminal.

And these are the people that are supposed to be mollified by Obama inviting Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration, right?

No, probably not these people. Obama is shooting for their neighbors, the Tolmans, three doors down.

Hilroy,

Who raised criminality?

Sorry, Hilzoy.

No, probably not these people. Obama is shooting for their neighbors, the Tolmans, three doors down.

Hell, the Ferreiras probably think Rick Warren is part of the conspiracy, since he's sold out by participating in the inauguration of the evil Obama.

GOB, I think the idea was that the fact that our system allows people to bring a case to court doesn't mean that they're not jerks for doing it. The $54 million pants suit guy was operating within the system as well.

The biggest problem with this column is that it's written as if everyone reinvents the wheel with respect to what they think Jesus would have them do. Even a liberal such as myself who thinks Jesus wants me to be most concerned about the needy didn't come to that conclusion just by reading Bible verses. My subculture taught me this belief was good. I understood why it was good. So I embraced it, after trying out some other beliefs first. Bible-believing Christians are even less original.

It's an amazing thing how the 40% of Americans who say, "God wrote it; I believe it" all managed to get the message that God's top three political priorities for them are to fight abortion, fight homosexuality, and fight the teaching of evolution. That exact list is fairly recent, yet it has become so uniform among conservative Christians. The biology and culture behind such conformity must be powerful. I wish I understood them better.

I know I don't understand the physiology of conformity beyond the phenomenology of it, such as how people do indeed adopt the misinformation of the group about how same-sex marriage will destroy first amendment rights, such as how people as a group aren't swayed by Bible verses about looking at their own pride and idolatries first, because no one else in their group is swayed by that. Instead people who should know better demonstrate our blaming nature that caused verses like Matthew 7:1 to be written.

I am very careful about telling people they should be different, whether that's how they should feel something other than what they feel or want the people they do. No one is the way he or she is by accident or mostly by choice. Otherwise I would choose to want food less and other things. That's not the way it works, even if I can overcome my nature in some ways. Human nature is very strong.

I'm not sure what part of human nature caused whoever it was to initiate the suit to invalidate same-sex marriages already performed. I doubt he or she had to think about how homosexuality is the enemy and must be completely destroyed. That mindset has become second nature to this person, through conservative religion. Cognitive science will explain this better in time than it does now.

How did Jesus lead to this? Through Paul, through Constantine, through the self-hatred of gay priests, through the many reasons that homosexuality makes a good scapegoat for evangelicals, just as the unborn child makes the perfect innocent, while those of us who have been born are not so innocent.

Why do people worry about any of that instead of going hang-gliding? Because words can be just as liberating as an updraft, even though they are so often our downfall. Human beings live for both safety and liberty, despite how the ways they do that can be a negative for themselves or others. To try to change that completely is like trying to control the tides.

Also have you tried hang-gliding? It's a fair amount of work and sometimes scary. Bashing other people's rights is a more predictable high.

GoodOleBoy, sub "illegalized" for "criminalized", I think.

By the way, GOB, do you ever perform any magic tricks?

G.O.B. You talk about religious objections to certain behavior. Yet this issue is not about behavior at all. It is about being. If I am a woman, I cannot marry another woman. I have not "behaved" in any way, I just "am". Surely you can see the discrimination and injustice of a religious belief against being.

I don't have to be homosexual. I just have to want to marry someone that is not on your approved list. This is wrong. What if two heterosexual people of the same sex wish to marry? What is it to your religious beliefs? How do you know they are homosexual, since you seem to care so much?

For shall we remove the motes in our eyes and fashion from them beams to build the drawbridges of intolerance over the crocodiled moats surrounding our gated communities?

And shall we fashion our neighborhood covenants to disallow manufactured housing within our gated follies, but shall we venture forth and distribute glossy sales brochures with undisclosed small print regarding foreclosure procedures and shoddy manufacturing standards for those without our moated famished crocodiles?

For shall we gaze upon the land and subdivide the land and cast our fishes downwind to avoid the stench of our iniquities?

For shall we preach the law of "those who can, do: those who can't, teach" unless it involves buggery, in which case we must add wordy codiciles excepting buggery from our absolutes, roughly speaking, that "those who can, will, and should thereby be prevented from doing so in the privacy of their depreciated manufactured housing .... and those who can't, teach, with the exception of buggery, which somehow they know how to do AND to teach equally well using the fruit of the banana tree and Powerpoint as teaching aids, and don't get me started on aids because the additional small print accompanying our prejudiced absolutes shall increase the size of our glossy brochures and increase overhead, leading to overemployment and bloated health benefits, thereby blunting the self-regard of our charity, which might be a good thing, because our foundation's money was run by Bernie Madoff, who perfected buggery of a horse of a different color, and let's fortify our moats and drawbridges because if its different, our moated crocodiles must feed upon those differences"?

For shall we gaze upon our television screens and turn up the volume to avoid hearing the snapping of the jaws of our moated, tearful crocodiles as they feed upon the thrashing differences, and shall we find solace and entertainment in the pageantry we witness on the screen as homosexual actors protray heterosexual characters who betray, murder, rape, lie, cheat, steal from, defraud, divorce, and sue each other using stilted dialogue and tacky music and interrupted by sentimental commercial breaks depicting flaccid men become hardened satyrs and the adoring women who gaze upon them, stifling the giggle of shameless cupidity that has somehow jumped the crocodiled moat and lives among us, causing to us rut in the kitchen during the middle of the day when we are unemployed?


Those of us who have some sensitivity to traditions maybe should concentrate more on the acts involved and the results of those acts rather than the words. We could then give up the use of the word marriage, and get a license to mate, and call it mating.

Then I suggest that these Christians refrain from engaging in those behaviors and leave others right the hell alone.

This answer, unfortunately, does not serve, as one's actions have effects on others who are non-participants in those actions.

I believe economists call these silly things "externalities", and act like they are kind of important...

I"ll bite on the intolerance scam. Despite cries to the contrary and pearl clutching and breast beating from the right wing its important to remember that where you sit determines where you stand. Tolerance and Intolerance are both practices that relate to particular settings. I don't "tolerate" saudia arabian law--its not up to me to do so. I am not "intolerant" of the practice of washing one's hair with urine, even if I don't choose that practice myself. Its simply not relevant. Where tolerance and intolerance come into play is within civil society as presently constituted. And there both "tolerance" and "intolerance" are virtues--but in different social settings. Tolerance is a virtue when it is practiced by an individual or a group with respect to others, outside their sphere of engagement or in near and occasional contact. Intolerance of certain behaviors is a virtue, too, when you are trying to construce a social compact that respects the interests of all who partake in it.

In other words, it all depends on what is being tolerated, or what is not being tolerated. It is a virtue to tolerate--that is, not to attack, or disparage, or seek to harm, or injure, people from other faiths, ways of life, or even just who live down the street from us. Tolerance in that sense is a virtue because without it we couldn't get along in this complex, multi cultural, multi age, and multi interest community we call the modern polity. Because by definition we are not all alike, tolerance of differences is the bedrock on which we have to found the everyday experience of living together with people who we don't choose to love but we are forced to live with.

What, then, of intolerance? Its not, in fact, the opposite of tolerance in a real world setting. Because the things we are "tolerating" or "not tolerating" aren't the same. We ask conservatives, right wingers, religious nuts for "tolerance" because we are asking them to remove some of their anger, rage, and hatred from the public sphere and confine it to their own families and churchs--to recognize that "their" communities are, in fact, public spaces that need to be shared with others not of their persuasion. In return, we promise not to forcibly invade their private spaces, we don't propose to forcibly invalidate their marriages, or steal their children, or prevent them from adopting, or treat their illnesses, or forbid them transportation, or forbid them drugs, or invade their churchs, etc...etc...etc... That's the grand bargain we make as a society.

Requesting conservatives to keep their hatred and bigotry to themselves isn't "intolerance" its a quid pro quo to allow them to live in a shared civil society, a shared civil space. Because if we are going to battle it out for whose theocracy is going to win I am voting "buddhist" and its far from clear that one particular christian sect is going to win.

Is it intolerant for christianists to throw their gay family members out onto the street, to refuse to worship with gays, to have forced african americans into a separate church, to openly preach that muslims and jews are going to hell? Sure, but its not relevant to political action. As a liberal I would never argue that right wingers should be "less intolerant" and I don't expect to be lectured on it by them. Let them be as intolerant as they wish--within their own private spaces. I personally, for example, could care less who Warren thinks he's in fellowship with. I wouldn't break bread with the guy myself but no doubt others standards are lower. But I'm not asking for his marriage to be forcibly annulled and his children to be made retrospective bastards. You call me intolerant for calling Warren and his type hypocrites, liars, bad theologians, and evil people? I'd call myself damned tolerant for being willing to allow them to remain in civil society at all.

aimai

"Then I suggest that these Christians refrain from engaging in those behaviors and leave others right the hell alone."

This answer, unfortunately, does not serve, as one's actions have effects on others who are non-participants in those actions.

I believe economists call these silly things "externalities", and act like they are kind of important...

Sorry, no. Nobody else's marriage has any effect whatsoever on mind, nor vice versa.

Phil and Oyster Tea already touched on these points, but I want to underline them because they don't get mentioned very often.

Where did these people get the idea that they're responsible for my "sins"? Don't they have enough to do to keep track of their own?

But further, if they're going to make themselves responsible for stamping out other people's sins, or make sinners into second-class citizens, why only these sins?

Why aren't these same people having these same fits and expending this same kind of energy (and $) trying to stamp out civil divorce?

Never mind eating meat on Friday and missing Mass on Sunday (sins I remember from my Catholic childhood) or touching a bottle of liquor or a deck of cards (sins from my mother's Baptist childhood). For that matter, never mind lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, fornication, tailgating, and cutting in line at the grocery store.

They don't give a damn about these sins. Why is that?

Religion is just good cover. It's about -- yes -- ignoring the beam in one's own eye. It's also about "us and them." It's also, for good measure, about the power of sex to obsess people one way or the other.

[I see that a whole novella's worth of comments has appeared while I've been trying to say something. Time to get to work.]

This is a lovely, insightful post. From a gay person in Kansas, thanks.

One quick mention, the article states that the pastor in question said "Schools would begin teaching children that gay and lesbian lifestyles are the norm"; not that they'd be normal, but the norm, or in other words ideal or base-line. Assuming that this is what he said, not that they'd be simply normal, and I think you can add in another lie they perpetuate to further their agenda. And I've seen this line of argument before, so I honestly don't think it's that big a stretch to assume it's exactly what happened.

"For 40 days, the couple gave up coffee and didn't eat for 12 hours a day."

Are there no bag lunches in gated communities?

"And these are the people that are supposed to be mollified by Obama inviting Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration, right?"

No, Phil, they're not. I don't know where people get the idea from that all highly religious Christians are homogenous with all the bigots -- or, for that matter the idea that everyone with some bigoted thoughts never gets wiser and less bigoted (not necessarily this couple, but others).

These really clearly are not the kind of folk Obama is trying to reach. That doesn't make the choice of asking Warren a just or righteous one, but the answer to your question is plainly no. That's not the theory at all.

Oyster Tea, you're missing the point of "marriage" which is government regulated sexuality.

GoodOleBoy, can't you mate without a license?

Sorry, no. Nobody else's marriage has any effect whatsoever on mind[sic], nor vice versa.

How nice for you. Now, if only you could speak for the feelings and effects of and upon other people...oh, wait! You can't. How odd. I would imagine that a person who strongly believes in the normative force of heterosexuality would feel affronted and harmed by the society which rules over them making a decision validating that which they find to be perniciously invalid.

Are we bound only to respect the "enlightened" feelings of "advanced" people who have decided that the definition of marriage is just a "silly" thing beneath their notice? That's awfully self-serving.

Before this goes much further, I do want to point out that I opposed Prop 8, would love for gays to get married. I just think it is this sort of flippant argument, that isn't very thoughtful, and so unsurprisingly fails to convince people. And we wonder why everyone doesn't just see the world self-evidently as we see it!

I should have said, more accurately in my original post, that the argument towards freedom, e.g. "leave us alone and do your own thing", is insufficient when making policy arguments about a community where the behaviors and well-being of one affects all others. It needs to be supplemented by something meatier.

I don't know where people get the idea from that all highly religious Christians are homogenous with all the bigots

Me neither, since my in-laws are highly religious Christians -- they run their own church out of their own living room. But when you find someone who has that idea, you can perhaps ask them.

No, my posing the question was predicated on the notion that, since religious people who have no beef with gay marriage don't need to be mollified by Obama, then he must be reaching out to some other group, which might or might not include the Ferreiras.

These really clearly are not the kind of folk Obama is trying to reach.

How, exactly, are you in a position to know that?

You can mate without a license, but since one of the goals of mating is to produce and rear offspring, in a civil society we need a formal way to hold parents accountable, and a license and recording of the mating compact helps in this.

How nice for you. Now, if only you could speak for the feelings and effects of and upon other people...oh, wait! You can't. How odd.

No, actually, I can. I know with absolute certainty, as much as I know that the sun will appear in the east tomorrow morning, that the conditions, success and longevity of my marriage have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the marriage of any other human beings on earth.

I would imagine that a person who strongly believes in the normative force of heterosexuality would feel affronted and harmed by the society which rules over them making a decision validating that which they find to be perniciously invalid.

The fact that they believe it does not make that affront nor that harm real.

Are we bound only to respect the "enlightened" feelings of "advanced" people who have decided that the definition of marriage is just a "silly" thing beneath their notice? That's awfully self-serving.

I recently celebrated 17 years of marriage, so don't presume to lecture me and throw in a bunch of assumptions about what I do and don't believe about it. I didn't use the words "advanced," "enlightened" or "silly" in reference to people, marriage or anything else, so whatever argument you think you're making is with an imaginary being in your head.

No, I stated a simple fact: My marriage belongs to me and my wife, and us alone, and does not affect the marriage of anyone else.

GoodOleBoy, we don't need a license to decide what to do with the kids. There are all kinds of laws about parental responsibility, and we've got DNA tests these days.

Elemenope, nobody here will define marriage or tell you why it is a necessary component of the civil law, so give up trying to be logical about it. Marriage makes people feel good somehow - it makes people happy to go down and get a marriage license for whatever reason. And everybody wants to do it, whether straight or gay, so I say they all should. What it means to give the government jurisdiction over their private lives - well, they'll worry about that when they want to split up.

GOB, then logically this mating license would not be available to heterosexual couples not planning, or not able, to reproduce? That doesn't seem very traditional.

No, they could get a marriage license. It is a bit tiresome to avoid the notion that there is a real differentiation between those who desire to be together for all of the reasons posted here and those who desire to be together to mate, meaning producing offspring, rearing them, and propagating the human race. I think these two things are different and merit distinct language labels.

But GOB, that's a distinction that's never been made, so I don't understand how you're connecting it to traditions. And I don't see what it has to do with the argument over same-sex marriage.

"Are there no bag lunches in gated communities?"

Also, on the coffee, are there no thermoses?

The law, in its majesty, allows lesbians to marry gay men if they want to, and vice versa. I wonder whether the Ferreiras approve of that.

I know it's making light of a serious subject, but I would love to see Melissa Etheridge and Elton John take out a California marriage license and ask Ric Warren to perform the wedding.

--TP

Very well put, aimai, about the role of tolerance in a diverse civil society.

As for externalities, the externalities of equal marriage rights are the same for all marriages. Gay marriage doesn't entail special externalities on society. Except that some might be discomforted and offended.

However the externalities associated with continuing to discriminate in marriage are very real and very damaging to families. Particularly children.

As a matter of law, merely being offended by other's actions is irrelevant. If there are those that for whatever reason fell that they cannon live in a society that allows equal rights for gay citizens they are free to do what people have been doing for thousands of years -- remove themselves from that society.

GoodOleBoy, I assume that if any branch of Christianity adhered to a view of marriage that would not have permitted you and your wife to be wed under their roof, then you will show respect for their beliefs by immediately ending your marriage?

After all, that's what you're asking same-sex couples to do. Be the change you want, friend.

Not that it really matters, but yes businesses have to deal with the validity of people's marriages -- that of their employees. It affects who is covered by benefits and such.

Same-sex marriage saves many businesses money. If nowadays they provide benefits for domestic partners, it's because marriage wasn't available to their gay employees. One it is, they can go back to providing benefits only to legal spouses.

KCinDC, the tradition has been that marriage is between a man and a woman and that there has been no way to determine the prospect of having or not having offspring (until recently) or the intent, although the inevitable likelihood was that it would happen. Now, by modern means we can answer these things, so we can make a distinction that was not previously possible.

"How, exactly, are you in a position to know that?"

Because it's what Obama said. I'm unclear if you've actually read what he's said about the Warren invite.

I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with Obama's theory -- we won't know if it's right or wrong for another 2-4 years, and maybe he's wrong (but his team has a good track record so far of being right about finding and persuading voters) -- but no, his theory is not that all Rick Warren followers are like this couple (and I think that's probably verifiable; certainly flaming rightwinger Nell has testified here about it, for whatever her anecdotal view is worth, but there's likely other info out there on this).

His theory is that there's a significant number of folks who are followers of Warren and other Christians who aren't at all so virulently bigoted who can otherwise be brought to recognize enough common ground with Democrats as to vote for some. I'll go chase some quotes on this later, if you like.

How about we label them 'traditional marriage' and 'non-traditional marriage'?

Phil, I likely will have to back down on my claim that it's directly from what Obama has said.

I'll make the more limited claim that it's the understanding lots of observers have picked up from observing and following the theory of the campaign and Obama's political history. I'll agree that this may not constitute something we "know," if you like.

But Obama's entire history is of finding what ways he can to advance liberal accomplishments and laws, while finding common language and ways of reaching out to conservatives, and unalienating them, and that's his track record in the Chicago leg, and in the Senate. I don't think it's weird to assert that he's just continuing to do that, and that it doesn't constitute expecting people as this couple to be turned around by his approach.

GOB, I don't agree that marriages that don't produce children are nontraditional. Have postmenopausal women generally been banned from marrying? Certainly if marriages without children were ever viewed as somehow invalid, that hasn't been true for a long time in our society. Your mating license would be something new, not a continuation of tradition.

Just to butt in here, with the alternative legal framework for the "marriage" discussion:

A Civil Union could be a contractual agreement between two consenting adult individuals*, guaranteeing full legal protections as a legally recognized couple (e.g., visitation rights, immigration status, inheritance, etc.). This would be the sole legal definition.

A "marriage" would be a private affair, conducted by the religious or secular institution/official/whatever of your choice. It would have no legal bearing**, and would be independent of the legal civil union.

Would this satisfy both camps?

Potential fora for this to be made law:

- Congressional Law (but may have major Federalism issues, see, e.g., the DOMA).

- Constitutional Amendment (politically infeasible?).

- SCOTUS case (possibly based on the endorsement clause?).

*Ignoring the polygamy question for now.
**Perhaps providing evidentiary relevance during divorce hearings, or citizenship requests, or whatever, but not much else.

Elemenope, nobody here will define marriage or tell you why it is a necessary component of the civil law, so give up trying to be logical about it.

No kidding. All I was doing was trying to demonstrate why these arguments are unpersuasive to those who don't agree with them. FWIW, I think that marriage *as a component of civil law* is primarily a chunking mechanism for short-handing a lot of what otherwise would be very complicated legal arrangements among people who are lovers and their offspring, dealing with issues of propriety, privacy, and property in a regular way.

Marriage makes people feel good somehow - it makes people happy to go down and get a marriage license for whatever reason. And everybody wants to do it, whether straight or gay, so I say they all should.

Me, too.

What it means to give the government jurisdiction over their private lives - well, they'll worry about that when they want to split up.

Heh. Yes, the joke goes (I read it at DailyDish a while back but probably does not originate with Sullivan) that gay people should be free to suffer through all that goes on in heterosexual marriages. Personally I wouldn't want the government to be the arbiter of my sexual relationships, but then again many people like it because of the goodies it brings (spousal privilege, visitation rights, standing for custody, combined finances, etc.) as well as the social prestige it confers. To each his own.

I would imagine that a person who strongly believes in the normative force of heterosexuality would feel affronted and harmed by the society which rules over them making a decision validating that which they find to be perniciously invalid.

Are we bound only to respect the "enlightened" feelings of "advanced" people who have decided that the definition of marriage is just a "silly" thing beneath their notice? That's awfully self-serving.

If that's the way you want to play it, then let me be the first to register my affront and the harm done to me by the way I have been made into a second-class citizen because of other people's inability to share the world with people they don't like.

Or is it only some people's affronted feelings that count?

I recently celebrated 17 years of marriage...

Congratulations.

...so don't presume to lecture me and throw in a bunch of assumptions about what I do and don't believe about it. I didn't use the words "advanced," "enlightened" or "silly" in reference to people, marriage or anything else, so whatever argument you think you're making is with an imaginary being in your head.

No, it has to do with tone. for example, when you post something like this:

No, actually, I can. I know with absolute certainty, as much as I know that the sun will appear in the east tomorrow morning, that the conditions, success and longevity of my marriage have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the marriage of any other human beings on earth.

...and then desire to have your position considered as one not slathered liberally with arrogance that does as much political damage to the chances of homosexuals securing the right to marry as the most bigoted homophobe. They are easily caricatured, and you become equally so to them. Do you understand that by asserting that obviously gay marriage will have no effect on heterosexual marriage, you are implicitly calling all those who believe it will idiots. Honey vs. Vinegar, and all that.

The fact that they believe it does not make that affront nor that harm real.

And the fact that you believe it would not does not foreclose the possibility that it might. The fact that you cannot conceive of a mechanism that might cause such an effect does not mean that one doesn't exist in a system as complex and chaotic as a human civilization. Again, this sort of assertion is read by your opponents as arrogant and insulting, and won't win anyone over to anything.

"Yes, the joke goes (I read it at DailyDish a while back but probably does not originate with Sullivan) that gay people should be free to suffer through all that goes on in heterosexual marriages."

Not to mention divorce.

If that's the way you want to play it, then let me be the first to register my affront and the harm done to me by the way I have been made into a second-class citizen because of other people's inability to share the world with people they don't like.

Or is it only some people's affronted feelings that count?

Read the *whole* post again, You've missed the point. My argument is not about whether it is right or wrong for gays to marry, but rather about what modes of argument towards the idea that it *is* are productive and which are counterproductive.

Speaking personally, I could not be moved to give a damn whether some bigot or others' felling are hurt, privately. But when I'm trying to convince one that their bigotry is harmful, I find it less useful to call them names, assert their lack of intelligence, or make broad epistemologically ridiculous statements than some other tactics.

Perhaps there have been cases where people have simply been brow-beat into tolerance. If you know of one, please tell me about it.

"How nice for you. Now, if only you could speak for the feelings and effects of and upon other people...oh, wait! You can't. How odd." (This is embarrassing, but how do you italicize text here?)

I think this issue has some complicated parts to it, but this clearly should NOT be one of them. No doubt some (maybe many) people are in some sense hurt or affronted by the legalization of gay marriage; psychologically or symbolically, they are suffering a blow, and this can cause actual displacement, pain, and frustration. I don't doubt this at all. But one of the key points of a liberal Western democracy is that this type of "suffering" or "offense" is completely irrelevant from a public point of view. Janie M makes a good point with all of the other examples she invokes (eating meat on Fridays, gambling, etc) whose very existence could also feasibly "harm" certain American citizens. There's a limit on what harm you can invoke. The gay marriage proponents and opponents are both claiming they are being wronged in some way. But the fact is that a public institution is being denied to a certain subset of the population, and no matter how legalizing gay marriage would make you feel ("Hooray!" "Yuk!"), this is not an allowable argument for its rightness or wrongness. EVEN IF people were committing seppaku in despondency over gay marriage, filing for divorces in disgust, and showing actual signs of immense suffering from this issue...

That said, regarding Hilzoy's post: I understand your point and sympathize, but if someone finds something to be a great and grievous societal wrong, I see nothing silly about trying to stop it. This couple's actions and priorities are not necessarily wrong, just their actual cause (i.e. illegalizing gay marriage). Given this is mainly a symbolical war, couldn't your line of reasoning cut against Prop 8 opponents as well? ("You lost, so what? You can still love each other and become life partners. There are still starving and homeless people in your neighborhood and a disastrous war and plenty of other societal ills you probably need to help with. Why not focus on those instead?")

Would this satisfy both camps?

It seems obvious that attempting to remove the concept of "marriage" from the law, and having civil unions for everyone, regardless of how logical it might be, would not go over well with the people who already believe that a liberal/homosexual conspiracy is trying to destroy the institutional of marriage.

. . .a liberal/homosexual conspiracy is trying to destroy the institutional of marriage.

No no! It's the liberal/atheist conspiracy that's trying to destroy the "institution" of marriage, see?

;)

I think this issue has some complicated parts to it, but this clearly should NOT be one of them. [Examples follow]

But so much of our restrained social discourse depends on the preservation of just those feelings. Why do we not allow people who want to to walk around completely nude on the street? Absurd pseudo-psychological theories about incitement to sexual depravity aside, it really is because people's feelings of modesty would be hurt. Many of the people who fight hard for gay equality would also think nothing of supporting a smoking ban, again dependent primarily upon people simply not wanting to be annoyed by second-hand smoke.

In a society, we *do* have to account for the sensibilities of others, and many of our rules and prohibitions do just that. So it is a big part of the argument (even in a liberal democratic society!), no matter how problematic or inconvenient it may be. How *do* we decide whose feeling can be hurt and whose can't?

Why do people keep assuming that the Warren appointment is supposed to mollify people like the Ferrieras? There is no basis for that assumption.

I don't know why Obama picked Warren and Lowery but I can make some guesses that don't have anything to do with mollifying neurotic losers.

1. As President of one nation he decided to indicate his desire to represent the whole country by having two very different pastors, one associated with Deomcrats and one with Republicans, take part in his Inaugeration.

2. He wants to break the bubble. If a well known rightwing pastor speaks at his I, then the those evangleicals who are not neurotic or extremist or stupid or ignorant (which is, in fact, most of them) will be less prone to self-isolation and more open to hearing our values. In other words, just an application of Howard Dean's fight everywhere speak to everyone strategy.
3. He wants to drive a wedge between the various rightwing religous leaders, separating the old school ones from the up and coming ones. Also he wanted Warren to be the target of rightwing abuse (which he is now).

I could probably come up with some more reasons that have nothing to do with getting emptyheaded nutcases to vote our way.

One of the ways Republicans demonized liberals to evangelicals was by saying that liberals hated them and sneered at them and subjected them to degrading stereotypes. Sadly, there is some truth in that: examples right here on this thread!

One last point: it isn't necesary for Democrats to get the whole evangelical vote. Or half of it. Or one quarter of it. It is, however, very much to our advantage to have a dialog with them because just peeling off one or two percent in a few key districts could make the difference in the composition of the Senate and in state legislature make up.

So, no, the Warren pick is not intended to mollify loons like the Ferrieras.


S.G.E.W., no this doesn't satisfy people. There was a lengthy thread a few weeks ago discussing this possibility, but people in this community were mostly opposed to it as being unlikely, or unsatisfying for whatever reason. But thank you for offering it - your plan is what I would support. (And under the regime, I'd feel free to have a "wedding" and call my "spouse" "wife" or "husband", depending on whom I decided to partner up with (or "marry" in the vernacular). Nobody would have to change a thing socially.)

I think what's really going on here is that the lgbt community wants society to affirmatively say to them: "There's nothing different about your union than those that have been going on for years and years between heterosexual couples." And that's mostly true, and I support the concept. But marriage itself is different these days in a society that's more multicultural, and where gender issues have evolved. Those changes warrant a reexamination of the government's role. But I'm not going to refight that battle here, because I don't (again) want my views on this to dilute my expression of support for equal rights for the lgbt community.

For a previous iteration of this discussion from as long ago as yesterday, btw, see page 2 of this post, here.

Mike Schilling: Same-sex marriage saves many businesses money. If nowadays they provide benefits for domestic partners, it's because marriage wasn't available to their gay employees. One it is, they can go back to providing benefits only to legal spouses.

That’s a really good point. When it went into law in NJ, there were (are) definitely some “Chuck and Larry” situations going on. As I mentioned I was working for the insurance industry at the time, “single-male” was the most expensive coverage group (even the underwriters know how much we chill out when we get married). Two roommates who worked at the same company could suddenly get “2 Adults” coverage for a heck of a lot cheaper than two single men could. Some meetings I was involved in centered on: “If they apply, how do we know they are really gay?” The answer of course was, uh, you don’t. I thought it was cool because being gay went from some kind of stigma to some kind of semi-privileged group.

"(This is embarrassing, but how do you italicize text here?)"

With HTML tags. Specifically, use pointy brackets instead of square brackets like these [i]words I want to italicize[/i] and it will come out like this: words I want to italicize.

List of standard tags here, among many other places.

Phil, there is one group of married people whose marriages will be affected by making same-sex marriage legal: closet cases who got married years or decades ago to a person of the opposite sex, because they thought that they had to: and their spouses.

S.G.E.W.; Just to butt in here, with the alternative legal framework for the "marriage" discussion:

I'd hoped that the notion that taking the freedom to marry away from people who already have it would solve any problems, would have been scotched by the passage of Proposition 8. Evidently not. But it was and is a thoroughly stupid and unworkable idea.

Thanks, feminist philosopher, for making me look more closely at Warren's actual history on the issue. Now I'm even more furious about the invocation than I was before.

As a body, the NRCAT board should demand some concrete action from Warren. He wouldn't get credit for anti-poverty activism if he'd simply signed the letter to Bush in 2005 that got him labeled as a "moderate".

Speaking of that letter: Funny how Warren and the other signers waited until Bush's approval rating went below 40% to send that letter. You'd almost think it was political advice to the Republicans to come up with a figleaf of compassion, or an effort to repackage his profitable tax-free "purpose-driven" franchise and distance it from the suddenly unpopular president, rather than a genuine call of conscience...

He's a politician who grasped the political significance of the Schiavo spectacle, and positioned himself to take advantage of whichever way the winds blow.

Sorry; my comment was intended for another thread, where I'll repost it.

I should have said, more accurately in my original post, that the argument towards freedom, e.g. "leave us alone and do your own thing", is insufficient when making policy arguments about a community where the behaviors and well-being of one affects all others. It needs to be supplemented by something meatier.

The argument I've always found most compelling is "What's it to you?".

If you want to tell a subset of the population that a fundamental civic privilege is going to be denied to them, I think the onus is on you to demonstrate why that should be so.

Maybe there is some significant, material way in which gay people getting married is going to affect the lives of the people who object to it. For the life of me, I can't think of what that might be, but I'll stipulate that it might exist.

So, what is it? What's the harm done to the Ferreiras, or anyone like them?

The fact that they don't approve of it is not good enough. Not remotely.

I don't approve of gated communities. So they should be forced to sell their home and move. Think that will fly?

What's it to them? They want to take not just the privilege, but the actual fact of marriage away from thousands of people. They need to put a damned good reason on the table.

I agree with your basic point that the freedom to be left alone needs to be balanced with the needs of everyone else in the community. But as far as I can tell, there is no "need" in the broader community that requires balancing.

What do the Ferreiras need that requires dissolving the existing marriages of gays in California?

What's it to them?

Thanks -

italaway

Read the *whole* post again, You've missed the point. My argument is not about whether it is right or wrong for gays to marry, but rather about what modes of argument towards the idea that it *is* are productive and which are counterproductive.

I have read the whole post, and if I've missed the point, it's because you've either forgotten what you wrote the first time, expressed yourself less than clearly, or deliberately moved the goalposts.

Here is a central part of what you wrote that I was responding to:

I would imagine that a person who strongly believes in the normative force of heterosexuality would feel affronted and harmed by the society which rules over them making a decision validating that which they find to be perniciously invalid.

There isn't one word about "modes of argument" affronting people. Your plain words are about how their affront is caused by what the government does.

How *do* we decide whose feeling can be hurt and whose can't?

If we were only talking about feelings, you might have a valid point.

But in fact we aren't.

There is real and tangible harm happening to gay families right now because they are denied the legal rights and protections of marriage. This is particularly problematic for the children of gay couples who don't have the same rights that we give to other children who have two legally recognized and responsible parents.

I have yet to hear about any real and tangible threats to people who currently have marriage rights that would occur by extending rights to every citizen. Hurt feelings and discomfort aren't enough to actually ruin the lives of real families and real children in the here and now.

And two paragraphs later, I wrote *in the same post*:

Before this goes much further, I do want to point out that I opposed Prop 8, would love for gays to get married. I just think it is this sort of flippant argument, that isn't very thoughtful, and so unsurprisingly fails to convince people. And we wonder why everyone doesn't just see the world self-evidently as we see it!

Huh. It looks like a point about lack of efficacy of a mode of argument! Look at that.

This is particularly problematic for the children of gay couples who don't have the same rights that we give to other children who have two legally recognized and responsible parents.

Is this really true? Please elaborate.

"Two roommates who worked at the same company could suddenly get '2 Adults' coverage for a heck of a lot cheaper than two single men could."

For similar reasons, Denny Crane and Alan Shore's marriage.

Sapient:

Sadly it is true. I am currently in a long-term relationship and we adopted a child a number of years ago. Living in Texas, we were not able to adopt as a couple so my son has only one legal parent -- me. My husband is the primary breadwinner in our family. Should we breakup, my son has no right to continue to receive any financial support from his non-legal parent. Insurance is another problem for kids in these situations. Because my son has no legal relation to my hubby, he cannot be covered under his very generous employer benefits plan. And if I were to suddenly lose my job (not unlikely in this environment) he would lose health insurance entirely despite having a parent who could/should be providing it. Also, I can at any time decide that I want to end the relationship and deny my now-ex any visitation or contact with the child he has been raising for ten years. This is devastating for a child but often happens (look at how acrimonious divorce is for straight parents and then remove any legal framework and you start to see how horrific it can be for children). Were I to die, my fundamentalist evangelical family could and likely would fight for custody of my son. And because my husband has no biological or legal relationship to him, they might likely win (it's Texas after all) despite my express written wishes. Again with terrible results for my son who would suddenly be losing the only two parents he has know.

The list goes on.

So yes, there is real harm that is happening now to the children of gay families. There have been some important legal cases over recent years, with mixed results. But forcing a lengthy and expensive and uncertain legal battle to protect our children's best interests is ineffectual and just as damaging to children who need safety and support and love.

The child of every heterosexual marriage has legal rights and recourse that my son doesn't.

It is shameful.

"It is shameful."

Yes.

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