« Sotomayor: Actual Facts! | Main | Shameful »

May 30, 2009

Comments

I think the "micro" approach is the best way to persuade someone. It's one think to debate it all abstractly. But when you see a real couple, and you read stories like this, it's hard not to be moved.

I'm sure Dreher would be too if he could get over his ideological constructs. gay marriage seems to completely embody the message of what i remember reading int he gospels

He would surely not accept my right to impose secularism on him

this is exactly what he thinks you (as a representative of the secular world) are doing.

Over the years I've watched conservatives scream about individual rights--the smallest slight seems to be an excuse to complain that their rights are violated. And now Dreher complains about too much individualism. A useful reminder for such people: other people are individuals, too.

Krawk!

The risk of conservatives following the Benedictine option is that in separating themselves from the contemporary world they would be more likely to emulate the violent and wacky Korishian cults than the nonviolent Amish.

Hey, three cheers for any conservative that wants to question the conflation of human liberty and capitalism. Three cheers for any liberal that wants to do the same, for that matter.

Does anyone besides me see something ironic in the fact that Dreher's dreamtime conservative psychopomp is Constantin Cavafy?

I sometimes wonder if liberalism is just a prospective nostalgia for a world that will never be, and conservativism a nostalgia for a world that never was.

I have no idea exactly what bad thing it is that conservatives think is going to happen if homosexual people marry each other. Does anyone know? Cause I can't figure it out.

And not for nothing, but for folks sincerely interested in it, the "Benedictine option" is freely available, now, today.

It's called the Benedictine Order, and one can participate either as an actual monk or as a lay person.

That door is open, has always been open, and will continue to be open. No gay wedding will prevent anyone from walking through it.

"I have no idea exactly what bad thing it is that conservatives think is going to happen if homosexual people marry each other. Does anyone know?"

Repressed gay fundamentalist Christians will be free to break up their marriages and have teh wildly desirable gay sex.

I sometimes wonder if liberalism is just a prospective nostalgia for a world that will never be, and conservativism a nostalgia for a world that never was.

Thanx, russell. As profound and true an aphorism as I've ever seen, in a blog or anywhere else.

I first came to Sully (and thus, eventually, here) via his WSJ op-ed in which he made the case for gay marriage as the ultimate conservative value, following the Massachusetts decision. I've been married for 32 years, my daughter is about to get married, and we sure can't tell any way whatsoever that our gay friends' marriages have harmed or could harm us.

Congratulations to the two women mentioned, and to everyone else that can get to where they can take the next logical step.

Sex, sexuality is a radically different vector or analytic of power, because of the ways sexuality takes hold of the body, and because of the ways in which sexuality as it has been figured in our discourse as “private” does not have a 1:1 correspondence to politics. This really messes with the twists and turns of the process of power and, fundamentally how we understand power as a subjectivizing force.

Notes from a lecture by Judith ''Jack'' Halberstam (Author of Female Masulinity, In a Queer Time & Place: Transgendered Bodies, Subcultural Lives, The Drag King Book)

It's just easier to point to others' sins. Rod Dreher isn't gay, won't ever personally have to have an abortion, and couldn't care less about being politically correct. It's cheap grace.

Now, if he insisted that the marks of barbarism were neglecting the poor, hating one's neighbor or false public piety, he might have to pull that mote out of his own eye.

"I have no idea exactly what bad thing it is that conservatives think is going to happen if homosexual people marry each other. Does anyone know?"

Well, I can think of one obvious horror: If homosexuals are allowed to marry, there will be no further need for domestic partnerships (under whatever name). And since those have been doing serious harm to the institution of marriage (see the detail that the majority of registered domestic partnerships are between heterosexual couples who could marry, but choose not to), obviously this would strengthen the institution of marriage. Oh, the horror! What a disaster that would be, from a conservative point of view . . . .

Hmmm, what went wrong with this picture? ;-)

"I sometimes wonder if liberalism is just a prospective nostalgia for a world that will never be, and conservativism a nostalgia for a world that never was."

Beautifully put, Russell. But note the asymmetry inherent in the difference between working to make the future what you'd like it to be, and working to make the PAST what you'd like it to be:)

--TP

The word “conservative” appears 12 times here (main post and comments). Anti gay marriage is not a conservative value I’m aware of. There is a hard-right faction who opposes it, and the GOP willingly uses it as a wedge issue.

I’m a conservative and I’m all for gay marriage. I personally believe marriage is a wonderful thing and I wish that everyone could share in that wonder.

OCSteve writes: "Anti gay marriage is not a conservative value I’m aware of. There is a hard-right faction who opposes it, and the GOP willingly uses it as a wedge issue."

Oh, please. I'd be willing to bet that at least 60% of the GOP base is strongly opposed to gay marriage. That's not a faction, it's a landslide. The GOP is very much the party of bigotry on this issue as it is in many others.

Looks like I was being overly kind to conservatives - 80% of them oppose gay marriage. http://www.gallup.com/poll/118378/Majority-Americans-Continue-Oppose-Gay-Marriage.aspx

The bastion of bigots indeed.

OCSteve: I tried to talk about "the conservatives Dreher is talking about", for that very reason. What he says in his article is, alas, not something I can control. ;)

MoeLarryAndJesus :

More like 80%:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/118378/Majority-Americans-Continue-Oppose-Gay-Marriage.aspx

19% of self-identified conservatives believe same sex marriage should be legal. Do I think that number should be higher? Of course. I’m working on it…

Note that only 55% of Dems and 45% of Independents agree…

So my headline would be “45% of Democrats and 55% of Independents don’t want gay marriage legal”. I’ll leave the all caps and bold to your imagination…

Moe: Seems we found the same poll a few minutes apart. So lets talk about the fact that a bare majority (55%) of Democrats believe it should be legal…


“What he says in his article is, alas, not something I can control.”

I hear you hil. I wish “conservatives” would stop throwing mud on the brand. But then I want a pony and a government bailout too…

For what its worth, the most anti-civil rights for gays, has come from Latinas, in research I do here in Los Angeles. I know there was that study that claimed an overwhelming amount of African-Americans against civil rights for gays, however the 10 churches (5 Hispanic & 5 Black) that I cover, it’s the Latinas who seem to be extraordinarily hostile to civil rights for gays. Blacks and Latino men seem to be very “agnostic” concerning the issue.

I’m curious to know the Roman Catholic breakdown.

OCSteve: same-sex marriage SHOULD be a conservative value. After all, it encourages responsibility, stability and commitment.

The only reason for a conservative to be against same-sex marriage is that they believe same-sex relationships are morally wrong.

Mythago: I’m sold. Which part of my post led you to believe otherwise?

OCSteve //I’m all for gay marriage. I personally believe marriage is a wonderful thing and I wish that everyone could share in that wonder.//

Me too.

OCSteve //But then I want a ... government bailout too…//

Can't agree with this though.

mythago: I think there is a conservative case against gay marriage. It would start from the general idea: when an institution seems to have held up over time, it should not be tinkered with lightly. Marriage is such an institution, and I can see a caution-based case for not messing with it.

I don't buy this, myself, despite the fact that I am generally cautious myself, where institutions are concerned. I think: plainly, there have to be limits. Slavery was once an institution with a long history, and even if you wouldn't exactly want to say that it had worked well, at least if you considered all its participants, I can imagine wondering how an alternative would work, if I were living in the early 19th century, and believed that the likelihood that blacks would all voluntarily head back to Africa, or Haiti, or someplace, was approximately nil. But wondering "might things not get even worse?" does not, to my mind, even begin to counter the massive injustice of slavery.

That means: appropriate caution is one thing; utter paralysis in the face of serious injustice is another. I imagine different people will draw their lines in different places, with slavery well on the "that's way too much caution" side of any reasonable version of that line.

To my mind, worries about the effects of gay marriage are slim to start with, and plainly outweighed by what seems to me the flat injustice of telling people they cannot marry the consenting adult of their choice, or for that matter any consenting adult they are likely to choose. But the fact that I'm clear that that argument doesn't work here doesn't mean I think it doesn't exist.

Just to be clear: when I said, about slavery, "I can imagine wondering how an alternative would work, if I were living in the early 19th century", I meant a non-racist version of that worry: one that involved taking seriously the idea that the result of abolishing slavery might involve massive violence.

The word “conservative” appears 12 times here (main post and comments). Anti gay marriage is not a conservative value I’m aware of. There is a hard-right faction who opposes it, and the GOP willingly uses it as a wedge issue.

Do you have an authoritative list of "conservative values" somewhere? Of course not. You're free to define whatever bizarre abstract definition of "conservatism" that you want, but you can't really blame anyone for not adhering to it. In the real world, people use words like conservative to denote a set of people generally uncomfortable with social change who tend to vote Republican. That set of people tend, on average, to be very hostile to gay marriage. Regardless of how you define the word conservative.

I’m a conservative and I’m all for gay marriage. I personally believe marriage is a wonderful thing and I wish that everyone could share in that wonder.

If only you were electorally significant. Individuals don't matter. Tendencies amongst large groups do matter. And the tendency amongst the people that share many of your political beliefs is towards hating on gay marriage.

If I told you "I'm a liberal and my liberal views inevitably force me to conclude that abortion is morally wrong and by be banned, so it is totally unfair to say that liberals want to keep abortion legal" you'd laugh at me. There's no difference here.

"I have no idea exactly what bad thing it is that conservatives think is going to happen if homosexual people marry each other. Does anyone know?"

for one, it would anger God. if we gave the abomination of homosexuality the blessing of the State, God would be angry with the State.

destroying the taboo against homosexuality could put us on the slippery slope to accepting other sins: you know the list. if gays can marry, it won't be long before we lose our God-given aversion to things like necrophilic bestiality and polkas. God's path to righteousness is a narrow one, fraught with perils and temptations on either side - best to keep your eyes straight ahead.

also, because everyone knows the path to righteousness is an uphill climb,

and, social-conservatives obviously want to control the social mores and direction of the country in-general. but losing this battle would be a clear sign that they have very very little control. winning it would show that they still have some say. they're fighting for status as well as the issue itself.

Dreher's article is so sad. There is very nearly a real moment of self-awareness, here:

Before I poured my morning coffee, I logged onto the Internet, typed in “Cavafy” and “barbarians.” There appeared a 1904 poem titled “Waiting for the Barbarians,” in Edmund Keeley’s translation. The poem describes an imperial city making preparation for the arrival of barbarians. The atmosphere is one of relief from boredom and meaninglessness. When evening comes and word reaches the city that perhaps there are no barbarians, the people disperse anxiously. The poem’s final lines:
    And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
    They were, those people, a kind of solution. 

I must confess, upon first reading, the poem struck me as a rebuke. Do I have a need to believe in the imminent arrival of the barbarians to avoid the hard, tedious, and not especially rewarding work of trying to come up with a livable conservatism in the present uncongenial age? If so, the Benedict Option is really the Benedict Temptation— Romantic escapism masquerading as monastic-tinged cultural survivalism.

So close. But then he embarrasses himself by devoting the rest of the article to exactly the kind of fantastic rendition of barbarism he comes to close to realizing is at the heart of the modern conservative view. (And now that I look at Wikipedia, I see that the poet he is quoting there was probably gay. I wonder if he knew that.)

I cannot possibly see how two women (or two men) wanting to get married and raise children together is "nihilistic".

The thing is, I'm a believer in (some of) the dangers of moral relativism. But I see that danger in the diminished sense of outrage about torture, rape, murder, & kidnapping coming from the war in Iraq. By comparison, two gay dudes getting married doesn't really seem like a grave threat to my (hypothetical) soul.

"gay marriage"

Conservatives don't like happy marriages? Is that like when certain conservatives (a few have written extensively in support of gm)suggest having it too easy in life (e.g., a basic safety net) is the road to ruin?

I know what he means, obviously. But, I view it differently, putting aside that "gay" often signifies "homosexual male." I view it as two people of the same sex (with some, particularly transsexuals, making 'sex' a cloudy term) choosing to marry. I would not single it out.

Do we similarly talk about "interracial" or "interreligious" marriages? Sometimes, they are quite controversial. The latter can be quite difficult let's say in Israel.

It is like when he says conservatives (his term) are against "abortion." What does that mean? A sizable amount of them suggest the morning after pill is an abortifacient. OTOH, many would not think certain types of abortions are "barbaric."

The country at large find it a difficult question. They have deep disputes over when an abortion is "barbaric." This suggests why it is legal in most cases.

Sweet story btw. Hopefully, we here in NY will be more equalitarian in the not to distant future.

grr.... we hateses the sentence remnant. it is false and wicked.

"In the real world, people use words like conservative to denote a set of people generally uncomfortable with social change who tend to vote Republican."

In the real world, people like Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, Edmund Burke, Freidrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Barry Goldwater, and others, have defined views of conservatism. There's no one set of people or definitions you or anyone can assert, and there are a variety of strains and historic threads of "conservatism."

You're apparently primarily referring to social conservatives; they are not the only inheritors or claimants to the lable of "conservatives."

OCSteve--you cannot compare "conservatives" with "Democrats. And looking at the correct comparison (liberals against conservatives, using the ideology measure for both groups), 75% of liberals support gay marriage, as do 19% of conservatives. And to Gary's point, I think it's safe to say that the conservative movement, as currently constituted, opposes gay marriage, and that liberals--broadly and with some exceptions--support it. What meaningful definition of conservatism as a political and societal phenomenon excludes National Review, the Weekly Standard, George Will, Rush Limbaugh, and Rod Dreher?

Even if something is by a Christian's lights a moral wrong, but it's widespread in the world in which the Christian lives, there's still a pretty good argument against turning to the state to root it out that that putative Christian should consider.

if I were living in the early 19th century", I meant a non-racist version of that worry: one that involved taking seriously the idea that the result of abolishing slavery might involve massive violence.

A sensible worry it would have been, too. But continuing an injustice does not put off forever the cost of ending it. Like the man said:

Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Hey Turb – what’s up dude? It’s been a while.

Do you have an authoritative list of "conservative values" somewhere? Of course not.

Well, no. I pulled that out of my *ss.


Do you have an authoritative list of "conservative values" somewhere? Of course not. You're free to define whatever bizarre abstract definition of "conservatism" that you want, but you can't really blame anyone for not adhering to it. In the real world, people use words like conservative to denote a set of people generally uncomfortable with social change who tend to vote Republican. That set of people tend, on average, to be very hostile to gay marriage. Regardless of how you define the word conservative.

Jeese dude. Lighten up. I define “conservative” differently than you obviously.


If I told you "I'm a liberal and my liberal views inevitably force me to conclude that abortion is morally wrong and by be banned, so it is totally unfair to say that liberals want to keep abortion legal" you'd laugh at me. There's no difference here.

Dude – you just went all gibberish on me. I don’t have a clue what the hell you said there…


Do you have an authoritative list of "conservative values"

What the heck does that even mean? Am I now the speaker for the Republican Party? You can hope so, as I am your best bet…

If two women in their forties want to get married, what sort of person would think that allowing them to do so brings the barbarians one step closer to the walls?

George Orwell would have. Words have meanings. The government should not step in to redefine them.

If I were Dreher, I would ask myself: of all the things in the world to be concerned about, why on earth would this couple's happiness be anywhere near the top of the list?

Straw man.

rather than inveighing against two women who want to cleave to one another, forsaking all others, until death do them part?

No one is preventing them from doing that under the current laws.

hilzoy - no, I don't see that conservative argument. It pretends that same-sex marriage is a silly, meaningless change (there's the 'lightly'). It's also two-faced. Cultural conservatives argue that marriage is a good thing, a civilizing force, a strong foundation for our society. But we don't want responsible, civilized same-sex couples? We'd prefer they bar-hop and sleep around?

There really is no conservative argument against same-sex marriage other than despising homosexuality. The alternative to same-sex marriage is same-sex hookup culture. Is that a conservative value? (Insert joke about closeted gay Republicans here.)

Words have meanings. The government should not step in to redefine them.

The government is the one defining them in the first place. If the government can upend millenia of tradition to place a wife on equal footing with her husband, same-sex marriage is trivial.

"Words have meanings. The government should not step in to redefine them."

I'd ask you why not (obviously there are redefinitions that should not be made, that work against the truth of the world, but that's like saying that because some government actions can cause harm, the government should never act), except that's not really what's happening here. Rather, people have changed the meaning of the word, in courage and love and hopeful stumbling, and what is being sought is (a necessary) recognition and endorsement of that fact. As, for example, when enough people changed the meaning of marriage so that a man forcing a women he had married to have sex became legally recognized as rape.

You could argue that one very clear example of our government changing the meaning of a word (in a way that extended, rather than denied, basic rights - perhaps a good place to start) involved the word "free", but I'm not sure that the argument you want to make (and here too were countless people pushing to change the meaning of that word).

"No one is preventing them from doing that under the current laws."

Indeed - and likewise no one, under current law, would prevent my wife and I from cleaving to one another, forsaking all others, until death parts us *even had we never married*; yet we went and got married all the same. Now why might that be?

I'd ask you why not (obviously there are redefinitions that should not be made, that work against the truth of the world

I think you answered your own question there.

under current law, would prevent my wife and I from cleaving to one another, forsaking all others, until death parts us *even had we never married*; yet we went and got married all the same. Now why might that be?

I have no idea. It seems to me that people want the government to sanction the contract they made in marriage in word, but not in deed. A man and a woman make a promise to stay with each other until death, but a large percentage of them don't keep that promise and I don't see a lot of support for the idea that the government should step in and force them to keep that promise.

If homosexuals feel that their exclusion from being able to make a fake promise is "barbarism" I'd be glad to present them with a list of a million things that their government does that are far more barbaric.

A man and a woman make a promise to stay with each other until death

You are mixing up religious and civil marriage. In what state do you live that a couple is not considered married by the government if they have not promised 'till death do you part'?

If it's a meaningless, fake promise then why not let the gays have it too? What's the harm?

The words-have-meaning argument is not logical. It's a visceral reaction, a pretense that there is some platonic ideal Marriage that can only be male/female. It ignores the violence we've done to the concept of marriage - our ancestors would be horrified at the idea that a woman has just as many rights as a man, or that it's considered perfectly reasonable for a man to marry a woman knowing she can't bear children.

"I have no idea. . . . If homosexuals feel that their exclusion from being able to make a fake promise is "barbarism" . . "

Well. I mean, I had a faint hope that the question might make you think about your statement for a moment, but I never dreamed you would effectively surrender any claim to be listened to on this subject (at least baring further evidence to the contrary)!

"I think you answered your own question there."
Example: Should the government be able to declare war?

The words-have-meaning argument is not logical. It's a visceral reaction, a pretense that there is some platonic ideal Marriage that can only be male/female

No, your argument is not logical. A word always meant one thing, now you say it means another. No.

It ignores the violence we've done to the concept of marriage - our ancestors would be horrified at...

So, you've enabled the conservatives here. Good work.

I never dreamed you would effectively surrender any claim to be listened to on this subject

Yet you listened and responded. Sense: this makes none.

Should the government be able to declare war

No.

Conservatives worship "free" market capitalism, yet desire to maintaian "traditional values". Given the revolutionary nature of capitalism, this is contradictory. Tradition draws the short straw every time.

Good ol' Karl may have missed the boat on many things, but on this he was dead on.

Why in the world is anyone here engaging with "now_what"?

It's not as if we don't know exactly what she/he is stirring.

"Words have meanings. The government should not step in to redefine them."

As other folks have pointed out, the word "marriage" has a meaning defined by law.

It may have other meanings as well. Penumbras even.

But the various meanings attached to the word "marriage" include some defined by law.

"A word always meant one thing"

An unsupportable assertion. Words have always evolved. Words are not handed down from on high.

"It's not as if we don't know exactly what she/he is stirring."

True. It's a good troll, and now it's moved onto a new subject.

It's not as if we don't know exactly what she/he is stirring.

On the contrary, it is as if you don't know exactly what I am stirring.

Oh, I know all right. I'm just not permitted by the posting rules to write the monosyllable here.

"My cheeks physically hurt since I’ve known her,"

That's a bit more than I really needed to know about ...

Oh, from smiling. Never mind.

I'm just not permitted by the posting rules to write the monosyllable here

Substitute an actual argument for your insulting knee-jerk vitriol and let's go from there.

"A word always meant one thing, now you say it means another. No."

Indeed, it is correct for you to negate that first sentence there. Somewhere deep down, your subconscious is screaming. Or not.

Other examples of words changing meaning - vote, which for a good long time meant, in the US context, something that landed white males did.


Other examples of words changing meaning - vote

The meaning of the word did not change.

The meaning of the word did not change.

"Electorate" sure did. So did "senator", to someone elected by the people. "Judge", long ago, away from a person who judges the facts of a case. "President", from someone who presides over a deliberative body to an executive. "Property", to no longer including human beings. And "marriage", first to include only two parties, then, gradually, to include two parties with equal rights.

But change has to stop, now that we've reached perfection. Right?

And "marriage", first to include only two parties, then, gradually, to include two parties with equal rights.

Arguments are easy when you assume that that the conclusion you want is true.

You almost don't need to have the argument, you can just make fun of the people who don't agree with your conclusions.

It's great.

It is kind of a nice change from Brett and his schtick about how he doesn't like anal sex so gay men are icky, but lesbians sex is smokin' so he's fine with their relationships.

Dr Ngo: Why in the world is anyone here engaging with "now_what"?

"Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?"

The big change in modern marriage (twentieth century onwards) has been widely available divorce. Some statistics from the UK. In 2007 there were around 145,000 divorces. The 2007 statistic for civil partnerships formed (which give the equivalent rights to marriage to gay couples, but are not called marriage) was around 9000 partnerships.

So on any sensible concern about protecting an ideal of marriage, we should be worrying ten times more about the effects of divorce than the effects of civil partnerships. (And this excludes the fact that the number of divorces is falling because so many straight couples don't get married in the first place).

So why aren't social conservatives screaming about the wicked and destructive effects of divorce, as they used to? Probably because it'd be embarassing for all the divorced conservatives there are around there. Much easier and less controversial to pick on the gays.

The big change in marriage between now and - say, Jane Austen's time - and the one that makes same-sex marriage an obvious next step, wasn't divorce, though either partner being able to decide to terminate the marriage without having to show fault was part of that change.

The really big change was that marriage became legally and socially a relationship of two equal partners. In the UK, and I think in all states of the US, and indeed in all the countries where same-sex marriage is available or recognized, there is no legal distinction between the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of a husband and those of a wife.

Even as recently as forty years ago, in the UK, it was standard for a married woman who wanted to make an expensive purchase to have to get her husband's written consent - if she wanted to commit a chunk of the household income to buying a washing machine or a freezer on hire-purchase, most shops wouldn't allow her to do so unless her husband had signed the contract.

That isn't the case now. In law, a husband has no rights over his wife that a wife does not equally have over her husband.

And that - if you look at the whole history of marriage - is an enormous change. The example magistra offers, that either partner can divorce the other one, is an example of that change towards equality. (The rule that if you live separately for a year or two you don't have to explain why you want the divorce in order to get it, aka "no-fault divorce", is a nice development from that, but it's not such a significant change.)

When marriage implies legal inequality between partners, as conservatives usually assert, then a same-sex marriage implies a woman "being the man", or a man "being the woman". Where marriage is an equal relationship of partners, there's no reason in the world except homophobia to deny it to same-sex partners - but the idea that marriage is an equal relationship is anathema to conservatives who believe in the inequality of the sexes.

Just to flog that dead horse again: Stop attributing evil to barbarians that only 'civilized' people come up with.
An while I am at it: the word barbarian underwent quite significant changes since it's invention (though lesser ones than e.g. idiot and private).

"when an institution seems to have held up over time, it should not be tinkered with lightly. Marriage is such an institution"

I actually agree with this.

The thing is, homosexual people have participated in what, for heterosexuals, is called "marriage" for as long as anyone has bothered to make note of it.

Live-long partnership, cleaving to each other to the exclusion of all others. Own property together, raise children, participate in their community. Hearth and home, the full nine yards. Two cats in the yard, even.

The only thing that anyone is talking about adding to that is the official and legal recognition of *what already exists, and has existed as long as anyone can remember*.

And the reason for doing that is because *under the law*, couples who have the official imprimatur of legal, civilly recognized marriage gain lots of legal, civil benefits that are currently denied to homosexual couples.

It's not a question of "changing the definition of marriage". I know many, many homosexual couples who are as married as you can possibly imagine anyone being.

It's a question of making the law recognize the reality.

But we don't want responsible, civilized same-sex couples? We'd prefer they bar-hop and sleep around?

The homophobes don't care what I do--they just want me back in the closet. They want to go back to a world where it was easy to pretend that people like me simply don't exist.

I went round and round on this issue once with a virulently anti-SSM commenter on another blog, and ultimately that's what it came down to. In the good old pre-Stonewall days, people like me had the basic decency to live lives of furtive hookups, sham marriages, and self-loathing, and most of the time, the average straight person could go about their business without having to confront our existence. Being "out" simply wasn't an option. And that's exactly the way it should be. At some point we lost awareness of our fundamental disgustingness, and that's when everything started to go to hell. Same-sex marriage just codifies and sanctions this awful state of affairs.

That's it in a nutshell. Not very complicated, really. It may or may not be what now_what is getting at, but I don't particularly care either way.

Two taxpaying citizens who happen to be of the same sex want to partake of certain benefits of citizenship, the same benefits that accrue to two other taxpaying citizens who happen to be of different sexes. Seems like a pretty clear Fourteenth Amendment issue to me. But then religion intrudes. That, thankfully, is covered by the First.

If it weren't for Supreme Court Justices like Scalia, whose judicial temperament is a lot more Vatican-oriented than John Kennedy's ever would have been, this issue would probably have been on the Court docket yesterday.

The rule that if you live separately for a year or two you don't have to explain why you want the divorce in order to get it, aka "no-fault divorce", is a nice development from that

I don't agree that it is a nice development. If all marriage is going to mean is to define the person you are primarily having sexual intercourse with at a given moment in time, let's get government out of it completely.

Let me affirm what Uncle_Kvetch said, and add another comment. A gay man, Alan Turing, laid the mathematical foundations of the electronic computer, and hence the web and all that it has meant for us. When the British authorities found out about Turing's homosexuality, the justice and mental health systems castrated him, blocked his work, and effectively murdered him. That foolish application of "morality" set the world back an unknown number of years, and cost the British economy untold trillions. Alan Turing played a critical role in the Ultra decryption project, so if the British police had discovered his sexual orientation before the war instead of after it, Britain might well have lost the battle of the Atlantic, and had to make a "compromise" peace.

I think we can safely say that politicians and decision makers will not make that mistake again. In any case, with the Internet as a tool for any oppressed minority to organize, oppression doesn't really work as an option. So what do the opponents of same-gender marriage want, as a practical matter? A return to the days when Gay culture celebrated promiscuity hardly seems prudent, and repression won't work. So what, as I have asked many times before, do people such as Maggie Gallagher and Rod Dreher want to do? Because just saying no doesn't seem like much of a plan to me.

(And, OMG, Sotomayor is going to let her Puerto Rican heritage influence her judgment; must stop her!)

I think we can safely say that politicians and decision makers will not make that mistake [persecuting the likes of Alan Turing]again


So there's no chance that the USA, desperately needing reliable intelligence on the Arab world, would boot Arab-language specialists out of the military just because they're gay? Good to know that.

In any case, with the Internet as a tool for any oppressed minority to organize, oppression doesn't really work as an option.

Again, with what a heartfelt sigh of relief I greet this revelation. The end of oppression in my lifetime! I never thought I'd live to see it, and here it has come already and I almost missed it.

Mind you, I don't disagree with your confusion over what homophobes really want; I can't figure it out either. But at least I - old curmudgeon that I am - am not blinded by cheery optimism as to the state of the world in general. ;{

I think we can safely say that politicians and decision makers will not make that mistake again.

Barack Obama is still kicking people out of the military for the sexual orientation, contrary to some pretty explicit campaign promises, so I presume you mean that British politicians and decision makers won't make that mistake again. Too right: they are banned by law from doing so. Obama isn't.

So what, as I have asked many times before, do people such as Maggie Gallagher and Rod Dreher want to do?

They want a solid and profitable career out of telling people that GLBT equality is disgusting, awful, and a threat to civilisation as we know it, etc.

The problem with this is that the closer a country gets to GLBT equality, the fewer people pay attention to them: the advantage is that the people who pay attention are also willing to pay more and more money.

The most profitable audience for an anti-gay preacher is homophobic parents who are desperate to believe that there's some way in which the child they still love can just stop being the thing that they hate.

Jes, you are being quite unfair. I see no reason to doubt the sincerity of Dreher's vociferous and frequent demands that everyone should be forced to live constrained by the strenuous demands made by the extreme and antediluvian form of Christianity he chooses to believe is divinely mandated.

Uncle Kvetch @ 10:15, thanks for putting it so clearly. That's what I always come 'round to concluding as well, at least for a significant subset of the people who have nothing better to busy themselves with than scurrying around minding my business instead of their own.

I don't know about the dynamics in the US, but I'm fairly confident that the majority of evangelical Christians in the UK (who are keen to convert middle class professionals) are going to go over to accepting gay marriage in my lifetime. (I discuss this more here). There is only a limited pool of well-educated anti-gays in the UK and there's competition with the Roman Catholics for them. Whether UK Evangelicals can rejig their theology quickly enough to avoid marginalization is another matter.

Fascinating, Magistra, thanks for sharing.

I think we're beginning to see this happen - the swing from Evangelical Christianity demonizing LGBT people to recognizing that their congregations are no longer listening to ... well, just plain acceptance.

Last Saturday, the Church of Scotland upheld a congregation's right to call the minister, and the local presbytery's support of the congregation's choice... none of which would be news, since it's a basic principle in the Church of Scotland that the congregation chooses the minister, but the congregation's choice was Scott Rennie, who is in a civil partnership and who made clear to the congregation that, if selected by them, he and his civil partner would be moving into the manse.

The congregation voted for him 80/20: the presbyter split was narrower, but still upheld the choice: and the General Assembly split was narrower still, but the Church of Scotland now has an openly-gay minister legally wed to his male partner, and the homophobes are going to have to schism if they can't deal.

(Which they may: the Church of Scotland is good at schisming, rather like a religious amoeba.)

"No-fault divorce" doesn't mean you live apart for a year. Divorce is a lawsuit, and as with any other lawsuit, the plaintiff has to prove that their claims are more likely than not to get granted the result they want.

In the case of divorce, this used to mean that the party suing for divorce had to prove "fault". So if, for example, your husband were an unrepentant serial adulterer, or a vicious abuser, it wasn't enough simply to want to divorce him; you had to go into court and present evidence that your spouse had done these things, and that they had destroyed your marriage. Then the judge decided whether you had proven you deserved a divorce.

"No-fault" simply means that you don't have that pointless, humiliating requirement. The grounds for divorce are (in legalese) one person's affirmation that the marriage is kaput.

I can't fathom why people like now_what want to go back to the days when a wronged spouse not only had to air all the details of their humiliation in public, but had to air them well enough to prove they 'earned' a divorce. No, wait, I can.

"No-fault" simply means that we have removed

"I can't fathom why people like now_what want to go back to the days"

now_what didn't make any statement of intent at May 30, 2009 at 09:51 PM, or later.

now_what doesn't. now_what simply makes provocative statements guaranteeded to infuriate people and get a lot of argument going.

This is called "trolling." now_what is good at it.

magistra & Jesurgislac,

thanks for that info, it goes into the digital archive....I'm going to try an track these stories down, however if you have any "links" I could use them.

"I'm going to try an track these stories down, however if you have any 'links' I could use them."

I don't have any "links," but I have plenty of links, via googling "Church of Scotland" and "gay" and "minister."

See here, here and here, for example.

someotherdude: Sure. There's a letter here in the Glasgow Herald from the session clerks at the church in Aberdeen, an op ed in the Sunday Herald discussing the strong possibility of schism, as well as a news report of the Saturday evening decision at the General Assembly with background.

From the Aberdeen Press and Journal, there's a January news story about Scott Rennie's appointment by the congregation.

And, from the Aberdeen Press and Journal in May, there's Americans to protest over gay minister, which was greeted by local Scottish anti-gay evangelicals with all the warmth of Clarence Thomas seeing Anita Hill appointed to the US Supreme Court, and No room in the Kirk for prejudice and intolerance (with some interesting follow-up comments...)

What is particularly interesting about both the Church of Scotland case and Gene Robinson in the US Episcopal Church is that they show that it's very hard to exclude gays from ministry in less hierarchical churches. If congregations get to elect their priest or bishop, some are likely to feel that they want a particular gay person as their minister, and it's hard for those higher up to restrict their choice legally. It's strongly hierarchical churches like the Church of England (and even more the Catholic church) where clergy get appointed that are likely to stay relatively gay-free for longer.

On the other hand, less hierarchical churches are more prone to split, whereas when the Church of England does finally accept gay priests (probably twenty-thirty years late, like they did with women priests), there probably won't be that many refuseniks who stomp off.

the Church of Scotland is good at schisming, rather like a religious amoeba

Until individual congregations start splitting over the question of the pre-millennial or post-millennial rapture,
they've got nothing on the Southern California fundamentalists I grew up with.

FWIW: the correct answer is pre-millennial.

Obviously.

Actually, for the Church of Scotland itself, the last big schism was in 1843.

In one or other of the articles I linked to, the writer suggests that a good big schisming may be exactly what the economy of Scotland needs, as the consequent dividing up of church property, lawsuits, and new building and repair work, would provide employment to many for years.

With all the discussion of Gay rights, we should look to the source of those rights.

Why does not someone answer the demand of gays for equal rights? We don’t want to be unfair. The constitutional right to equal protection does not mean that everyone must be treated the same. An adult, two or three times the age of a child may be given voting or property rights that are not given to the child. In the use of a village-owned parking field, a nonresident may be charged a fee higher than charged to a village resident. A healthy, able-bodied person need not be given the same right to public accommodations as a handicapped person. What is the test? Where there is a substantial difference between two groups having some reasonable relation to the subject of the regulation. There is ample reason why rights given to a union of a man and a woman can be withheld (and perhaps should be) from a “gay” couple. This distinction is not based on religious principles.

For centuries the family has been regarded as a foundation of a tribe or nation. This is a union designed to produce the children needed to sustain the nation. We see this illustrated in present-day Europe. The non-Muslim couples in nations like France are not having children. Abortion and contraception have led to a situation where the marrieds are not replacing themselves. It is in the interest of a nation to encourage family stability and production of offspring. Is it not fair to ask: What benefits flow to the national welfare from the union of same sex couples? There is no constitutional objection to laws treating the two groups differently.

One might question my expertise in this area of the law. I graduated law school “summa cum laude.” I was a judge for 15 years. I handled the legislative program of Nassau County for 10 years.
Francis J. Donovan, Hicksville
(Retired Nassau County
District Court Judge)

Media distortion

"Is it not fair to ask: What benefits flow to the national welfare from the union of same sex couples?"

You're right. We should move as soon as possible to make it illegal for couples that have remained childless to stay married. There's no benefit to the nation in such childless marriages, which lack production of offspring.

"For centuries the family has been regarded as a foundation of a tribe or nation."

You're right; polgyamy has been essential to countless civilizations around the world and throughout history; moreover, it increases the number of children created; we must move as soon as possible to legalize polygamy in America.

Thanks for stimulating discussion of these important ideas.

Gary,

Allow me to reiterate:

1. Listen to my legal credentials--I'm very smart. I'm going to describe the rational basis test and act like I'm the shit. Nevermind that (a) it's obvious and (b) courts have used heightened review for sexual orientation in some cases, at least RB "with bite," unlike the examples provided.

2. After identifying the standard of review, I act like the rest of the analysis is obvious. Non-muslims don't have enough kids, so we need to prevent gays from marrying other gays, so that way they'll go marry members of the opposite sex and have lots of children with them.

3. Remember I'm a judge, so I'm just going to skip over the second half of the rational basis test where I should ask whether the means used (denying marriage equality to same-sex couples) is rationally related to the sought end (increasing the non-muslim population).

"Listen to my legal credentials--I'm very smart."

Gotta say, that was pretty funny.

Credit where credit is due.

Gery Farber inserts a group of people who are married (male and female} but have no children. Procreation is sometimes not possible because of some natural cause or a couple may use contraception. The potential for procreation is present but that is not the same for homosexual unions. Furthermore, from a legal point of view, it is my opinion that the state may onstitutionally grant rights to couples who raise children and deny those rights to childless couples. Think of tax deductions for children and their education.
You will note that I am not discussing morality or religion. My point of view does not involve those issues.

Gary throws in a comment on polygamy which is beside the point. A typical manouver when a person has no response on an issue. I trust he is not a lawyer.

"Procreation is sometimes not possible because of some natural cause or a couple may use contraception. The potential for procreation is present but that is not the same for homosexual unions."

Nope, lots of heterosexuals are infertile: they have no potential for procreation. As you say, "[a] healthy, able-bodied person need not be given the same right to public accommodations as a handicapped person." Therefore there's no reason we can't make marriage illegal for heterosexuals unable to have children. Logically, if lack of potential for bearing children is a good reason for not legalizing a marriage, well, I suppose that's what we should do: you make a convincing argument.

People who only adopt children also mustn't be allowed to marry. As you say, the constitutional right to equal protection does not mean that everyone must be treated the same.

"...it is my opinion that the state may onstitutionally grant rights to couples who raise children and deny those rights to childless couples."

I agree!

"Gary throws in a comment on polygamy which is beside the point."

You noted that "For centuries the family has been regarded as a foundation of a tribe or nation."

And the polygamous family has been a foundation of tribes and nations for as long as humankind has existed.

Today:

[...] According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of the 1231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry.
See here for details on the marital composition of 1231 societies from 1960–1980.

Nations polygamy is currently recognized as legal in under civil law:
Afghanistan
Algeria
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Brunei
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Chad
CAR
Comoros
Congo
Djibouti
Egypt
Gabon
The Gambia
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Libya
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Mauritania
Morocco
Myanmar
Niger
Oman
Pakistan
Palestinian territories
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Singapore
Somalia
Sri Lanka1
Sudan
Syria
Tanzania
Togo
Uganda
UAE
Yemen
Zambia

Recognized under customary law:
Botswana
Equatorial Guinea
Lesotho
Liberia
Kenya
Malawi
Mozambiqu
Namibia
Nigeria
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Swaziland
Zimbabwe

You will note that I am not discussing morality or religion. My point of view does not involve those issues.

But we should definitely, in our law, follow how family has been regarded as a foundation of a tribe or nation for centuries, even thousands, of years, as you say.

Just for the sake of those interested in "the Bible," though, let's note:

[...] The Hebrew scriptures document approximately forty polygamists. Notable examples include Abraham, who bore for himself a child through his wife's maidservant;[15] Jacob, who had fallen in love with Rachel, but was tricked into marrying her sister, Leah;[16] David, who inherited his wives from Saul;[17] and perhaps most famously, Solomon, who was led astray by his wives.[18]

[...]

One source of polygamy was the practice of levirate marriage, wherein a man was required to marry and support his deceased brother's widow, as mandated by Deuteronomy 25:5–10.

The Torah, Judaism's central text, includes a few specific regulations on the practice of polygamy, such as Exodus 21:10, which states that multiple marriages are not to diminish the status of the first wife (specifically, her right to food, clothing and conjugal relations). Deuteronomy 21:15–17, states that a man must award the inheritance due to a first-born son to the son who was actually born first, even if he hates that son's mother and likes another wife more;[21] and Deuteronomy 17:17 states that the king shall not have too many wives.[22] The king's behavior is condemned by Prophet Samuel in 1Samuel 8. Exodus 21:10 also speaks of Jewish concubines. Israeli lexicographer Vadim Cherny argues that the Torah carefully distinguishes concubines and "sub-standard" wives with prefix "to", lit. "took to wives."[23]

And, really, if it was good enough for Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon, that's good enough for me!

"I trust he is not a lawyer."

I trust you don't think the argument from authority is very convincing when you're not the judge in a courtroom.

I could, of course, be wrong on that one.

Gary, your feeble facts are of no importance.

Donovan is very smart.

I posted a legal opinion on constitutional rights of Gays. I posted my qualifications. Gary Farber answered with a comment that was neither on the issue nor within his area of expertise. He has no legal qualifications. He is incompetent to give a legal opinion. His last excursion into the history of polygamy is a total waste of time. I am sorry that I answered him. I will not again make that error

"I posted my qualifications. Gary Farber answered with a comment that was neither on the issue nor within his area of expertise. He has no legal qualifications. He is incompetent to give a legal opinion."

Attention, everyone! If you're only a citizen of America, and not a lawyer, shut up, because you're not qualified to opine!

That's some opinion you have of the rights and obligations of citizens in a democracy, Frankie.

Remember, when you don't have the facts on your side, quit arguing the facts!

"His last excursion into the history of polygamy is a total waste of time."

The argument by assertion is even more unconvincing than the argument from authority.

"I am sorry that I answered him."

I believe you!

But, really, if you explain just one more time that you're a judge, I'm sure you'll convince everyone this time.

Remember, the keys to winning every argument are: argue by assertion and argue by authority.

Hey, it works when you're the judge. I guess a person could wind up convincing themselves it works like that everywhere.

Gary's citations to the Bible were off topic but led me to renew my acquaintance with that book. Gary might be interested in lEVITICUS 18:22

Francis might be interested in Leviticus 19:19 and Leviticus 19:27.

Do you abide by all of Leviticus, Francis?

Barack Obama, Windy City Times, February 11th 2004:

As an African-American man, a child of an interracial marriage, a committed scholar, attorney and activist who works to protect the Bill of Rights, I am sensitive to the struggle for civil rights. As a state Senator, I have taken on the issue of civil rights for the LGBT community as if they were my own struggle because I believe strongly that the infringement of rights for any one group eventually endangers the rights enjoyed under law by the entire population. Since 1996, I have been the sponsor or a chief co-sponsor of measures to expand civil liberties for the LGBT community including hate-crimes legislation, adoption rights and the extension of basic civil rights to protect LGBT persons from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and credit.

Today, I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unlike any of my opponents, I have a legislative track record. No one has to guess about what I will do in Washington. My record makes it very clear. I will be an unapologetic voice for civil rights in the U.S. Senate.

Barack Obama's Justice Department on DOMA, May 11th 2009:

Likewise, Section 3 of DOMA merely clarifies that federal policy is to make certain benefits available only to those persons united in heterosexual marriage, as opposed to any other possible relationship defined by law, family, or affection. As a result, gay and lesbian individuals who unite in matrimony are denied no federal benefits to which they were entitled prior to their marriage; they remain eligible for every benefit they enjoyed beforehand. DOMA simply provides, in effect, that as a result of their same-sex marriage they will not become eligible for the set of benefits that Congress has reserved exclusively to those who are related by the bonds of heterosexual marriage. In short, then, the failure in this manner to recognize a certain subset of marriages that are recognized by a certain subset of States cannot be taken as an infringement on plaintiffs' rights, even if same-sex marriage were accepted as a fundamental right under the Constitution.

Rick Warren must be very proud of his influence on his friend Obama.

Judge Donovan,

I concur with your cogent analysis. It is obvious that Mr. Farber has not received legal training. I admire your erudition. Please click the link below to see my law review article on the constitutionality of traditional marriage.

Thomas Pepper, Esq.
Partner
Pepper, Pepper & Bayleaf

"the failure in this manner to recognize a certain subset of marriages that are recognized by a certain subset of States cannot be taken as an infringement on plaintiffs' rights"

In other words, "yeah you can get married, but not really".

Feh.

"Thomas Pepper, Esq.
Partner
Pepper, Pepper & Bayleaf"

Hey, didn't you used to practice with Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe?

4chan /b/, Russell.

I am not surprised at the venom or personal attack launched against me because I posted a legal opinion on a constitutional issue. When the mouth spews excrement the person must have much of that inside. This board needs cleansing.

And you're just the guy to cleanse it, right?

Donovan, The People's Purge!

Come back when you realize you're not in the courtroom and ordinary folk don't have to bow to your AUTHORITY any more.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad