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November 04, 2009

Comments

What will be claimed as the lesson of 2009: everyone hates Obama and Democrats need to move to the right.

The actual lesson of 2009: the young & minority voters who turned out for 2008 correctly assess that the Democrats they sent to Washington intend to continue with business as usual, and will take very little notice of their concerns.

The actual actual lesson of 2009: some local elections are, you know, local.

I hate it when Americans vote.

Yeah, pretty much every President since Bush Sr. saw the same thing in these "first elections"; with Carter and Reagan before, they were divided. So "lessons" are pretty much non-sequitor, except maybe that nowadays the NJ and VA tend to go opposite the general election with regard to their executives.

NY 23 holds lessons for Republicans if they want to learn them, but its indicativeness depends on whether or not they do.

Maine, OTOH, in so far as it had a lesson, was just depressing.

Italian judge convicts 23 in CIA kidnap case

But it's a state secret over here, donychaknow?

No lessons in this one, at least none that are apparent.

Oh, and I almost forgot -- Houston, in Texas of all places, may be about to make history.

I thought the outcome in ME sucked. I can't, for the life of me, get my head around what people think is going to happen if gay people are allowed to marry each other. It just leaves me shaking my head.

The NY-23 thing will, of course, be irrefutable proof that what the world needs is more, and more emphatic, reactionary conservative know-nothing ideologues.

Feh.

"No lessons in this one, at least none that are apparent. "

The lessons are that Independents have jumped ship, minorities didn't care enough about the issues to vote, and the economy is the number one issue.

"The AP exit polls showed that nearly a third of voters in Virginia described themselves as independents, and nearly as many in New Jersey did. They preferred McDonnell by almost a 2-1 margin over Deeds in Virginia, and Christie over Corzine by a similar margin."

"In both states, the surveys also suggested the Democrats had difficulty turning out their base, including the large numbers of first-time minority and youth voters whom Obama attracted. The Virginia electorate was whiter in 2009 than it was in 2008, when blacks and Hispanics voted in droves to elect the country's first black president."

And exit polls showed a majority of voters rated the "economy and jobs... as the issue that mattered" most.

Health care as an issue ranked fourth as a voter concern. The Dems better get the economy fixed, or their political health is going deteriorate faster then a hospital ward full of Swine Flu patients.

NY 23 holds lessons for Republicans if they want to learn them, but its indicativeness depends on whether or not they do.

The trouble is that there are lots of possible lessons. One might be that incumbents need to move right to avoid tough primary challenges. Whether that will cost them seats in Republican districts is not clear. Hoffman had a lot of negatives other than his political views.

Hey, our old buddy Moe Lane sure is popular over at Wonkette!

russell: "I thought the outcome in ME sucked"

52% of Main voters thought otherwise.

There was a gay rights referendum in Washington State that appears to have received voter approval,giving gay domestic partners all the rights of heterosexual marriage, but without calling it a 'marriage'

Here's the referendum wording:

“This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.”

Sounds like a good alternative to me. Gays get the rights they say are being denied them (and senior domestic partners get them too) and the marriage ceremony keeps it's ancient universal meaning: a male-female union.

Of course, the state guaranteeing rights does not transfer to the Federal benefits that accrue to a "marriage." So I would hardly call it a good alternative

lol at "ancient universal." Spoken like a member of the truly underinformed.

and the marriage ceremony keeps it's ancient universal meaning

A father trades his daughter to another family for one of their sons to marry: if she isn't a virgin or can't produce sons, the family who now own her can kill her or return her.

Yeah, let's go back to that "ancient universal meaning", I'm sure the Maine bigots wanted.

the marriage ceremony keeps it's ancient universal meaning: a male-female union.

You omitted the "s" at the end of "females."

"It is proof, yet again, that civil rights should never be decided by mob rule." - Pam Spaulding

Well, there IS a reason some of us in New England refer to Maine as "the south of the north".

Apparently, the fresh boiled lobsters (delicious, btw) aren't the only red creatures in Maine.

52% of Maine voters thought otherwise.

Proving once again that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people kind of sucks when most of "the people" are mean and stupid.

The 52% of Maine voters who voted against marriage equality may resent my calling them mean and stupid, but if they cared what I think of them they'd have voted the other way. Being neither gay nor a Maine resident, I am in no position to express my displeasure to them personally.

People who are either gay or Maine residents -- or both -- must of course judge for themselves how personally to take their neighbor's vote against equality. Or their dentist's vote. Or their mechanic's, plumber's, pastor's, or barber's vote.

It's not the American way to mix "politics" with everyday life. We consider it unseemly to let "politics" intrude into personal or business relationships. "Politics" is supposed to be something like sports, where "ordinary" people root for opposing teams and it's all just harmless fun. Maybe this attitude is a good thing. Maybe.

--TP

Jesurgislac: "A father trades his daughter to another family for one of their sons to marry:"

Right, he wasn't trading his daughter to another family to marry their daughter, or his son to marry another family's son...


"if she isn't a virgin or can't produce sons, the family who now own her can kill her or return her."

Well let's hope they chose the latter more often than the former. But what does that have to do with homosexual marriage in modern times?

John Miller: "Of course, the state guaranteeing rights does not transfer to the Federal benefits that accrue to a "marriage." So I would hardly call it a good alternative"

Then the answer is to change the federal laws to provide all cohabitating couples the benefits heterosexual couples receive, irregardless of their sexual orientation...


52% of Main voters thought otherwise.

Yeah, and to reiterate, I think that sucks.

I don't live in ancient universal times. I live in these times.

Gay people have been around for as long as anyone's been paying attention. Gay people have been bonding in committed pairs for as long as anyone's been paying attention.

Today, in this country, we give specific legal, social, and financial privileges to heterosexual couples who enter into a publicly declared committed relationship. With a small handful of exceptions those privileges are available to gay couples.

I think that sucks.

There are lots and lots of things that we do now that were not done in the days of ancient universality. Giving legal recognition to gay couples should be one of them.

Seriously, why not? What is the problem?

Your replies seem to be "52% of Mainers say no" and "we didn't used to do that". I don't find either of those to be very compelling.

I'm still waiting for someone to give me a reason why gays should be denied legal recognition of their *existing, actual marriages* that doesn't boil down to either "it bugs me" or "we never did that before".

russell: Today, in this country, we give specific legal, social, and financial privileges to heterosexual couples who enter into a publicly declared committed relationship. With a small handful of exceptions those privileges are not available to gay couples.

Fixed that for you. ;-)

I'm still waiting for someone to give me a reason why gays should be denied legal recognition of their *existing, actual marriages* that doesn't boil down to either "it bugs me" or "we never did that before".

They'll die first. Probably.

That's a lot of laws to change when it's much simpler and more efficient to just let gays be married. No good reason to do the former when the latter is option.

CA's Prop 8 campaign scared many into thinking schools were going to teach their students homosexuality unless they voted YES, when *surprise surprise* Prop 8 had nothing to do with curriculum or school policy. Did something similar perchance happen in ME? Was this also a vote to save the poor children?

Jay Jerome: "Then the answer is to change the federal laws to provide all cohabitating couples the benefits heterosexual couples receive, irregardless of their sexual orientation... "

Not that I think this is a bad idea, but you DO realize that this is far more radical, complicated, and potentially disruptive than letting gay people get married, right? Not to mention completely against the whole goal of most of the social conservatives who oppose gay marriage.

Plus it'd make us more like the dreaded Europe.

Fixed that for you. ;-)

Thanks Jes. With your correction, it reads as intended.

There is no novelty to gay marriage. Gay people enter into committed, publicly declared relationships all the time. As far as I can tell, they have always done so, often in the face of significant hostility.

There is no difference between those relationships and heterosexual marriage except for the fact that they are generally not recognized by the state.

I don't see any good reason why that should be so.

These ballot measures are a last-ditch effort by a group that is demographically doomed. I wish they weren't being passed, but their effect is only to temporarily reinstate the ~2000 status quo. 5-10 years from now they will be historical footnotes that will become increasingly embarrassing for their proponents (just like DOMA is for Bill Clinton).

As such I can't read much into them except "Gradual change requires a series of intermediate states". That's where we are, I wish we weren't, but we are.

I think "regardless" conveys all the meaning of "irregardless" and has the virtue of being an actual word ;)

Jacob D has it right. A couple of other thoughts: the close vote in ME would not have happened 10, maybe even 5 years ago.

The bitterness, while understandable, produces a lot of name-calling, primarily variations on bigot. This is probably not productive. People are being persuaded, not as fast as many would like, but faster than I would have ever thought possible 20 years ago, that letting two gay people have a legally recognized relationship is the right thing to do.

Name calling directed at all opponents of gay marriage does nothing to persuade those who voted 'no' this time but did so with reservations. Or, others who, like me, more or less have a sudden realization that what I had thought was right, wasn't.

The measure passed in WA, but it passed as a civil union measure. This was good marketing. Many people, like it or not, view marriage as a union between a man and a woman (I know, chattel, barren, death, divorce, polygamy--good luck convincing otherwise fair-minded people that they are wrong about what marriage is and is not). Stay with civil union, emphasize that the issue is legal rights, not religious recognition, and time is definitely on the right side. Raise hell with people who view marriage traditionally but who otherwise are fine with equal legal treatment, and lose votes as well as rights.

McKinneyTexas,

That Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who refused to marry an interracial couple for specifically racist reasons was adamantly denying that he is a racist. (I use the past tense because he has apparently resigned.) What did that show? It showed that nowadays even out-and-out racists are embarassed to think of themselves as racists. I say that's a good thing.

And I say that what makes any kind of bigorty so unfashionable as to embarass its own adherents is, in part, "name calling". I say a little "name calling" will hasten the day when perfectly nice people who have "reservations" about siding with bigots will feel embarassed enough to stop siding with the bigots.

Waiting for the perfectly nice people with "reservations" to die off is, I grant you, a viable strategy. The trouble is, bigots don't die off any faster than the people who are the objects of their bigotry.

--TP

McKinneyTexas: Name calling directed at all opponents of gay marriage does nothing to persuade those who voted 'no' this time but did so with reservations.

Whatever "reservations" they might have been toying with, they still voted for the bigoted answer.

Many people, like it or not, view marriage as a union between a man and a woman (I know, chattel, barren, death, divorce, polygamy--good luck convincing otherwise fair-minded people that they are wrong about what marriage is and is not).

Well, that's why, as Pam Spaulding says, civil rights shouldn't be left to mob rule. People who think two men or two women shouldn't be allowed to marry because they've never heard of such a thing, but who aren't actually bigots, will be convinced when, just as a matter of course, they live for a few years with same-sex couples marrying. And the objective of the active bigots who pump large amounts of cash into the anti-gay propaganda is to stop that from happening.

Stay with civil union

Stay with legal inequality? That comes well from a het who isn't being actively discriminated against. McKinney, how would you like it if the mob could vote to decide if you were allowed to get married?

Raise hell with people who view marriage traditionally but who otherwise are fine with equal legal treatment, and lose votes as well as rights.

Plainly, if these people think their personal view of marriage means they're allowed to deny the freedom to marry to their fellow citizens, they are opposed to equal legal treatment. They're willing to listen to bigots who tell them that GLBT citizens do not deserve the same right as others. People who listen to bigots, who vote with bigots, who will not vote for equality, will find themselves being called bigots - and if they don't like it, their best solution to stop acting bigoted.

The bitterness, while understandable, produces a lot of name-calling, primarily variations on bigot. This is probably not productive.

Yes, yes, heaven forfend we risk offending the tender sensibilities of those who would vote to deny others their civil rights. Why, I hear Bull Connor cried himself to sleep every night over those mean people who called him a racist.

You know, Alabama had a law forbidding interracial marriages on their books until 2000, despite the fact that Loving rendered it unenforceable. When a measure was placed on the state ballot to remove this outdated and pointless law, 40% of voters -- that's 40, F-O-R-T-Y -- voted to keep it.

There's a word for those people: Bigots. The same word that applies to the Maine voters who voted for Issue 1.

People who listen to bigots, who vote with bigots, who will not vote for equality, will find themselves being called bigots - and if they don't like it, their best solution to stop acting bigoted.

QFT

And just so we're clear, this is yet ANOTHER instance where the GLBT community did exactly what all the conservative hockey pucks who complain about "activist judges" said they should: Accomplished their goals via the legislature. Upon which they were promptly shat upon via a referendum to overturn the law that they got passed.

So we have a situation in which Maine citizens voted to make illegal what was briefly legal, just because it involved gay people. If "bigotry" is not the proper word to describe that, I literally cannot conceive of another appropriate word.

The really significant part of the Washington ballot measure, IHMO, is that it didn't just talk about "rights." Unlike most domestic partnership legislation, it spoke specifically of "responsibilities."

It seems to me that the biggest argument for gay marriage has always been that, unlike most domestic partnerships and other wheezes, marriage comes with responsibilities. And my parents made a point of emphasizing those.

Silly me. I thought that the traditional definition of marriage was one man and as many women as he could afford, plus some concubines thrown into the mix to keep it interesting. (Was the national anthem in King Solomon's Israel, whose monarch had 700 wives and 300 concubines, "Help Me Make it Through the Night"?)

How do the fundamentalists explain the Biblical story of David, whose shared a love with his brother-in-law that surpassed the love of women?

I have never understood the argument that expanding the institution of marriage to same sex couples would harm the institution itself. An individual marriage is typically as strong as its participants choose for it to be.

Since my wife died in 2006 I have given a good deal of thought to what personal characteristics a good wife (or husband) should embody. If the committment of a prospective spouse to the institution of marriage is so weak that it can be shaken by the marital status of the two women across the street, or that of the man and woman next door, that person is a poor candidate for marriage, IMHO.

I should think that permitting, for example, men who have sex with men to marry one another would actually strengthen the institution of marriage. A man who can openly proclaim his fidelity to the one he loves is less likely to marry (or remain married to) a woman, while furtively seeking man-sex on the downlow.

Given the way the California campaign was run, I'd really like to have a bit more of an idea about what exactly went down in Maine and how the campaign unfolded. In particular, I wonder if an earlier passage, giving more time, have been better or not, and if out of state money entered into the campaign. I'm wondering if they would give an local view or some links that were trustworthy.

lj: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/10/despite-claims-anti-gay-group-in-maine.html>Money, the most recent item I've seen about it. Judge for yourself whether you think it's a lot of out of state money. NOM (National Organization for Marriage) is suing to try to get out of saying who their contributors are. The state is having none of it.

I think the campaign was run about as well as it could have been, but who am I to say; I hate politics. The campaign was tailored to Maine, the campaign manager was http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=293942&ac=>a Mainer (his story here). 8000 people are said to have volunteered, many for hours and days and weeks. Even people online who second-guessed California mercilessly haven't been second-guessing this campaign, as far as I can tell. I think we're just not quite there yet.

Google "No on 1 ads" to see a good sampling of how the campaign was run and judge for yourself. The emphasis was on families (see the ads) and on Maine values (ha) of equality and leaving people the hell alone (my terminology, not the campaign's) to live their lives. The lies and distortions of the Yes side were called out (panic-mongering about how gay sex is going to be taught to kindergarteners; Yes had the same campaign manager as in California) but other than that the No campaign didn't talk much about the Yes side -- just about families and quality.

Outside the official campaign, there were letters to the editor almost every single day for weeks. Again, mostly people told family stories and talked about equality.

I don't think more time would have made a difference. The law was passed on May 5 or 6, signatures to force a people's veto were gathered in record time, and the actual public campaign (outside the Catholic and other churches, let's say, where signature gathering went on in the summer) didn't heat up til after Labor Day.

Even if they hadn't gotten enough signatures in time for the November ballot, I don't think much would have gone on til the last couple of months before the vote (which would then have been in June 2010 if enough signatures had been gathered by 90 days after the law was passed, or the end of the session, or whatever).

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=286760>Nice opinion piece here. Probably not what you mean by "trustworthy" because Nemitz clearly takes a side. But it gives an idea of the in-state vs out-of-state involvement and balance.

Personal testimony: I just came from a special service at the UU church in Augusta. People -- including me -- are devastated, grieving, angry, hurt, exhausted, determined, and optimistic. Though we lost the vote, this campaign has changed things forever. People are out and are not going back into hiding, and thousands of people have just had a tremendous experience of working together. Not just lgbt people but their friends, relatives, co-workers, and allies of whatever persuasion. Not to mention people who don't particularly care one way or another about lgbt people but care about what kind of a world they're making for their children.

It took 4 statewide votes before civil rights for gay people "stuck." Next time, or the time after that ... the marriage vote will go the right way.

Because it's our world too.

Thanks so much for that. I guess 'trustworthy' isn't really the right word, something like 'insightful and honest', but I find my English is disappearing bit by bit.

Because it's our world too.

Right on Janie.

I think McKinney has a point. It just might not apply here.

Were I to meet someone who voted against gay marriage, I don't think I would be inclined to call him/her a bigot. I would probably give reasons for my position in favor of gay marriage. (Actually, I've spoken to people who do oppose gay marriage and did just that. The only difference is that they've never gotten to vote on it.)

The furthest I might go, assuming I wasn't talking to a complete a-hole who just needed a 2 x 4 up the side of the head, would be to say something like, "Someone could make the argument that yours is a bigotted position" or "But don't you think that's kind of bigotted?"

I think most people who are at all reachable will respond better to a more gentle form of argumentation than personal attack. As silly as it may seem at times, humans don't respond well to total honesty. They'll push back, defend and become more strident, or so it seems to me.

With all that said, I don't see how that applies to the comments on a blog that people choose to visit to discuss these things, particularly when almost no one here claims to be completely opposed to the idea of gay marriage (or at least civil unions). We're mostly talking about people outside this conversation as far as I can tell (anyone here vote against gay marriage on Tuesday?), so our total frankness will have no effect on them at all.

In a perfect world, I would favor federal and state government getting out of the business of marriage altogether and only confer civil unions on couples gay or straight, letting churches do what they will, right or wrong. But that ain't going to happen, so gay marriage it is. (Well, in a perfect world we wouldn't even need to have this discussion, but I hope you know what I mean.)

hairshirtdonist: In a perfect world, I would favor federal and state government getting out of the business of marriage altogether and only confer civil unions on couples gay or straight, letting churches do what they will, right or wrong. But that ain't going to happen

...er, it already did. Federal and state government confer civil unions, known as marriage, on any couple not legally banned from civil marriage. That's your perfect world - except, of course, for the religiously-inspired homophobic bigotry that bans same-sex couples from civil marriage.

And churches (synagogues, temples, mosques, chapels, sacred groves) can already do as they will: they can wed same-sex couples according to their religion, while denying marriage to mixed-sex couples who contravene a rule, or deny marriage to interracial couples, or whatever.

Your perfect world will be in the US, the day DOMA is overthrown.

That's your perfect world - except, of course, for the religiously-inspired homophobic bigotry that bans same-sex couples from civil marriage.

Well, okay, but isn't the exception the whole point? Unless you want to split hairs over civil unions vs. civil marriage. So long as everyone gets the same thing and it's called the same thing, I'm happy. The only reason I wouldn't bother calling it marriage (for anyone, mind you) is that it would eliminate the controversy specifically with regard to the "traditional" definition of marriage. I don't harbor any illusions that this would placate gay marriage opponents, but it would shut down one of their main arguments. But, again, that's not going to happen, so I'd rather just give people their rights and call it what we call it, regardless of who doesn't like it. So, "gay marriage" it is. (Or, ultimately, just "marriage." As far as I know, we don't issue gay parking tickets or pay gay income taxes or drive on gay interstates.)

hairshirthedonist: The only reason I wouldn't bother calling it marriage (for anyone, mind you) is that it would eliminate the controversy specifically with regard to the "traditional" definition of marriage

No, it wouldn't. Seriously. Never mind that (as you say) people who object to equal marriage for GLBT people would object to it even if it were called "civil union": if you eliminate civil marriage from the United States, you don't eliminate controversy, you explode it.

"...er, it already did"

...er, no it didn't. As long as everything from tax and inheritance laws to medical proxy are tied to marriage by default, then government is not out of the marriage game. None of those things should be tied to marriage, same or different sex. Then we would have no discussion. Marriage would be social institution to be celbrated by all whom matter.

McKinney -- since you are repeating yourself, http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/12/the-price-we-pa.html?cid=141858860#comment-141858860>I will too:

mckinneytexas 5:35 12/8 [2008] -- You are absolutely right about effectiveness and dialogue. Gay people, though, are only human, just like everyone else. Some of us never had any patience in the first place, and some of us ran out a long time ago. Sweeping cultural changes don’t happen in an orderly fashion and because everyone behaves in a perfectly modulated and saintly fashion. They happen because we all just do what we can, and it’s messy because it’s human.

Yet, by and large the "No on 1" campaign was conducted in a way that I hope and believe you would have approved of in this regard. It fought back against dishonest and distorted accusations, but it fought back on the basis of facts and issues, not on the basis of personalities and name-calling. Other than that, the focus stayed on the many couples and families whose lives would have been improved if the marriage law had stayed in place.

Not directly related to the campaign or the marriage issue, I confess to being rude to a Jehovah's Witness who came to my door yesterday while I was trying to take a nap -- if you can call saying "No, thank you" and closing the window rude. Myself, I think she has a lot of damned gall coming onto my property and interrupting my home life (and my nap) trying to shove her religious beliefs in my face. Ditto for the two Mormon young ladies who interruped my outing (with friends) in Boothbay Harbor a few weeks ago by asking if they could talk to us about Jesus Christ. I said, "No, absolutely not."

If that's rudeness, I'll cop to it. Not that I’m proud of it. I am not quick of tongue, and in both cases I was taken off guard, but if I were better on my feet (so to speak) I would have answered differently and done a little proselytizing of my own.

But I’m only human, like everyone else. Just as you look back (as you have said) on every case you try and see things you might or could have done differently, I look back on all my interactions with the knowledge that if I had only been a little more even-tempered, a little more quick of tongue, a little kinder and more patient, I might have done more good in the world. But your cases go along with you doing the best you can in each moment, and so do all my interactions, including those with people who have projected their dark side onto me and then been pleased and comforted to find it there.

In any case, I don’t believe the continuing change that’s going to happen on this issue is going to come just because of how a political campaign is conducted. It is going to come in a form of what you’re talking about: people who thought gay people were the bogeyman finding out that gay people are just (in any way that matters to getting a job done in the world, or being first-class citizens) like everyone else. That this process is well under way is shown by the fact that a vote took place at all.

Personal testimony: I just came from a special service at the UU church in Augusta. People -- including me -- are devastated, grieving, angry, hurt, exhausted, determined, and optimistic. Though we lost the vote, this campaign has changed things forever. People are out and are not going back into hiding, and thousands of people have just had a tremendous experience of working together. Not just lgbt people but their friends, relatives, co-workers, and allies of whatever persuasion. Not to mention people who don't particularly care one way or another about lgbt people but care about what kind of a world they're making for their children.

I'm emerging from my new lurker-only status just to thank JanieM for this testimony...I'm fighting back tears.

Uncle K -- thanks. There were a lot of tears in church last night, and you made mine start up again just now.

I wish you wouldn't just lurk...though I keep intending the same thing myself, so I can understand the urge.

...if you eliminate civil marriage from the United States, you don't eliminate controversy, you explode it.

That's why it's not going to happen. But I wasn't talking about controversy over marriage in general, but one specific controversy. Either way, I think we want the same thing, regardless of whatever marginal differences exist inside our heads. The rest is academic.

My view, long term, is that the ME campaign and others like it, if conducted in a dignified and positive way, will produce, in the near term, civil unions in a large plurality of states. Over time, more states will find their way and the Supremes, under the Full Faith and Credit clause, will rule that the minority of states will have to give full faith and credit to the acts of states that are now in the majority. DOMA will trip over the Full Faith and Credit clause at the same time. Paralleling these events will be, first, a convention of referring to civil unions as marriages. As this becomes commonplace, the more liberal states will amend their civil union statutes to blend them with their civil marriage statutes. In time, civil marriage between any two adults will be the law of the land. The process is going to take time, just as the civil rights movement took time. Dignity, suasion, example and patience will win out.

FWIW, I routinely get positive feedback from religious conservatives when I tell them that hitching their wagon to a position that more people everyday see mainly as mean-spirited only ensures that their views on economic conservatism, abortion and limited government will be held hostage to their fixation on telling other adults what they can and can't do. I know most here at ObWi don't sign on to these other programs, but they are in the mainstream of conservative and independent values.

Marty: As long as everything from tax and inheritance laws to medical proxy are tied to marriage by default, then government is not out of the marriage game.

Quite. Nor would anyone except a few mad libertarians who do not care about anyone else's civil rights wnt to lose the rights and responsibilities of marriage which are safeguarded by government.

People want to get married, and they want their rights and responsibilities in marriage safeguarded by their government. That's why all fantasies about denying everyone civil marriage and replacing this with "civil unions" are a pointless waste of space.

Religious bodies already have an absolute right to deny a religious ceremony to any couple they don't like, according to the forms of their religion.

In too many US states, homophobes who think God needs help from the government to show that He hates queers, have enforced their religious bigotry on couples who simply want to get married - and claims that "government should get out of the marriage business", which always surface during the arguments about equality in marriage, are either a backdoor way to argue for denying marriage to same-sex couples, or pointless floofery about something that no one actually wants.

McKinney: I know most here at ObWi don't sign on to these other programs, but they are in the mainstream of conservative and independent values.

Hatred and dismissal of gays, women, and poor people: yeah.

However, it is worth noting that however rooted in conservativism may be the belief that women are breeding machines who ought not to be allowed to control our own bodies, and the belief that poor people deserve to be worked to death, it is true that the more wealthy black men and wealthy gay men who subscribe to conservative "principles" about poor people and about women, the less respectable racism and homophobia become. One day, the homophobia that the Republican party uses to get elected will have to be as coded and disguised as the racism that still appears.

...One day.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/popular-sovereignty-and-the-gays.html>An Andrew Sullivan reader on Lincoln on majority rule.

I know most here at ObWi don't sign on to these other programs, but they are in the mainstream of conservative and independent values.

Just a quibble, for the record.

I am now, and have always been, politically independent. I do not hold the views on economic conservatism, abortion, and limited government that I believe you refer to here.

I doubt that I am in any way unusual.

The process is going to take time, just as the civil rights movement took time. Dignity, suasion, example and patience will win out.

This is an interesting view of the history of the civil rights movement. What actually happened was the federal government passed laws to ensure civil rights, which were accompanied by considerable violence by those opposed to them.

Josh: This is an interesting view of the history of the civil rights movement.

Conservatives who now look back on Martin Luther King as a sort of secular saint, tend not to consider that he was killed for being a troublemaker: for being the kind of difficult, rabble-rousing, dangerous man whose reaction to legal inequality and discrimination is not - as McKinney recommends now - "dignity, suasion, example, and patience" which white folks preferred then and straight bigots prefer now, but with action.

Slacktivist on sinister voting. Any southpaws here feel they should be denied the right to marry if the right-handed majority decide it would be... sinister?

Jes and Josh--wrong on all counts. Yes, the civil rights movement had plenty of moments of violence, but not by the MLK and others. They stood apart from that and persuaded many and embarrassed/shamed many others into rethinking their positions. It didn't happen overnight, but it happened. The movement began in the immediate aftermath of WWII, picked up steam with Brown vs. Board and got started in earnest in the early 60's. Yes, the legislation was federal, and that's because the 14th amendment authorized it. Marriage has been a function of state law since before the constitution. Even still, the constitutional underpinning of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the interstate commerce clause.

Mostly in response to McKinney.

1. Jes didn't say Martin Luther King used violence, she said he took action. She is not wrong about that. His actions made a lot of people angry. Violence ensued. He didn't perpetrate it himself, but the change that he worked for did not happen by virtue of nothing but sweetness and light. The idea that change happened because of, and only because of, MLK’s non-violence, dignity, etc., and all the other stuff like federal intervention and race riots in the cities had nothing to do with it, seems ... just a tad oversimplified. To put it mildly.

2. Nice that you can talk to conservatives so calmly and reasonably. It isn’t your life that’s being subjected to their prejudices via the ballot box. The civil rights of straight people and white people etc. do not depend on whether they call their neighbors mean things or not. Why should mine?

3. You seem to be saying that since marriage has historically been a function of state law, it's different from civil rights based federally in the 14th amendment. But that's not the situation any more. When marriage used to be a function of state law, the federal government recognized marriages in whatever way the states defined them. Not any more; DOMA took care of that.

Nice that you can talk to conservatives so calmly and reasonably. It isn’t your life that’s being subjected to their prejudices via the ballot box. The civil rights of straight people and white people etc. do not depend on whether they call their neighbors mean things or not.

I'm not sure why I'm stepping in this, but I am. I think McKinney is talking about what would be more effective, not judging people for being upset or angry. With that:

Why should mine?

They shouldn't. But the question is whether or not they do.

Reasonable people can disagree about what approach is best, I think. I don't think McKinney is faulting anyone for wanting to be aggressive so much as advising that it might not work so well. Maybe he's wrong about that, but that's not the same thing as telling people they should be nice for the sake of being nice. Rather, he's saying you should be nice because it will achieve your goals faster or more effectively.

Now, maybe you guys are just arguing about why you think one approach will be more effective than the other, in which case, just ignore me. But it seems to me that the argument is getting to be something other than that, which bothers me.

I think McKinney is talking about what would be more effective, not judging people for being upset or angry ... Rather, he's saying you should be nice because it will achieve your goals faster or more effectively.

This is as elementary as 2+2=4, and I have said over and over again in ObWi threads that I recognize the truth of it, and at the same time that the reality is that it isn't always possible to be so saintly and perfect.

If everyone was capable of handling other people's sensibilities so perfectly at all times, McKinney himself wouldn't be giving a lecture on perfectly modulated behavior on a day when it has been said very explicitly that there's extra specially large ration of hurt and anger floating around.

Reasonable people can disagree about what approach is best, I think.

I have never remotely disagreed about which approach is best. I have disagreed about which approach is humanly possible, given a movement that involves millions of people, most of whom are not robotically controlled by political activists or human behavior theorists.

What Hairshirt said. I never said I wouldn't be angry if I were denied the right to marry. I am angry/offended that the right is being denied, and I am especially put off by the bigotry of the public opposition. I am saying that this issue is 2-4 points away from going the right way. That's the swing vote. I want it to swing in favor of civil rights. I want it to actually swing. Doing that means bringing over people who, largely through ignorance and lack of analysis, are going with what they grew up with. I made my shift by trying to see the world through a gay person's eyes--didn't like the way it looked and went from there. If you want to move someone, step in their shoes.

Oh, and Janie's point about the feds stepping in with DOMA is correct. It is now a federal issue. Or, at least, it's a fair argument to make. Kind of hard to say it's fine for the Feds to say what a marriage is and then complain when the feds change the definition--but good luck with getting congress to move its butt. It's counter-intuitive, but winning state by state has a better chance than getting majorities in both houses and a presidential signature. Even Obama has said that marriage is between a man and a woman. Personally, I don't think he had any choice, but he did say it.

...on a day when it has been said very explicitly that there's extra specially large ration of hurt and anger floating around.

I'm sorry about that, JanieM. It sucks. (I've been moping because the Phillies lost the World Series, so I guess I need to get some perspective.)

"People who think two men or two women shouldn't be allowed to marry because they've never heard of such a thing, but who aren't actually bigots, will be convinced when, just as a matter of course, they live for a few years with same-sex couples marrying."

To the point Jes made here, I will note that gay marriage, when the subject comes up, bothers my wife, who I know is not a bigot.

Yet she looks at me like I am from Mars when I tell her I don't have a problem with it and, in fact, support gay marriage.

From what I can make out, being outwardly gay in her native Russia is unheard of.

Now that she has been here 5 years -- we just celebrated our fifth anniversary on Tuesday -- I can see Olga's stance softening. Which is instructive how being exposed to someone unlike yourself is the best tonic for prejudice.

hairshirthedonist and McKinney -- I value both of you and the give and take we're involved in. I am having a hard day/week/?, but I will try to find some other...stance to come from, than just anger.

McKinney -- You wrote, "Kind of hard to say it's fine for the Feds to say what a marriage is and then complain when the feds change the definition." Did I say that? Did anyone?

But in fact, if the feds are going to say what marriage is, then I don't see anything wrong with trying to affect the shape of the decision. (By complaining or other more effective methods.)

As long as we're here, I suppose I might as well point out that the feds got involved in marriage with Loving, long before DOMA. And since IANAL, there may well be lots of other federal involvement over the years that I'm unaware of.

hairshirthedonist -- Well, if it sheds any light on perspective, I can tell you that while as a lifelong Yankee fan I was happy about last night, it didn't make a dent in the other thing. ;)

Janie--my bad. I often speak/write in shorthand thoughts, causing unintended and unfortunate understanding. The complete thought would be something like this, "conservatives forced a vote on DOMA, thereby federalizing the institution of marriage. Having done so, they cannot now revert back into federalism should the feds determine to leap further into marriage by defining it more broadly."

Conservatives who now look back on Martin Luther King as a sort of secular saint, tend not to consider that he was killed for being a troublemaker

Either I've badly misunderstood you, or this is our dailyWTF.

I mean, who doesn't think that MLK was assassinated for being a troublemaker? Are there more than a few PPM of the population that think this?

I think McKinney is talking about what would be more effective, not judging people for being upset or angry.

And McKinney is just plain wrong. That it is nicer for those whose civil rights are not at risk if the people whose civil rights are being denied by mob rule do not take action, but stick to passively being dignified and polite, is perfectly true: and Martin Luther King pointed out in the 1960s that white people counselling patience and passivity to black people were not allies to the civil rights movement, but opponents. Any straight person who says or thinks that they're not going to support equal rights for GLBT people if the GLBT people aren't going to be sweetness and light, is no ally and no friend.

Mob rule is not the path to civil rights and equality. The conservatives arguing that the majority ought to have the right to vote away legal rights from a minority are dangerous opponents, whichever way they would vote.

From http://www.boston.com/news/daily/18/sjc_gaymarriage_decision.pdf>the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's ruling on November 18, 2003:

While the court stops short of deciding that the right to marry someone of the same sex is "fundamental" such that strict scrutiny must be applied to any statute that impairs it, it nevertheless agrees with the plaintiffs that the right to choose to marry is of fundamental importance ("among the most basic" of every person's "liberty and due process rights") and would be "hollow" if an individual was foreclosed from "freely choosing the person with whom to share . . . the . . . institution of civil marriage."

As both Perez and Loving make clear, the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice...

Having gotten all embroiled at the voting booth and in arguments about influencing voters, I want to go back to first principles (mine) and say that I don't believe my right to marry should be subject to majority rule in the first place.

I have mentioned http://www.amazon.com/Same-Sex-Marriage-Constitution-Evan-Gerstmann/dp/0521009529>this book before, but then a lot of what we say here we've said before, so what the heck. And unlike some people (I'm looking in the direction of the Daily Dish), I have no problem in principle with taking this issue through the courts.

With the current composition of the court...I don't know.

Janie--the problem with going through the courts is that it invites an electoral backlash that is equal parts ugly and worse than the status quo ante. If the Big Supremes were to rule that the 14th amendment commands states to allow same sex marriage, the next thing you would see is an amendment vacating that decision. Would it pass? I don't know, but if it did, it would be the law of the land. Fundamentally, civil rights do depend on mob rule (a phrase i will remember and use frequently when we discuss tax policy) since this is a democracy and the constitution has an amendatory process that is democratic in nature.

McKinneyTexas, I think we (the general we, not you and I) have debated here before about whether the aftermath would be more like Loving (no huge backlash) than Roe v. Wade (huge backlash ongoing to this day). It's kind of staggering to think the response would be worse than Roe; staggering, but not surprising.

I do agree/recognize that civil rights depend on what I tend to call "firepower." (I won't bite any hooks labeled "mob rule.") In fact I have often made this point over the years in response to people who say that they/we (the general they/we) have a "right" to this that or the other thing. No one has a "right" they can't defend, or maybe it's better to say that there are "rights" in the abstract and then there's the real world, where the fact that (for instance) the Supreme Court says strip searches are unconstitutional doesn't stop police departments from doing them, it only (maybe) provides for redress after the fact.

Something tells me that that catching-more-flies-with-honey-than-with-vinegar deal that McKinney things the GLBT community should stick with works a lot better when the flies are fairly certain that the honey-planters aren't going to fight back violently. I bet he doesn't, for example, advocate the sweetness-and-light approach in Afghanistan or Iraq.

this is a democracy and the constitution has an amendatory process that is democratic in nature.

Eh, not really.

Janie--the problem with going through the courts is that it invites an electoral backlash that is equal parts ugly and worse than the status quo ante.

So if the backlash against GLBT people for having the right to get married were as bad as the backlash against women, clinics, and doctors for having the right to decide to terminate/continue a pregnancy, then 36 years after the Supreme Court overturns DOMA, we would see violence ranging from regular arson attacks on courthouses where same-sex couples wed to eight or nine murders of the officiants at same-sex weddings: couples who wanted to marry could well have to travel across half a state to the only well-armed, well-guarded, security-shielded courthouse where same-sex couples can stand up before a civil officiant and say their vows.

After all, that's exactly what happened to interracial couples and those who wed them after Loving. As someone already noted upthread, when the last state finally repealed the law against interracial marriage, 40% voted to retain it.

The reason homophobic bigots oppose the freedom to marry so strongly is that marriage is a great equalizer. A violent bigot may never in life be reconciled to two men standing up to pledge to love, honor, and cherish each other, or two women vowing constancy and fidelity in the names of Ruth and Naomi, but most people, fairly predictably, will just... get used to the idea. Even like it, when someone they know and love gets married: find themselves going aw when two old men who lived together fifty years finally get to marry; find themselves getting teary-eyed as two women who fell in love and raised three children together walk down two aisles because neither dad will give up his right to give his daughter away.

Homophobic bigots hate marriage reform not because they think there will be a longterm backlash but because they can look at the experience of other countries, and know there will not be.

Marriage and military service - I say this as a lifelong pacifist - are the two great equalizers: the two changes that represent pro-active outreach to GLBT people - to anyone discriminated against.

Racism did not end when the US military allowed black people to serve equally or when the Supreme Court overthrew the democratic will of the people to allow interracial marriages. Homophobia won't end when DADT and DOMA are overthrown. But things will get better, nonetheless, and that's why the bigots oppose both so violently.

I don't get the whole Palin NY-23 thing. She intervenes in a race, gets the more moderate Republican candidate booted, and the Democrat promptly wins in a region that hasn't elected a Democratic representative in more than 100 years.

And that is a win?

Huh?

JanieM: De-lurking for just a moment to say:

I watched these election returns not with NJ or VA or NY in mind. (And I grew up in NY-23 and visit regularly so I could go on and on about that!) I had you in mind. I’ve read about your efforts here. I was rooting for you. At one point things looked OK and I said “GO Janie!” and had to explain *that* to my wife…

So, as a war-mongering bigoted racist hopeless Conservative – I feel for you here and I was extremely disappointed at the outcome. I really thought you had it here…

Don’t give up hope please. It is close and it is going to happen soon. And I will be very happy for you.

OCSteve -- you're making me cry all over again.

I've been thinking of you in the midst of this discussion, remembering when we went at the same topics last year. Thanks for your good thoughts -- they do help me remember both that things can change, and that we can keep trying to talk to each other across various chasms.

Also, tell your wife I said hi, and de-lurk more often if your blood pressure can stand it. ;)

Hey, JanieM,

I wrote a long, long post that was lost before I had to do something and forgot to enter my crazy letter password thing before closing my computer. Anyway, everyone loves you, including me, but have you ever stopped to consider why your 30+-married-women-friends would be in favor of civil unions instead of marriages? I wish I knew how to talk to you individually, without these other people, who accuse me of bigotry, because I would be happy to tell you why.

Sapient, “I love you...but” is an old story. So I’ll say I’m glad to be loved, but....

Have you ever stopped to consider that patronizing people does not make them more likely to listen to you? Because it's hard not to read "have you ever stopped to consider" as a rhetorical question that implies that you are quite sure I can't possibly have. The idea that you -- a stranger in cyberspace -- would be happy to inform me what my friends are thinking only reinforces the effect.

You are inventing imaginary people. My friends are not in favor of civil unions "instead of marriages." They are not looking to exchange their marriages for something else, they are just hypothesizing that re-labeling the same old thing and making it available to same-sex couples would solve the equality problem and shut everybody up about it.

It’s nice that you’re excited about your ideas. But you don’t do yourself any good in the conversation/debate arena by assuming that no one else has thought of them or come to different conclusions about them. And you do seem a bit hard-headed about how welcome the whole “marriage should be abolished” topic is in relation to the issue of same-sex marriage. Especially today.

"assuming that no one else has thought of them or come to different conclusions about them"

-- is probably unclear (at best). It should be more like "assuming that no one else has thought about them, or no one else has thought about them and come to different conclusions about them."

McKinneyTexas:Having done so, they cannot now revert back into federalism should the feds determine to leap further into marriage by defining it more broadly.

I'd call that naive. GOPsters regularly manage to do that on any possible topics even within the same talking point. They follow the classic model of the ants in "The Once and Future King"

1.We are so numerous that we are starving 2.Therefore we must encourage still larger families so as to become yet more numerous and starving. 3.When we are so numerous and starving as all that, obviously we shall have a right to take other people's stores of seed. Beside, we shall by then have a numerous and starving army. 4.We are more numerous than they are, therefore we have a right to their mash. 5.They are more numerous race than we are, therefore they are wickedly trying to steal our mash. 6.We are a mighty race and have a natural right to subjugate their puny one. 7.They are a mighty race and are unnaturally trying to subjugate our inoffensive one. 8.We must attack them in self-defence. 9.They are attacking us by defending themselves. 10.If we do not attack them today, they will attack us tomorrow. 11.In any case we are not attacking them at all. We are offering them incalculable benefits.

Point 9. is of course the most beloved of them all. Group X by (merely) demanding/requesting equal rights (or defending existing ones) is actually viciously attacking those that want to deny them (cf. the Xtian Right and the 'intolerant' hate crime laws).

I, for one, want to hear more about Sapient's incredible mind-reading abilities, such that he can tell us not only what complete strangers think, but why they think it.

Baby steps, Phil. This is the first time I've seen Sapient join a discussion about the denial of marriage to same-sex couples without angrily/aggressively attacking marriage and people who want to get married.

...of course that may just be because the browser crashed and lost the "long, long post" with more of the same. Still.

Phil, I was referring to someone JanieM described in another thread in some detail. JanieM said "And by the way, one of the friends who is attached to the civil unions for everyone idea has been married close to 30 years herself. She doesn't mind that her partnership would be re-labeled; it's the reality of it that matters to her, not the label."

Here she describes more extensively the views of some of her friends.

People here seem to base their beliefs about marriage on their own experiences and desires. I was merely suggesting that the woman who JanieM described, after 30 years of marriage, might have some valuable insight. But, on second thought, since I've never met the woman or JanieM, I have no reason to care what either one of them thinks.

the problem with going through the courts is that it invites an electoral backlash that is equal parts ugly and worse than the status quo ante.

If civil rights for, frex, blacks hadn't gone through the courts there would still be places in this country with black and white water fountains, and where black folks would be legally required to sit in the back of the bus.

And don't you doubt it for one new york minute.

And yeah, the backlash was ugly. People were shot, blown up, beaten, jailed, had dogs set on them, and had fire hoses turned on them. Large portions of major American cities went up in flames.

Hate and stupidity are very, very tenacious.

mob rule (a phrase i will remember and use frequently when we discuss tax policy)

If I'm not mistaken, you're alluding to discussions of raising the top marginal income tax rate.

I don't mean to threadjack, but with all due respect my kneejerk response is some combination of "WTF?" and "bring it".

My more considered response is that I'm not sure I see the two situations as remotely comparable.

My two cents, FWIW.

OC, nice to hear from you. Be well, dude.

Well...that was kind of my point, the part about assuming that I would never have bothered to be interested in the insights of my friends, and would have to go to a stranger on the internet to

1) be informed that my friends might have insights I'd be interested in (!!!!!), and

2) what those insights are.

If it had occurred to you that I might actually have two brain cells to rub together along with an interest in my own friends, you might have started out by asking me why they said what they said instead of offering to tell me.

People here seem to base their beliefs about marriage on their own experiences and desires.

First, this seems to me to be a perfectly sensible way for people to shape their beliefs. Or should the base them on your experiences and desires instead of their own?

But secondly, it sells the people here short by a very long shot. Once again you seem to be saying that because people aren't coming around to agree with you, they can't possibly have looked beyond their own noses about a subject that is central to most people’s lives (i.e. relationships).

How old are you? When you framed the question about my friends and their insights, how old were you picturing me as being? What about my friends?

Too early in the morning. My 9:44 was of course addressed to Sapient, and I should have said so.

Russell, thanks for cutting to the chase, as usual.

Hartmut, I'm smiling at the memory of the Once and Future King. I haven't re-read it for years; maybe it's time.

Russell, my point is simply that, if the Supremes were to impose civil marriage for any two adults regardless of sex by judicial fiat, the likelihood of a constitutional amendment being passed by both House and Senate, signed by the president and ratified by 3/4's of the states is not insubstantial. Thus, the judicial remedy route would produce a significant risk of retrograde movement--permanent retrograde movement--that would be virtually irreversible. My larger point is that the ballot box is the better way to resolve this issue and the trend line definitely favors patience, as difficult as that is for those most immediately affected.

And, when we get around to tax rates on a different thread, I will, indeed, "bring it."

Hartmut--I think we are more or less on the same page. I am simply pointing out the inconsistency of conservatives bringing the feds in to define marriage their way then objecting should another congress/senate/administration change the definition. I never meant to imply that conservatives, or anyone else for that matter, feel particularly constrained to act in an intellectually consistent manner.

my point is simply that, if the Supremes were to impose civil marriage for any two adults regardless of sex by judicial fiat, the likelihood of a constitutional amendment being passed by both House and Senate, signed by the president and ratified by 3/4's of the states is not insubstantial.

You think there are enough homophobic bigots in the US House, Senate, and country to ensure that GLBT citizens of the US are made second-class citizens by majority vote?

Well, sadly, you're probably right.

How long would this process take, though? I mean, how many years of couples marrying and having their marriages recognised across all the states of the Union before the Bigot's Amendment was eventually ratified?

I'm presuming that you're right - that the forces of bigotry in the US are sufficiently strong and immutable that the spectacle of happy couples would do nothing to affect the drivers of the bulldozer to smash their marriages and their families.

It would be ugly. It would make the US stink to high heaven as a nation that enshrines bigotry and discrimination in its Constitution.

But I think that giving up equal rights for fear of what the bigots may do in response would be wrong - ethically and strategically. Equality is worth having - is worth standing up for. Yes, maybe you're right, maybe the bigots will win in the end, maybe the forces of good will lose.

But to counsel that the forces of good should surrender abjectly because the forces of evil are powerful and threaten they will do this disgusting thing to the US Constitution - then they have already won.

If you truly believe in equality, in justice, in the right of everyone to have the freedom to marry, McKinney - why counsel surrender in advance? Are you that scared of standing up for what you know is right?

Recommended reading: Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender, by Robin West

Jes, I don't see McKinney counseling surrender but merely talking about which methods of advance are likely to be most effective. If he is correct, then working at the state and local level and through the legislative process (and fighting ballot questions when they come up) would result in more equality sooner than going to the Supreme Court would.

Of course, with the current court composition I find it hard to believe that McKinney's feared scenario will take place anyway. Regardless, I'm going to keep supporting the marriage equality bill in DC (and keeping my fingers crossed that Congress has enough on its plate that it keeps its nose out of our local affairs). The best I expect at the federal level is that they won't get in the way of progress (well, maybe repeal or striking down of DOMA).

Since McKinney brought up the Constitution....

Over last winter and spring I read Akhil Reed Amar's "America's Constitution: A Biography." The image I carry with me as a shorthand for what mattered the most to me in the story is of an arrow, or vector.

The Constitution was marred by its enshrinement of slavery, among other things that weren't "perfect" at the beginning. But despite stops and starts, backslidings, war and death and continuing conflict, the direction of the vector over time has been toward more inclusive enfranchisement, from former slaves, to women, to people under 21.

It is as if the Constitution was as much a promise or a pointer as it was manual for any given moment in our history. The path of the arrow, the direction of the vector, is toward more inclusiveness. I think we'll never totally get there, but it's the aspirations that matter, and the work to try to achieve them.

I know this sounds kind of sappy. And I don't think I'm under any illusions about how close we've come to really empowering "the people," much less achieving a state where "the people" are up to the responsibility that comes with empowerment. (I'm not throwing stones at people who disagree with me, I'm speaking generally.)

But nothing of what we've achieved has come because of cold calculation only. Yes, sometimes it's the better part of wisdom to back away from a given battle, the better to return another day. But I'm with Jes in thinking that fear of backlash shouldn't rule our thinking, any more than hatred and anger should be our ruling passions.

If he is correct, then working at the state and local level and through the legislative process (and fighting ballot questions when they come up) would result in more equality sooner than going to the Supreme Court would.

No, it's surrender - abjectly conceding in advance that the homophobic bigots are too strong to permit GLBT people the same rights as straight people.

A Supreme Court decision overthrowing DOMA gives same-sex couples the same rights as interracial couples had across the US in 1967. Popular vote might have overturned that legislation within thirty years. Or might not, since the normalization of interracial marriage by the Supreme Court making it legal, is a large part of the reason the racist bigots could no longer muster a majority vote against it.

The circumstances required for a Supreme Court decision are not only for the Supremes to accept the case, but also for the case to exist - for a wealthy widower whose husband died at their home in Virginia, to refuse to accept that the State has any right to deny the validity of his marriage and overthrow the will that left him his partner's half of the property. Or some such. (It would be ironic if it were Dick Cheney's daughter who were that bitterly affronted that she decided to fight the case, wouldn't it?)

The Constitutional requirement for all states to accept as valid marriages legal in the state in which they were made, is a legal necessity. More and more couples are legally married - whether or not their home state accepts them as such. All it takes is one major clusterfkcu of property, wills, contracts, that is that messy just because of DOMA...

Jes, yesterday at 1:10pm McKinney seemed to support the idea of the Supreme Court overturning DOMA. That's quite different from the scenario he's talking about at 11:11, which is "if the Supremes were to impose civil marriage for any two adults regardless of sex by judicial fiat".

The difference between having the Supreme Court leave marriage up to the states and having the Supreme Court force all states to legalize same-sex marriage is extreme, and it's not unreasonable to fear that the reaction to the latter could set back marriage equality in ways that will be very difficult to undo. Personally I'm not worried, mainly because I think the chance this court will do such a thing is vanishingly small.

Jes, I stand up for gay civil rights everyday in venues that, at opposite ends of the political spectrum, make you look like the most appeasing, accommodating voice-of-reason person who ever existed. Just as an FYI, I've been approached recently to run for judge. My views on gay civil rights are a near-certain death sentence to a successful run as a Republican--which is what I've been asked to run as, even though I made it clear I am no longer a Republican.

On the merits of our discussion, judicial fiat goes against the grain of people who believe matters should be decided by a vote and not by decree. I understand the "but your civil rights aren't subject to a vote, so why should mine be?" line of reasoning. What a court cannot do is prevent a constitutional amendment. Judicial fiat at the national level will drive a lot people into the amendment camp who, if given time, would be willing to come around.

You can demand and confront until hell won't have it but when the dust settles, the will of the majority (that is, the majority that votes) will carry the issue.

Putting matters to a vote isn't surrender. Quitting is surrender. Short-cutting to judicial decree is inviting a legislative nullification of the decree which is worse than conditions at present.

I've got a big trial next week, so I have to sign off. See you guys in a couple of weeks.

Try hard, McKinney.

Jusurgislac: "and Martin Luther King pointed out in the 1960s that white people counselling patience and passivity to black people were not allies to the civil rights movement, but opponents."

Stop using Martin Luther King's name to support your gay tirades. MLK wasn't interested in homosexual 'civil' rights, or homosexual marriage. He never said one word in favor of it: not in his autobiography, not in his speeches, not in any interview. He was a religious Christian and if he was alive now he'd be preaching it was OK to love the sinner, but not the sin. Like his daughter Bernice King said when asked about what her father thought about same-sex marriage, she answered she was sure in her soul he didn't take a bullet for it.

I think the homophobic forces can at best be marginalized to a degree that they are unable to do too much damage but only with a constant effort. If we look at abortion and contraception, we* can see that considering the fight as won can be fatal. Once the eye is taken from it, the rollback sets in. If there was a gay Roe vs. Wade (highly unlikely imo) the phobes would try to undo it the same way. Even if failing to get a new court to overturn precedent, they would find ways to make the actual use of the equal right as difficult as possible. I fear homophobia sits even deeper than racism (I myself have more homophobic impulses** than racist ones).
So I think all possible approaches should be taken, legislation, the courts and ballot initiatives, fedral and local. Also dirt collection should be an integral part. The more homophobe leaders are demasked as gays (or alternatively sexual perverts***) the better.

*I can't see an anti-choicer or condom condemner on the threat at the moment
**more directed towards sexual practices than the persons involved
***this is not intended to equal being gay with being a pervert!

PhillyCheese, I think the concept you may wish to embrace is "analogy".

Yes, the civil rights movement had plenty of moments of violence, but not by the MLK and others.

Desegregation was enforced by the threat of violence by federal troops. It was imposed on unwilling bigots by outside authorities. Segregationists weren't persuaded of anything; they were forced to accept it. That is why your analogy holds no water.

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