Why I Embrace “Gay Marriage”

Simply put, I fully believe in the idea that “all men* are created equal” and are entitled to equal protection under the law.

*(“men” being a generic word for humans, as in “mankind” — I believe the statement equally applies to women.)

Of course, others argue against it. Let’s look at the arguments.

“Perversion!” some cry. “They’ll rape our children!” Yet the overwhelming majority of pedophiles are heterosexual, so I consider this ill-informed fear-mongering; if we wanted our children to be left alone, we should prefer they had gay teachers. As for the “perversion” of “deciding” on an “alternative lifestyle,” when did you decide to be straight? When did you choose to only be attracted to the opposite sex? I never made such a choice, and I truly don’t believe that anyone makes that “choice” either. Why would anyone choose to put him- or herself up against the majority of society like that? Simply, I don’t believe anyone really makes such a “choice” — I believe we were born the way we were born, straight or gay, and sometimes a man in a woman’s body (or vice versa). Whether you believe we are created by God or simply by nature, the only true “perversion” is trying to change that creation.

Why I Embrace "Gay Marriage"
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“Tradition!” many say. When I was a child, it was “tradition” to discriminate against those called “negroes” at that time. During my lifetime, dozens of states had laws prohibiting blacks and whites from marrying, too. It wasn’t until 1967 that the Supreme Court struck down “anti-miscegenation” laws. That instantly destroyed all marriages, right? Well, no, I didn’t see that happen either. If your marriage is somehow less valuable because someone else fell in love and got married (whether they are black, white, straight, or gay), that says something terrible about your marriage, and nothing about theirs. It’s not anyone’s business what you do in your marriage that doesn’t infringe on your spouse’s rights, and other marriages are not any of your business, either.

“If we allow this, then we’ll have to allow people to marry animals and children!” is fairly common too, and is another ridiculous overreaction — and was a common argument against interracial marriages. Marriage is a legal contract between consenting adults. Neither animals nor children meet that simple definition.

“Procreation!” others argue. Yet can heterosexual white people get married if they’re infertile? Of course they can. Can gay people bring up terrific, well-adjusted adopted children? Of course they can. (Will they “teach” the children to be gay? No more than their heterosexual parents “taught them” to be gay!) We don’t prohibit the elderly (beyond childbearing age) from marrying. We don’t prohibit the disabled who are unable to procreate from marrying. We don’t even prohibit prison inmates sentenced to life (or death!) from marrying. Procreation is a garbage argument.

The Biblical Argument

The 'Pride' version of the GOOHF card. Click for details or ordering.And the last vestige of the haters is, “It’s forbidden in the Bible!” Your Freedom of Religion allows you to believe this if you wish, but everyone else’s Freedom of Religion allows them not to, and it’s not up to you to force your religion of hate and inequality on others. But let’s stay with that argument for a moment. If you’re in the “it says it in the Bible” camp, that means you:

  • Have never worn clothes made of more than one fabric.
  • Have never cut your hair nor shaved.
  • Have personally investigated and killed every person you’ve seen who has done something against the Lord, as commanded by Deuteronomy 17:2-7.
  • Have never eaten shellfish, pork, or rabbits.
  • Have never lied or gossiped.
  • Have never read your horoscope.
  • Have never violated any other rule set forth in the Bible.

…and thus can certify you are worthy of “casting the first stone” — right? Or are you just another hypocrite according to your own beliefs? (You do know what Jesus had to say about hypocrites, yes?)

And you’re willing to swear you are worthy of this, “So Help You God” with your hand on that Bible you’re using as a weapon?

I doubt anyone qualifies.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Bible was used as an argument against mixed racial marriage too.

The Kicker:
Gay Marriage is a Conservative Value

If I had any doubts about my stance, they were erased by Ted Olson. Olson’s not some liberal mouthpiece: he’s the arch-conservative lawyer who argued the Bush side in Bush v. Gore (and won), for which he was rewarded by George W. Bush with the position of Solicitor General. Olson is also a founding member of the Federalist Society, and a former member of the editorial board of The American Spectator magazine (a conservative monthly).

Here’s just some of what Olson had to say in an interview with Chris Wallace — on Fox News:

Is a court allowing gay marriage “judicial activism”?

No. As a matter of fact, since 1888 the United States Supreme Court has 14 times decided and articulated that the right to marriage is a fundamental right. We’re not talking about a new right here.

We’re talking about whether a fundamental right, something that the Supreme Court has characterized as the most fundamental relationship we have in this country, can be deprived of certain individuals because of the color of their skin or because of their sexual orientation.

We do not permit discrimination, inequality. That’s why we have a 14th Amendment that guarantees equal rights to all citizens. It’s not judicial activism when judges do what the Constitution requires them to do, and they follow the precedent of previous decisions of the Supreme Court.

When you say “same-sex marriage,” you’re saying a particular type of marriage. The Supreme Court has looked at marriage and has said that the right to marry is a fundamental right for all citizens.

This is what judges are expected to do. It is not judicial activism. It is judicial responsibility in its classic sense.

But people have voted against it!

Well, would you like your right to free speech — would you like Fox’s right to free press put up to a vote and say, “Well, if five states have approved it, let’s wait till the other 45 states do?” These are fundamental constitutional rights.

The Bill of Rights guarantees Fox News and you… the right to speak. It’s in the Constitution. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the denial of our citizens of the equal rights to equal access to justice under the law is a violation of our fundamental rights.

All we have to do is look into the eyes of these individuals and decide why are we denying them the right to happiness that we afford to all of our other citizens.

Out of context? Judge for yourself! Here is that interview in its entirety:

Due to Youtube’s then-10-minute-limit on videos, the last 3-1/2 minutes are in a separate video:

The Bottom Line

The Constitution is a brilliant document: it guarantees freedom and equal protection for all. Not “all except…” but all. In addition to being an institution of the church, marriage is, in fact, an institution of government, and it conveys extra rights and privileges to those who choose to do it. To disallow “certain people” those rights and privileges is clearly legal discrimination, and thus unconstitutional.

Today, the Supreme Court started to hear arguments on this. I can’t imagine that the top court in the Land of the Free could rule that such discrimination is warranted.

Even Karl Rove, the arch-conservative Republican operative, agrees he could “imagine the [2016] presidential Republican candidate saying flat out ‘I am for gay marriage’.” Republicans could make the huge mistake of sticking to the 21st Century anti-miscegenation law. OR they can agree that ensuring equal protection under the law — the Constitutional ideal — is truly a Conservative Value.

Join me in supporting equality in marriage. It’s the American Way.

Sure Enough, on 26 June 2015 the Supreme Court went with the only rational decision. The only sad thing is, the vote was 5-4, rather than unanimous.

- - -

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Why I Embrace "Gay Marriage"

103 Comments on “Why I Embrace “Gay Marriage”

  1. The best argument against “being gay is a choice” is the fact that no matter how homophobic society is, it will still have gays. Would you choose to be gay in a country that had or has death penalty or prison sentence for gays? Yeah, me neither, yet gays exist in those countries as well.

    Good point. But even if it is a choice, so what? Who am I to say that the choices consenting adults make should result in governmental discrimination against them? That’s not how it works in the “Land of the Free”. -rc

  2. I fully agree that marriage should be a fundamental right and responsibility for all who enter into one. I say responsibility as when one enters marriage the spouse is responsible for making medical and financial decision when their spouse is in no condition to do. Why should a gay spouse be told that the decisions are not theirs to make when they’ve lived day in and day out with that person?

    I also love the line “Gay parents will raise gay children,” which is ironic considering that gay people were raised by straight people.

  3. Great deconstruction of the arguments, Randy. I think one thing everyone should take away from this — like the late, great George Carlin said — “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges.” It saddens me that this is even an issue. So much for being an enlightened species.

  4. Excellent article as usual, Randy. I’m sure that you’ll take some heat for it. Thank goodness for Get Out of Hell free cards, eh?

    For sure — and now in two flavors! Yes, I’m sure some will unsubscribe from TRUE, etc. I refuse to be silent even if it does cost me money. I must defend what is right. -rc

  5. The biggest problem with this is calling any union a marriage. Religion feels it has a monopoly on the word “marriage”. Take it away from the churches. Period. Make ALL marriages civil unions, 2 men, 2 women, a woman and a man — whatever. Make it a civil contract between 2 people who want to share their lives. Give the churches NO say in the matter. AT. ALL. If, after the civil union at the local courthouse, Magistrate’s office, etc — the couple then wishes to have a religious ceremony, knock yourselves out — but it will be meaningless legally without the civil ceremony first.

    I see no reason to trample on religious freedom. The problem IS largely due to the government stepping into a religious matter, but we are where we are: government-sanctioned marriage connotes certain rights and privileges, and government should not be allowed to discriminate against a class of people. That said, read about a priest making the same argument in response to a 2007 story in TRUE. -rc

  6. I think the best legal issue resolution I saw and don’t have time to look up now was that the tax code could be greatly simplified by changing marriage to contract between consenting adults. I find it sadly ironic that the people who claim to be the most religious are often the most intolerant.

  7. As a Conservative, and a Catholic, THANK YOU. Marriage isn’t something anyone should be legislating, honestly, but since the government does, marriage should be open to all for the protections the laws afford the married couples.

    I believe that as long as consent can be legally given, I don’t have a right to be involved. Here’s hoping the Supremes see things my way.

  8. My stance on the ‘Gay Marriage’ issue is a bit different. If we are to have a ‘wall of eternal separation between Church & State’ as Jefferson wrote, then the government should not be involved in marriage in any way, whether gay, straight, or other. For purposes of taxes, inheritance, insurance, and next-of-kin, let the government issue Civil Unions, and leave marriages to the churches, to be performed at the discretion of those involved, without regard to whether or not the government has issued permission.

  9. IMO, the quandary begins with your statement, “Marriage is a legal contract between consenting adults.” While the statement is true in the context of our laws, we should remember that marriage was, first and foremost, a ceremony founded in religious dogma. As such, it should probably never have been a part of the legal lexicon, replaced by the more appropriate legal term, “civil union,” which could also encompass marriages.

    The state has no business defining — much less regulating — religious dogma or the rituals associated with it, unless (perhaps) ion instances where the practice poses a clear and proven danger to the general well-being. By the same token, religious organizations have no business dictating the parameters of legal contracts. If the members of a religion find those parameters to be inconsistent with their tenets, they are free not to enter into such contracts. By the same token, a church would have the right to establish their own parameters for what constitutes a marriage, and to refuse to recognize a marriage that doesn’t fall within those parameters.

    IMO, the most logical solution to this artificially created problem is to replace the word “marriage” in our lexicon with the phrase “civil union,” with a notation along the lines of “to include, but not be limited to, marriage,” and for the legislative bodies to recuse themselves from any further definition or regulation beyond age of consent and (possibly) competency.

  10. I am 100% with your belief that all men are created equal. That is exactly why I am against gay marriage, straight marriage or any other government sanctioned arrangement that creates separate classes of people. In this case ‘married people’ and ‘single people’.

    If two people wish to get married in the manner of their faith or have an arrangement that is not faith based that is their business. The government should not bestow special rights and privileges such as special tax brackets and filing status, not being compelled to testify against each other, special retirement benefits, etc upon them.

    The quote from your article sums it up best: “In addition to being an institution of the church, marriage is, in fact, an institution of government, and it conveys extra rights and privileges to those who choose to do it. To disallow ‘certain people’ those rights and privileges is clearly legal discrimination, and thus unconstitutional.”

    Yep. But meanwhile, discrimination exists. To get to equality, all we need is a court decision. To get to your ideal, we need massive change. Let’s start with the easy and obvious first, and then you can do a blog post that argues for more. -rc

  11. Congratulations on a cool, well argued case. I shared it on Facebook.

    I’m guessing that most of your instincts are Republican, so it may make you feel less isolated to know that the majority of ‘under 50’ Republicans agree with you.

    I actually noticed your post on Facebook, where you repeated your “Republican by instinct” bit in your introduction, and I don’t understand it. At all. I’m neither — and both — liberal and conservative, but neither Democrat nor Republican. As I wrote when discussing it in this space before, “I’m just not going to fit into one little box.” -rc

  12. I appreciate your analysis of the arguments against “gay marriage”, and I agree with most of it. Certainly homophobes who cry “Perversion!” should be ignored, and the “tradition” argument is poorly argued by most opponents. Some of the other arguments might be a little less cut-and-dried than you represented them, however.

    I haven’t been following the scientific angle closely, but I’m fairly certain no one has yet identified a “gay gene.” Your reasoning for the “innateness” of homosexuality holds up from a journalist’s view — who would choose to be an outcast? — but scientists long ago abandoned the Socratic method in favor of cold, hard evidence; and there isn’t enough yet on this issue. (I personally suspect, like most things about people, it’s a matter of both nature and nurture.) There have been some studies on the outcomes of children raised by gay parents as well, but still too few for too short a time (and very, very few with “married” gay parents) to declare a winner there either. I won’t argue that children of gay married parents are likely to turn out as well as those of straight married parents, but I think it’s a stretch to declare it to be a settled fact. It’s clearly established, anyway, that children need parents who are committed to sticking around even when the going gets tough; in that sense, it’s not about their orientation as much as their personal dedication and tenacity.

    Now here’s where I’ll lose most people: it seems you either haven’t heard or don’t understand the biblical arguments against homosexuality. Yes, Leviticus calls it an “abomination,” and you’ve roundly answered Westboro Baptist et al (aka the morons). The rest of us “Bible-thumping Christians” read the whole Bible and do our best to interpret it based on the authors’ intent. In our view, the best scholarship classifies the commands of the Pentateuch into moral, social, and cultural laws — homosexuality falling into the first category, which includes laws against murder, theft, adultery, etc. I’m neither a theologian nor a scholar so I’ll leave the details to those more qualified, but suffice it to say there *are* answers to the objections you raise (e.g. shrimp) for those who search for them.

    Pentateuch aside, the New Testament addresses the issue as well; the apostle Paul even bases an entire book (Romans) of rhetoric on the sexual immorality that arises when God is denied and sin is embraced. I don’t expect you (or any person who doesn’t share my view) to understand or agree with Paul, but perhaps you could look into some of the apologetics on the issue before dismissing all religious folk as bigots outright. There certainly are plenty of bigots who call themselves Christians and justify their hatred with their “faith”, but there are also a significant number of us who believe in logic, reason, and skepticism and also take the Bible seriously when it intersects with contemporary issues.

    All that said, I absolutely agree that personal religious views, intolerance, and hatred shouldn’t decide the outcome of Supreme Court cases. Hopefully, neither will opinion polls, op-eds, or judges who take a low view of the Constitution.

    Regardless, I’m glad you “came out” on this issue — I suspected you’d “swing” this way since you lean heavily toward the “live and let live” camp. Hopefully, this blog will at least decrease the amount of hate mail you get from liberals who are sure you’re a thinly-veiled, bigoted, gun-totin’ Republican. 🙂

    I already addressed the “choice” issue in the first comment. As for anti-homosexuality being akin (in the Bible) to prohibitions “against murder, theft, adultery, etc.”, I don’t recall it being discussed in the 10 Commandments, so I don’t see it as equally represented. But then, I’m also neither a theologian nor a Biblical scholar! By the way, my “swing” isn’t quite “live and let live,” but rather “My right to dictate your behavior ends when it’s not impinging on my rights” (and vice versa). -rc

  13. We have a right of free association. The government shouldn’t be in the business of licensing marriage at all. The assumption is that by requesting a marriage license from a government entity, each person in the relationship is granting every other person the right to speak for them. The government doesn’t want to get that relationship wrong, so it issues a license. That license is a declaration between two people that the relationship exists and the government entity must honor it.

    So, from my perspective, the government entity has no right to dictate who I might want to relate to. It only means that each person in that relationship can speak for them both and the government is bound to recognize such speech as not being an abridgment of the rights of the other person.

  14. Another great post. The rights of people should not be infringed by religion. Do the Christians in favor of Prop 8 in CA want to have to follow Sharia law? I think not. If the Supreme Court decides that California is in violation of the Constitution and its Amendments then we the people will have to abide by this decision as per Article III. Section 1 of said Constitution. The Constitution is a wonderful piece of work. Give it a read sometime. I do from “time to time”.

    I carry the Constitution on my person daily: an Android “app” includes it along with many other foundational documents. -rc

  15. Are you serious Randy? How dare you have the audacity to make perfect sense! Loved this write up and thank you for saying exactly what I’ve been trying to say for years.

  16. To paraphrase: Why shouldn’t homosexual couples have the right to be as miserable in marriage as heterosexual couples?

    Indeed! -rc

  17. I fully applaud the conclusions you’ve articulated in your arguments. What I DON’T understand is any “confusion” of some people between marriage and union. Purely semantics. While there is a religious element involved in marriage, it’s ALWAYS been a civil matter in the US. No matter who does the job, whether priest, rabbi, mullah, justice of the peace, or pastafarian, a couple still is required to first obtain a marriage license from the state. That establishes the legal rights and responsibilities of a union. Anything after that, religious or civil, is only a matter of ceremony.

    I’m really surprised that, in the 21st century, the Supreme Court is still dancing around the issue, trying to avoid it. The Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment is pretty clear. In fact, those who talk about the democratic right to vote on such an issue don’t understand what the Constitution is about. It establishes that certain rights can NOT be simply voted out of the way. It’s a protection against the “tyranny of the majority.” Otherwise, slavery could be re-established by virtue of a majority vote. The only question would then be WHICH class of citizens would be reduced to slavery.

    Does it matter which Party I typically vote for? I disagree with many planks of the platforms of each Party, and I have to go beyond any single issue and vote on the merits of the most issues that will affect me. And gay marriage just ain’t gonna hurt my own marriage in the least.

    You can get married in a church without a government license, but then the government won’t recognize it (and won’t give you the rights, benefits, and privileges that go along with it). -rc

  18. I have no problem with civil unions between consenting adults. But I don’t think it is right for you to tell a church that they MUST marry… 2 men, 2 women, 3 whatevers, when it goes against their principles. I think civil unions are a good answer, but don’t try to force the church to do what you want them to do.

    This isn’t about forcing churches to do anything, Paul. That of course would be outrageous. We’re talking about state-issued marriage licenses here, nothing more. If you think a “civil union” alternative is great, call it what it is — a “separate but equal” approach — and let me know if you think that will solve the issue. -rc

  19. I am surprised at the amount of anger that shows through in your writing about religious intollerance. It is as though you are intollerant yourself, which I think you are. You have placed yourself in a position of high judgement of others in defense of something which many of us happen to believe is not a Constitutional right.

    Ted Olson has a right to believe as he does and he is proably right, certain things are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean eveyone has to bow down to the current wave of popular outrage. I find the greater outrage in our society is our educational system and the murder of black children in the street-every day. Now those are real problems in need of our attention, not this grandstanding and lecturing on who has a right to this or that to whom.

    Anger? There’s no anger in here. What are you projecting? You’re the one sputtering so badly you can’t spell simple words.

    Yes, we have a difference of opinion. Isn’t it wonderful that our Constitution allows me to express my view, and you have the opportunity to publish yours? And so your point is… what?

    Your suggestion that we cannot shine the light of day on ANY injustice unless every other injustice that you deem to be greater is ludicrous. We are a big enough people to tackle more than one problem at a time. Why are you so afraid of this injustice? -rc

  20. I simply wish my own state of Nevada would legalize gay marriage and market my city of Las Vegas as the ideal place for gay honeymoons to take place. Homosexuals have as much right to get married by an Elvis impersonator or at the drive-thru wedding chapel as straight people, as long as the legally vested official is willing to perform the ceremony.

    This is the basis of secular, state-recognized marriages in this country. Religious institutions and their clergy should not be obligated to perform a ceremony which violates the definition of marriages within their faith. That’s their civil rights under the first amendment.

    So if two men are registering for china patterns at Tiffany’s or two women in matching wedding dresses are saying “I Do,” I’m hard pressed to figure out how it is impacting my life or costing me a dime. I have better things to do than worry about what I feel should be a complete non-issue.

  21. I read this article today, it makes some good points and has statistics to back it up.

    I like the part that starts with:

    “That leads to an epidemic of fatherlessness:”

    and ends with:

    “Correlation is not causation, but these are the three countries that were first to adopt same-sex marriage; what is debatable is whether the collapse of traditional marriage in those countries and the adoption of same-sex marriage were really both symptoms of a common, larger cause.”

  22. I will not be happy until government gets its paws off marriage. It should simply be a contractual agreement (or not if you don’t want it to be). I don’t have a problem with it providing a basic form which hits the main points that people can choose to use.

    It should not be so ridiculously mired. In general we need to take the entirety of our legal system and redo it according to the KISS principle. This would almost certainly end up with marriage being a simple association between folks perhaps with contractual obligations if they so choose.

    As such I don’t take up the crusade for gay marriage since I have my own crusade to push and only so much time to spend on politics. And perhaps it is a bit perverse but I figure the more discontent there is with the current system (such as blatant discrimination that is quite clearly unconstitutional) the more likely people are to push for real change that will actually fix the system (that by the way doesn’t got voting against gay marriage, I just simply abstain since my option isn’t on the ballet). I am surprised I am focused on the solution rather than the band-aid fixes. Generally I am all for band-aids since I have little faith in humanity’s ability to truly fix anything in my lifetime. Perhaps I am becoming more optimistic as I age. Or maybe I am just getting tired of band-aids?

  23. It’s a well-known statistic that approximately 50% of all first-time marriages end in divorce. And then there’s this little tidbit found on the internet (although I have no idea who to attribute it to):

    • Kim Kardashian was married for 72 days.
    • Britney Spears was married for 55 hours.
    • Larry King has been married 8 times.
    • Newt Gingrich has been married three times and participated in extramarital sex with several mistresses.

    These are only a tiny few of the PUBLISHED scandals, let alone the countless private ones.

    Just HOW is preventing same sex unions going to “preserve” the sanctity of Marriage?

  24. I agree with almost every word in this essay. However, I must take issue with one point: Pedophiles are not overwhelmingly heterosexual, nor are they homosexual; they are Pedophiles. They are sexually attracted to prepubescent children regardless of their gender. Note: I am referring to the psychological definition, not the legal definition, which is (rightly) about five years too high.

    You refer to definitions, rather than simple statistics. The contention in the essay is still true. -rc

  25. Four of the plaintiffs in the Canadian court case that legalized same-sex marriage there were two same-sex couples married in a church that used a centuries-old loophole in the requirement for a marriage license.

    When California legalized same-sex marriage (for real, not the San Francisco collective act of civil disobedience), the first couple married were married by a rabbi.

    When Iowa first legalized same-sex marriage, there was a brief window before court challenges paused it; the one couple that managed to get their marriage certified before the window closed almost didn’t make it because they spent some time hunting down a member of the clergy to sanctify their marriage.

    A growing number of religious denominations in this country marry same-sex couples.

    This is NOT a freedom of religion issue — it’s an issue about preferential deference to SOME religions, which is patently anti-American.

  26. Gay marriage will prevail. The United States is not a Christian Democracy or Christian Republic, so this is purely a secular matter. I am a Christian, and stay out of politics. Allowing homosexual marriage will come to pass. The troubling part is what will happen afterwards.

    Right now, I have the right to raise my children and counsel them that it is a sin to practice homosexuality. I do not hate homosexuals, but the act. Once gay marriage is legalized, a couple of things are going to happen. My rights to raise my children will get trampled on as it will become a hate crime to say anything negative about gay marriage. Then, there will be those gay couples that will insist on being married in a church. When the pastors, ministers or others refuse on Biblical grounds, they will be punished, again for a hate crime.

    How many people will end up in prison, not because they are homophobes, but because they don’t want the homosexual lifestyle shoved down their throats.

    I fail to see why you believe that allowing others to exercise their rights means you will lose your rights. It is an absurd notion. -rc

  27. Randy, based on your logical, thought out reasoning for supporting “gay marriage”, am I correct in assuming that you also embrace “Sibling Marriage” and “Parent-Adult Child Marriage”?

    With a court ruling on the gay marriage issue, will it not also affect the constitutionality of laws preventing father and daughter, or brother and brother, from marrying?

    I fail to see why you don’t seem to be able to grasp the consenting adult requirement stated in my argument. Children are neither adults nor able to legally enter into contracts. -rc

  28. You’ve got a sharp mind and like to think, so I’m glad to see you putting your voice out there on this, in what was always guaranteed to be a thorough argument. I’ll be re-reading this and borrowing from this to make this case myself, to friends and family who need to hear it. So, thanks for that. I’m straight too… and raised Catholic… and fully agree that there are all kinds of reasons that, liberal or conservative, equality is equality and that’s the way it should be. Aside from your argument, I also like the graphic: Imagine how stupid these protesters are going to feel in 40 years. Exactly.

  29. Thank you.

    I appreciate this article. As always clearly presented and straightforward. It makes me sad that people like my brother could read what you’ve written and still stomp his feet and cry, “Nooo gaaaayyy! Because GOD!!!!”

    My beautiful 20 year old daughter recently came out. I was honored by her statement to me and her father when we embraced her and weren’t exactly surprised, “I knew you guys would be okay with it.”
    The only thing that worries me about her orientation is that there are still idiots like Pat Robertson out there who’d deny her happiness. Oh. And my brother. And my parents.

    We have to hide who she is for now. Her request. I can’t wait until there are more of US than there are of THEM.

    A friend of mine, who happened to be over for dinner last night, has a horribly intolerant brother. She has hidden him on Facebook because of the ignorant bile he spouts “just because” that’s how he was raised. He can’t articulate arguments for why he thinks the way he does, because he doesn’t understand the reasons behind his positions. It’s both sad to watch him spew (I’ve seen it on her Facebook posts) and entertaining to taunt him, because he can’t defend his positions whatever.

    Yet he is pro gay-marriage. Why? Because so many of his family members have come out — people he likes and admires. He could cut them out of his life, or he can embrace them for who they are and (he now says), because “that’s the way God made them.” If HE can get there, your brother can too. -rc

  30. To me this fight is over semantics. The important part is the governmental recognition of the union of two people. The religious part of a marriage is a union recognized by the church and God, while the governmental recognition goes towards the rights of two people pertaining to insurance, hospital visitation, retirement, taxes, etc. We need those on their high horse to get down and see there will be no harm done (even to them) if we allow these marriages/unions. And we must stop getting over the terms of marriage and (civil) union. You get the same result, don’t be so picky. A rose by any other name….

    I disagree that it’s semantics, and I disagree that “marriage” and “civil union” are the same thing. The Supreme Court case is over a woman from a state that allowed same-sex marriages, and married her partner. Yet when her partner died, the government wouldn’t recognize her legal marriage and charged her six-figures in inheritance taxes that she wouldn’t have had to pay had her spouse been a man. Her case is stronger in that she was in a legally recognized marriage in her state; she would have much less of a case had her relationship been mere “civil union”. Semantics aside, some classes of people get rights and privileges and benefits that other classes of people can’t get. That unequal treatment is not the American ideal. “Equal under the law” is, and we are not there. -rc

  31. Churches cannot be forced to perform religious ceremonies over acts they consider to be sinful. A preacher may still refuse to preside over an interracial marriage, although a Louisiana Justice of the Peace recently could not refuse to do so. And the recent disagreements between Freedom of Religion and State have been over discrimination within a work environment.

    And just to fuel the flames a little, there will still be people 40 years from now protesting the legalization, just as 40 years later, we still have people protesting Roe v Wade without understanding why the ruling was made.

  32. OK, if you believe that the government should get involved in marriage and allow for same-sex marriage, then you should also believe that poly-marriages should be allowed, correct? Also, if you believe in the same rights for all, then you should also be for Single people having the same rights as well, such as visitors in the hospital, and to get the same exact benefits from a job (currently married people get additional benefits).

    No, I’m not arguing that the government “should get involved in marriage.” I’m recognizing that they are already deeply involved in marriage, and the way it was done has created identifiable discrimination. Some are advocating getting the government out of the business, and I’m finding it hard to argue against that idea. That’s a huge undertaking that requires the unwinding of literally thousands of laws. That may indeed be a worthy long-term goal. In the meantime, it’s an outrage that there is legally enshrined discrimination. We can fix that relatively reasonably in the short-term while we take a look at the bigger picture. -rc

  33. I agree with the general sentiment, but I feel the need to correct a couple of minor mistakes in your argument:

    “Have never worn clothes made of more than one fabric.”

    Not entirely accurate, there are two specific fabrics (wool and linen) that are forbidden to be used together in clothing. The reason is related to the fact that one is “the finest” cloth from the plant kingdom, and the other is “the finest cloth” from the animal kingdom.

    “Have never cut your hair nor shaved.”

    There is no prohibition to get your hair cut unless you’re a nazirite, and the prohibition on shaving relates to the use of a razor blade (expanded, if I’m not mistaken to any method which employs a single blade rather than — as in electric shavers — one blade against another like scissors.

  34. I’ve never been able to find anyone who objected to same-sex marriage for a reason that didn’t boil down to “My religion says it’s wrong” or “It’s icky.” I knew that when I read an editorial from a religious figure advocating for universal civil unions so that the term ‘marriage’ could be reserved for religious institutions to grant, that writer knew same-sex marriage was inevitable. When they’re trying to ‘compromise’, the outcome is certain, and they know it.

    @Paul of Athens, GA: Nowhere in that article did the writer establish, or even attempt to establish, that ‘SSM’ (the writer’s term) meant that ‘traditional marriage’ (also the writer’s term) suffered. Happen less often? Maybe. But that’s a choice people make all the time.

    The idea that there is anyone who thinks that marriage between two people of the opposite sex or between two people of the same sex could be identical is ludicrous because no two marriages are identical. He’s battling a problem that doesn’t exist. But it’s easy to make all marriages identical in the eyes of the law.

    But the aspect of marriage that is of most urgent interest to the state is its role in producing children

    Really? Since when? The contention that the state should support ‘traditional marriage’ over ‘SSM’ for the purpose of having more children is also ludicrous. If anything, we should be encouraging fewer children as a sustainability issue, but that’s a different issue.

    But it IS for that reason that the traditional marriage defenders insist straight couples must divorce when it is determined either of them is infertile, the man becomes impotent, or the woman goes through menopause. -rc

  35. Randy, you mis-read the comment from Robert in Richmond (and promptly jumped down his throat for it). He clearly stated “Parent-Adult Child Marriage”. Obviously, an adult child refers to offspring that has reached the age of majority. I’m over 18, yet I’m still my parents’ child. That doesn’t mean I can’t enter into a contract.

    You call that “jumping down his throat”?! Wow. And I see nothing “obvious” about it, nor any reason to believe I “misread” his comment. I couldn’t care less about what consenting adults care to do in the privacy of their homes that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Why do you? -rc

  36. Interesting that The Oatmeal has this week come up with virtually the same cartoon as the poster you used in your blog.

    Stories/articles like this one, as well the India Tracy story and others that highlight lack of — well, thinking — [I guess that’s just about the whole of ThisIsTrue!] unfortunately tend dominate the impression, many “across the water” have of America. Of the right-wing Middle America, anyway.

    There is probably just as much intolerance on the left, I guess. And across the spectrum it encompasses political, religious, and cultural differences and just tells me that there is a vast room-temperature IQ “unwashed” out there that has been spoon-fed TV pap for so many generations that they are no longer capable of thinking for themselves — all they can do is spout someone else’s pre-digested opinions. No, not even opinions: dogma.

    That graphic first appeared in this blog in June 2012, but I had seen it online before that. There is indeed a certain loud segment of our population that spews back pre-packaged catch-phrases without doing any original thinking, from “Must have gun control!” to “Mixed marriage is Communism!” But make no mistake: there is a growing contingent that rejects both edges in favor of nuance and, yes, thinking. I’m working as hard as I can to promote the latter to help the former. -rc

  37. “But it IS for that reason that the traditional marriage defenders insist straight couples must divorce when it is determined either of them is infertile, the man becomes impotent, or the woman goes through menopause. -rc”

    Wow. That’s a new one to me. I’ve never heard that as part of the platform.

    Also, now I know that ‘blockquote’ doesn’t work here. The sentence fragment/fourth paragraph of my previous comment was a quote from the article Paul from Athens, GA linked to.

    That’s tongue-in-cheek extremism. Blockquote does work. You put it in as “quoteblock”, though. I fixed that, and now it’s working fine. 🙂 -rc

  38. Sorry for my choice of words on the throat-jumping, I wasn’t trying to pick a fight in that post (though this one may be different….) I know how easy it is to misunderstand the intent of written words, especially on the internet, and I apologize if I misunderstood yours.

    That having been said, I still feel that you have utterly missed the point of Robert’s statement. Your comment to him implied that you think that he believes that children (meaning people under the age of 18) should be able to enter into contracts, specifically marriage contracts (since that’s what this whole thing is about). However, it is obvious to me that his comment did not promote such a thing; his words were “Parent-Adult Child Marriage”, referring to someone (the parent) marrying their adult (and fully able to enter contracts) child (here, child just means offspring, not someone under the age of 18).

    If you understood that Robert was using the definition of “child” to mean “a son or daughter of any age”, why did you continue to assert that such children cannot enter contracts? Now I accept, of course, that you are well within your rights to choose not to answer any question posed to you. And you have the prerogative to allow or deny any posting on your own website, I get that. But if you don’t want to answer Robert’s question, then just don’t answer, instead of misrepresenting his (or my) position.

    Which brings me to one more point, the (potential) picking of a fight:

    I posted once before on one of your more provocative items, and now, just like then, you have pigeon-holed me into a position that I never took. My sole reason for my first post above was to correct what I saw (and still see) as a misunderstanding. Can you see ANYTHING in that post that implies, one way or another, what my stance on same sex marriage is?

    You can’t, because it’s not there, yet you chose to assume you know my position, and assumed that it was different from yours just because you didn’t like my choice of words. That is a knee-jerk reaction that I see all too commonly. Just because we don’t agree on one thing (e.g. whether you “jumped down someone’s throat” or not) doesn’t automatically mean we disagree on everything. I really despise when other people tell me what my opinion is and what I believe, when they have NO WAY of knowing the truth and are simply jumping to conclusions.

    I like your posts, Randy. I like when you make us think about the world around us. But I’ll be a summer blizzard in Phoenix before I’ll just roll over and take it when you try to tell me my position on an issue. You want us to think, right? Then stop trying to do my thinking for me!

    Thanks, and I agree: it is sometimes hard to understand words without a non-verbal clues to help. I do try to write carefully to avoid that problem, and usually (but not always) succeed. It did take you two posts for me to read the original comment correctly. When people use the word “child” they usually mean minor, not “my adult offspring,” so that is how I took it, rather than the (as I now see was written!) Parent plus “adult-child”. I do find the notion as bizarre as a parent wanting to marry a minor child. The question is, do we really need a law against it? I hardly think so. Does that mean I “embrace” it? Nope. Does that mean I want to prohibit it? Nope. IT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS what consenting adults do, even if I do think it’s “icky” (as another comment put it). So I appreciate your prompting me to look at the original comment again to see what I missed the first two times.

    To your main point, I finished my earlier reply with “I couldn’t care less about what consenting adults care to do in the privacy of their homes that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Why do you?” You say that is me “doing your thinking for you” and “assuming I know your position.” It is neither. It is a(n admittedly provocative) question, and the answer is, apparently, “I don’t” — a very quick and easy answer that doesn’t require several defensive paragraphs. -rc

  39. John in Nevada expresses a common error when he writes that it would be a “hate crime” to say anything negative about gay marriage.

    In American law, speech can almost never be a hate crime. No matter how vilely you speak, there is no crime in simply speaking; a hate crime has to be based on a physical act that is criminal, such as battery, arson, theft or murder. Only if the motivation for that crime can be shown to be hatred of a particular group can the additional charge of hate crime be brought.

    Merely expressing hatred for another person or groups of persons is never a hate crime. If you incite violence, you might get tagged for that; if you verbally harass an individual, you could get prosecuted for harassment even without hate crime laws; if you are careless with your expressions, the victim might have a civil (not criminal) suit for slander. However, you simply cannot commit a hate crime simply by telling your children that another person or group is bad.

    Were it otherwise, discussions of the New York Yankees would more often end in prosecution.

    You explained it very well. Thanks! -rc

  40. I wonder if you have done justice to the post by John, Nevada. My perception, as a non-American, is that once gay marriage is legal there, someday someone will successfully sue a straight parent for telling their kid that homosexuality is wrong, and that someday someone will successfully sue a clergyman for refusing to marry a gay couple. If you agree, then how can John, Nevada’s notion be absurd?

    Of course I don’t agree! Coming up with an absurd hypothetical doesn’t make an absurd notion any more plausible. Read the comment before this one. -rc

  41. Marriage has been around since people decided to seek formal recognition of their relationships, largely but not exclusively on religious bases.

    We are now arguing about government control over certain aspects of marriage when we SHOULD BE challenging the federal government being involved at all and challenging state involvement beyond protection of minors or other vulnerable people. Polygamy? Interracial? Gay? I just don’t see a need for government in social issues.

    The more we seek government’s involvement, the more involved government will become. It digs in like a tick, sucks our blood and lays eggs.

    We only needed about 1,400 words, including signatures, to declare our independence from England. The National School Lunch Program regulations contain over 45,000 words. PB&J or tuna sandwiches in a brown bag worked for most of my classmates.

  42. The churches pretty much gave up the “ownership” or trademark on Marriage when it started being used for common law ‘marriages’ and for the Justice of the Peace legal unions. Just like band-aid, frisbee, and other common use words it has come to mean a generic thing.
    Let the religious groups change the name they want to call their union and lets move on.

  43. Still no mention of the real disaster of gay marriage: Read Through before you comment.

    What could possibly be wrong about heterosexual marriage between siblings, why not just grab a donated organ and give it randomly to someone, its a blessed act of charity and a good thing right? so what if genetic tracking for medical purposes is screwed to hell. Gay couples will finally be able to cry discrimination if not given their rights to adopt children, possibly over straight couples who may be related to the child. THAT is the unspoken reason for legitimized gay marriage. The illegitimacy boom of the past 40 years has already begun producing negative impacts on society that gay adoptions and surrogacy can only add to exponentially with the sealed records of adoption to say nothing of so called “Private” adoptions, sometimes backdoor and illegal without full informed consent of both parents.

    Gay advocates state marriage was originally about property rights while leaving out that until around the beginning of the 20th century children were still regarded as property under the law hence marriage to insure viable record keeping of bloodlines for legal reasons.

    in short gay marriage is an emotional knee jerk without thought to long term detriment to all STRAIGHT OR GAY

  44. I should point out that gay marriage should have all the legal rights and also carry all the legal responsibilities of marriage. This includes everything from inheritance, divorce, insurance, social security benefits, income tax filing status, medical care decisions, and so on. All of the same-sex partnership benefits or other substitutes that have been offered when marriage was illegal should be eliminated. As it’s said, if you want the milk, you need to buy the cow.

    Law and policy would be simple if there was just single, married, separated, and divorced (the latter two only having meaning in specific cases).

  45. The crux of the problem seems to arise when homosexuals are treated differently than heterosexuals. For purposes of tax, inheritance, or medical record keeping, there is currently a different standard for married citizens than for others. That should not be so; eliminate this preferential treatment for everyone, and the treatment of heterosexual and homosexual citizens will be the same.

    There has long been a recognition of a “marriage penalty” from the IRS — I experienced it the year my wife & I married. And current HIPPA rules make it tough for all of us to control our medical experience. But none of that results from marriage. We have taken a long-standing custom and intertwined it with our tax code and legal system, much to our detriment. Just remove the preferential treatment for married couples, and we can all be equally inconvenienced!

  46. I enjoyed your article and agree with your premise. Maybe I am reading this wrong, but from the comment “Your Freedom of Religion allows you to believe this if you wish, but everyone else’s Freedom of Religion allows them not to, and it’s not up to you to force your religion of hate and inequality on others.” it seems like a bit of a reach to call anyone who might believe that homosexuality is a sin someone who practices a “religion of hate and inequality”….

    I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. And BELIEVE me, I wish that it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean that I hate anyone. I don’t even believe in “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Jesus never said that. I do believe that we are called to love God, love our neighbors and deal with the logs in our own eyes, so that is what I do and encourage those around me to do as well. I don’t have any need or desire to point out ANYONES sin to them. That is between them and God.

    To that end, even though I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, I don’t believe that the Government should be involved in pushing any one religious agenda over another one. In fact, they shouldn’t be limiting personal freedoms in any way. I 100% believe in equality. If two consenting people of any stripe want to marry, let them. This doesn’t infringe on my rights in any way.

    But don’t do the same thing that you are accusing others of doing by lumping everyone who believes homosexuality is a sin into one group of people that practice a “religion of hate and inequality”. Quite honestly, I am not 100% sure that is what you meant, but it sure did come off that way.

  47. Logically, if marriage is legal between two consenting adults of any gender (or transgendered), we should also allow polygamy (or polygny) of any variation or mixture of gender (or transgendered) consenting adults. As these divorces occur, how will child support be apportioned amongst parental units?

    Also, what if minors of any gender (or transgendered) wish to marry? Will they need their parental units permission?

  48. One of the earlier posters seems to be arguing that, since no “gay gene” has yet been found, homosexuality cannot be an inborn characteristic. His implication is that it must be a choice.

    As a rebuttal, I would like to remind everyone that our chromosomes are only one of several factors which control how we are formed. These articles provide some interesting information about fetal development and sexuality:

    But even if it *was* a choice, what would that matter? This is *supposed* to be a free country, after all. Don’t forget that “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” line from the Declaration of Independence.

  49. As a Christian, I believe the Bible teaches against homosexual relationships (Rom 1:26-27, 1Cor 6:9). This comment is not intended to debate the meaning of those scriptures. I chose to interpret them as I do and anyone else can chose their own beliefs. As an AMERICAN, I firmly believe in the freedom of religion (not freedom from religion). And it is precisely because of that freedom that both you and I can freely chose our beliefs and respectfully discuss them and we should be able to do so without impunity. As an American I should be respectful of someone else’s choice to engage in a homosexual relationship and should I really try to deny them the legal benefits that a state recognized marriage would offer them? Therein lies the dilemma. If I support same sex marriage would I appear to be compromising my Christian values? If I don’t support same sex marriage am I being hypocritical of the American value of freedom of religion, a value which I hold dear? An easy answer would be to allow same sex marriage. Tolerance does not necessarily denote condoning. But it’s not that easy. Already in the US intolerance of Christian values have been seen. On March 10, 2006, Catholic Charities in Massachusetts was forced to end its adoption ministry because it would not place children with homosexual couples. A Methodist camp in New Jersey lost its state tax exempt status for not hosting a same-sex union in its marriage pavilion. And in Canada where gay marriage was legalized in 2005 there have been between 200 and 300 legal proceedings against opponents of same sex marriage including a Knights of Columbus (a Catholic Organization) Hall was sued because it refused to rent out it’s hall for the marriage of a lesbian couple. In Saskatchewan a marriage commissioner, who happened to be an Evangelical Christian refused to perform a ceremony for a gay couple, even though he respectfully and courteously got them in contact with a commissioner who would help them. After they were married they decided to sue the first commissioner and he was fined $2500. A Roman Catholic Bishop was threatened with litigation and charged with a human-rights violation after he wrote a letter to local churches outlining standard Catholic teaching on marriage. It seems that those who want to promote same sex marriage can be just as intolerant (of those with opposing values), as Christians are often accused of being against those who do not hold their values. Hopefully it would never get as bad as the “absurd” comments made in a previous post such as it being a hate crime to teach your children homosexuality was wrong. And before you or any other readers dismiss me as a homophobe or a bigot because of my beliefs, read the rest of the first chapter of Romans. There you will find a whole list of “sins” that God says deserve death (vs 32), many of which I and most of my loved ones have been guilty of. Homosexuality is just a part of that list. And if you read the verses after 1Cor 6:9 you will find that some of the Christians mentioned in that passage were guilty of the very sins mentioned but (Praise God) were justified by Christ. In the eyes of God, my sin is no different than that of the homosexual, and the homosexual sin is no less forgivable. And for the record I didn’t write the Bible, I just happen to believe it is the inspired word of God. I love the words of the Evangelical pastor Rick Warren: Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someones lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means that you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.

    You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

    That was one heck of a paragraph. Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion, or the freedom is not complete. I don’t think “we should be able to do so without impunity” means what you think it does. I didn’t research the Canadian cases you brought up because the points are moot: Canada is not covered by the U.S. Constitution. All that said, I appreciate your thoughtful exploration of ideas that you find uncomfortable. -rc

  50. In the late 80s, I wrote a letter to the editor supporting same sex marriage. I am so excited that it’s almost here!

    It made no sense to me that, when my b/f needed medical benefits, we could get married and presto! he was covered! and yet a same sex couple couldn’t do the same. (By the way, we never wanted kids and later divorced.) Around the same time I heard the heart-wrenching story of a long-time couple, together for 30 years or so; when one died, the other had to sell the house because property taxes got re-assessed and he couldn’t afford them; if they had been married, there would have been no re-assessment.

    I hadn’t given it a lot of thought before that, but as soon as I did, I realized how unfair it was that same-sex couples couldn’t marry.

    The discussion of whether the state should give such benefits to married couples is, of course, a good one; but given our current society, damn right all couples should be able to marry, regardless of gender.

    Since then I’ve mulled such things as: If my current husband changes genders, are we still legally married? which further points out the absurdity of considering gender.

    Oh, I could go on but — YEA! it’s coming! and it’s coming soon! marriage equality! Getting rid of DOMA will help a LOT; I think prop 8 will be sent back to California, but soon we’ll have marriage equality everywhere; because it’s absurd to say that a couple who is married in New York isn’t married in Texas.

    For those who say “domestic partnership is enough” — really? Separate but equal? why bother? why not just modify the definition of marriage — a slight change — rather than setting up a whole other system of law?

  51. We are having much the same debate here in New Zealand. We already have the ability for same sex couples to have a civil union, but are now in the middle of the debate about marriage.

    Looking at the trials of medieval monarchy, the church came late to defining a marriage as a religious ceremony. Henry the 8th (I know, not medieval) would not have been able to divorce Catherine of Aragon if the church had not considered her married to his brother as soon as the legal papers (their engagement) were signed, which was before they were adult and had not yet met. Edward IV legal maneouverings around marriage led to the fall of the Plantagenets.

    Originally marriage was about a contract exchange between two families. It looks as if it is heading back that way.

  52. @Paul [of] Athens, GA: Don’t believe everything that you see on the Internet. Paul quotes and endorses a website article’s assertion that Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were the first countries to allow gay marriage, and have the worst problem with “collapse of traditional marriage”. Along with many other errors of fact and deficits of logical reasoning in the article, none of those countries was the first to allow gay marriage.

    According to many sites, the countries where same-sex marriage is legal are: the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010) and Denmark (2012).

    As you can see, one of the purported “first countries” is really the last (so far), and none of the three countries actually make the first five. These, and other fake “facts” and fallacies are available via Paul’s link. I am also skeptical of many of the “facts” presented by Kathleen of Florida.

    A great reminder to double-check the “facts” you find online — or other non-authoritative places. -rc

  53. I’ve long made the argument that governments should issue civil union contracts (or “de facto”) and stop saying they’re marrying people. When I married my wife it was the declaration before God that was important to me in terms of considering myself married. As part of the ceremony government papers are signed, which is important in terms of inheritance and so on, but those papers could be signed any time or place without need for a religious (or indeed, any) ceremony.

    I’ve received a lot of push back on this idea from both sides, although none could provide any reasons.

    In Mexico they generally have two ceremonies — the government one which provides certain legal conditions, and the religious one which covers the couple’s spiritual needs. The system hasn’t fallen apart.

    Finally, of course, there are religions, and Christian denominations, that believe in same-sex marriage. So, for the freedom of their religion….

  54. “Make it a civil contract”.

    Marriage *is* a civil contract, by *definition*.

    Proof: The State issues a marriage license, that *must* be signed by someone with a *State issued* marry/bury license. Elvis has one from the State of Nevada. Just being clergy does not do it — the person signing the State issued marriage license *must* have the State-issued right-to-marry-people license.

    (Sea Captains, as I understand — IANAL — are issued the right by laws-of-the-sea treaties, which is an interesting edge case.)

    Proof: To dissolve the marriage (divorce), a State court must issue a ruling that ends the contract. This may be pro forma, but a State Court ruling is still required.

    The State is involved all along the way, from the start to the finish. To keep it simple, if I were in the hospital and brain-dead, my wife is the one with the legal authority to make decisions for my care. Not the doctors, nurses, hospital admins, etc. The only exception is if a State court issues a ruling or appoints a specific person to make those decisions *in the place of my wife*.

    At this point, only States that allow gay marriage (not “civil unions”) will allow a legally married spouse to be able to make those decisions.

    1. The State is the one with the authority to issue and enforce the legal contract that “marries” two people.
    2. A “civil union” is not marriage if the legal contract is not the same.
    3. The reason for the Federal Govt to become involved is the recognition of the legal contract in one State to be recognized in All Other States.

    This last point is critical. The Supreme Court is really deciding if the marriage contract in one State is the same legal contract in all of the other States (i.e., Texas must recognize a California contract).

    The other thing the Supreme Court is deciding is if there is going to be a different legal State Contract between two adults of the same gender vs two of opposite genders.

    There are a number of straw arguments, mainly around fertility, number of adults, and religious “traditions”. These are silly on their face. The State does not require medical proof of fertility, or being of a particular religion, or almost anything else. The only requirements a State have are how far the people are away from each other in the family tree (which is a de facto acknowledgement of the *results* of fertility, and varies by State), and a minimum age (i.e., the ability to consent as an adult to sex and a legally binding State contract, and varies by State).

    I am told some States require the marriage to be “consummated” before the contract is valid. What kind of proof does a couple ages 85-90 years old need to produce? I know elder sex is real, but this is not the case 100% of the time….

    Traditional Judao-Christian marriage is a straw argument. The Old Testament has a few rules on marriage, including a man can have several wives. David had 800 wives and 1500 concubines (need to look up exact numbers, but that is close). A man was *required* to marry his sister-in-law if his brother died; no limit on the number of times.

    My favorite edge case is where a spouse of a two-gender marriage changes gender. *They are now a same-sex couple.* I do not know of any State (IANAL) where they are automatically forced to divorce.

    Personally, I am a straight, white, fundie Christian male. I think a lot of people who claim to be Christian worship a god who is so small they can only see him when they have their head up their … butt. I am all for gay marriage, because this is a civil rights issue. If gays are not allowed to marry, then they are not full citizens. Should they then be required to pay taxes? Should they be refused the vote?

    Also, I really don’t care if three or more adults want to legally marry. It may not be wise in many cases, but wisdom has *never* been a legal requirement to marry.

    Now, the *really interesting* question is: if corporations are people, should they be *required* to have a proper marriage license if they merge? If a corporation splits in two, must they go to a State Divorce Court? If a corporation commits a felony, who goes to jail?

    (This last is a real, serious question. So far, corporations caught committing felonies just pay fines. Under the Due Process clause, if a really rich person, like one of the Koch brothers, commits a felony like murder or tax evasion, can they just pay a fine? But this is a bit off topic.)

  55. I’d like to respond to a comment by RevRonsRants, Colorado on March 26, 2013, where he said “… we should remember that marriage was, first and foremost, a ceremony founded in religious dogma. …”

    I suggest he do some research. People have been around for many thousands of years and have had all sorts of marriage arrangements within their societies and cultures. Although the Old Testament has many references to marriage, it has no special religious ceremonial requirement. The Christian Church regarded marriage as a private and personal civil matter until the 4th century, then it took about another 1,000 years before they decided to get the church involved in all cases. This makes it clear that marriage is NOT founded in religious dogma and he is wrong with his claim that it is. The records show the Romans had laws on marriage centuries before Jesus was born.

    Back to the main issue, the current marriage laws are based on the religious teachings of the Christian Church due to the strong influence they had on the western cultures and societies when the laws were being enacted in the 1700s and since then. Thus the current laws are in defiance of the US requirement to separate church and state.

    I believe if it was regarded as a simple legal contract between the parties involved, whatever they be in gender or number, then a lot of the problem around this issue would evaporate. Make it like a prenuptial agreement, and as legally binding.

  56. Notes on several of the earlier comments.

    Marriage is defined in most states, most dictionaries, and thousands of years of common usage as being between a man and a woman. If you want some other combination, get some other word. (A horse has four legs and fur, if it has two legs and feathers, it isn’t a horse.)

    Sex is determined by the number of “X” chromosomes you have. Therefore, if you are a heterosexual couple, cutting off some body parts isn’t going to make you a homosexual couple.

    Pedophiles prey on children, homosexuals on their own sex, therefore dirty old men who prey on little boys are homosexual.

    If marriage is not between one man and one woman, and you are going to argue for homosexual marital rights, it would seem that you must argue, in the same decision, for multi-spouse equity. If I must recognize your male ‘wife’, why should you not be forced to recognize both of my female wives?

    Just a thought.

    It is my sincere wish that you and your wives have a happy life together. -rc

  57. Ernest, I suggest you broaden the scope of your research, and to observe the cultural imperatives in the societies in which marriage as we perceive it has evolved. Prior to the “sanctification” of relationships by various religions, the predominantly patriarchal structure of most cultures viewed women as property, rather than partners in the relationships. As such, women were treated as a medium of exchange, with their only “vows” having been unstated acquiescence to the norms of their culture. Sadly, such a status endures in some cultures to this day.

    The more liberal male proponents of these patriarchal cultures tended not to view their women as property, but as subservient partners. In order to maintain control over this emerging trend, the churches imposed rigid criteria upon the pairings, thus sustaining male dominance that the overwhelmingly male priest class demanded. Even the Romans acknowledged that a powerful class of priests/soothsayers was more effective at maintaining control over the populace than was constant oversight by a legion of vigilant Roman Guards. The ultimate adoption of marriage rituals by the Christian church was an extension of this trend, also implemented to maintain control.

    I believe that a religious order has the right to define (and limit) marriage within the body of its congregants, independent of legal oversight, just as the state has an obligation to recognize — in civil contracts — the rights of couples to enter into such contracts without the interference of the church.

  58. The act of applying for a marriage license is a legal statement that two individuals intend to share their lives and merge their estates. The issuance of that license is official State approval and recognition of their new social and financial status. This should be enough: they apply, the state approves, their new status becomes official.

    In my wife’s home (Turkiye), where members of the clergy (Islamic, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, whatever) are expressly excluded from performing legal marriages. If the couple desires to have a religious ceremony performed, they are free to do so but it has no legal standing until the legal process has been performed and recorded.

    All we need to do is define “couple” to simply be any two adult humans of an age to make legal commitments and this setup works for me.

  59. Back in 1964, when I was a student at Nolan Jr. High School, in Detroit, I was privileged to have a young male teacher by the name of Mr. Roach. He taught American Government or Civics, and he taught a large lesson in very few words. “Your rights end where my nose begins.” Since that time, I have applied that lesson to several areas of my life. The latest is on the issue of “Gay Marriage.” How does the marriage or union of two people affect and effect me? As it does not, my “rights” are unaffected, and therefore, I really do not have a say, nor does anyone else.

    As has been pointed out by Randy and others, “marriage” is a religious ceremony. Without the State issued license, it cannot legally take place. Let’s hope that SCOTUS tells the entire Nation that equal protection, under the law, applies to everyone, and not just those who marry the opposite sex. What a church, which is, after all, a man made object encompassing a body trying their best to understand and interpret Biblical writings, will, or will not allow and do, should be left up to them. Nothing the Baptists, Lutherans, the Roman Catholics, or any other religious body enacts should affect what a non-member does or believes.

    As the late Rodney King said, “Can’t we all just get along?”

  60. To RevRon, Colorado on April 2, 2013:

    The patriarchal view of marriage and women as property was not as common in older societies as you suggest, although some were that way. In fact it only became very predominate in Europe in the 5th and 6th centuries due to the pressure from The Holy Catholic Church at that time, which is why it became so predominate in Europe. In very ancient times the followers of the Hebrew faith were matriarchal; the women were seen as in control of the household and family, that’s why being a Hebrew by birth was based on a mother’s ancestry and not the father’s.

    Also many cultures like the American Indians were matriarchal and the men submitted to the women in all things related to the family and household — until the Christian preachers forced them into living like the European settlers. Most older or ancient cultures were matriarchal due to the simple facts of life then as the women were the ones who were around to pass on knowledge etc.

    The older Druidic and Celtic cultures had men and women as full equals until the Christian church became the predominate influence in their countries. Even the Romans had men and women as equal in most things for most of the Roman period with the women in charge of the household and the men handling politics and both handling business; It changed a lot after Christianity became the official religion.

    I believe the state and the church should be totally separated on this issue and the church only has control over their members while the state has laws for their citizens (like some European countries do) — what you call the two ceremonies or outcomes are basically irrelevant. However, I object to people who claim the church has the prior right to the term or activity of marriage because both were in general by the general public long before the church decided it needed to be involved with the situation. There is evidence that certain church officials felt a marriage involving their members should be approved of by God, but it was the middle ages before the church got busy with making that a requirement and adding the relevant ceremonies to their system.

    I think we’re in agreement that the church should have control over what constitutes a marriage as per the church rules and when such an event can be held within a church or not, and the state does the same for their laws and neither has say over the other. That way it would be perfectly OK for a church to refuse to marry a couple and the state has no say in the matter, but the church has no say in them getting married under the state’s laws away from the church.

    I did hear about a case where a same sex couple were wanting to take a church to court under discrimination laws because the local priest/reverend (can’t remember which church it was) had refused to hold the service or allow it to be held in the church. When the legal advice provided said the church was likely to lose the case due to the way the discrimination laws were written, he got further advice and then took action within the laws. Since the church is NOT public property the church can charge people for its use, so the couple were upset when informed the rental of the church would be ten thousand dollars. Since all marriage celebrants don’t have a court proven right to refuse to conduct a marriage, he resigned as an approved government marriage celebrant and thus the church in that area had no one local who could conduct a marriage according to the law. Also, he was in his right to refuse to conduct a marriage before God. So the best the couple could do then was to pay a fortune to hire the church as a hall for a civil ceremony by someone not authorised by the church. Since what they were pushing for was a church sanctioned marriage in a church, that was not possible anymore. I saw the case as a classic of too much governmental interference in people’s private lives and affairs as the church management should be able to decide what happens within the church for such matters.

  61. I knew marriage wasn’t easy. Indeed mine wasn’t (and the divorce was worse). Since then I make painstakingly sure about commitments.

    And since then I am totally awed by ANYONE wanting to make such a cooperative thing work, and actually making it work. I haven’t found anything gender specific in that. I find myself amazed and positively influenced at the energy that my (female) friend radiates who recently married her wife as much as at the comments Randy lovingly makes about his.

    Those actions seem to be a worthwhile goal to spend energy on (to do or to learn, whichever applies).

    The energy people seem to have to fervently discuss legal details, which do not seem to me to further good into this world, amazes me. Can any engineer harness that energy into something useful?

    I am not a hippy, but a thought that creeps up to me is, is “make love not words”. Or did John say something else?

  62. I would like to express one more thought to the privileged class of ‘Federally Married’. If the government is to bestow special privilege on a class of joined adults, why does it rely on them being in a sexual relationship. Why, if I am committed to living with a parent or sibling or any other adult in a long term relationship, should I not be able to enter into the same privileged relationship as two adults who sleep together. Should my partnership not be granted the same inheritance, survivor benefits, insurance, tax breaks as a relationship based on a sexual relationship?

  63. Various thoughts prompted by previous posters come to mind. (Apologies for the length, but this happens when I read lots of thoughtful comments…)

    Liz, Colorado I’m not aware of any ban on chaste (heterosexual) marriages. (Celibate marriage is an oxymoron.) My understanding is that failure to consummate can be grounds to have the marriage annulled if one party requests it, but consummation isn’t compulsory.

    Gordon, Richmond You make a very important point about marriage being a status. I think the idea that marriage is a ‘contract’ generally confuses matters. It isn’t — if it were, the parties could largely decide their own rules, whereas if they marry the codified rules apply to them regardless.

    Luka, Slovenia As Randy says, whether it’s a choice is irrelevant. Incidentally, the most pro-gay of my friends (perhaps better put as the most inclined to discuss the issues) firmly believes that it’s a choice; I believe that it’s largely innate, but that whether you act on your nature or not is something legitimately subject to regulation if that action affects society. To legalise a form of an act, however, but not legalise the privileges related to that act, is absurd.

    Roy, North Carolina Oh yes, we have the expression ‘Holy Matrimony’ already, don’t we….

    Robert, Richmond and Gordon, Lafayette It’s interesting that incestuous adult relationships are used to illustrate this point, given that natural revulsion seems generally to keep them from happening (though I’m idly curious as to why Randy ’embraces’ gay marriage but not less usual unions). (Then again, as Bandit points out, these things are sometimes checked; the important difference is the harm that fertile incestuous unions cause to the progeny). Then again, there was a case in Sheffield, Yorkshire, perhaps 20 years ago when a man married his grandmother, then told interested journalists that he didn’t think the age difference should be cause for criticism, thus completely missing the reason for their interest.

    Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years While probably true, this strikes me an inversion of the “But people have voted against it!” argument, basically synonymous with “this should be legalised because public opinion is inexorably moving in favour of it, not because it’s right.”

    Kathleen, Florida I also believe in freedom of religion without freedom from religion. That means that I believe in the right to practice, discuss and promote beliefs (or the absence of beliefs) and the behaviours based on them, without being criticised for being seen to do so or banned from doing so in certain places on the grounds simply that that they are religious. If I, within the bounds of common courtesy, encourage people to agree with me on a religious matter (which I don’t do very often because I’m averse to confrontation), they are perfectly entitled to ignore me or ask me to desist, but they shouldn’t feel entitled to criticise me for the fact that I’ve brought religion into it. Likewise, the state should allow all religions equally, without preventing religious activities (with willing participants) on its premises.

    JoAnna, NC My final point: while I’m inclined by nature to think that it’s proper for the state to get involved in marriage, given its effect on the structure of society, I have to agree that its involvement is harmful, given that it was state action that undid what I believe to be the most important feature of Christian marriage: its permanence.

    You note, “I’m idly curious as to why Randy ’embraces’ gay marriage but not less usual unions.” I had to put *some* summary title on the post. I did make it clear that I didn’t care to get between consenting adults (as it were). If your complaint is that I didn’t “embrace” them before I got out of the way, then *shrug*! -rc

  64. I would like to start with the fact that I despise politics, in all of its forms. I only get involved in the Presidential elections, but even with that, I don’t get too deep, because it gets difficult to determine where a candidate “stands” on something without getting heavily into politics, which brings me back to Doe.

    That said, I find it amusing that politicians and religious people are the most adamant about gay marriage and how gays will “break up heterosexual marriage”. Yes, because the gay recruiting campaigns are incredibly successful. Them thar gays present quite a good argument for choosing their side of things. Why, just the other day, the gays were out near Daley Plaza, handing out flyers on why they have better cookies than heterosexuals, and were quite convincing with the proof at the bake sale they were holding. They had a huge line at the “gay sign-up table” where heterosexuals could sign up to be gay.

    I remember when I got married (and yes, I am divorced), and my wife asked me about going out with some (male) friends she knew before our relationship. My response then (as it is now) was, “Why should I care who you hang out with? I know who you come home to at night.” Are people that insecure in their relationships that they feel that their spouse is going to seek out one of those 24-hour gay recruiting centres and sign up, forever renouncing their straight-ness?

    Yet, it is politicians who are usually the ones caught with their hand in the metaphorical cookie jar, admitting to affairs and mistresses. Yes, because having extra-marital affairs is something that NEVER contributes to the breakup of traditional marriage. No, of every married person I have ever spoken to, they think that going out and putting your [bleep] where it don’t belong is perfectly acceptable and strengthens your marriage. If you divorce your mate JUST because he happens to enjoy hoe-downs in the mens room or because he’s a firm believer in more people = more fun, well, you’re just a prude then! Orgies are the way to go, man! Free love, man! Like, make love, not war, dude…tune in and drop out, man….

    As far as religious people go, I consider myself to be a reasonably religious person, and I prefer my version of God to be a loving, understanding and forgiving God. The God who sent the rainbow after the flood to assure that he would never again do such a thing, and the God who sent his offspring (magically conceived or otherwise) to die in a manner about 10000000 times more painful than any other method of execution short of medieval torture (and some people think crucifixion is pretty medieval in and of itself, and if you’ve ever read the medical description of crucifixion, it ain’t a pretty way to go. I prefer to think of my God as one who walks with poor as he does with rich, the leper as he does with the well person. I prefer NOT to think of my God as a spiteful and hateful God who would tell you that only certain people are “worthy” of him, and it’s not a matter of whether you believe in God or not…no…you are only “worthy” of God’s love if you fit into a certain narrow description set by mortal humans, and not by God. So, you could be a very religious person, spend time with the sick, give to lots of charities, and be an all-around great person, but because you are homosexual, well, that just negates everything else and you’re a scum sucker who deserves to die. Since we’re making up arbitrary rules to determine who should and should not be “worthy” of God, let’s say that anyone who has more than, say, 2 or 3 consonants in a row in their name, or has some funny name with like a “z” or something, should also get over there, too, so we can mock you and tell you how “un-worthy” you are.

    It amazes me how people who claim to be very religious are so full of bigotry, hatred, and intolerance for their fellow man.

    The Marvel Comics graphic novel, “God Loves, Man Kills” shows mutants as an allegory for homosexuality, with people being killed simply because of an “accident” of birth (being born a mutant). The X-Men movie X2 was loosely based on that graphic novel. In the end, during a live telecast of the execution of Professor Xavier (and all mutants), Reverend Stryker is shot by police. One of the background characters commented, “He shot the Reverend!’, to which another officer commented, “Who was about to shoot an unarmed little girl (a juvenile member of the X-Men team). If that’s the word of God, it’s sure changed a lot since I was in Sunday School.”

    The last sentence always comes to mind to me when I encounter people who defend their hatred and intolerance using religion.

    I think you hit the nail on the head: “Are people that insecure…?” Yes. Yes they are. -rc

  65. I completely agree that the government should not be involved in religious marriage, with the condition that religious marriage should carry no civil weight whatsoever and grant no civil privileges, rights, or tax advantages. This, in fact, would be mandated by a strict interpretation of the Establishment clause. Any such civil privileges or tax advantages should be solely the privilege of recognized civil unions, in which religions in turn should have absolutely no influence or authority whatsoever.

    …Don’t like that? You think you should have special privileges because of your faith? Go live in a theocracy.

    (In case you hadn’t noticed, the United States of America is not a theocracy, and never was.)

  66. I have noticed that worldwide, the rights of an individual to do one thing or another always encroaches on the rights of another. For example one persons right to free speech can impose on another persons right to not have to put up with the speech.

    In this case I think that gay couples have the right to marriage, but churches have the right to say “Not in here”.

    What is currently called a civil union should be renamed to Marriage and that marriage should be open to any couple so that anyone can rightfully say they are married regardless of where or how they get hitched, but on the other side of the coin churches or religions should be able to deny it within thier own walls.

    I know you are speaking of law and not of religion, I am just speaking a little more broadly.

    And I’ve already agreed in the comments that this should not have anything to do with churches. We’re talking legal rights and benefits only. -rc

  67. I have gay friends and straight friends. The two get along quite fine because no one tries to convert the other.

    Now if the rest of the world could do that….

    Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? -rc

  68. One of the messiest problems I see in the controversy over gay marriage is that people are scrambling religious and secular laws. These cannot mix and do not mix nor would we want them to.

    Religious law is not binding on anyone under American jurisprudence and homosexuality is perfectly legal in the USA.

    It appears the folks who are most critical about homosexuality as being condemned in the Bible are forgetting that God is the ultimate and binding judge on all matters of human behavior. God is not sharing that prerogative either and that too is found in the Bible.

  69. “All men are created equal.” Randy, I didn’t know you were a creationist 😉
    But seriously, living in Germany, the German word they use in cases like that is Mensch which translates as humans. It would be helpful if we stopped using the word men when we mean human beings. When the constitution was written only men had constitutional rights and only *white* men. But if you owned some of these non-white men, you got 3/5 of a person more in congressional representation for each non-white person you owned. (That law is still on the books) All that to say we need to bring our interpretation of the constitution to reflect what we’ve learned over the years. These conservatives who think we should return to time of Constitutional purity are essentially saying we haven’t learned anything in the past 237 years.

    I understand that English might not be your first language (even though you write it perfectly). While the first definition of “Man” in the dictionary is in fact “An adult male human”, that is not its only sense. There is also “2. A human regardless of sex or age; a person. 3. A human or an adult male human belonging to a specific occupation, group, nationality, or other category. Often used in combination: a milkman; a congressman; a freeman. [and] 4. The human race; mankind: man’s quest for peace.” It is the sense of “humanity” that I use the word. Indeed, adult males are unequal in language: there is no specific word that reliably means “adult male” (that I can think of!) even though there is a word for adult female — woman. -rc

  70. Barbara (Idaho),

    You bring up a point that made me think a bit more…”homosexuality is perfectly legal in the USA.”

    So let’s be a politician (don’t worry, I’ll front the money for the lobotomy!) for a moment.

    Since homosexuality IS legal, maybe I’m just being an arse, but how would one make it NOT legal?

    Am I being too curious/too much of an arse/etc.?

    By the way, this is open to all…it just got me to thinking about the whole topic, and taking it a step further…everyone is so intent on banning gay marriage because the statistics prove it is the reason why the divorce rate is so high (what, you didn’t see that report??), and it got me to thinking that along with Randy’s (off-topic) blog about “online sales tax” (and the undoubtedly massive success that will end up being), I wonder if the politicians will soon attempt to find a way to ban homosexuality in and of itself, and try to “cure” it, as several religions attempt to do presently (and was also portrayed in the TV show, “The Shield”, where one of the characters was gay, but then was “cured” by his church).

    How would it be made not legal?! Just go back a few years — it was illegal in Texas until very recently. Not “being” homosexual, but “practicing” it, anyway, by outlawing sodomy (or, as California put it, “The “Infamous crime against nature.” Yeah, really.) -rc

  71. Since marriage is a *civil* contract, thus under the Constitution (ie not under whatever Church law that may exist), Christians should submit to the authority of the Constitution, and not obstruct that which falls to civil law (aside from the obvious cases where the govt starts rounding people up, because that sequence violates God’s law).

    And to be clear: If a church thinks gay marriage violates God’s law, they should not be forced to marry a gay couple. There are plenty of churches that will.

    If a Christian owns a business, he (cough*EdenFoods*cough) does NOT get to decide to ignore the law about birth control, because the law applies equally to all (except, apparently, Wall Street Bankers).

    The people on the anti-abortion side think that abortion violates God’s law. Fine. There is a process under the Constitution for changing laws. (Personally, as a Christian, their god is too small, but YMMV.)

    However, God’s law (as represented in the New Testament, does *not* permit one to kill a doctor who performs abortions, or a minister who performs gay marriages.

    I find this whole debate over gay marriage to be sad. Are gays citizens? If so, they should have the rights of straight citizens. The 14th amendment should have cleared that question up.

    Under God’s law, we are *all* sinners, and all sins are equal in God’s sight (with the exception of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, and I am not sure what that really means). If the argument is being gay is “willful sin”, then all of us willfully sin in some form — hating our neighbor, lying, lustful thoughts, etc. If we all truly loved our neighbors as ourselves, we would have a much better society. (Notice Christ did not specify any distinctions about our neighbors — be they white, black, brown, straight, gay, tall, short, etc.) Remember the parable about splinters and logs in one’s eyes…

  72. You can call it something different. You can wiggle around definitions. But in truth, it cannot be marriage unless it meets the age-old criteria of being between a man and a woman. Simple. Modern perverts (yes, they are perverts) have gotten hold of the political system and are changing all sorts of things. But nothing will ever make it right. Marriage is sacred, and I am sorry, but Homos will never have that blessing from God for this farce. These people have been hurt, abused, and led down an evil path by Hollywood and those who would destroy this sacred institution for their own gain, but they must make changes within themselves. It may take more than this life to do so, however. But we love them as children of God, but cannot condone their actions.

    You are arguing with an essay speaking to law using points from religion. It’s sad you’re not clear on the difference. Our law allows you to believe anything you wish in your religion, but you cannot force your religion upon everyone else’s laws, commonly referred to as “Sharia” law. Our country was specifically founded to avoid that, no matter what you think have been “age-old criteria”. -rc

  73. Warren: I suggest you look up following passages:

    Exodus 21:10
    2 Chronicles 24:1-3
    Deuteronomy 21:15
    1 Kings 11:3
    2 Chronicles 11:21

    Then talk about “age old definition of marriage” 😉

    Ooh, vicious! Using his own Bible against him? (“If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.” “…Jehoiada chose two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters.” “If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, [continues with 16:] when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love.” “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” and “Rehoboam loved Maakah daughter of Absalom more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.”) I’m sure Luka could have come up with many, many more. Which, of course, is the point. -rc

  74. Whatever our personal and relgious beliefs are, whatever decision is made concerning gay marriage, it’ll all come down to the law. Although our Constitution and a lot of our legislation were influential to drafting the fundamental documents, as we well know there is no religion that actually steers the American government ship so to speak. The way our system works is that judicial conclusions are based on case law, legislation and (in the case of gay marriage) how the court decides if it’s legal under the Constitution. This is not the first time we’ve seen this.

    Anyone here want to go back to slavery? That was a legal institution once upon a time. What about giving women the vote? What about civil rights? What about Prohibition, etc? The list is long and this controversy is just the latest. In every case though arguments for and against were based in various degrees on religious beliefs running the gamut between very liberal to extreme.

    We’re all wary of religious extremes gaining undue control over the conduct of our daily lives. We have to look no further than Afghanistan to see how toxic that can be and that’s far from the only example. Before that we had centuries medieval European witch hunts and the executions of heretics among other things. What about persecutions and executions of Protestants, Jews and odd little ethnic minorities. And gays. Overwhelming and numerous barbarisms based on RELIGION and RELIGIOUS LAW. Even as recently as the Nazis. Dig down through the muck and you find religious-based prejudices influencing, even driving the bus and giving us the Holocaust and a world war that wrecked and destroyed countless innocent people. That’s all part of our collective memory and it colors our legislation, enforcement and interpretation of our laws.

    For example, we’d rather a guilty man to go free than punish an innocent one. I think it’s true of much American jurisprudence in that there’s a whole lotta latitude on whatever issue and usually towards the more liberal end. Still, we have to, and we’re required by law to, divorce religion from the legislation, practice AND enforcement of our laws.

    It ultimately doesn’t matter what our opinions are be they based on the most conservative or liberal interpretations of scripture, Judeo-Christian, Muslim, Hindu or whatever religion. Some of us are into mixing our religious beliefs with our support, pro and con of gay marriage. It’s unfortunate that some can’t see the difference between belief and secular law or why it matters. Or doesn’t as the case may be. In the case of gay marriage, the questions are going to be decided on the basis of our laws and the way our courts interpret them.

    And THAT is a good thing.

  75. “For example, we’d rather a guilty man to go free than punish an innocent one. I think it’s true of much American jurisprudence in that there’s a whole lotta latitude on whatever issue and usually towards the more liberal end.”

    I realize this off the topic of Gay Marriage, but this *used* to be the case. With the drug war and private prisons, mandatory minimums, Zero Tolerance in schools, and the general destruction of the Bill of Rights, this is no longer the case.

    But — Luka — spot-on. You were first to post what I was going to.

    For the record, Christ changed the rules. Believers are not subject to the rules in the Old Testament, ie Kosher. If you look at what the rules did, they protected small tribes from a variety of dangers because the margin of survival was pretty low. Kosher prevented a number of food-borne illnesses that were the result of improper cooking. Some were pretty brutal: stoning of a rebellious child, but it saved the village — typically about 500..600 people and rarely bigger than 1000 (villages that large would split into two). Look at the rules for societies with small villages and thin margins — they have equivalent rules for the same purpose.

    But the USA is *explicitly* does not have a State Religion. Yes, there are a lot of Christians, but not a lot of agreement on specifics — just look at the number of types of Baptists! (Some of the radical ones can even shuffle their feet to music if it’s under the table!)

    Warren – I am sure some parts of your sex life would be considered perverted by others. And this applies to everybody, not just you. (I was given a “Christian sex book” by my family when I was engaged. Written by a well-known conservative preacher. The first part said anything goes between man and wife. The second part ranted against oral sex. It was a real disconnect. I kept thinking about the Robin Williams line at the end of “Good Morning Vietnam”.)

  76. Homosexuality and homosexual activity were condemned all over Europe, the Middle East, and much of the rest of the world going back thousands of years. That’s still true in many countries.

    Even here in the US until mere decades ago conviction meant prison time. Actual repeal of those laws is very recent and I wouldn’t be surprised to find them still on the books here and there. They’re just not enforced.

    BTW, going back centuries, many kinds of sex acts were illegal along with sex outside of marriage. Some were even illegal inside marriage. It seems absurd to us now but law makers felt it necessary to legislate laws against a long catalog of sexual behaviors that were considered perversions and abominations.

    I used to wonder how the law enforcers found out who was doing what with whom but now I think anyone who’s into nosing around for that kind thing was/is the pervert and not the happy couple so to speak. I’ve never been able to figure out how sex acts between consenting adults pose a threat to other individuals, society, church or state. Whose ox is being gored?

    Being opposed to homosexuality on religious grounds I can understand but I’d have to ask how it impacts anyone here on Earth. If homosexuality is a sin then it’s a matter between God and the individual. Religion is kind of a murky and complicated area but religious law is not binding outside each religion anyway.

    The state, with a few exceptions, has pretty well gotten out of the business of regulating sexual behavior. That leaves society and the individual. US society has become more tolerant and that trend continues as we observe gays are just like everyone else with the one difference. Going the one step further, I can’t see how gay marriage is going to harm anyone and it will benefit many people. Where’s the problem?

  77. Sexual orientation is not a choice, per se, but a preference. Whether you like men or women is no different than whether you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream better. Like all preferences, it is debatable whether people are “born” gay or straight or whether they acquire it later in life, or whether it’s somewhere in between. However, most evidence (as with all preferences) points to the in between. Societal pressure can influence one’s sexual orientation, just as it can influence one’s ice cream preference. People who know a lot of people who like vanilla ice cream will probably like vanilla ice cream better. People who live in a society that is accepting of homosexuality are more likely to be homosexual themselves. There are more gays and lesbians in liberal Vermont than in Alabama, and there’s a reason for that. If people who liked chocolate ice cream were similarly ostracized, tormented, and harassed, I’m sure there would be a lot fewer of them and more people would prefer vanilla.

    Finally, whether someone prefers men or women is no more important to me than which flavor ice cream they prefer. It’s a preference, and nothing more.

    When did you make the conscious choice to be straight? -rc

  78. Choice, preference, genetics, pre-determination, really what difference does it make? If I do make a preference for chocolate rather than vanilla, is it anyone else’s business? And should it be a topic for legality? Who does it HURT? And even if it does… say that someone is allergic to chocolate and could die from it, but not everyone… should it be illegal even then? How does my consumption of chocolate ice cream interfere with your enjoyment of vanilla?

  79. Love your last answer to Gregory re if being gay is a choice, when did Gregory choose to be straight?

    Assuming Gregory is straight, he can of course prove that being gay is a choice — by going out and having sex with lots of men. Let us know how that works for you, Gregory!

    (Note: I will say there are lesbians who have had sex and even married men; so it is possible to work against one’s preference…. but really, preferences are baked in. Left-handed people can learn to write with their right hand…doesn’t make them right-handed.)

  80. Oh, bollocks to the notion of hanging out with gay people will make you gay.

    I knew plenty of gays, both in and out of the military, and aside from the aforementioned gay bake sale and the table to renounce your straightness, I’m still straight.

    Yeah, the gay cookies were kinda tasty, and it was a temptation to sign up at the gay sign-up table, but the ol’ ball and chain convinced me to not “jump ship” to the “other side”.

  81. I’d like to respectfully disagree with Gregory regarding homosexuality as a preference. It’s most certainly not a choice one makes. I grew up with a homosexual uncle and his friends and some my childhood friends grew up and discovered they were gay. Several of my cousins came out when we were young adults. I have always had gay friends and the one universal statement that can be made about same sex attraction is that nobody chooses to be gay, it chooses them. It’s something everyone wrestles with and no one arrives at that conclusion without a great deal of anguished consideration. Everyone I’ve known or talked to tried living life as a straight person first.

    No one knows why or how a person is or becomes gay. Considering that about 10-15% of the population is estimated to be gay and another unknown percent is bisexual suggests it’s got a strong random as well as genetic component. Again, who really knows? To label it as a preference trivializes a difficult aspect of life.

    As for homosexuality being less common in the deep south, that’s not true either and I have that on really good authority.

  82. Hmm… I must be right handed because I only have a right hand -t born that way. Makes no difference I am left eyed, and left footed. Or that I cannot script-write at all, only print.

    I should point out this is a “because A, therefore B” logic argument fallacy.

    Also, if it is simply a preference, please tell me why gays and lesbians have “preferred” to be beaten, jailed, fired, tortured, and other severe forms of being ostracized for *centuries* instead of simply being straight? IQ has nothing to do with it (an example is Alan Turing, although there are many more examples).

  83. I agree with what Gregory in Poughkeepsie said. To all those who insist that homosexuality is 100% nature, I think you should reexamine the logic of such a position. Almost everything a human does is influenced by a wide variety of both biological and environmental factors. Intelligence, income, success, conformity to the law, health, etc; for the vast majority of people, none of these are solely dependent on genetic or environmental factors. I do not believe that sexuality is the sole exception.

    The evidence is not conclusive, and anyone who states otherwise is not backed up by the current body of scientific knowledge. The American Academy of Pediatrics states “sexual orientation probably is not determined by any one factor but by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences.” Also, the American Psychological Association states that “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.” They also note that most people don’t have a conscious sense of choosing their sexuality.

    Did I ever make the conscious decision of which gender to be attracted to? Not that I recall, and it seems that this the case for the majority of people. However, I also never made the conscious decision to like root beer. The mere fact that one does not consciously choose the gender one is attracted to does not invalidate Gregory’s argument that sexual orientation is a preference that is influenced by a wide variety of factors.

    It’s interesting to note the multiple logical fallacies posited in several recent comments.

    @ Gregory in Chicago — Anecdotal evidence does not a strong argument make.

    @ Barbara in Idaho — Appealing to authority is already weak, and then she didn’t even identify the supposed expert!

    @ Bandit in Albuquerque — In true internet form, the (anonymous) person calling out someone else for a fallacy would commit one himself. Not only that, it is the same fallacy he is pointing out! He implies that because people have chosen to be beaten, jailed, etc (i.e. “A”), this proves that people cannot choose whether to be homosexual or not (i.e. “B”). In fact, it neither proves not disproves it; otherwise, every major religion would be “proven” true because people have chosen each of those miserable consequences by standing for their beliefs. Or maybe driving drunk is not a choice, because time and time again men and women go to prison for drunk driving.

  84. @Gordon: First, I am not anonymous. Randy even has a post on me (Wow! Big Time!!)

    There is a difference between people being stupid and facing the consequences — DUI, and people being persecuted for not being “normal” in a society (either beliefs or characteristics).

    A drunk has a set of choices: get treatment or not; drink at home; drive to a bar; get driven to a bar. Only one of these is against the law.

    The question for “non-normal” people is choice or not. It is a choice to hold a belief that is “not normal” and face societal persecution. No judgement on the belief — it can be anything: Christian in Iran, Sunni in a Shiite area, etc.

    But some face persecution for physical characteristics. The “trivial” case is what happened to left-handed people for centuries. (Trivial only because they were usually not killed or had their hands chopped off.)

    But Gay people have been beaten, killed, jailed, and otherwise persecuted when they *knew* what would probably happen. The only real “choice” here was to be true to themselves — or driven to their nature. This persecution has been in place for centuries. So I don’t see being Gay as a choice. Doesn’t make sense.

  85. @Bandit – I had to look it up and re-read the story before my memory was finally jogged. I apologize for assuming you were hiding behind the mask of anonymity, though I’d say it’s an easy mistake to make: Bandit is probably even less common a name than the infamous “Santa”!

    Back on topic, I think “being gay” is a poorly defined term. I firmly believe in separating our impulses, thoughts, and desires from our actions. I’m pretty sure I never said that sexual attraction was a choice, i.e. a conscious decision, although I do reject the idea that it is entirely genetic. Engaging in homosexual activity is a choice, even if that choice is “being true” to one’s self.

    But regardless of the truthfulness of that last paragraph, my point to you still stands: Mere subjection to persecution does not stand as solid evidence that the thing one was persecuted for is right and good. Christians have persecuted and killed Jews, and Jews have persecuted and killed Christians. Obviously they can’t both be right, so at least one group was deceiving themselves and taking the persecution anyway.

    If I understand you correctly, you say that it doesn’t make sense for gays to choose their persecution (and therefore they have no choice in their homosexuality), but imply that it DOES make sense for religious folk to do so (and therefore they have a choice). (Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding.) I say that there is no obvious reason for religious persecution to make sense while homosexual persecution does not make sense, and therefore it does not provide good evidence for your position.

    I don’t believe the argument was “persecuted, therefore right.” I believe it was “persecuted is evidence that it’s not a simple lifestyle choice, since who would CHOOSE torture, condemnation, legal prosecution, prison, and death?” So THEN your last paragraph poses a pretty good question/point. -rc

  86. I think I FINALLY caught on to the distinction over “choice.” A predilection may be unavoidable but it doesn’t mean it MUST be acted upon; therefore, action is a choice. I may have a predilection to kill other humans as most humans do, but I can easily resist the urge to do so. I have no choice in my innate inclination, but I do have a choice whether to exercise it.

    In the discussion of gay marriage, I don’t think it’s relevant, though. Killing another person has been made illegal with very limited exceptions. So it’s easy to choose not to do so. Being homosexual is not illegal, though and, therefore, choosing to act upon that predilection is not illegal, either. So why should gay MARRIAGE be illegal?

    I realize there are people who believe homosexuality SHOULD be illegal, and some who believe, religiously, that it already is from a moral position. But neither of those carry the weight of law. So, I’m back to asking, WHY should it be illegal to sanctify what is already permitted anyway under secular law? You don’t want to see them in public? Too bad. Nobody wants to see me in a speedo, either, so stay away from my swimming pool.

    Homosexuality was quite illegal in most places, including the U.S. In some countries, gays can be subject to execution — still. Even where it has been made legal, there are still holdover attitudes, just as there is holdover racism. Still, your argument holds. -rc

  87. The Marine Corps was the biggest holdout when it came to accepting gays in the military. They shuffled their feet, and hemmed and hawed, and said that every single Marine in the entire Corps would simply drop arms, and immediately quit the Corps, and how no one could ever possibly accept those disgusting homo-sexuals in “THEIR” Corps, and how it was just such an awful thing, and how they would immediately begin their conversion of straight Marines everywhere to “the ghey”, and that no Marine could ever, eeeeeever share a fighting hole or tent with one of those filthy gays, and it would instantly cripple good order and discipline within the Corps.

    Then, the order came that the Marines had no choice, and the Corps’ OFDIC (That’s an acronym for Old Fuddy-Duddies In Charge) repeated their arguments, vowing how a plague of locusts would immediately descend upon the planet for this transgression.

    Of course, when gays were integrated….*SURPRISE!* No one gave a $h!t.

    To paraphrase a promo from the Road Warriors: “Gays, you don’t like ’em, we don’t care!”

    Don’t think gay marriage should be legal? Let’s ban straight marriage, or any other kind of marriage. What’s good for one has to be good for all. “All Men Are Created Equal”. Unless we want to go back to the “coloured section of the bus” and the “coloured section of the diner”, and keeping the precious little women-folk in their bare feet, cleanin’ house and makin’ babies, while the rugged men-folk go and take care of the real work.

    Don’t like gays in public? Unless they’re making out with their significant other in public, how the heck do you KNOW they’re gay?? Besides, no one’s asking you to watch ’em make out anyway.

    Don’t like ’em having sex? Well, don’t bleedin’ watch ’em!

    So terribly sorry your religion doesn’t permit it. Clearly, theirs must. People start wars because they feel their individual religious beliefs trumps everything else. People would also freely kill for what they feel their religion tells them. KISS bassist Gene Simmons once described his reaction to someone denouncing his band as saying, “I prefer not to discuss YOUR religion, I have one of my own”.

    It would be nice if just once, just one religious fanatic subscribed to a religion that practiced TOLERANCE, LOVE, PEACE, and UNDERSTANDING, but of course, that’s way too much to ask for.

  88. Gordon: I try to be explicit and not imply anything.

    Persecuting others is wrong. It does not imply the persecutors are Right.

    Being persecuted does not automatically make one Right. But if a group is otherwise leaving others alone, it does lend a strong argument that they are being wrongly persecuted.

    “I say that there is no obvious reason for religious persecution to make sense while homosexual persecution does not make sense, and therefore it does not provide good evidence for your position.”

    Persecution of religious groups is wrong. Persecution of gays is wrong. The main difference between the groups is one is based on a belief system, the other on one’s nature. It’s the difference of a group worshiping the color blue, and the other group being born green. One is a choice, one is nature.

    Now, one can make a decision to *act* contrary to one’s nature. To take the (ahem) canonical example, a Catholic priest can *act* due to *belief* to be celibate. But there is no reason to *force* celibacy on a general population.

  89. Several comments have given the impression that churches will be forced to perform gay marriages, whether they want to or not. As a Preacher’s Kid, I can tell you that the clergy can refuse to marry ANY couple. If during pre-marital counseling it becomes obvious that the couple are not suited to each other the minister can tell them NO. One of the clergy in our area has announced that he cannot in good conscience marry a gay couple, while other pastors have stated that they will do so.

    As far as whether being gay is a lifestyle choice or a biological imperative, consider that all fetuses start out female. If the baby is destined to be a boy, the ovaries drop down and become testicles, the lips of the labia join to form the scrotum, and the clitoris expands. And awful lot of things can go wrong with the wiring during that process, and no amount of therapy or treatment or whatever will change the way things are.

    I have already said repeatedly that this isn’t about forcing churches to do anything, it’s about government, and rights, benefits, and responsibilities under the law. -rc

  90. In a discussion of marriage, it really should be noted that traditional marriage is already dead and that Christianity is as responsible for its demise as any other recent social movement. The potential affects of Gay Marriage on western culture is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to the potential issues associated with the 40% of children currently being born to single parent (mostly mother) households. Essentially, you can’t change everything about society and expect nothing to change.

    In addition, I will be waiting with interest to see how the courts deal with the issue of a gay couple living together for a couple of years, unmarried, when one of the partners claims a de facto relationship and sues for future support. Will gays get included in the nightmare of being responsible for someone which they had never had a formal union or will that bit of civil law only apply to us breeders? Interesting days ahead, me thinks.

  91. To any that are terrified that ‘teh gayz’ will barge in and start demanding churches that don’t approve of homosexuality start performing gay marriages if it’s legalised in America…

    Why the bloody hell would I want to get married in a room full of bigots that have nothing kind to say about it?

    Let’s say I started a religion where being straight is a sin. Would you (non-specific ‘you’, not Randy) want to barge in there and demand to have a straight wedding in there just because heterosexual marriage is legal?

    Actually…people like that…I’m pretty sure WOULD. Most arguments against homosexuality come from a reversal of the “do unto others” principle–assume others will do unto me as I do unto them.

    What do I mean by that? Simple. Consider…

    People primarily of which orientation run camps and offer counselling sessions to convert people to their sexual orientation?

    People primarily of which orientation bully people of differing orientations?

    People primarily of which orientation regularly demand that people of differing orientations at least pretend to be their orientation while in public?

    People primarily of which orientation consider two people of their own orientation holding hands in public to be an innocent and non-sexual action, while two people of a differing orientation holding hands to be inherently sexual and lewd?

    Yeah. I think the bigot division of heterosexual people are afraid of homosexuals acting…exactly like they do.

  92. Forgive me for double posting, but I have been reading more of the comments and just had to ask the Christians that are all commenting about how it goes against ‘God’…

    What about me, then?

    I don’t believe in your imaginary friend, so why should I let “him” dictate my actions? Or can I make you obey all the rules that MY imaginary friend dictates, too? Mine is stricter than yours, mind, so I hope you don’t have too much trouble converting to organic-only veganism.

    As soon as you start obeying the rules dictated by my religion, I’ll obey the ones dictated by yours.

  93. I fully agree with you on gay marriage, but as an actuarial science major I feel compelled to point out that “most pedophiles are heterosexual” is not the same as saying “heterosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than homosexuals are.” The majority of the population is heterosexual, so it stands to reason that most pedophiles are heterosexual. I haven’t seen a statistic showing the relevant question — whether the percentage of homosexuals who are pedophiles is higher, lower, or the same as the percentage of heterosexuals who are pedophiles.

    So I just avoid that argument altogether.

    I did choose my words carefully. -rc

  94. Christian opponents of gay marriage are simply doing as Christ instructed. He told his disciples that if they find a people who will not listen to His word then they should denigrate those people and work to pass laws that rob them of their civil rights and turn them into second class citizens.

    Oh… Wait…

    Maybe I’ve misread that. Lemme look it up. Ah! Here it is! Hmmmm. Actually, it says that in such a case they should knock the dust from their sandals and walk away, leaving those people alone.

    Gosh, that really changes things. Somebody should really let these Christians know that they are specifically violating Christ’s direct command.

    Of course, being the hypocrites that they are, they still won’t change their stance. But at least they’ll be forced to admit that their argument really boils down to, “Icky yucky eeeewwwww!!!”

    And no one is demanding they participate. Easy, eh? -rc

  95. VERY good writeup and rebuttals of the various reasoning the conservative types latch on to. I had no idea it’s a bunch of false pretenses to justify their side of the argument. Thank you.

    Personally I view it as why do some have an attractive to those with blue eyes, or dark hair, or big body type, or small body type, or same gender etc.

    It all eventually gets lumped into what a person has an attraction for and makes no difference to who the person is overall.

  96. In my 13th year I figured out that I was an atheist. Not long after I realized that gay people were nothing to fear. Both viewpoints are unusual, but not unheard of for that age group. I don’t know how they came to me at that time, and I don’t necessarily think that the first ideation lead to the second. When I reflect on all of this, I ponder on what my viewpoints would have been on controversial issues in times past. I want to think I would have taken the high road every time, but so much of what of now is viewed as abhorrent was the social norm of its time.

  97. “Republicans could make the huge mistake of sticking to the 21st Century anti-miscegenation law”

    This got me confused (English is not my 1st language, sorry about that).

    I understand there are no anti-miscegenation laws in place anymore; they were ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1967 (although apparently it took Alabama until 2001 to get that cleared? WOW–in a bad sense.)

    I understand anti-miscegenation laws were mostly about race (merriam-webster was my source), this here is about gender.

    Do you mean something like “[…] sticking to the equivalent of a 21st Century anti-miscegenation law” or should I just understand it as “sticking to [outdated] anti-gay marriage law”?

    Interesting blog, keep up the good work!

    It’s simply drawing a conclusion: I’m saying this isn’t “like” or “equivalent to” an anti-miscegenation law, I’m saying it’s the 21st Century version. And sure enough, the Supreme Court agrees. -rc

  98. [ First, a note. Below I attempt to describe a rational basis for certain attitudes. I do not *hold* those attitudes; I simply believe that rational people might. ]

    If you are religious, and believe that sin imperils your immortal soul, and believe that homosexuality is a sin, and believe that homosexual urges are caused at least partially by environment, then: allowing open homosexuality risks tempting your children into sin, and so risks their immortal soul.

    The same logic applies to any number of behaviors that religions have forbidden over the years: dancing, lewd dress, drinking, extramarital sex, and so on.

    If you believe that public acceptance of these behaviors could tempt your children into immoral behavior that would endanger their immortal souls, how could you not fight tooth-and-nail against accepting them?

    [ Again, I don’t agree with the points above. I just think that rational people might. ]

    Boy… that’s a lot of “ifs” to make it to what a “rational” person might believe. I’m fine with people believing that they must avoid certain things. What I have a problem with is their trying to force ME (or anyone else they’re not responsible for) to avoid those things. What I do is not their business when it does not infringe on their rights. Period. -rc

  99. I don’t care if gays get married. I don’t care if two women marry three men. I don’t care if one woman should marry five men. I frankly don’t care if you marry your dachshund. I don’t understand why county, state, or federal government gets involved in marriage at all. I don’t understand why you have to pay a big fee and get a “license” to get married. It is not like driving a car. I believe that people who want to marry should find someone, a pastor, or a friend to officiate over the ceremony. Then, if they desire, they can sign a contract sealing their marriage. Again, if they desire, they could pay a small fee to have the contract recorded in the official records of the local government. Why should any government entity issue a license to marry?

    However, I resent the fact that two gays and the state of Washington have conspired to ruin the life of a lady who has peacefully maintained her business for many years, showing tolerance to all who have approached, just because she believes her religious scruples prevent her from taking part in what to her is a sin. I believe the primary motivation for these two is to get money from her. I will be impressed when two gays demand that a business owned by a Muslim provide them with their wedding cake or their flowers.

    Furthermore Randy, I get the impression that you are unhappy about the new Indiana law. I have read that there is a federal law that is almost identical to the new Indiana law. In addition, I have read recently that more than twenty other states have similar laws on the books. Why are you upset about Indiana’s law and not those others? The federal law was signed by that well known “arch-conservative” Bill Clinton. The Constitution does not say anything about gay marriage, or any marriage. However, it does say that we have freedom of religion. The state is violating the United States Constitution if it tells someone that they have to do something in violation of their religious principles.

    I’m with you in the first paragraph. That said, the government has set up a system that provides rights and benefits for those who have married — and then denied those rights and benefits to a class of people. That’s not “equal protection under the law,” as promised by the Constitution. We need to fix that. If it means eventually scrapping government involvement in marriage, that would probably be a good thing, but it will take a LOT of work to unravel a LOT of laws.

    I’m not familiar with the Washington state case, so I can’t answer to that. But yes, I can believe it’s possible someone is making a big deal out of something to make money in a lawsuit — it has happened before, it’ll happen again. I don’t know if that’s the case here. But what if a flower shop has “religious scruples” about serving “them colored people”? Indeed, that did happen in the 1960s, and it’s new illegal to discriminate based on race. That angered a lot of people, but that’s clearly established law now. Why is it different now?

    And third, the Indiana law is not like the law signed by Clinton 22 years ago. First, things were a lot different 22 years ago, and maybe that law needs to be revisited too. Second, unlike the federal law, the Indiana law says: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” (Emphasis added.) This takes it from government-involved cases to private cases — a restaurant can refuse to serve them colored people a gay couple, and then use the law to shield them from any resulting lawsuit — legalized discrimination. Neither the federal law, nor 18 of the other 19 state’s laws, has this language. (The 19th, Texas, from 1999, has similar language.) Gee: I wonder why that was added, if not specifically to legalize discrimination? -rc

  100. I know I’m weighing in late (I just saw the link in the latest premium True issue), but I thought this was worth sharing. I always used to wonder WHY in the world anyone cared about who anyone else married — as long as all parties are consenting adults, why should anyone care if someone marries a person of the same sex? As you and many others have pointed out, two gay people getting married has exactly zero effect on the millions of heterosexual marriages out there — hell, the divorce rate (which, incidentally, is higher in heavily-religious areas in the US) has way more of an effect on the institution of marriage today.

    Then I saw this article: http://nursingclio.org/2013/04/02/same-sex-marriage-does-threaten-traditional-marriage/

    The tl;dr version can be summed up like this: Same-sex marriage is such a threat to these people because it completely upends traditional gender roles within marriage.

    I think the author is on to something: men have been in power over pretty much everything (including women’s lives) for so long that the idea of giving any up — even if they shouldn’t have had it to begin with — is anathema to many of them. Same-sex marriage turns the notion that each gender has a place on its head, and that’s where the real threat lies, at least in their minds.

  101. Not a single argument in the article above is new. We’ve heard it all before, both here and in other places… Because it makes sense! I couldn’t say it any better than this, and I doubt many others could either.

    Unfortunately, the only people who will agree with it are the people who agreed with that position before they read it. The people who were previously against gay marriage will not be swayed by it.

    My one wish is that when intelligent arguments are made in any forum, it would be considered obvious. Alas, won’t happen, at least in my lifetime.

    I’m not quite as pessimistic as you, but you did forget the third group: the unsure/undecided. They need a place to read good arguments and points. -rc

  102. You state: “My only disappointment was that the vote at The Supremes was 5-4.”

    I am still making my way through reading the opinions, but I was struck by Justice Scalia’s remarks. I had to read them several times to be sure I got it right. It appears that he takes offense at the Supreme Court making decisions of this type, and derides the 9 lawyers. Which, incidentally, includes him. So if I take his opinion at face value, then he is saying that what he decided is irrelevant or not important… or just plain should not be listened to.

    So doesn’t that make the count 5-3 (with one senile?)

    I tried reading through the responses above, those against using the same old arguments.

    Two comments:

    Marriage has been around a lot longer than the Christian church, or even Judaism. It has always been a form of contract between two people, although often it was more about property than love. Maybe to appease those who have a problem with what it is called we should call marriages something else. Like Marriage and Religious Union. One for the legal aspect, the other for those who insist upon religion.

    Biblically speaking, the Bible doesn’t really mention homosexuality in it. It is the interpretations of the text which have put that word in there. And yes, I have studied the Bible. And will continue to do so.

    I’m also a minister, who has yet to find anything that negates “Love thy neighbor” in that book, unless the reader wishes to find it there. Also your inference appears correct, homosexuality must not be too bad since it isn’t among the 10 Commandments.

    You’re not the first minister who has suggested that churches get out of the marriage business. You’ll find that interesting reading on this page. -rc


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