My argument against Proposition 8

Politics is something that I normally don’t cover on my blog, but not for any particularly reason. I typically get more [publicly] worked up about technology and the economics and politics of technological development than I do about directly human-facing issues, but that’s not because I’ve ever lost sight of the fact that ultimately all this technology is intended to serve people, or that there are more important, and more visceral, issues that could be tackled for greater, or longer lasting effect. It’s just that I haven’t really felt like I had an articulate contribution to make.

Perhaps until now.

If you’re not interested in political discourse, that’s of course your prerogative and you certainly can skip this post. Personally, however, I’ve become increasingly interested in what’s going on in this country (my country), and increasingly enamored of political dialogue (however bereft of content as it sometimes is) as well as our representative democracy — an imperfect system to be sure, but one that at least, by and large, affords its constituents a voice in matters local, state and federal. And personal.

Here in California, we have a cagey system of democracy where voters are provided the opportunity to consider multiple arguments for and against several propositions presented on a ballot to determine numerous policies at both the state and local level. I voted absentee yesterday (as I’ll be traveling to Oceania later this week) and along with the ballot for the presidential election, there were two accompanying ballots, one for the state and one for the city of San Francisco, where I am a resident.

On the state ballot is Proposition 8, effectively an amendment to the California state constitution that would ban gay marriage by defining it strictly as a union of a heterosexual couple: one man, one woman.

I voted against this proposition. And I’ll tell you why.

Voting no Proposition 8

Back in the day…

When I was a senior in high school (in conservative “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire), I supported an initiative to create a gay-straight student alliance, or GSA. At the time, I was on the staff of the newspaper and was more informed of the various controversies affecting my classmates, but I’ll admit, I was also pretty ignorant of other “lifestyles”. Still, if my parents taught me anything, tolerance and self-respect were a few of the more subtle lessons that must have stuck, which led me to support the effort.

As I had done for many of the school’s student clubs, I created a homepage with information on the GSA initiative and hosted it on my own website. I had also single-handed built my high school’s website (even though I couldn’t get any educator besides the dorky librarian to care) and inserted a banner ad into the site’s rotating pool of four or five ads promoting the other school club sites that I’d designed.

The ad for the GSA, which didn’t say much more than “Find out more” with a link off-site, was in rotation for several weeks when I was called down to the principal’s office to explain why I was announcing school policy without authorization. So it goes in the petri-dish of adolescent high school politics and unbalanced power relationships.

Rather than use this as an educational opportunity, the principal, who later became mayor of the city, decided instead to use this situation as a reeducational opportunity and externally suspended me for six days, meaning I wouldn’t be able to graduate.

I’ll cut to the chase in a moment, but in response, I took down the GSA ad — as well as the entire high school’s site (I was hosting that on my own server too — back in 1999 schools didn’t know what a “web server” was). I vowed that I wouldn’t turn over the site files until they’d written up rules governing what students were and weren’t allowed to post to the school’s site; meanwhile my mom threatened to sue the school.

My infraction was small beans (and eventually overturned) compared with the lawsuit that GLAD and the ACLU filed against the school district barring discrimination against school clubs. By the time the lawsuit was decided in favor of the students, I had graduated and moved off to Pittsburgh, but the experience, and impression that it left on me, has resonated since.

…history repeating

None of these contested issues really consume you until you’re personally affected, as I was in high school, and today I feel equally affected by this proposition, but more capable of doing something about it.

The arguments for and against are fairly straight forward, but for me it comes down to two things:

  • First, I don’t believe that laws should codify discrimination. Our history as a nation has been blighted by both gender and racial discrimination, and now we’re facing discrimination against the makeup of certain families — specifically those of same-sex couples. Good law should strive to be non-ideological; discrimination is nearly always ideologically driven.
  • Second, if marriage as an institution stems from a religious foundation, but is represented in law, by the principle of the separation of church and state and presuming the importance of tolerance to culture, we should cleft out the religious underpinnings of marriage from law and return it to the domain of the church, especially if the church mandates that the definition of marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. The state should therefore only be in the business of recognizing in law civil unions, or the lawful coming together of two people in union. Marriage itself would be a separate religious institution, having no basis in civil law.

In other words, should marriage persist in law, then it should not be discriminatory against same-sex couples. If marriage must only be for heterosexual couples, then it should be removed from the state constitution and replaced with civil unions, which would be available to any two willing citizens.

The examples that have informed my thinking on this come from real people — friends whom I’ve now known for some time, and who I could not imagine being legally separated from their partners because of religious zealotry and illogical reasoning.

Hillary and AnnaThe first is Hillary Hartley, a good friend and fellow coworker at Citizen Space, who has been with her partner for eight years, having known her for 15. They were recently (finally!) able to get married in California, but the vote on November 4 threatens to annul their marriage. Think about that: the potential of this decision could dissolve the legal recognition of a perfectly happy, stable and loving relationship. I can’t even imagine what that must feel like, and because I am a heterosexual male, I never will. And that’s completely unjust.

marnieMarnie Webb is a also good friend of mine, who has been active in the non-profit technology space for years, and who I met through Compumentor, NetSquared and TechSoup (she’s co-CEO of TechSoup). Marnie faces the same fate as Hillary, but in her case, it would mean that Marnie’s daughter, Lucy, would grow up with parents who were legally not allowed to recognize their union, nor have rights for hospital visitation among other benefits of marriage.

The low-pressure ask

So here’s what I’m asking for. I’ll give you three options.

First, THINK about this. Talk to people about it. I’m certainly not going to make up your mind for you, but if you were (or are) in a heterosexual marriage and it was threatened to be annulled by changes in law, how would you feel about it? What would you do? The problem with discrimination is that someone’s always losing out; next time it could be you.

Second, VOTE. When you see Proposition 8 on the ballot, vote your conscience, not your ideology. Belief systems are powerful and complex, but they’re not always right. And times do change. It’s counter-intuitive to me that we’ve spent seven years and untold billions fighting for “Iraqi Freedom” when in our country we’re threatening to take civil liberties away from natural-born citizens.

Third, GIVE something. Obviously the presidential campaigns have probably tapped you out, especially given the uncertainly in the market, but you can give more than just money: you can give your time, or you can give mindshare and voice to these issues by widening the conversation, retweeting this post, blogging about it, or taking a video to record your own sentiments.

If you do want to donate money, both Hillary and Marnie have set up respective donation pages. The challenge we’re facing is that proponents of Prop 8 are better-funded and are able to put more ads on TV and make more phone calls. Money in this case can be directly turned into awareness, and into action. If you’ve got $5, it can make a difference, especially now, as your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar. It’s up to you.

75 thoughts on “My argument against Proposition 8”

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful blog post, Chris. I just got married this week after 16 yrs. together (I’m straight), and my husband and I were very touched by the gay and lesbian couples marrying the same day (we had a civil ceremony). We congratulated them, and it was obvious there was no difference between their marriages and ours, in terms of their love and devotion for each other. I have other gay and lesbian friends, and I hope and pray their marriages are not voided. Gay marriage is in no way a threat to “the institution of marriage”—as a married straight person, I see and feel no threat at all. Vote No on 8, please!

  2. Chris,

    thanks for this great-written post. While I was on holiday in San Francisco last month, I did – as you write here – what I could. As a foreign citizen I am, as far as I know, not able to legally donate money to PACs or candidates. As you write, there’s lot’s of other ways to support though. I went phonebanking in the DNC/Obama office (on Market street, between 5th and 6th), and had a great time.

    So, if you’re reading this and have some free time between now and Nov 4th, why not donate some time to the campaign? Believe me, it’s well worth it.

  3. Damn straight Chris. I’m in a similar place as you: traditionally not a political buff, but increasingly becoming so. No on 8.

  4. Thanks so much for your blog. It’s amazing to me how the Yes campaign has magically spun it so you can vote to add discrimination into the Constitution, but still “have gay friends” and “be completely tolerant.”. Their ads are a joke which is, unfortunately, working. A true friend knows that seperate is not equal.

    I’ve been phonebanking all weekend and have committed every night after work until Prop 8 fails. Latest polling is saying it could come down to 100 votes, so please please tell all your friends, family, and neighbors how Prop 8 must fail.

  5. “If marriage must only be for heterosexual couples, then it should be removed from the state constitution and replaced with civil unions, which would be available to any two willing citizens.”

    And what would be the purpose of these ‘civil unions’? I definitely agree that marriage has nothing to do with governments or politics and no government ever really has or will define or sanction any kind of marriage (as much as they may think they do). When polygamist friends of mine move to the west, they don’t cease to by polygamist… they just don’t “register” their marriages with the government.

    What purpose does having the government recognize any unions serve? And why should any such thing be confined to “two people”.

  6. @SPW: The purpose of civil unions, as recognized by law, would be to convey various rights and benefits typically reserved for kin. In essence, a civil union is a legal way of annexing one’s family to another’s.

    At its foundation, I think there is a structural foundation in a union of two, and that such unions can help create stability in civilization.

    It’s certainly a logical question to ask “Well, if a union of two is permissible, why not three, four, or more? Why not with animals? Where do you draw the line?!” And the answer is that you draw the line at two, for several reasons, least among them might be clarity and efficiency. Given that civil unions confer rights like hospital visitation and legal representation, it would become a whole lot more complicated if you had multiple parties showing up to advocate on your behalf, making disparate demands. It also seems that if you allow for civil unions between several individuals, the potential for abusing the system becomes greater.

    I’m open to a conversation about this, but as it is, I feel pretty strongly that, though polygamy certainly exists, I’m not yet convinced of its ability to act as a stabilizing force within civilization.

  7. @Chris. Thanks for the clarity about civil unions. I’m not 100% sure that’s the right way to solve that problem, but I understand where you’re coming from there for sure.

    On polygamy, basically you’re saying it makes the legal structures that civil unions are designed to create too complicated to be practical? Would you suggest polygamists only register one of their unions, or none at all, or what?

    The “why not with animals” did come to mind : but your definition of why civil unions are useful makes it clear why that is not relevant.

  8. Chris,

    It’s on the ballot here in FL right now also. I’ve been a little surprised by the amount of yard signs I’ve seen in support of it. The odd thing is, it’s already illegal here.

    I think you nailed it on the civil union front. Maybe it’s the IA in me. A marriage is a civil union, but I’m okay with a civil union not being a marriage, provided ‘marriage’ is, as proponents suggest, a ‘religious institution.’ If that is truly the case, then let’s separate it out. That’s just an issue of semantics / terminology. The real issue seems to me to be that of benefits, hospital visitations and other things commonly afforded to hetero partnerships. It’s the partnering that I think we should be encouraging (for reasons that you mentioned). I often think of all the unwanted children stuck in foster care and wonder how on earth someone couldn’t want them to have a home with parents that are willing to teach/care/look out for them.

    Anyhow.. It’s just a shame that with all the issues we need to address, this one constantly seems to make it to the forefront.

  9. Well written, logical, and persuasive. Too bad that just won’t matter to some people.

    (By the way, tried to use OpenID and just got a blank page on returning from ClaimID.)

  10. Chris, I’ve read through your posts and the subsequent comments and I feel I need to present a contrary position.

    On your comment, “I don’t believe that laws should codify discrimination”, there is some clarification necessary here. Laws indeed do need to “discriminate” between activity that is acceptable and activity that is criminal. That is not to say that I am calling the sexual preferences in question “criminal”. However, according to your statement, “If marriage must only be for heterosexual couples, then it should be removed from the state constitution and replaced with civil unions, which would be available to any two willing citizens”, what about a situation where one citizen is an adult and one person is a child (let’s say younger than 10 years old)? Shouldn’t laws prevent such a “union” (even if the child is “willing”)? The fact of the matter is that morality is intrinsic to laws, whether it is called “religion” or not. Our laws are based on standards of treating people and recognizing people certain ways that tie back to a basic understanding of right and wrong.

    Here is another important point. Something is not “discriminatory” for two different people unless the circumstances for the two situations are the same but one of the persons is being treated differently. As an example: Man A has always had the right to marry the woman of his choice (within certain limitations of the laws). Man B has always had the exact same right to marry the woman of his choice. It is not discriminatory to say that Man B does not have the right to marry a man of his choice when Man A does not have that right, either.

    I heard a “No on 8” commercial driving to work this morning that said, “Proposition 8 has nothing to do with education and nothing to do with children”. I believe that statement is very incorrect. Proposition 8 has everything to do with education and with children. The idea behind marriage is to facilitate a structure that provides an ideal support system for families and for children. Children require a mother and a father – both literally (to exist in the first place) and emotionally (to flourish). Unfortunately, this fact is being de-emphasized more and more as time goes on, and redefining marriage is only making things worse. Regarding the issue of “education” – the position from the “No on 8” side is that the homosexual lifestyle should be accepted and promoted as an equal alternative to a heterosexual lifestyle. The desire is clearly to educate the public (including children).

    Regarding the person who questions why there is an attempt in Florida to pass a similar law, here is the reason: it is to pre-empt future problems and struggles that have been seen in CA, MA, and CT. These are three states where, like FL is now, such marriages were not allowed until some mark of the pen changed things without regard to the will of the people. “Yes on 8” immediately lost significant ground when the CA Attorney General changed the wording of the measure from, “California Marriage Protection Act” to “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry”. The first title was a positively-stated objective intended to protect the institution of marriage to what is has been for millennia, but the second title is phrased to appear that someone wants to eliminate some pre-existing rights of people. By states like FL taking pre-emptive measures, they can avoid unfortunate manipulation such as what happened in CA.

    Regarding your comments about some people that you know who have had long-term partners, I can sympathize with some of what you are saying. However, having certain sexual preferences, living with someone, or preferring to be near people of the same gender does not necessarily equate to initiating a familial relationship. I have both men and woman that I love dearly. That does not mean I want or need to have sex with them. I can envision being “housemates” with either men or women, but as I mentioned, children need parents for their ideal support system. “Marriage” is not about “sexual preference” – it is about families.

    Unfortunately, politics and policies indeed do drive acceptance and permissiveness. Such has been the case with many other hot social-political topics of the last 100 years. We can’t afford to continue de-emphasize the importance of the family in society.

    I’m voting Yes on 8.

  11. Chris, first I do want to commend you and thank you so very much. You’ll never have any idea how much this means to all of us- to have allies like you who understand and support. We make up 10% (they say) and without people like you we would forever be oppressed or pushed to the side and DISCRIMINATED against. Again, we appreciate you and all who make themselves aware.

    The rest of this post will be directed toward S. Marsh and everyone else who shares his point of view. When you said “laws indeed do need to ‘discriminate’ between activity that is acceptable and activity that is criminal” you were referring to a different definition of discriminate than Chris. You meant “discern difference” and Chris meant “treat group unfairly because of prejudice.” Should laws codify unfair treatment of a group because of prejudice as Chris proposed? Of course not Marsh. The way you subtly equate being gay to criminal is pretty sneaky- but mostly laughable. You mock Chris’s suggestion that civil unions be available to any two willing citizens by extending that right to an adult and a child. What?! Pedophiles come in all shapes, sizes, and even orientation. However, it’s quite erroneous and extremely offensive to directly imply that all gay people are pedophiles.

    I’m not even going to break down your Man A/Man B paragraph that “explains” why prop. 8 is not discriminatory. It makes no sense.

    Regarding your education and children paragraph you say, “Children require a mother and a father…(to exist in the first place)…” Spare us. We all know where babies come from. Your statement is simply not true. All a child requires is love. They need to be fed, changed, comforted, and supported. Single mothers, single fathers, a household with two fathers, or a household with two mothers are all capable. Another point to ponder (though you probably won’t) is that same-sex couples will never procreate by accident. Their child will be a child that was wanted and planned for way in advance. They will have gone through a long and often discouraging process of adoption or surrogacy. Of course, I’m not saying that boys and girls ever get pregnant by accident…

    Oh, oddly I do completely agree with your last statement in that paragraph in which you say, “the position from the ‘No on 8’ side is that the homosexual lifestyle should be accepted and promoted as an equal alternative to a heterosexual lifestyle. The desire is clearly to educate the public (including children)” Yeah. It should. They should be taught that sometimes boys like other boys and sometimes girls like girls and that’s okay. Marsh you may have a gay child and it’s not your fault. Don’t worry. It’s only people like you they’ll have to fear.

    You say that the title “Marriage Protection Act” is a positively-stated objective to protect what we’ve known for millennia. I’ll address the necessity of CHANGE or progress in my conclusion. You say the title “Elimination of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples” sounds like someone is trying to take away our pre-existing rights. You are!! Right now we ARE able to get married in California. You are taking away our right.

    You say, “I have both men and women that I love dearly. That does not mean I want or need to have sex with them.” You’re unaware but being gay doesn’t mean sex fiend. The fact that your mind goes there feeds my homophobia and latent desires theory but I digress…

    So let me break it down to you. People can’t change their orientation. Just as a person can’t change the color of skin they were born with or if they are right handed or left handed. It is not a choice. You don’t believe me. You can’t. Assume we can’t do anything about it. Should we be denied anything because of difference to the majority? Revolutions occur throughout civilizations as they should. Women shouldn’t vote, right? Black people should have separate facilities, right? We don’t need to go to school with those people, right? You must believe in progress, right? Whether it’s on November 4th, 2008 or a future election I believe the revolution will happen. It may not be in your lifetime but your children will see that day. I hope progress never ends and so should you. Just know that you’re wrong. Accept it. I’m voting No on 8.

  12. Chris… thanks.

    The following was written before I read Jimmy’s response… I think he probably says it better.. but here is mine anyways =)

    S. Marsh “The first title was a positively-stated objective intended to protect the institution of marriage to what is has been for millennia, but the second title is phrased to appear that someone wants to eliminate some pre-existing rights of people.”

    Uh.. no. At this time, Marriage is a right of basically any two people. Prop 8 DOES eliminate that right.

    What I think needs to be said is that if prop 8 passes a Male/Female couple has rights that should be available to a Same Sex couple but they are not.

    Yes On 8 would deny rights that should be available to all couples.

    It isn’t about the “Marriage” it is about the rights and the Government decided at one point to use it to determine what rights various people had.

    If Yes on 8 passes, a M/F couple have different tax and legal benefits.

    Everyone I talk to on the “Yes on 8″ side are basically pushing the FUD factor. (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.)

    I understand that you are scared of change (heck, I am scared about Sarah Palin, myself.) But that doesn’t mean I am going to make an amendment so only Males can be President.

    In discussing this with the oldest of my 3 kids (yes 3 kids) she cannot understand why someone would want to discriminate.

    She believes that “Marriage” is between two people, not between two people and the Government.. but she also knows that M/F couples are given different rights than a “civil union” or same sex couples at this point. Because of this, she believes that Marriage should be available to M/M, M/F and F/F, as we are all humans that should be treated equally and with respect. One of her heroes is Martin Luther King. She feels like I do, that the constitution is to give rights, not take them away. (btw, she is 12 and has a firm grasp of God and religion.)

    “A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do noting at all to protect traditional marriage” – Coretta Scott King

  13. Jimmy,

    I most certainly did not intend to equate being gay to being criminal. That is why I specifically followed my comment with a clarification. Neither did I imply anywhere that “all gay people are pedophiles”; nor did I even as much as imply that “any gay people are pedophiles”. Please re-read my post and see. I agree with you that it would be, “quite erroneous and extremely offensive to directly imply that all gay people are pedophiles”. My point was merely that allowing civil unions to be between any “willing citizens” as Chris suggested is not a good idea because of implications regarding children. If he would have said, “willing adults” instead of “willing citizens”, then I think I could buy into that (for civil unions, providing the same benefits as marriage). I’m just saying that open-ended laws tend to be taken advantage of, and restrictions are necessary.

    Regarding my Man A/B paragraph, it wasn’t related to Prop. 8. It was more describing the situation prior to the 4/3 State Supreme Court ruling. Prior to that ruling, a homosexual person and a heterosexual person both could marry someone of the opposite sex, and both could not marry someone of the same sex.

    You may be surprised, but I also agree with what you said about children and what they need. Beyond the obvious (of how babies happen), I was merely saying what countless studies have shown – that the best (ideal) opportunity for children to flourish is when they have a stable home life with a mother and father. There are plenty of people out there, whether single, heterosexual, or homosexual, that are great parents, and there are plenty of examples of children flourishing in alternate situations. I am glad that is the case.

    There is nothing wrong with the situation where “boys like boys” and “girls like girls” like you mention. That happens naturally, and is even predominately the situation for a large number of formative childhood years. That is not the problem. The problem is when someone tries to “educate” these children to think that it is “okay” for boys to prefer sexual relations with other boys, at a time when they are not mature enough to even understand the implications of adults having sexual relations.

    For your information, I do not have a gay child. I’m not sure what that guess/point was intended to imply. There are plenty of people (whether they have a gay child or not) that would like the definition of Marriage to be what it has been for millennia.

    My original point about the Proposition 8 title changes is that in FL (or another pre-emptive state), such a title switcharoo couldn’t happen like it did in CA. So, the point was that there are valid reasons for such an attempt to be made in FL.

    Regarding your statement, “You’re unaware but being gay doesn’t mean sex fiend” – that’s about the third or fourth time that you have over-generalized and attributed something to me that I didn’t say (or believe). I am well aware that being “gay” does not equate to “being a sex fiend”. However, since I am capable (and I assume you are, too) of loving both men and women, then the distinction indeed relates to who we “want to have sex with”, doesn’t it. That was my point. If we take that point back to the issue of children, then how can we actually know whether a child who has never had sexual relations is homosexual or not? It is not just a matter of a male being effeminate or a female being masculine. There is more to it than that, obviously (and don’t misunderstand my previous statement as implying that “all gay males are effeminate” or “all gay females are masculine”, because I am well aware that this is not the case). The “more to it” simply relates, again, to who we prefer to have as a sexual partner.

    I agree with everything that you said in your last paragraph starting with “Revolutions occur” (except for the binary statement about being wrong), so in that spirit of agreement I’ll sign off. Hopefully you understand me better now, too. Thanks for your comments.

  14. Correta, if you want to talk about FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), then I think your post is more about that approach than is valid, because under California law, “domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits …” as married spouses. (Family Code § 297.5.) Proposition 8 does not attempt to change this.

    Here is the actual verbose Family Code section, if you are interested:
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fam&group=00001-01000&file=297-297.5

    Thanks for expressing your concerns. Hopefully, this Family Code can help to alleviate your concerns. I’m glad you mentioned these because I think it is a common misconception that the benefits that you mention as being in jeopardy are not actually in jeopardy. I, for one, want to see that those rights are protected for everyone.

  15. “Good law should strive to be non-ideological; discrimination is nearly always ideologically driven.”

    All law is ideological, because it represents conforming what is permitted to what the person or people proposing the law think should be permitted, and what they think should be permitted is governed by their opinions, beliefs and ideology. For example, “Men and women are equal in every possible sense of the word” is an ideology, and a fairly undiscerning one at that.

    Anyone who proposes law and yet tells you different just hasn’t recognised their own ideology; for them, ideology is something that other people have. It’s one of those irregular verbs: I have a well-considered worldview which informs my decisions, you/he is driven by an ideology.

    On a similar point (and one made by other commenters), all law is discriminatory. The law against murder discriminates against those who would really like to get rid of their annoying neighbour. Saying “the law is discriminatory” is not an argument in and of itself. You have to say why such discrimination is wrong – and that goes back to your worldview and the basis on which you make decisions.

    So how do we make decisions? Without a belief in a moral lawgiver, all law is either entirely arbitrary or pragmatic (“whatever works”).

    [Sidenote: One upshot of this is that you have no grounds for saying that others _should_ agree with you – if you assert that everyone gets to make their own decision, you lose the right to make moral imperatives. What works for you may not work for them, and they have just as much right to decide as you do.]

    This pragmatism comes out when you (Chris) try and answer the question “so why not polygamy? or marriage with children?”. Your only ground to discriminate between the situations is pragmatics, and so you deny those unions on the grounds of “clarity and efficiency” and because it would get “complicated”. Yet you would be up in arms if people tried to deny homosexual marriages on those same grounds. So why do you draw the line where you draw it? Jimmy Cabrera gets very upset at the very suggestion that legalising homosexual marriage leads to legalizing adult-child marriage – but indignation is not an argument. On what basis do you draw a line between the two? Consent? What if the child consents? Do you withdraw from them the right to give such consent? Why?

    That’s probably enough to be going on with – I won’t get into (relating to your second point) how the original provisions in the constitution about how there should be no official state (“established”) religion, as there was in England, have been distorted out of all proportion to squeeze out a principle of “the state and its officers should have nothing to do with anything vaguely connected to God”. Perhaps for another time :-)

  16. The constant equivocation on the meaning of “discriminate” by the people arguing in support of 8 is driving me crazy.

  17. By the way: “What if the child consents? Do you withdraw from them the right to give such consent? Why?”

    Yes, obviously we withdraw that right, for essentially the same reason that statutory rape is a crime.

  18. valrus: are you saying the child has no right to consent? (If that’s not what you are saying, you need to explain further.) Upon what grounds do you discriminate against such a child by withdrawing from them that right? The grounds that you claim to know better what is right than the child?

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue “all discrimination is wrong, except for the discrimination I think is appropriate”.

  19. I would be VERY careful about changing our state’s Constitution! Remember who’s behind proposition 8. The wording of this ammendment is unusual, as this ministry points out..

    How many hours have been spent in courtrooms arguing over commas in the 2nd ammendment? Let’s leave our state constitution alone!

  20. Cain Hamm, your post and the ridiculous http://www.ravagedfaces.com website you tried to link is preposterous. Some “ministry” they are. The phrase “a man” and “a woman” clearly imply “one man” and “one woman”. Additionally, similar propositions with similar backing and support are even worded more incontrovertibly (although less simply). To illustrate the point: Arizona’s Proposition 102 states, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”; and Florida’s Amendment 2 states, “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.” So much for your silly propoganda. I don’t think that will fool many people as almost anyone can refute that argument with about 2 minutes of research like I did. It looks like you are picking up on the FUD factor (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).

  21. S. Marsh,

    I would suggest looking into the full set of laws regarding Domestic Partnerships/Unions and Marriage in the state of California.

    There are limitations and other issues with domestic partnerships that are not hovering over being Married.

    There are requirements for domestic partners that are not the same as for Marriage.

    Unless the State gets out of the marriage business, Prop. 8 does discriminate.

    Proposition 8 will NOT protect traditional marriage.

    and yes, I would like the state to get out of marriage but that would require changing a ton of laws =/

  22. I’m currently doing an essay for prop. 8 for my hist class and so far all I’m seeing is just opionated stuff, nothing concrete to base my persuasive essay on.

    Anyway, I’m too retarded to write such long paragraphs as you guys so I’ll just get to the point: do the right thing with Yes on Prop. 8 Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I know I’m writing gayly but this world has been too pessimistic lately so I encourage everyone to keep up your efforts to live. God bless you all.

    Oh well, I still have to think of some reasons for my thesis to support Prop 8, and I probably will never visit this page again so I would rather try a happy kamikaze approach to lift people’s spirits up than compared to a pessimistic comment. XDDDDDDDDDD

  23. I do not hate anyone from the gay community and I am voting “yes” on prop 8. It’s obvious to me from various articles and statements I have read that there are those who don’t think it is possible to put these two assertions in the same sentence. But I am writing this to let people know that there are many, many people who are voting “yes” on 8 and are not doing so out of hate. I am not motivated by hate. The reason I go out and encourage people to vote “yes” and have a “yes” sign in my yard is motivated by my love for God and His laws and commandments. As a Christian, I believe with all my soul that God Himself started this institution called marriage at the beginning of time and established it as a union between a man and a woman; that’s it! No addendums, no “but maybe later”s, a union between a man and a woman. I am working to keep God’s institution the way He established it; nothing more and nothing less. http://www.whatisprop8.com

  24. Catherine,

    So you want to get the government more involved in your own religious beliefs?

    Prop. 8 is unfair and modifies the constitution to discriminate against a group of people.

    I personally believe that the government should NOT be involved in marriage and it is up to your own beliefs, however, since they are in the marriage business, it should be available to all.

    Vote NO on 8, and then work on getting the government OUT of Marriage not by discriminating against those who wish to be together.

  25. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    I like the 1st Amendment. Every part of it seems to be related to discussion of Proposition 8.

    The 1st amendment guarantees my right to an opinion. The strongest differences of opinion over issues are usually questions of deciding “greater good”.

    I am not lesbian nor gay, but if my opinion affects my neighbor, I should think about it seriously. After much thought, my view is most similar to the one articulated here:

    http://www.marriageinstitute.ca/images/somerville.pdf

    It contains non-religious(not that there’s anything wrong with that) arguments written by Margaret Somerville, an ethicist.

    I will vote Yes on Proposition 8 and if you will read and think about Ms. Somerville’s ideas, maybe you will too.

  26. If discrimination is the reason you site to vote against prop 8 then there is no logical termination to your argument. Everyone and anyone should be able to get married if you want to avoid discrimination.

    I know others argue that pluaral mariage would be hard to administer, but that is just admitting that you are okay with discrimination against those with a predisposition to love more than one person if it is too burdensome to administer their legal rights. And what about marriage between siblings? If you are for marriage between same sex couples then how can you be against marriage between brother and sister? Are you saying it is okay to discriminate if the engaged couple has a higher likelyhood to produce offspring with some type of birth defect?

    The problem I have with those against prop 8 is that they attempt to make it out to be a vote of higher tollerance. It really is not. If it were a vote of tollerance, you would be finding an argument for plural marriage or incestual marriage rather than defending why you are against it. A vote against prop 8 is just redefining who marriage will discriminate against. It is certainly not a vote against discrimination.

    I respect your sense of morality. You are entitled to it. But don’t pretend that your morality stems from a greater capacity for tollerance. It simply stems from your view on the nature of marriage.

  27. There is an excellent 7-page paper entitled, “Homosexual Marriage: A Social Science View” located here:

    http://www.narth.com/docs/CPASSAmarriage.pdf

    Some may say that this paper or the organization that posted it is biased or otherwise unfair. I would say that this organization does seem to think differently about the potential for some homosexuals than other organizations, and some of the conclusions stated in the document may differ from conclusions that other organizations could present, but many of the studies referenced in the document (that were not done by this organization) were subject to peer review and were scientifically processed. The data from these studies is revealing and disturbing, and in many cases it is not difficult to logically glean some of the same conclusions that the author proposes.

    It is worth reading the whole report, but below are just a few examples of some of the disturbing statistics included in the report.

    = = = Beginning of quotes = = =

    Page 1, last paragraph – “A grave concern for the children is the instability of same sex relationships across cultures. In one large study in America and Canada (Jay and Young, 1997), 38 percent of male homosexuals said the longest relationship they had ever had was less than one year. The average length of longest relationship and the most frequent response for the men was 2 years. The longest relationship for lesbians was on average thirty-eight months (Jay and Young, 1979, pp. 340, 302). “

    Page 2, paragraph 6 – “A San Francisco study (Bell and Weinberg, 1978) found that thirty-eight percent of white lesbians had had sex with strangers, and 63 percent had had partners with whom they had sex only once. The same study reported that among white male homosexuals studied, 75 percent had had 100 or more sexual partners, 60 percent had had 250 or more sexual partners, 43 percent had had 500 or more sexual partners, and 28 percent, the largest subcategory, reported over 1,000 sexual partners (p. 308). Ninety-nine percent of white male homosexuals reported they had had sex with strangers, 79 percent reported over half their partners were strangers, and 70 percent said over half their partners were men with whom they had sex only once (pp. 308-309).”

    Page 3, paragraphs 2-5:

    “If homosexual relationships are fulfilling, why are there so many changes in partners? People who are at peace with themselves do not seek random sex with strangers….

    A study of American and Canadian homosexuals (Jay and Young, 1979) found that 38 percent of lesbians had participated in “threesomes” at least once and 16 percent of lesbians had taken part in orgies or had group sex (p. 534). Among the male homosexuals, 77 percent had participated in “threesomes” at least once (p. 587), 59 percent had taken part in orgies or had group sex (p. 587), 38 percent had taken part in sadomasochism at least once (p. 555), 23 percent had practiced urination in association with sex (p. 555), 24 percent had paid for sex (p. 260), and 13 percent admitted to having practiced bestiality (p. 555). The San Francisco male homosexual study reported 27 percent had paid for sex, and 25 percent had been paid for sex (p. 311).

    There have long been rumors of pedophilia (adults having sex with pre-pubescent children) and hebephilia (adults having sex with post-pubescent children) by homosexuals. The San Francisco study reported 25 percent of the white male homosexuals in their sample admitted they had had sex with partners who were 16 or younger when the respondent was 21 or older (p. 311). This is criminal behavior in California. In a study of American and Canadian homosexuals, 23 percent of respondents admitted to having had sex with youths between the ages of 13 and 15, again a practice that in California is criminal, and 19 percent felt positive about sexual activity with this age group (p. 275-276). Interestingly, 50 percent of the male respondents had their first sex when aged 15 or younger (p. 107), and 20 percent of the females did also (p. 52). Many of the males experienced negative feelings about their first sexual encounter that became more positive later (p. 107).

    Not all homosexuals engage in these practices. Some homosexuals condemn these practices, but many, including some gay activist leaders, openly praise them. It should be of huge concern that the stated goal of gay activists is to have the gay lifestyle brought fully into the mainstream of society and everyday living, and homosexual marriage does that.”

    Page 4, paragraph 1 – “Gay researchers (McWhierter and Mattison, 1984) studied 156 homosexual male couples that had been together between one and thirty-seven years. They found that one hundred per cent of the couples had infidelity within the first five years.”

    = = = End of Quotes = = =

    When “Ninety-nine percent of white male homosexuals reported they had had sex with strangers” and when 156 out of 156 homosexual male couples that had been together between one and thirty-seven years had infidelity within the first five years, it sure seems to me that this is not the place for “marriage”, would be detrimental to the term “marriage”, and is not an ideal environment in which to place children.

    After studying this issue and weighing any positives or negatives, I will be voting “Yes on 8” tomorrow. I hope you will likewise give this issue proper consideration.

    Thank you.

  28. there is very deep issue here at hand in terms of marriage. This problem will in no way be solved in this election. The door for conflict has been blown wide open, and the issue will go on to weig more important things in our country.

    We must truly look at the responsibilities of the state, and its need to promote the well being of it’s systems ability to provide freedoms and liberties for its constituents and to avoid creating inconsistencies for them that leads to moral dilemnas.

    If we are to be true liberterians, and propose a state of anarchy, we must therefore not ask the state to consider our contracts, agreements, rhetoric etc. in its decision making process. For example, absolutely free trade and economy. However, because we request help (Welfare, police, defence, social security), recognition (race, profession, sexual orientation, business, sexual orientation, single or married), and action (money, punishments, reimbursements, domicile, visitation rights) from the system, and beg often for its interference for its constituents, we therefore grant it a power. And this is it: discernment.

    It must have the power to categorize. Who is poor, guilty, friend, enemy, retirement aged, hispanic, white, black, architect, school teacher, lawyer, president, soldier, pilot, gay, straight, neither, both, single, married, owed to, owes, guilty, not guilty, afflicted, afflicting, is in georgia, is in texas, is in california, related, unrelated, etc. This is key to our system of law. We give it this power because of the complexity it has due to our requests of it. No one is exempt in this request by virtue of living here. Therefore, we cannot claim infinite equality from the law.

    This is fine. It’s ok. Anyone against it or that says it is not true is simply not looking hard enough.

    Proposition 8, and anyone who comes against it, are fighting over a power of discernment of the law, and that is the relational status that the law categorizes two people as “marriage”. The category has already existed for a long time, and the law has helped, recognized, and acted on this category. And therefore it has interfered. Once again this is ok. Because we expect this of the government. And if we do not consider this fair, than that person does not belong here, and probably not in any other government.

    They are absolute anarchists.

    Now, this is the danger that our modern day is putting before our government: regulating on popular basis what the different categories are, and furthermore, what their individual responsibilities, benefits, demerits, restrictions and other qualities are.

    So, the marriage contract, homosexual relationships, heterosexual relationships, polygamist relationships, incest relationships, and others are all recognized by the law and assigned a status, legal or illegal. This too is ok. They are each individual categories. However, the marriage contract is a far more formal category.

    Now, this is the problem of not supporting a measure such as prop 8. You force the law to take two VERY different relationships, with very REAL differences, make it dishonor those differences, and force them into a category that will provide the EXACT same qualities to both relationships. We do not need the law to do this, because it is already done. It’s called a union.

    Furthermore, we are forcing the law to take a category, called a contract, and force it into one of our most fundamental categories: a Right. And we will take it to the supreme court to do this.

    All in the name of equality. This is perhaps the biggest challenges this country will face. Are we going to force the government to hand over its power of discernment to our will and whim. And then, force it to close its eyes to real differences because of the word of the day, Tolerance and Equality, in this case, and then make it act irrelevant of those differences.

    The psychological impact that this will have on the future of this nation is unknown and could not be calculated. Because we will begin the eroding of value and difference for the law.

    Forget the problems for the two groups for and against gay marriage, we are entering a discussion of this nation’s government’s future, it’s quality, and possible eventual demise.

  29. S. Marsh and Catherine,

    Well, there’s nothing more to say and all we can do is wait. This is but one battle we will face. If you’re not gay you may never understand how important this election is to us. I know it has NOTHING to do with marriage or a silly proposition or laws. The fact of the matter is that people voting Yes on 8 just have an issue with gay people. They believe that it is something we choose to do- that it’s a preference and that we can decide to not be gay. I cannot change the color of my skin or my eye color or change my dominant hand to left. There are certain, dare I say it, God-given attributes and properties in our genetic makeups that we cannot change. Sure, I could start dating girls and sure, I could even have a family with a female. But it honestly, HONESTLY is the same as requiring you two, S. Marsh and Catherine, to only have relationships and families with a person of the same sex. That sounds ridiculous right? Would you be happy? Wouldn’t YOU try to change something? What’s even more ridiculous is that the opposition is based solely on faith. You can’t base a law or discrimination on a particular belief. It’s called faith because it’s just something you BELIEVE in and those beliefs cannot be imposed on anyone. We all have the option to practice any religion we want to and no one has the right to say that their particular religion is the ONE and ONLY. Who’s to say which God is the true God. And that’s why it’s called faith.

    It really just hurts when I see the Yes signs and bumper stickers. We all try our best to be good people. I am a son, brother, grandson, student, dancer, bartender, friend, a mentor, and an artist. I am educated. I am polite. You see me in the supermarket- and flash a warm smile as we pass. I was that excellent barista at Starbucks. We want harmony and peace. We are more like you than you’re willing to believe. We are here and we just want to live. No one deserves this.

  30. @ Catherine
    What about the separation of church and state? You can’t just vote based solely on your beliefs. Religion shouldn’t affect how you think towards the proposition. Sure I see where your coming from about respecting what God wants and his commandments, but you also have to take in account about other people. Don’t based your vote based on religion values but on moral ones.

    And my language is pathetic cause I never was good with vocabulary.

  31. Jimmy,

    “The fact of the matter is that people voting Yes on 8 just have an issue with gay people.”

    You really need to distinguish between “having an issue with gay people” and “having an issue with homosexuality”. The lack of understanding of this distinction in the gay community causes so much misunderstanding and hurt. Can you accept that it’s possible to have gay friends and value gay people as people, made in the image of God like all humans, while having an issue with what they choose to do? Your identity is not defined by your sexuality.

    “I cannot change the color of my skin or my eye color or change my dominant hand to left.”

    And yet there are many people who would once have said they were gay and now would say that they are not. Is every single one self-deluded? Experience refutes your assertion that sexuality is entirely fixed like eye colour. (That’s not to say changing is easy, far from it.)

    “You can’t base a law or discrimination on a particular belief.”

    That accusation cuts both ways. If we accept your statement as true, then the belief that same-sex partnerships are morally equivalent to opposite-sex ones is a belief, just as the belief that they are morally different is a belief. You want the law based on one of those beliefs; the supporters of Prop 8 want it based on the other one.

    “no one has the right to say that their particular religion is the ONE and ONLY”

    And that’s another belief :-) You may hold it, but if you are consistent with your own principles, then you have no right to impose it on other people. If you truly think that “beliefs cannot be imposed on anyone” then you don’t get to start sentences with “no-one has the right…”.

    I don’t get a vote on Prop 8. (The result may have been published by now; I haven’t looked.) I’m sorry that you feel those who voted Yes don’t like you. That may be true of some, I don’t know. They must answer for themselves. But it is definitely not true of all.

    Gerv

  32. Several points I’d like to state for the record:

    1) Marriage is not a right, nor privilege — it is a choice.

    2) Marriage IS also a legal institution in many senses — however many of these senses also apply to domestic partners or other people legally designated. Getting married just makes those choices more legally clear on paper, with or without pre-nup.

    3) People who would be for Prop 8 are people who do not believe in gay unions in any sense, including not believing that they should raise children. Telling them not to “eliminate rights” is a moot argument — would be like telling someone not to discriminate against pedophiles.

    4) The best experts and research re: what is best for raising kids very clearly states that just the mere presence of a mother and father in a child’s life is NOT correlated with more emotionally healthy children. Instead the evidence points overwhelmingly toward a stable household with as many loving reliable adult role models, of any gender or relationship, involved in the child’s life as being what correlates best with happier and healthier children.
    On the contrary, in our country homosexual households tend to be, by far, more emotionally and financially stable (more income, less divorce), and with more of the reliable network of loving adults. Also, as 2/3 of children born to straight couples are unplanned, virtually NO children come to a gay couple without significant planning and of course strong desire to raise a healthy child. Gay couples are more likely to be educated, have more disposable income, and be homeowners.
    Therefore, statistically-speaking, and based on the data and opinions by experts in child psychology (as well as the other facts listed above), gay couples are much more likely to raise emotionally healthy and well-adjusted children than straight couples.

    5) Allowing gays to marry really wouldn’t give them any more rights than they could otherwise already get in another way (with the possible exceptions of filing taxes and receiving social security, which usually don’t matter a whole lot in the longrun). But the effect on the economy, as well as the well-being of children, would be clearly measurable.

    6) The rights and benefits that gays want to get by marrying are rights that single (straight or gay) people currently do NOT get, and likely won’t long after gays are allowed to marry everywhere. Marriage itself is an antiquated notion whose definition has changed dramatically over the last 1-200yrs, though our culture still values it as the norm for any adult.
    It is a falsehood to think that allowing gays to marry would relieve the discrimination our society and government imposes on people who do not belong to a families made by heterosexual married couples — instead, it would just add them to the already unfairly privileged group of “married couples”.

  33. And yet there are many people who would once have said they were gay and now would say that they are not. Is every single one self-deluded?

    Considering the aggressive evangelical agenda in pushing the “ex-gay” stance, I would say yes.

    A brilliant post. <3 Thanks for writing this.

  34. Considering the aggressive evangelical agenda in pushing the “ex-gay” stance, I would say yes.

    Isn’t that just as patronising and offensive to such people as if someone were to say to a gay man “You’re just self-deluded; you like girls really – come on, admit it”?

    You can’t have it both ways. If you don’t allow people to self-identify as straight, why should anyone believe you if you self-identify as gay?

  35. I am very proud to stand with the Church on this issue. In my mind it is the gay movement that is seeking to blur the line between civil rights and morality.

    The Church has every right to speak on moral issues.

    I am disappointed that in this article you pit one Church against another. I very much doubt that every Unitarian, Episcopalian, and member of the United Church of Christ is proud of gay marriage. It is a significant deviation from basic morality. I refuse to have my conscience dulled and that of my children, let alone the definition of marriage as established by God, to make a few people happy.

    If God didn’t make the pattern of marriage clear enough when he married Adam and Eve, he certainly displayed his distaste for a gay society when he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Historians also contend that the downfall of the Greek and Roman Empires started with a similar decline in morality.

    I think the Church is concerned, among other things, that eventually the laws of the United States might require Mormons to allows gays to marry in their temples, which would make a complete mockery of God’s plan and promises.

    I am proud to stand for something that I value above nearly all else, the preservation of traditional marriage.

    Finally, why do gay people demand to be given rights as a separate class when they already have the rights that matter as part of the human class?

    I would sooner take away the right of judges to marry (which is questionable) than give gay people alternative marriage that dilutes the entire institution.

  36. Ah, a post “yes” on prop 8 world. How nice it is to see the people who lost take it in stride and go home. Oh wait, we’re seeing protests and street closures, signs, and hatred towards religious communities for speaking out and asking for support on a proposition with religous undertones. Shame on the gay community for such behavior. Stolen “Yes on 8″ signs, cars vandalized that have “Yes on 8″ stickers. We’re in support of the keeping marriage as a sacrament, something untouchable by the gay community.
    If you don’t like Prop 8, move. California has now twice voiced it’s approval for keeping marriage sacred. Respect the voice of the majority for once instead of sticking your middle fingers up and thinking your voice is louder than the rest of us.

  37. Jimmy, I don’t know if this will make you feel better or not, but I thought have an analogy in an attempt to maybe bridge the chasm of understanding between people that think like I do with people that think like you do. I hope that rather than “causing offense” it “makes sense”.

    Here is the analogy. I have similar feelings regarding smokers that I have with homosexuals. I don’t know how you feel about smoking and smokers, but I’m hoping that you are not a smoker so that you can somewhat relate to what I am saying. I feel that:
    . Smoking cigarettes can be a “lifestyle choice” for some, can be an addiction for some people, and it is also likely that certain people have a stronger tendency towards desiring cigarettes than other people do;
    . When a person is introduced to smoking at an early age, it is much more ingrained, and more difficult to ever feel that smoking was not part of their life;
    . Once a person smokes enough to get over any initial displeasing or negative reactions, the attraction, desire, and cravings become nearly permanent, with that person no longer feeling that they have a “choice” in the matter – indeed it frequently no longer is a “choice” for that person;
    . People are afraid that cigarette companies are pushing their product on the population, and are especially concerned when it is pushed to young people, knowing that young people are especially susceptible to its influence;
    . People have a right to smoke, but there need to be limits placed on the influence that tobacco companies can have – the impact that glamorizing cigarettes had (through movies, commercials, etc.) was unquestionably severe;
    . People have a right to smoke, but when that smoking infringes upon the rights of those who wish not to smoke, or when there are valid concerns that the promotion of smoking will have a negative effect upon society and future generations, it becomes an issue in which limits on such rights need to be at least considered;
    . Some people are intolerant to smokers, but many times the issue is that people merely dislike the act and cannot tolerate its effects (direct or indirect);
    . The largest group of people who contract lung cancer are smokers (and largest group of people who contract HIV/AIDS are homosexual);
    . Smokers (and people who consider themselves to be gay) frequently feel pushed aside and mistreated;
    . Smokers (and people who consider themselves to be gay) have feelings, are part of society, and have much to offer;
    . Smokers (and people who consider themselves to be gay) need to be understood, loved, and treated with proper respect; and should be supported and helped in whatever ways give them the best opportunity.

    I hope you take what I am trying to say in the spirit that I am intending.

    Animal Lover (AL)

  38. Al,
    There have been so many posts recently that I’ve wanted to reply to and have chosen not to. It really feels hopeless- and that I’m wasting my time and there’s absolutely no getting through. I was not going to post another response; until now.
    I’m sorry to say that though your intention was to make me understand your point of view and not to cause offense, it did. It was so incredibly dehumanizing and ignorant that I HAD to reply. The American Psychological Association (APA), the world’s largest association of psychologists has stated that:

    “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder and the APA opposes all portrayals of lesbian, gay and bisexual people as mentally ill and in need of treatment due to their sexual orientation.”
    CHOICE really needs to be taken out of your analogy. NOBODY chooses to be gay. You will disagree and I fear that this is as far as we are ever going to get. I’m really sad that you’ve spent so much time creating this analogy that just COMPLETELY misses the mark. I, like so many of my peers, was introduced to smoking at an early age. Like you said, on television, movies, family members; it surrounded me. I’ve never picked up the habit for several reasons. It’s unhealthy and unnecessary. Being gay is not just something you can “pick up.” It’s not contagious. Exposure won’t make your children gay. I can go point by point and dissect your analogy but it really is just a waste of time. The problem with democracy was never so evident to me until the morning of November 3. Talk to any legitimate psychologist, sociologist, any educated person not affiliated with a gay bashing church, any parent who understands that teachers don’t talk about marriage in schools and that this was just a scare tactic to win votes from those who would not look into the facts- – – they will tell you what is really going on. They will all tell you that they voted No on Prop 8. They will tell you that you should have to. They will ALL tell you that there can be no comparison made between smokers and gay people (NOT “people that considers themselves to be gay”) We are real. We are not making it up. We do not have a disorder. There is absolutely nothing wrong with us. We don’t have an addiction. You are attracted to the opposite sex and we are attracted to the same sex. Morality, as was brought up in a previous post, doesn’t need to be brought up either. I’m extremely familiar with the Bible. I attended private Christian schools until college. I’ve known that I am gay since puberty. Did I want to be gay? Hell no!!! Does anybody want to face discrimination or be ashamed of WHO THEY ARE? Of course not. This is what we face daily. This is our burden- to inform the uninformed and to do it with class and dignity. We always have to put our best foot forward and realize that we are representing for an entire minority group at all time.
    I know you feel that we are infringing on YOUR society and YOUR rights – I wish I could feel some sympathy.
    Before you make claims like, the “largest group of people who contract HIV/AIDS are homosexual” you really should do some research. It’s misleading to those who won’t actually look into the real statistics.
    I’ll try to end on a positive note- a claim we can both agree on. You say, “[gay people] need to be understood, loved, and treated with proper respect; and should be supported and helped in whatever ways give them the best opportunity.” I could not agree more. Someone said to me, “It doesn’t matter who you love or how your love just THAT you love.” Take care AL. I truly wish you the very best.
    Jimmy.

  39. I can’t believe no one commented on my previous post. Esp since the point was to remind both sides that the controversy hinges on one differing opinion/viewpoint/belief: Are gay people and their relationships *just as valid, real, and legitimate* as those of straight people?
    The No people feel that they *are*, therefore there’s no reason gay people shouldn’t have legal marriages like straight people. The Yes people feel that they *are not* (as valid, real, and legitimate), therefore allowing them to marry the same as the rest of us doesn’t make sense, and perhaps “blurs the lines” and “opens the doors” to other unconventional unions (animals, children, retarded people, polyamorous, alien beings, etc).
    Unless one can convince the other, through logic and reason, that their opinion doesn’t make sense, there is no point in going back and forth between “it’s our right” “no it’s not”.

    I would advise the Yes-people to clarify exactly how they come to the conclusion that gay people are not just as valid as straights. One person tried to with his smoking-analogy, which I appreciate actually.
    However my rebuttal would be that smoking only became kind of a negative thing when it became crystal clear through objective data and evidence that it is extraordinarily unhealthy for those that smoke, as well as those around them — therefore it is inherently BAD to be addicted to it. Even if one were to agree that gay people are just more “prone” enjoying same-sex relations, there is zero evidence (in fact, probably more to the contrary) that the more you act gay, the more you want to be gay. And there is also no objective evidence (again, actually more to the contrary) that promoting gay people/relationships/unions/parents/families is negative for the overall well-being of society.
    This latter idea is the ONLY reason why there are No Smoking rules where smoke is more likely than not to negatively affect others or minors — cumulatively and permanently. Compare that to the dietary habits: It is also well-known that eating a lot of junk food is terrible for your health — but this does not directly affect the well-being of others, so there are no rules regarding what you can and can’t eat, no matter where you are and who sees you.

    I would likewise advise the No-people to quit just saying “It’s about rights” because that is a meaningless argument. Instead, when someone says that a man and woman are what makes a family and good parents — ask “Then why is divorce and adultery legal?” and “What difference does the marriage license make if civil unions are already legal?” and “Seriously, how does this really affect you and your idea of the perfect marriage? Should people who choose bad partners be prevented from marrying?”. If they say it’s what “god” intended because it works biologically, then rebut with “Then should people with infertility or above a certain age not marry?” or “After you’re done having kids and your kids are grown, what’s the point in being married?”. You get the point — you’re not just saying how you feel, you’re refuting the belief system which supposedly governs this type of legislation. By ferreting out what a “conventional” marriage is really defined as in our society, it becomes more and more clear that there is nothing magic about just being of opposite genders — but people need to be led down that path with their own beliefs, not yours.

    Btw — I’m a straight single girl, and personally feel strongly about gay marriage for reasons of more “negative equality”. I think people of all types often commit to each other not for the ‘right’ reasons, and I feel that they should all have to deal with the same consequences. I feel that gay people should have to go through the same process of marrying as straight people — and therefore have to jump through all the same hoops to divorce.
    E.g. I have a lesbian friend who has a collection of ‘engagement rings’ from commitments to past girlfriends, all of which I thought she jumped into thoughtlessly because it was easy and fun to do so at the time (what girl doesn’t love new jewelry?). I have a feeling that we’d probably see LESS unions/commitments in the gay community when it has more legally-binding and serious meaning, and to me that *strengthens* the institution of marriage.

  40. Oh yeah, couple more points I meant to make:

    1) AIDS spread more amongst the gay male population for many biological reasons other than the fact that they were attracted to the same sex.
    Hemophiliacs (another huge demographic) were not “addicted to” needing blood transfusions and that’s why they got AIDS.
    Straight women are actually the fastest growing demographic for turning HIV+, and lesbians actually have the least risk for transmission/infection out of all of them. These are facts.

    2) Careful when you just blurt out “It doesn’t matter whom you love” and “Everyone should have the right to love/marry whomever they want.”
    I think most of us agree that pedophiles should not marry children, no matter how much they “love them”, rapists should not marry retarded people even if both are consenting adults, and polyamorous or bigamous unions would just be too legally complicated to define via official marriage of all partners involved.
    Basically remember that your opponents put you in the category of sexual deviants, so make sure you always clarify stuff like “as long as we’re not hurting anyone”.

  41. Thank you Soni. I really appreciate your perspective (coming from a straight single girl) It allows you to be more objective and logical. I have a hard time separating myself from the issue. I’m too involved and it tears at my heart too much. The problem is our opposition doesn’t care about the condition of our hearts. I would LOVE it if people would stop associating gay with pedophilia, polygamy, AIDS, and rapists. You don’t need to remind me of the context. Associations ARE made. Those words do not even need to be mentioned. It’s completely ridiculous. Those people exist independently and should not be grouped with gay. Yeah… i should have known that “doesn’t matter whom you love” quote could be taken completely wrong in this particular arena. It was supposed to be just a kind thought and not about pedophilia or rape. I guess i’ll be more careful.

  42. Yes, I think that’s exactly it — both parties’ feelings are so inherent to who they are that their arguments end up pretty much moot.

    This whole thing has reminded me of the big Pro Choice vs Pro Life debates of the 90’s, where both sides were saying completely different things, neither one addressing the viewpoint of the other. Drives me nucking futs! ;)

  43. Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for coming back. But I’m sad that you didn’t comment on what I said. In your most recent post, you said “Does anybody want to face discrimination or be ashamed of WHO THEY ARE? Of course not.”

    Can I attempt again to convince you that being gay is not “who you are”, just as being straight is not “who I am”? Your identity as a person is not your sexuality. I would say that you are unique, special and important because God created you in his image. You might not agree, but I would hope you could find value in yourself which is not tied to your sexual orientation and activity. If you don’t, then your world is going to fall apart when you are old and ugly and no-one wants to have sex with you any more.

    You say “NOBODY chooses to be gay.” That may well be true. But people who are gay and have sex with MOTSS choose to do that. Just as people who are straight and have sex with MOTOS choose to do that. The distinction between the desire and the act itself is a really important one, and it’s another thing which the gay community seems to miss about the points made by the other side. There are many Christians who struggle with homosexual desires; struggling with it isn’t sinful. Acting on those desires is.

    I’m sure you make that distinction in your life at some points. I can’t be specific because I don’t know your mind but have you ever thought “Wouldn’t it be great to do ?” (I’m not asking you to confess what it is here!) If you’ve ever thought of doing something and then your conscience has cried “No! That would be terrible!”, and you’ve not done it, then do you hold yourself morally accountable for that act? No, because there is a difference between the desire (however fleeting) and the act itself.

    If you don’t make that distinction, you’ll end up having a miserable life where you are consistently beating yourself up and feeling worthless because of temptations you have which you don’t even act upon.

    So, let’s apply that distinction. Prop 8 was not about affirming or disaffirming gay *people*. As you and AL agreed, “[gay people] need to be understood, loved, and treated with proper respect”. It was about affirming or disaffirming homosexual unions, which would (mostly) involve homosexual sex. In other words, asking someone to vote for Prop 8 was asking someone to (effectively) morally approve the act.

    I really hope that, even if you don’t end up agreeing with those on the other side, you can accept that they don’t hate you as a person. Of course, if you feel your identity is defined by your sexuality, or that there’s no difference between the desire and the act, then I’m afraid you will feel they do hate you. But I would urge you to make those two distinctions – for the reasons I give above.

    And remember that however bad you may feel about yourself, God’s undeserved kindness is enough to cover every sin and rebellious act, and forgiveness, acceptance and love is available to all who turn to him in repentance.

    Feel free to send me email if you like. Just Google my name.

    Gerv

  44. Jimmie, Soni, and Gerv, thanks for your comments. I was going to bow out of the conversation myself, but I would like to clarify some things. I’m not sure if they make anyone feel better or not, but I hope so.

    First, Jimmie – I’m sorry that you were offended by my post. I certainly didn’t take the time to write to you with the hope that you would be offended.

    I did not say that homosexuality is a mental illness. In my smoking analogy, I provided three (and left room for more) non-mutually-exclusive reasons why people smoke. You focused on “addiction” as if that was the only reason that I stated.

    Jimme, Soni, regarding smoking being “unhealthy”, that is true, but now you have given me one more data point for my analogy:
    • Smoking is very unhealthy, costing smokers at least 13 or more years off of their life (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5425a1.htm) and possibly up to 20-25 years. (In comparison, a study documented by the US National Library of Medicine concluded that “life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. Other studies put the number closer to 20 years).

    Jimmie, like smoking, those years of lost life are not due to genetics – they are due to the lifestyle and all of the physical and emotional stress that go along with it. I’m not sure that the studies are even considering suicide rates for homosexuals, which are also not a favorable statistic.

    If the “largest group” of people with lung cancer is not smokers, or the “largest group” of people without HIV/AIDS is not homosexuals, then what is the largest group?

    I consider myself a heterosexual person (gender not stated). I do not believe in sex outside of marriage because of moral reasons. However, if I did not have such moral beliefs, I can tell you without hesitation that if I felt is was right (not to mention adding 14 years to my life), I absolutely would be able to be committed to a relationship to a person of the same sex in spite of my strong opposite-sex attraction (and repulsion to the concept of same-sex sex). I could commit to that relationship and do everything necessary to make it successful, with the possible exception of putting my mouth somewhere below the waist of the other person. I may not be experienced with sex like some on this list, but I know enough about it that it can likely feel good in many forms and with different participants. Close your eyes and you may not even know who whether a male and female is with you. I am not saying that to promote sex (outside of marriage). As you know, I’m not about that. I’m saying it because I don’t buy the argument that a person with same-sex attraction cannot make a marriage work with a person of the opposite sex. Relationships are about being selfless and sharing rather than being selfish and demanding. All people have thoughts, appetites, desires, and drives (whether it be for sex, food, greed, etc.) that need to be bridled in order to have the best opportunity for health and happiness.

    I, also, started having attraction feelings around the time of puberty (except my attraction is for the opposite sex). I fully agree with Gerv that life is about controlling the natural desires that come to us. This world would be chaos if everybody acted upon every impulse, craving, desire, or thought that they every had.

    Jimmie, I’m not saying these things to upset you. I want you to have more than you want yourself. I might guess that your answer will be, “but I would rather live a shorter life with the person I love (of the same sex) rather than with someone of the opposite sex”. I understand what you are (hypothetically) saying, but I’m quite sure that both homosexuals and heterosexuals can love both men and women. I know that I can, and I do. That doesn’t mean that I want have sex with them – it just means that I love them. I’m sure that I could “cohabitate” with a person of my same sex for my lifetime, but I wouldn’t do it because that is not the structure that would allow me my greatest familial potential and greatest potential for health and happiness.

    In any case, Jimmie, you seem a very nice person and I respect you. You take care, too.

    Animal Lover (AL)

  45. Issues:

    1) Not everyone believes that acting on desires to be with MOTSS is bad. Not everyone believes in Jesus. Not everyone believes in Santa. Not everyone likes pickles.

    2) No one persecutes you because you believe in Jesus and they don’t. No one tries to take away your right to pray to him. Why — because if you’re not hurting anyone else, you have the right to practice whatever you believe.

    3) Gay people loving each other does not hurt anyone else. That is a fact. They’re not abusing children, they’re not hurting animals, they’re not causing health problems to innocent bystanders.

    Therefore, the fact that you don’t believe it’s okay to act on their natural feelings (an opinion which *millions* of people in this country disagree with) should not be put into legislation.

    If you disagree, then you would have to also let people like me ban all churches, because I happen to think that people gathering and talking about loving some random dude they call Jesus is stupid and useless and ignorant, and not the way I want my children raised. In fact, I don’t want my children anywhere near people who think like you because I don’t want those idiotic ideas infecting their vulnerable minds. And guess what — lots of people agree with me and have arms to carry signs.

    If I had a billion dollars, or if I otherwise had the power to do so, do you think it would be fair for me to outlaw all church gatherings because I think that your belief system is fundamentally wrong?

  46. Sorry Jimmy, your post came after I’d already posted mine.

    Response to your latest:

    1) Smoking directly causes lung cancer. The act of inhaling nicotine and associated carcinogens into your lungs causes lung cancer. If you just pretended to smoke and held unlit cigarettes to your lips, it would not cause lung cancer, and you would be at no increased risk for lung cancer than anyone not pretending to smoke.

    2) Having gay sex does not cause AIDS. Having any kind of sex does not cause AIDS.

    3) Having any sort of unprotected sex increases your risk of HIV transmission. Gay people practicing safe sex, or uninfected gay people having unprotected monogamous sex has NO greater risk of STD transmission than their straight counterparts.

    4) On the contrary, heterosexual sex has some significant health risks that is absent from that of homosexual sex, especially to those of innocent children. No unintended teen pregnancies or crack babies among the gay population…

    5) Being gay does not directly cause increased risk of suicide. Living in a society where even your closest friends and family reject you, where you can’t be yourself, and where people are against a huge part of what makes you you -> (especially among the adolescent population) lead to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
    Gay people who live free of the above constraints have no higher risk of mental illness than their straight counterparts.

    6) Even if all of the above were untrue, getting married does not by definition mean having sex. In fact, most married people would argue the exact opposite.

    All of these statements refute your train of logic Jimmy. I welcome your rebuttal.

  47. Soni: you’re assuming that I agree with your presupposition that “if it doesn’t physically hurt anyone else, you can do what you like”. Regardless of whether I do or not, what’s your basis for that presupposition? You’ll need to do better than “it seems like a good idea to me and my friends”, because if that’s all you’ve got, then how could you say that other people _ought_ to agree with you? And how can you criticise them for not doing so? Who made you the moral authority?

    When did I argue for making homosexuality illegal? That’s not what Prop 8 is about, so your statement that “Therefore, the fact that you don’t believe it’s okay to act on their natural feelings should not be put into legislation.” is a massive red herring. (It also, incidentally, assumes that natural = good, which is another presupposition you’ll need to produce evidence for.)

    Also, “No one persecutes you because you believe in Jesus and they don’t” is a very US-centric statement. Millions of Christians the world over are persecuted for exactly this reason.

  48. Soni, I’m not sure, but it seems like your response was intended for me and not Jimmie. I am also not so sure to whom your previous post is directed. I didn’t see previous discussions about Jesus, Santa, and pickles, but I might have missed something.

    Although your six points are interesting and accurate enough not to dwell on the inaccuracies, they are not a refutation of the main additional point I had added and the train of thought it represented – that the life expectancy of smokers and homosexuals is severely lower. That is the case in spite of any truth contained within your six points. That statistics are quite clear. The good news is, as I said, the statistics are not related to genetics, and “stopping smoking” at any time appears to immediately be beneficial towards increasing life expectancy.

    Animal Lover (AL)

  49. I apologize, my replies have been meant for Gerv and AL (sorry, I won’t be able to distinguish between the two, so if you guys differ significantly on any of your points, please make that clear in your response).

    This I can say is in response to Gerv’s comments:

    My basis for presupposing that in this country we are expected to have freedom of choice as long as it does not directly hurt anyone else is because…that’s what all our other laws and rules are based on. We’re allowed to beat ourselves, we’re not allowed to beat others. We’re allowed to have sex, but not with unconsenting adults or any minors. We’re allowed to have whatever religious belief we want, as long as it doesn’t include hurting or killing others to practice those beliefs.
    That is just the way it is in this countries, that’s how “civil liberties” are defined, and the reason that (using your analogy) the choice to infect your own body with nicotine have been limited to places where you are only harming yourself, yet not made illegal.

    I never made any arguments based on what “seems like a good idea to me and my friends”, so you’d have to be more specific on what exactly you’re trying to refute.
    I also did not claim to be any moral authority; just giving examples of what types of things are LEGAL in this country/state no matter who agrees/disagrees.

    No one said that homosexuals are bad people or that their existence should be illegal. However, there have been arguments made that if gays are allowed to marry we are condoning them having gay sex, which is both a sin, and shortens lifespans.
    An argument that people should be allowed to be gay as long as they don’t act gay is inherently flawed. That is equating them with pedophiles, who are allowed to exist as long as they don’t act on their preferences.
    If you are supporting them as people, you are supporting them having relationships both with and without sex, just like the rest of us. That’s what it means to be gay.
    You may like and respect people who identify themselves as gay, but if you think they shouldn’t do those things listed above, then sorry to let you know, *you are anti-gay*.

    I didn’t say natural=good, just reiterating a previous analogy that wanting to have gay sex is like being addicted to nicotine — you have the natural urge but doesn’t mean it’s a good thing and you should resist that urge. If I may paraphrase my understanding of this analogy: it’s okay to be an alcoholic, but we cannot condone that you drink. My argument against this idea is directly above.

    And yes, my viewpoints are US-centric because we’re talking about legislation affecting rights in the US today. We’re not arguing about whether or not genital mutilation or stoning women should be legal, nor forcing black people to sit in the back of the bus or use separate drinking fountains. We’re talking about what WE consider to be most appropriate for citizens of OUR country TODAY.
    If we lived in a country where Christians were persecuted for their beliefs, or if someday in the US Jesus-loving people were banned from gathering and praying, I would be defending your rights for that too, whether I agree with them or not.

    Christians, Blacks, gays, women…we’ve all been discriminated against, and we’ve all benefited from the progress made in overcoming that. Now Christians can pray wherever they want, Blacks can become president, and women can vote for it all. Now we just have to wait for women to become president, gays to marry, and Christians to vote for it all…

  50. Now for AL:

    My references to Jesus, Santa, and pickles were examples of people having different beliefs and opinions on things — but you’re only asking to legislate against the ones that you don’t like. If I thought believing in Jesus was stupid and pickles were gross, I wouldn’t ask to prevent those that disagree with me from enjoying what they prefer. I think you can understand that.

    And the truth contained within my points re: life expectancy-thing actually is more than relevant. It is the difference between correlation and causation.
    This is what I do for a living so the employment of this concept is essential to whether what I do saves or kills people. If these distinctions were not made in the scientific community, we would still be leeching people as a cure for their disease, and everyone today would have to agree that insulin is the number one killer of diabetics.
    I hope you really do understand this crucial point, but if you don’t please let me know and I will try to explain it again, as it 100% refutes the medical-arguments you guys try to make. It is the cornerstone of the allopathic medical paradigm, and is a a concept that *cannot* be brushed over when making statements and drawing conclusions about human health and well-being, physical or otherwise.

  51. Soni, I’m very well aware that “correlation does not imply causation”. I never delved into what the causes were – I stated what the causes were not (genetics). The fact of the matter is that there is an undeniable “correlation” that in itself is significant. I didn’t really make any “medical arguments” so there was no such medical arguments for you to refute. Can you refute that life expectancy is less? If not, there is nothing for you to refute.

    Animal Lover (AL)

  52. Facts that have no argumentative power are considered “circumstantial”, not a reason to ever draw any significant conclusion, let alone recommend legislation.

    Getting AIDS is not a genetic risk, you are correct. It is a result of HIV transmission between certain bodily fluids of humans, any age, any gender, and any sexual orientation, just like the flu virus. Then what is your point?

    The life expectancy of men are also lower than women, but higher if they get married (to men or women), and their overall workload decreases. Married women, on the other hand, end up with significantly *more* work, more stress, and more health co-morbidities, therefore higher mortality rates when married to men.
    Should we then legislate that all men have to marry by age 30 (when cardiac risks increase), the same way we legislate wearing seatbelts, for their own good? Then for sure we shouldn’t allow women to undergo the clearly unhealthy practice of marriage (to men anyway).
    I’m not talking about causation here — these are just facts.

    Arguments re: life expectancy and health risks are medical, whether you are a professional or lay-person. If you don’t want to get into discussions of medical facts and scientific reason, then don’t.
    But if you really believe that these are valid points, you have to understand that other intellectuals like you will want them to make sense, so you can’t back out half-way through.
    You wouldn’t want your physician to make objective recommendations on what’s best for you and your body based on false logic and reasoning methods which have been proven foolish centuries ago — you’d hope that they would be made based on data and conclusions that makes sense. Now imagine your physician was making a decision for millions of people at the same time…we’d better hope that it’s a solid one.

  53. Soni, you’re talking apples and I’m talking oranges.

    I neither stated nor implied that we should legislate based on anything to do with life expectancy. I have not even been talking about legislation – I was talking about choices based on data available. However, I will make a tangent remark (regarding cigarettes and not intending to be analogous to homosexuality) – how can the FDA ban a “consumer product” like saccharin (a product that has some useful purposes) based on circumstantial high-volume risks that it may cause cancer, but not ban the “consumer product” cigarettes when it is known to cause cancer?

    I don’t have a problem discussing medical facts and scientific reason, and I am not “backing out” half-way through. I made a statement about life expectancy (without stating the cause), and you made arguments and stated a few times that you refuted my “argument” when the statement that I said remains unrefuted. You can argue whether data that suggests a loss of 13 years of life is “not a reason to draw any significant conclusion” if you wish.

    And as to the examples that you made (about the effects of marriage upon life expectancy for men and women), while certainly much less of an impact than “smoking” (a few years lost verses 13 or more years lost), such examples are also not completely useless in drawing significant conclusions.

    Gotta go.

    Animal Lover (AL)

  54. I don’t get it…aren’t we talking about legislation?

    Sure, you could say it’s stupid for gay people to have sex if it increases their risks of an early death (which I disagree with still, but whatever), just as I could say it’s stupid to talk about Jesus like he’s a real person and has any influence on the lives we live.
    But who cares what we think…as long as our beliefs don’t negatively affect others.
    If we think that these beliefs are strong enough that they *should* affect others (whether they agree or not), then that’s when we have to make some kind of “law” about it, i.e. “legislation”.

    I do still agree that the mere act of smoking decreases life expectancy, so it’s fair to say that all smokers put themselves at a higher risk of dying early.
    I do still DISagree that practicing homosexual sex decreases life expectancy of gay people, no matter which populations you compare head to head.
    But even if the latter were true — are you not saying that we *shouldn’t* condone those acts because they lead to a shorter lifespan? I thought that was your point of comparing it to smokers smoking or whatever.

    BIG ASIDE (Maybe start a new thread if you want to continue) Re: new laws vs old laws
    Yes, this is the “grandfather”-phenomenon of the FDA. Nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine would *never* be approved for distribution if introduced today.
    Instead, many medications and substances that actually can give more benefit than harm are being “black-boxed” (if not outright banned/removed) — something which basically just covers the government’s ass and puts the physician at a nice big fat legal risk if they decide to do what they think would best benefit their patient.
    Along the same lines, the U.S. is usually way behind in accepting/approving stuff that has been benefiting the people in dozens of other industrialized countries for decades.
    This is often (if not usually) due to a combination of our much more litigious as well as puritanical societal standards that generally do not do much more for us than waste billions of dollars and delay/prevent otherwise standard treatment and care to our people.

  55. Well, it’s a good think Prop 8 Won and your narrow ideas lost.

    Because you and most others mis-framed the issue.

    I don’t want my health insurance to go up because two roommates, one with a job, one without, decide to get married.

    I don’t want to make it easier to get married. I want it to be harder.

    Making it easier to be different, or to be gay, doesn’t make a stronger, or better society. It makes a different one.

    Pass.

  56. Yes, Marsha Flarity, you should have passed. Yours has got to be the most ignorant post of them all. Narrow ideas? If the issue has been mis-framed, please explain. Your concern is your health insurance? How pathetically selfish of you. I would love a description of your ideal society. What color would they all be? What would the average income be? What would they name their kids? Why do you want marriage to be harder? I’m honestly stunned by this post and i have nothing more to say at this point. Again, Soni thank you for having our backs. It gets lonely sometimes. It’s the 60’s all over again.

  57. I’m not sure if Marsha’s post is the most ignorant. She brings up some good points which I actually agree with.

    It’s not fair that some people have to pay more money because of the lifestyle choices of others. Just because 2 people say they have a certain relationship, it means that I have to pay more for my health insurance, or have crappier health insurance so my employer can avoid to cover others who are not like me?

    And I agree that it should be harder to get married. And it should mean more.
    I think if gay people want to commit to each other and get all the benefits of straight people, they should have to go through all the same trouble — not just sign a form that says they’re domestic partners.
    I think that people who are married should pay double the health insurance fees as anyone else…and if they have kids, they pay the proportionate same amount to cover their kids. Just because my colleague chooses to marry and have 5 kids and I choose not to (or at least not yet), I should get a fraction of the benefits he/she does for doing the same job with the same salary??

    And people shouldn’t be allowed to get married if they aren’t really committed and ready for it — otherwise they’re just really planning to increase the divorce rate which is already ridiculous. They shouldn’t even discuss marriage if they don’t already know each other really well. Or if they’re just doing it because they’re pregnant…or if they’re rushing into it so they can have sex. Or if they haven’t already finished school.
    So basically they should really only grant marriage licenses if you can show proof that you’ve been dating a long time, that you’ve already had sex, but been careful so you’re not pregnant, and you’ve already completed your education and ready to settle down.

    I think that would be what really upholds the sacred institution of marriage which is basically a total joke these days. But until then, I think it’s only fair that gay people be expected to participate in its ridiculousness the same as everyone else — otherwise they get to have whatever relationships they want without having to deal with all the crap that straight people have to, including the 2 out of 3 chance they will have to deal with a divorce. Shielding this community from that hell just because they prefer to be with the same sex is not fair.

    Single straight people like me make the conscious choice to avoid getting married unless it’s for the right reasons, at the right time, and if I’m not pretty damn sure it’s going to last — and for that I sacrifice the benefits of marriage (like milking my colleagues to pay for my spouse and kids, and milking the government from a spouse’s social security benefits which I didn’t earn myself).
    It’s not fair that gay people get to have their cake and eat it too just because of their sexual preference.

  58. Jimmy,

    Sorry you were blown away. Here’s another one:

    Let’s not forget that the REASON western society goes through all the hoopla of marriage is that it’s the best structure we know of for bearing offspring and raising them. Kind of central to our development and perpetuation as humans.

    Is marriage perfect? Not when the individuals fail. So don’t bother pointing out problems. Is capitalism perfect? No, but our society has determined it’s better than alternatives.

    So why not allow, condone or extend gay marriage?

    The same reason we don’t make “boyfriend” / “girlfriend” an official status. Boyfriends and girlfriends want to assert their love for each other, just like gays.

    Marriage is the ideal environment / structure to bear and raise children. That’s both very difficult to do right, critical to our society. We can’t just “outsource” it. So we grant marriage benefits and passes that aren’t open to boyfriends/girlfriends.

    In other words, it’s not about YOU, it’s about the children. Stop selfishly thinking about yourself, and think about sacrificing your life for your children.

    The institution of Marriage is strong and protected because is about 2 people coming together to creating and raising children.

    It’s not an award for being a super-special boyfriend.

  59. Marsha brings up another good point.

    Why do we need to even have some special status granted to people just because they love each other and are extra-committed (esp since that commitment doesn’t even mean much these days)?

    In the past marriage was something people did for purely economic reasons — like a business transaction or merger if you will. You make money, I’ll keep house, and we’ll probably make some kids in there too.
    Nowadays (in western society anyway) marriages do not happen for prudent financial planning or the combining of family estates — it’s about love and commitment and planning to spend the rest of your life in a partnership with someone.

    But Marsha’s right, we can do that without getting married. The official legal marriage is sort of like having a joint bank account for life — in that future resources and assets the couple create together, including children, will have joint responsibility and “ownership” (for lack of a better term).
    Re: children, biologically you need resources from 2 humans of the opposite sex to make them, so we evolved to be attracted to each other to make that happen — which also lends itself to this man-woman union in marriage as above.

    However, none of the above applies anymore. Women don’t need men to have money or houses, and men don’t get “paid” to take a man’s daughter off his hands (i.e. dowry).
    We still need the male and female parts to make a baby, but we now know (yes “know”) that it is not necessary to have those same 2 male and female bodies around to raise a happy, healthy child. We have adoption, we have fertility treatments, we have divorce, and of course we have parents whose spouses are involuntarily absent for other reasons — and still children who grow up happy and well-adjusted with lots of love in their lives.
    As I’ve stated in earlier posts that there is now clear data re: what type of home/family/parenting-situation is correlated with happy healthy children, and it is NOT the traditional nuclear family we all used to think was ideal. I’ve read several books addressing this issue and I do believe this data that comes from the more objective studies and the more experienced experts in this field.

    I’m still not sure how I feel about the necessity for the legal bond of marriage though…but Marsha’s point makes some sense in that it is a simple framework one can put together to plan to raise a family, i.e. the 2 gamete-donors being legally-bonded to raise the child(ren) they conceive together.
    Even though I don’t believe there is something particularly special or “better” about this family configuration than others (in fact there are many arguments to be made for it being socially NOT ideal for raising children), I do agree it’s the simplest in terms of making them.

    However…in that case, I don’t see what the point is of 2 people getting married if they’re not about to make kids together. Like, say you choose not have kids with your partner, male or female. Or you’re older (either already had kids or never planned to, or you’re widowed and want to spend your golden years with your nursing home sweetheart) — what’s the point of legal unions in those cases?
    Plus what if for whatever reason this couple needs to use someone else’s gametes anyway, or say they don’t plan to have kids for at least 5yrs or something…what’s the purpose of these people marrying?
    Why can’t these people just be extra-special boy/girlfriends, and save the marriage benefits for the families they’re meant for?

    So again, I kind of agree with Marsha — if we are to consider marriage something more than just “extra-committing” to your boy/girlfriend, then we should limit it to people for whom it actually serves a purpose. I think couples should only be getting married when they’re about to start having children, and not before — otherwise why should these adults get the benefits that are supposed to be reserved for families with *children*?
    For it to be fair to the marriages with a *real* purpose, if a married couple ends up not having kids as expected (for whatever reason), they need to annul their marriage. And of course anyone who is physically unable to bear children (due to age or whatever) should never be granted marriage licenses until they have a child coming to them by some other means.

    The other cool thing about Marsha’s idea is that it makes divorce sort of unnecessary, because either you marry and have kids, or you don’t marry at all — so if you want to break up, you just break up, without tarnishing the institution of marriage.
    And people who have kids but no longer want to be romantic partners (as much as we don’t want that to happen, occasionally I’m sure it still will), well…they can split and have different lives, but they’re still parents of that child so they may as well stay married. Unless they’re planning to immediately bear children with someone else, there’s really no need to divorce their ex-.

    This is exciting, I think we really are coming up with some great ideas for a fair and equal society! We should all collaborate on a new bill for 2010! :)

  60. I completely agree with everything you stated in your blog post, and I am 100% against Proposition 8. No one should be able to keep to people from getting married if they really want to. Everyone should have the same rights. There is no room for discrimination in this world, especially with everything else that is going on. People need to grow up and learn that not everyone is the same and there is nothing wrong with being different or change. I’m glad to see someone with the same views as me. Thank you.

  61. Soni, I think we are getting closer to communicating now, but I need to follow up on a few of your comments.

    I don’t get it…aren’t we talking about legislation?

    No, not always – at least that wasn’t my main objective in most of my posts. Sorry to confuse you since many of the other posts are related to the issues of legislation.

    The reason I suggested the “smoking” analogy was because I was hoping that it would allow people who think differently than I do to at least slightly be able to understand why I think the way I do.

    The reason I added the “life expectancy” thought was because it should be a consideration for anyone that is involved in smoking or homosexuality. Whether or not a cause for the “lost years” is known or identified, it is highly likely that lifestyle changes can extend life expectancy (that’s fine if you disagree). If even one person who reads this can gain even an extra year of life, then mentioning it was worth it.

    I do still agree that the mere act of smoking decreases life expectancy, so it’s fair to say that all smokers put themselves at a higher risk of dying early.
    I do still DISagree that practicing homosexual sex decreases life expectancy of gay people, no matter which populations you compare head to head.
    But even if the latter were true — are you not saying that we *shouldn’t* condone those acts because they lead to a shorter lifespan? I thought that was your point of comparing it to smokers smoking or whatever.

    Nope, I wasn’t implying whether to “condone” anything or not. I was merely saying that if it were me and I saw a “correlation” between something I was doing that could severely decrease the years of my life, I would need to think real hard about maybe doing something differently.

    Yes, this is the “grandfather”-phenomenon of the FDA. Nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine would *never* be approved for distribution if introduced today.

    Sorry for the continuing the tangent briefly, but one last comment on this. Why can’t smoking truly be “grandfathered” (such that it is phased out)? Speaking of ideas and solutions, I have one. It is very simple. Rather than using a “relative” date to determine whether a patron could purchase cigarettes or not, an “absolute” date could be used. It’s also easy – no math needed. All that would be needed would be for cigarette points-of-sale to check ID (which is already required), but instead of checking whether the purchaser is 18 or 19 (depending on current state rules), simply check to see if the person was born before 1990 (even in subsequent years). Each year, the age requirement would effectively increase by one year. That also eliminates any math for age calculation. No (or very few) new cigarette addictions, and eventually, cigarettes would be phased out.

    Re: children, biologically you need resources from 2 humans of the opposite sex to make them, so we evolved to be attracted to each other to make that happen

    The last thing Chris probably wants or expects is for this comment thread to head into a heated discussion about the Theory of Evolution, but I feel that this indeed is a key factor in why people are at odds on so many of the key issues of today. I know that many of you will disagree with me on this statement, but the theory of evolution has fatal flaws, and is at the core of most of these key issues. Before someone labels me a “creationist nutcase”, I will just clarify that a more accurate description of my position is “anti-evolutionist”. A person does not need to be a creationist to find flaws with evolution. Whether or not I believe in a creation does not need to affect the arguments against evolution.

    I have extensively studied and thought about all of the “theory of evolution” propaganda and have found too many issues to consider it even remotely viable. I could write a book on it (and I might), but the simplest explanation is follows: initially, the theory of evolution was based on “natural selection”; but Darwin soon realized that natural selection only gets you so far (varieties of the same kind with different attributes (coloring, size, etc.)). Kind would still beget kind. So, “mutation” was added to fill in the gap necessary to attempt to explain how single-celled organisms can evolve to complex life forms. Mutation is the flimsy keystone in which archway of evolution collapses. Again, I could go into extensive detail as to why the total reliance on mutation is fatally flawed, but that is for another time and place. Suffice it to say that: 1. Natural selection is mutation’s worst enemy – they do not work “together” to progress a life-form; 2. Mutation never has and never could explain even simple complexity “enhancements”, let alone explain new features such has new limbs, organs, “body systems”, etc.

    So, what does evolution have to do with the topic of homosexuality (or abortion, or any current issue)? Well, two things:

    1. When a person is steeped in the “evolution” mentality, then that person generally thinks that “we are an ‘effect’ ” rather than “we can ‘affect’ “. People like this talk in terms of “gamete donors” and “fetus” rather than “parents” and “child”. People argue that “things don’t matter” because “things have just happened in the past”. There was no purpose, no morality, just “evolution”.

    2. The second item is huge with me because it represents the main reason why I voted yes on Proposition 8. The theory of evolution infiltrated our society (mostly through the education system) and has done an untold amount of damage. “Piltdown man” was a 40-year hoax, during which time Evolution made some its most significant headway into textbooks and into the educational system. It is largely accepted as fact by most people today (although if you ask people whether they believe that humans evolved from single-celled organisms, then people start to back off some). So, the bottom line is that “policy” and “politics” can definitely frame belief and morality. What does it hurt if evolution is “required” to be taught in schools? Now we know.

    I probably won’t be able to respond for a while.
    Thanks for the discussion.

    Animal Lover (AL)

  62. If you are supporting them as people, you are supporting them having relationships both with and without sex, just like the rest of us. That’s what it means to be gay.
    You may like and respect people who identify themselves as gay, but if you think they shouldn’t do those things listed above, then sorry to let you know, *you are anti-gay*.

    I like and respect many of my unmarried heterosexual friends, but I think they shouldn’t have sex. In other words, I support them as people but I don’t support them having relationships with sex involved. (And, incidentally, if someone wanted to make a law that said that if you live with someone, that’s legally the same as marriage, I’d oppose that too.) Does that make me anti-them as well? Sounds like, by your definition, I’m a pretty-much-everyone-phobe.

    I would refer you again to my comments about separating identity and sexuality, and separating the desire and the act. If you don’t think those things can be separated, then I’m afraid you are going to think that I don’t like you as a person. All I can do is continue to tell you that you’re mistaken. :-)

  63. Apparently, Seventh-Day Adventist Church opposes gay rights.

    Even though numerous and respected Seventh-day Adventists scholars and administrators personally urged voting no on proposition 8, the Seventh-day Adventist Church (along with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses) argue against gay rights and gay marriage issues holding that religious liberty is only concerned with the first four of the Ten Commandments, or one’s obligations to God.

    When a gay marriage bill came before the California legislature in April, 2004, Adventist church members were urged to contact their representatives and voice their opposition. In “The Liberty Blog” the religious liberty director for the North American Division of the Adventist church argued against the proposed federal “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007,” suggesting it could have an indirect impact on free speech, would give special protection, would be unnecessary since local laws already provide protection against hate crimes, and could lead to marginalizing those who oppose homosexual practice. In the September/October, 2004, issue of church periodical, Liberty, which was devoted to the issue of gay marriage, another religious liberty director called for the church not to remain silent in opposing gay rights.

    Most recently, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has strongly asserted in it’s churches that it opposes all gay rights including gay marriage. In doing so, it has encouraged members to not only vote for Proposition 8, but to also financially support any and all efforts to oppose gay marriage rights.

  64. As i see it, the constitution states we must “separate church and state”. It also says “equal rights for all”. So, as an anti-8 Californian we have just voted in an OXYMORON. Does that mean that over have of Californians are MORONS????

  65. Same sex marriage supporters have played the “victim” role in portraying the Catholics, Mormons, or other Christian faiths as “hateful” and “discriminatory”.

    They demand “respect” through force while indoctrinating our school children, having marriage licenses issued unlawfully, overturning the overwhelmingly supported Prop. 22, rushing to get married “legally” before Prop. 8 was decided, then challenging the will of the people on Prop. 8.

    People of faith will defend their beliefs upholding the moral principles of marriage and protecting their children from the promoters of an immoral lifestyle. This moral battle will continue. Immorality is not “equality”. “Respect” is not force. “Education” is not indoctrinating kindergartners. Defending religious beliefs is not “hate speech”. Protecting marriage is not “discrimination”.

    The “alternative life style” typically attacks viciously, smearing persons or institutions be it governments, politicians, businesses, corporations, religious bodies, or educational institutions opposing any part of their agenda. They play the “victim” to gain sympathy for being a “discriminated minority”. The “real” victim will be people of faith who they label as having “hate speech” or “discrimination.” Look what has happened in Massachusetts or Canada for challenges to faith.

  66. Interesting. We pass a law that prohibits “gay marriage”. Does that make all the gay people change? Does that really solve any problems? The way I see it, passing a law that prohibits gay marriage does nothing but create another problem. The existence or non-existence of law does not, and will never “just make gay people go away” or force them to change. How about this law: Two people (man and woman) cannot be considered married legally until they produce offspring – if they cannot – or do not – produce offspring, they can never be married in the eyes of the Lord or the eyes of the law. So if you were to get married (under that law) to that sweetheart of yours, and find that you are incapable of producing offspring, your marriage and all its benefits will be canceled. Homophobes, think about that as you go about your rightful legislation of morality!

  67. Same sex marriage supporters have played the “victim” role in portraying the Catholics, Mormons, or other Christian faiths as “hateful” and “discriminatory”.

    They demand “respect” through force while indoctrinating our school children, having marriage licenses issued unlawfully, overturning the overwhelmingly supported Prop. 22, rushing to get married “legally” before Prop. 8 was decided, then challenging the will of the people on Prop. 8.

    People of faith will defend their beliefs upholding the moral principles of marriage and protecting their children from the promoters of an immoral lifestyle. This moral battle will continue. Immorality is not “equality”. “Respect” is not force. “Education” is not indoctrinating kindergartners. Defending religious beliefs is not “hate speech”. Protecting marriage is not “discrimination”.

  68. I’m pretty impressed with the extent of the discourse here, and how long the conversation has gone on. It seems clear to me that this is not a matter that will be “decided”, but will continue to play out over time with no real end-point.

    It’s up to both sides to reason and advocate for their beliefs, ideally in a civil and rational matter (even though this matter is beyond logical deduction alone).

    I think Jon Stewart’s interview with Mike Huckabee captured the stalemate of this debate well. So, I’ll leave it at that — and will close the comments on this post.

    Thanks all who contributed your voice.

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