hated for loving

5/8/12

Wow, North Carolina, you sure know a historic anticlimax when you see one. Just when you were poised to become the progressive leader of the New South, entering the future with 10 million eyes focused on things that matter, you went and told homosexuals they were lesser humans. I’m finding it hard to conjure the words of how this makes me feel… Nauseous? Disgusted? Furious? I’ve always been a proud Tar Heel, with two words mind you, but now I’m seeing the benefit of just staying in parts of the country that treat people fairly.

As a white, middle-class heterosexual person with a blonde wife, cutiepants little daughter, and a newfound love of golf and hot pepper jelly, it is incumbent upon me to take a stand on this issue. In times when the downtrodden are trod down, it’s up to the blessed to take on their misery. And so I can say this, loud and clear: I stand with the geeks, the nerds, the chess club, the filmstrip operators. I stand with Hispanics, African Americans, Koreans, Indians, and anyone else who doesn’t look like you.

I stand with the twee, the fey, the queens, the fruits, the prissy, the mincing, with Green Day’s faggot America. I stand with the godless, the agnostics, the flaky, the unsure, and the morally fluctuating. I stand with them because they have the awesomeness borne of exclusion, and because they are the music makers, and they are the dreamers of dreams.

Fuck your opinions. Aren’t you tired of them yet? Your lazy bigotry would be criminal if it weren’t SO BORING. You’re goddamn hopeless. You react to facts by doubling down on your bullshit, and apparently the only way things will change is for you to die off. Thank god that’s happening:

GayMarriageGraph.jpg

If you voted for Amendment One for religious reasons, seriously, you can go fuck yourself. I’m past sugarcoating this for the fence-straddlers: if your church believes that certain people should be denied basic human rights, Jesus himself would have wept.

Your pastor, or bishop, or priest or imam say otherwise? They’re wrong. If you still believe it because you’re relying on some sort of “gut instinct”, you should stick your hand down the garbage disposal so you can’t vote anymore. Seriously.

GayMarriageMap2012(bl).jpg

See the states where it’s all pink, bright red or dark red? From now on, when Tessa and I visit or pass through those states, I will not say we are married. Because our “marriage” doesn’t mean shit in those places. I will love her just as much in New York as I do in North Carolina, but we want no part of an institution that is doled out unfairly.

The day will come when they will wonder why Americans were such assholes to gay people. Those of us living in this era will have the stink of that bigotry whether we agreed with it or not, the way we lump together everyone from the Middle Ages. If you voted for the amendment, you’re either diabolically cynical, or painfully unenlightened – and either way, you leave a stain that is murder to remove.

0 thoughts on “hated for loving

  1. Salem

    Since it appears that every County with a College voted against Ammendment one to no avail, I am convinced that had they been on this Ballot, in this primary, my State would have passed Ammendments against the teaching of evolution, and voted for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act. Real families will experience Real suffering and Real financial hardship in this already difficult time.
    I have a prayer. I pray that our NC community of evolved heterosexuals speak loudly enough that NC’s gay families find a way to stay and fight for the repeal of this Ammendment. Sadly, the most influential of these families are probably the ones that can most afford to ship out. Don’t leave. Don’t let this fight be left to folks who show up on a plane. Stay and fight. This is my prayer.

    Reply
  2. Amanda

    I don’t know you, but I love you. Thank you for writing this. I’ll be sharing it with everyone I know.

    Reply
  3. DAve\

    Well stated Ian. As you always have, I feel like you’re still speaking for our generation.
    -An embarrassed North Carolinian

    Reply
  4. Alyson

    I am just not generous enough to allow that some people really have deeply held religious beliefs that made them vote for that amendment. I think those people just voted their own bigotry and that’s it. I am not willing to be respectful of their supposed morals and beliefs and let them get away with it. From now on, when I run across those people, I’m calling them bigots to their faces and asking them how it feels to get manipulated by political parties who want to win and preachers who want bigger Cadillacs. No more trusting love and righteousness to win out.
    And also! Where the hell was the national gay movement leadership? Where was the HRC with its $1000/plate dinners? Where were Lady Gaga and Neil Patrick Harris with their deep pockets? Why was it that when I was calling voters to remind them to vote against the amendment, were there near constant emails asking me for me money to robocall with Erskine Bowles’s and Bill Clinton’s recorded messages? Someone has the money for that stuff. It should not have come down to days and hours before the vote. Where was our President?
    I don’t give a damn that NC is in the South. The South is no more bigoted and screwed up than anywhere else. Here in NYC I hear more bigotry, rudeness, hate, and general meanness than I’ve heard anywhere in my life. I’ve seen people of color kicked out of bodegas for no reason and I’ve seen the staff of the best restaurants in the world sneer at people for having worn the wrong thing or for looking too poor. It’s awful how we treat each other, no matter where we are. North Carolina is an important state, with its industry and its educational institutions, and its natural resources. Whatever anyone thinks, it can’t be written off that easily. It will continue to influence our economy and culture as a nation, and its plight cannot be ignored. I understand how tempting it is for activist organizations to focus a lot of attention on New York and California because those are the fights you can win. It is unconscionable to me that they wouldn’t choose to focus attention on a place like North Carolina, where the fight might be harder, but still isn’t going anywhere.
    Those gay middle school kids are still there. Those gay families are still there. Those folks hoping for righteousness are still there, and, at some point, people like us, people with means and hearts and heads, will have to pay attention.

    Reply
  5. kent

    This is why everyone should move to Iowa. Though we do have dunderheads like Bob Vander Plaats and Steve King here.

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  6. Bob

    Just so you know, this geezer agrees with you completely; we’re not all hopeless.
    Unfortunately, living in California, home of Prop. 8, I’m not in much of a position to tell the voters of North Carolina what nitwits they are. But they are.

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  7. kjf

    And where is our President – the self described fierce advocate for gay and lesbian rights. Oh yeah he’s out evolving on this issue. Somehow I think his evolution will be complete the day after election day. Just shameful how he tries to tippy toe around this issue. My wonderful daughter is gay and lives in California. She is having her fake wedding in October in LA, knowing that she could have a legal one if she went to another state. But California is her home. It just breaks my heart when shit like this happens because there are people in this country who actually take steps to hate, all in the name of God. So NC you can keep your hate and John Edwards too.

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  8. Kelly in NC

    Today I feel like I did all those times we reelected Jesse Helms. Disappointed and embarrassed.

    Reply
  9. craighill

    i’m with kjf – where the hell was obama during all this? surprised there weren’t a lot more FUs directed his way in this post. i live in nc and didn’t hear a peep of opposition from washington against this amendment. if i (ex prez of the young republicans) can outwardly oppose it, why can’t mister “hope and change”? what a fraud.

    Reply
  10. Kjf

    Get Charles Darwin out of his grave – the evolution has occurred! Obama now behind marriage equality.

    Reply
  11. Jackie

    Clearly, the President got up today and the last few evolutionary steps clicked into place when he read this. Ian completed Obama’s journey.

    Reply
  12. Heather W

    I am wondering why, whenever anyone anywhere dissents with something, anything, on the liberal agenda, especially when it comes to matters directly involved with with a person’s religious beliefs, or laws tied to those beliefs, we are labelled as “bigoted assholes” to quote you, or something equally degrading by others. By looking at the map you posted, it’s clear that the majority of the country, under you definition, are bigots. Do you REALLY think that’s true? Just because there are those of us who have a traditional view of marriage, whether due to religious views or world views, it doesn’t mean that more than half the country are bigots. We just have a different viewpoint that you. We (well the vast majority of us) don’t seek to be cruel or divisive…Most of us, I dare say, have at least one gay friend in our lives. We simply vote our conscious. If that makes me “boring”, I guess I’ll be out here “fucking myself and waiting to die off” as you so directly put it. In the mean time, I will continue voting my conscious. You can continue spouting hate filled rants bent on trying to make us all out as haters…It seems that is what the liberal media is best at. You create more division than the people you disparage.

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  13. Scott

    Some facts to hopefully offset this over-emotional, insulting post:
    -Every adult in NC has an equal right to marry, according to the definition of marriage (straight and gay alike).
    -Gay people pursue lifestyles that make marriage generally not applicable to them. But gay people could choose to marry a member of the opposite sex if they choose to, just like someone who considers themselves straight.
    -Gay marriage advocates expect the special privilege of redefining marriage to suit their lifestyle.
    -Redefinition of marriage would change the meaning of every married couple’s union (by definition).
    The simple truth is, the majority have confirmed that gay marriage advocates don’t have a right to redefine marriage to suit the lifestyle that gay people pursue.
    I personally wish govt were out of the marriage business altogether. But until that happens, gay marriage advocates would be better served by pursuing a union equal to marriage, but called something else. That could avoid the redefinition of current marriages, and still provide equality in all material benefits except the name.
    It’s interesting though, that GM advocates specifically pursue marriage redefinition. It’s almost like they want to specifically attack the traditional definition of marriage. And they get upset when people who have already pledged their lives to marriage under the current definition reconfirm that meaning.

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  14. Scott

    Forgot to add:
    When you call someone a bigot, you should consider first the definition of the word.
    Among the various definitions, it essentially means prejudiced intolerance. Which means intolerance based on a judgement made prior to knowing about something.
    If someone considers the facts, and makes an informed judgement of what is right, maintaining an intolerance for what’s wrong, that is by definition not bigotry.
    From the tone of this blog, it appears the prejudiced intolerance isn’t coming from the majority who upheld the definition of marriage Tues.

    Reply
  15. Salem

    An enormous smile came over me when I finished Heather and Scott’s posts, to see that no one wasted their breath arguing with these two.

    Reply
  16. Scott

    Salem, is that an admission that reasonable debate should be outside the agenda of GM advocates?

    Reply
  17. Katie in NC

    This ends up coming as a counterpoint to Scott and Heather only because of chronology (bit late getting to the post, Ian, sorry..) but Ok: let it be said:
    Gay marriage was already illegal in NC thanks to a state statue dating back to 1996. As you surely well know. (And if you didn’t, you had no business “voting your conscience” when your conscience was so obviously ill-informed.) This piece of legislation in all actual fact serves only to strip rights from anyone, gay or straight, who is unmarried and has a family. It doesn’t make gay marriage double-plus banned now – it was already banned.
    It is estimated that 80,000 children in NC will lose their health insurance as a result of this “no unmarried people count” amendment. No 21st century firm will want to work here if they can’t offer benefits to domestic partners – I was getting them in 1992, and that’s 20 years of basic provision now gone.
    You staked out no greater moral high ground that the position already in existence for 16 years. You enacted something punitive for the hell of it. And even if you hate the idea of gay people marrying *that much*, you took a lot of others down with your hate. Your conscious must be robust.

    Reply
  18. Scott

    That’s right Katie, GM was illegal before. The amendment does 2 things: Confirms the definition of marriage, and states that marriage is the only domestic legal union recognized by the state.
    The definition of marriage protects marriage from potential judicial activism. Apparently judicial activism in other states made the people of NC feel that they needed some protection from it.
    It sounds like the 2nd part, naming marriage as the only recognized union, is the part you’re against, largely because you believe that 80,000 children will lose health insurance.
    I don’t know why 80,000 children (legal dependents) should lose health insurance just because gay unions aren’t recognized. One way for you to assess this in a truthful way is to monitor the actual results of the amendment on health insurance for children, instead of posting fear and guilt based accusations and insults, with no substantiating facts.
    You, the blogger, and many other GM advocates have accused traditional marriage advocates as hating people, which is baseless. I don’t hate GM advocates or gay ppl, on the contrary I know and respect some fine ppl of that preference. But that’s not reason enough to redefine marriage (for which they have equal right to as straight ppl if they so choose).
    If your concern boils down to health insurance, there are far less controversial ways (and less intrusive toward marriages) to go about getting insurance benefits.
    Remember that companies started providing benefits as simply an alternative means of compensation instead of paying more in salary. If companies (as you say) want to provide benefits but can’t, they can always provide higher compensation via salary, etc. But don’t make the mistake of thinking health care is a right. It simply isn’t.

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  19. Ian

    craighill, I have to say I’m pretty much with you on this one – painfully little, painfully late. Meaningful, sure, but long past the curve.

    Reply
  20. Educate me please

    Who defined marriage as one man and one woman? Where did that idea originate. Seriously? Why is it that the original idea is so sacred that it can’t be amended as Scott and Heather fear. How does allowing a gay couple to marry affect or re-define a “traditional” marriage? Scott and Heather, do you have a problem that “traditional marriages” were already “amended” to allow blacks and whites to marry? Did that offend your “conscious” conscience? If so, then you’re hopeless. If not, then your argument that a gay marriage will re-define a hetero marriage is flawed. Similarly, if you’re basing your argument for marriage on religion, there should be a separation of church and state. If you’re basing it on biology, then what say you about a hetero couple that cannot bear children or have no interest in raising children? Bottom line, your majority rules “win” is going to be struck down and you’ll sulk about judicial activism and you’ll lose. In the meantime, I hope that your life soon depends on a gay person. And I hope that it hinges on whether they decide to stick with their “conscious” conscience. And though I suspect they will be better than you and better than me, a big part of me hopes that you get screwed in the process, as a bit of “conscious” karma.

    Reply
  21. The other Scott - now SWF

    The only problem with posting only with first names is that two “Scott”s might be confused with one another.
    From here on out, I’ll self-identify as SWF (Scott William Foster), a self-declared Massachusetts liberal. I find the comments of the other Scott to be depressing and backwards.
    A simple – you realize you are harming another human – should be sufficient to stop the anti-gay movement. But, surprisingly, it is not.
    Those who are unable to lift their eyes up to the clear truth about the need for this civil right are uneducated. Sorry, it’s that simple. I don’t mean to be patronizing, but it’s like arguing with someone that poison ivy doesn’t spread because you itch the spot where your skin is inflammed. There is so much science on this point that it is preposterous to think otherwise. But still, everytime I get poison ivy, someone will tell me not to scratch it or it will spread. They are just listening to old-wives’ tales and they are uneducated. It’s just that simple.
    I believe in a government that guarantees equal rights to all of its citizens – period. No need to qualify the sentence with “regardless of . . . . ” Equal rights – all citizens.
    Not sure you folks are getting this, so I’ll repeat it: Equal rights – all citizens.
    I’m not a religious man, but I will fight to the death anyone that wants to trample on your right to worship. Why? Equal rights – all citizens.
    I am married to my female wife and enjoy hetero-sexual sex. But I will defend your right to go to bed with whomever you want (with their consent of course, so no pedophiles). Why? Equal rights – all citizens.
    If marriage was a club – a private club that enjoyed no special government authorized or sanctioned benefits – then you could do as you please. Maybe those opposed to gay marriage – or “non-traditional” marriages whatever their definition – could create a “Pure Marriage Club” open only to those persons that meet their definition of a “pure marriage.” They could have meetings and get a special handshake. And they could leave the rest of us alone.
    Just a thought.
    Oh, and Equal rights – all citizens.
    SWF

    Reply
  22. Scott

    “Who defined marriage as one man and one woman?”
    Every major culture in history has defined it between male and female. Leaving the singular nature of your questions aside for the moment, it’s worth pointing out that natural law holds the male/female relationship apart from all others as the only possible way to create children. So it’s reasonable that since children are the most important thing to any society, societies with few exceptions, have always upheld a special bond for potential parents.
    This doesn’t mean children are a requirement of marriage, that would simply be impractical. I’m just pointing out the fact that it’s reasonable for a society to recognize with a unique union, that which nature dictates as critical and unique.
    What seems to be at issue is a perceived inequality. I’ll point out again, that’s perceived, and is simply not factual…
    All adults, regardless of preference, all have equal right to pursue marriage according to its definition.
    Straight, gay, bi, or asexual ppl alike can equally pursue marriage, and are equally prohibited against things like gay marriage, marrying a sibling, marrying a non-human, etc. The perceived difference is their preferences. Note one’s preferences do not come to bear on the existence of equality. If you want to rob a bank and I don’t, that preference has no bearing on the fact we are both equally prohibited from it. If you want to create a business and I don’t, that preference has no bearing on the fact we have equal right to pursue that.
    “Educate me please” states if I hold my view for religious reasons, that’s invalid because of so-called separation of church and state. I do partially hold my view due to my religious beliefs, but since I have a hunch that holds no credibility with GM advocates and would only invite more insults, I just prefer to point out the facts that form the basis for a reasonable stance, which can stand independently of purely faith based beliefs.
    The idea of separation of church and state you mention is factually incorrect. That term came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist church in 1802, assuring them that a “wall of separation” protects free worship from the government. It was never intended to prevent religious views and morals from guiding government. The 1st Amendment doesn’t prohibit religion based stances by our representatives, and it certainly doesn’t prevent state constitutions being voted on by citizens expressing their religious views. It does prohibit congress from making laws establishing an official religion, or infringing on the free exercise of religion.
    GM advocates make an unfortunate error if they think this stance is mean or hating.

    Reply
  23. Alyson

    The problem that I have with these religious arguments is that they’re predicated on the idea that gay marriage and homosexuality are prohibited as an important part of Christianity. These were not things that any Christians cared about before Karl Rove realized that the culture war couldn’t be fought based on abortion alone. He saw the writing on the wall, and realized that there would have to be another manipulative issue to fire up his base. So all those gay marriage ballot measures came up in 2002 and 2004, and all of a sudden the churches started to preach about gay marriage.
    Scott, when you say that your reasons are partly based on religion, you’re simply lying. Your religion doesn’t much care about gay marriage. It doesn’t care about gay marriage more than it cares about holding a pig skin or the mandatory stoning of your wife for various causes. This isn’t about a deeply held belief for you.
    Your other arguments, though articulate, are thin and poor. If nature dictates that the man-woman pair bond is unique and critical, it does not automatically follow that it should be the only pair bond recognized by government.
    The 80,000 children that the amendment opponents have been talking about refer to the children of those couples (of heterosexual or homosexual orientation) who are unmarried, and thus in domestic partnership. You know, of course, that domestic partnership was also eliminated by this amendment. That seems like a lot of chaos to create just to “protect” a law from “judicial activism.”
    You haven’t made any arguments that should be expected to compel anyone to believe that amendments and laws like these are actually necessary to society. That’s why those who believe in gay marriage call you a bigot. You don’t, in fact, have an informed opinion, and you can’t explain why anti gay marriage laws should exist. The most you are able to do is poke insignificant holes in arguments about freedom of religion and provide dictionary definitions of bigotry.

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  24. Scott

    It’s interesting (and telling) that you judge my stated reasons for my stance as constituting lying.
    I really don’t care if you believe me or not. I’ve stated very plainly my rationale independent of my religious views.
    If you’re interested in my religious views, the Bible states homosexuality is wrong, so therefore I accept it as such. Not that I’m judging anyone… the Bible says lots of things are wrong and I personally do wrong things all the time. So I’m not interested in trying to condemn someone else while I sin daily.
    But that’s still no reason to redefine marriage so that it doesn’t reflect the type of union that natural law dictates as unique and required.
    You just brought the idea of “necessary to society” into the discussion. By “necessary to society,” do you mean what’s truly (objectively) necessary for a society to continue, or do you mean what’s subjectively deemed “necessary” by the members of the society?
    1) Objective requirements: The society must produce offspring. Since nature dictates that only m/f relationships can do that, and since it’s a fact that, all other things being equal, the healthiest upbringing is by one’s father and mother, it’s simply reasonable that society recognizes the unique and critical m/f relationship with some sort of bond. We just call it marriage.
    2) If you’re talking subjectively deemed “necessary” by society’s members, then that’s truly a collective judgement like the one made last Tuesday.
    I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind on this. I’m just pointing out some facts to hopefully quell some of the vitriolic attacking language used by this blogger and GM advocacy crowd, in hopes they see it’s really unreasonable to just attack blindly when they don’t get their way.
    As for people calling me a bigot, I refer to my previous post where I go through what that means, and why it doesn’t apply to someone who bases their intolerance on knowledge, fact, and reason.

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  25. Scott

    …and Alyson when you say I haven’t made any arguments that would compel, consider: Since the GM advocacy is upset, and the stated reason for being upset is “inequality”, the burden of showing an inequality exists is with GM advocates.
    I’ve described how there is equality in marriage, regardless of one’s preference.

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  26. SWF

    Using Scott’s (not the original, but the recent one) logic, the following law is completely acceptable “All people with brown hair shall be granted a $1K tax credit.”
    You blondes, you red heads, you dark haired ravens, you balded old farts, you chemo patients, you are all on your own. HOWEVER, you are free to dye your hair or wear a wig to get the tax credit. Now I know that wearing a wig might seem like we are forcing you to cover up who you are, but we are not forcing you do anything that you don’t want to! It’s just that if you want this benefit, this government sanctioned benefit, you are going to need to change.
    Seem ridiculous?
    Ok, how about I replace “$1K tax credit” with “right to see your spouse in the hospital and automatically have a medical power of attorney, right to succeed to assets by intestacy (without a will), right to be the guardian of your own children, right to share in your spouse’s health insurance, right to have sex with your spouse, right to have a confidential – non discoverable conversation (spousal privilege), right to succeed to assets after the death of your spouse tax free (no estate tax on the first to die)”?
    Does that make you – the red haired folks – want to put the wig on yet?
    No?
    Despite all of these benefit just waiting for you if you would just put the wig on, you refuse to do so?
    How strange. It’s just a wig?
    Maybe I should rethink this whole stance of mine. Apparently your red hair is really important to you – almost part of your innate identity. Maybe I should respect this difference and modify the law to allow EVERYONE (equal rights – all citizens) to take advantage of the statutorily constructed benefits.
    Or maybe I’m just a callous fucktard who has no compassion for my fellow man.

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  27. Scott

    SWF, that’s one of the least relevant posts I’ve seen.
    None of the things you mention address the fact that it’s entirely reasonable for a society to uphold a union that reflects what natural law dictates.
    Some of the things you mention don’t even make sense: You don’t need to be married to have sex, or to be guardian to your own children, though it’s certainly healthier for the child to be with his/her own mother and father.
    The other things you list would be much easier to attain if GM advocates would stop trying to redefine marriage, and just seek some other union that includes the things they want.
    This is what GM advocates obviously know, but pretend isn’t so… That they specifically do want to redefine marriage, regardless of millions of married people already pledging their lives to marriage under the current definition. Expecting to change that definition, thereby changing the meaning of all current marriages, is simply a demand for a special privilege, in an attempt to remove marriage’s reflection of natural law.

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  28. Scott

    SWF, to make your analogy even remotely relevant, natural law would have had to dictate that only brown haired people are capable of producing children.
    I’m going to chalk this analogy up to “reaching”.

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  29. Swf

    Chalk it up to whatever you will, you are still a callous fucktard.
    Lets assume in my scenario that only brownhaired folks can har kids. Not so far fetched since my wife and I could not have kids. Under your “natural law” we were unable to get married. But get married we did. Along with thousands, literally thousands, of people over 50 who have no, NO chance of having kids.
    So you must be ok with the 50+ gay crowd getting married?
    Overall, I’m sorry that I engaged you. It would have been more worthwhile to engage some algae I this discussion,
    I know that you think you are winning this argument, but you are playing checkers, and I’m playing chess.
    Please leave this hallowed ground to those worthy of walking on it.

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  30. Sam

    Dear Scott,
    Yes, we are absolutely are trying to redefine marriage. Just as it has been previously redefined to allow mixed race marriages. Did that change ruin marriage for you, too? Did the world end then? Would you have preferred mixed race marriages have been called “Mixed Unions” so the sanctity of the previous same-race definition of marriage would not be violated?
    As you’ve probably figured out in this thread, it’s just a matter of time before gay marriage is legal everywhere. And “your side” knows it. However, instead of giving in to the majorities as they occur state-by-state, (which some states have today and all will have in perhaps just ten years) your side has placed vindictive roadblocks (like amendment one) designed to slow social progress. And for that, I don’t look at the anti-GM crowd as a group that is acting fairly or rationally. Any group that attempts to deny the will of a future majority will NEVER have my respect. There will be gay marriage. It’s just a matter of time.
    I’m straight. Until recently, this was an issue over which I was completely indifferent. However, (mostly due to the actions of the anti-GM folks) I am now, and will always be, firmly pro-gay marriage. I will dedicate time and money to make gay marriage happen faster. It is just so blatantly obvious to me that it’s the right thing to do.
    Good luck living on the wrong side of history and social progress. History doesn’t look kindly upon those grasping to the old ways even after social progress slaps them in the face. The issue has been fully outlined for you here. The ignorant and the lemmings have an excuse. However, you are educated and articulate, so no excuse for you…

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  31. Amelia

    Scott, you keep suggesting that gay citizens ‘seek some other union that includes the things they want’.
    It seems clear to me that you don’t fully understand Amendment One as it clearly outlaws any union in NC that isn’t MARRIAGE.
    There IS no other union in NC that offers non-married citizens the legal protections granted by marriage – legal protections that should be available to ALL citizens of this country, regardless of sexual orientation.
    Just think about that for a little while.
    Marriage equality isn’t about ‘redefining’ marriage for anyone. It’s about equal protections under the laws of this land.
    BTW, you might find this little memo from Jan van Lohuizen – a highly respected Republican pollster – interesting.
    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/05/top-gop-pollster-to-gop-reverse-on-gay-issues.html
    Marriage equality is coming, no matter how hard you try to stop it.

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  32. Scott

    SWF, you don’t seem to have addressed the facts I listed.
    Also, you claim your views are based in equal rights, but you don’t acknowledge that all adults, gay or straight, have equal rights under the current definition of marriage to pursue marriage if they so choose.
    The issue is that GM advocates don’t want to pursue marriage,

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  33. Scott

    Interesting that this is compared to checkers and chess. This isn’t a game, but simply an attempt to either acknowledge natural law or to try to counter it. I seek the truth, and that is simply that nature (actually God) has determined m/f relationships are unique and critical. Therefore society recognizing that with some bond (defined as marriage in this case) is entirely reasonable.
    No one posting here has attempted to address this fact. Which is telling. You had rather insult than seek truth.
    Let’s suppose some day marriage is redefined as you want. It doesn’t change natural law, it would undermine the meaning of current marriages, and there would be a further effort to designate a new type of union to reflect natural law, and the cries of inequality would continue.
    Whatever. The fact is these human maintained union definitions are meaningless in the sense that they can’t change truth. We can either seek to embrace natural law (and live better for it) or reject it (and live poorly). All of us who suffer when some try to force others to reject what nature dictates. In reflecting nature, anyone who seeks to reject it has already lost (if you insist on a game analogy).
    As for interracial marriage, since nature dictates males and females from different races can produce perfectly healthy children, that’s ok by me.
    As for the idea that I’m supposedly saying only couples with children should be allowed to marry, I’ve already addressed that and don’t care to repeat myself for those who aren’t interested in the truth, and who misrepresent my statements.
    For the person who said I don’t understand the amendment, I’ve already stated the 2 things it does. The nice thing about state constitutions (opposed to federal mandates) is if you don’t like them you can always move to another state you like better, or more easily attempt to change the part you don’t like. In this case if you don’t want to move, I was simply stating that you’d encounter much less resistance to another amendment recognizing a new union if you were to leave marriage alone. If the huge numbers are in play that this audience claims, then you may be successful. I still don’t agree with it since it conflicts with natural law. But if marriage was respected, I’d respect your right to pursue something else.
    Incidentally any new union would be open to gay, straight, bi, asexual people equally, just like marriage is today. So equality would be maintained just as it is today.
    As for being on the wrong side of history, right and wrong are not popularity contests. I’m not interested in consensus. I’m interested in truth.

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  34. Bud

    Well Scott…we agree on one thing: “right and wrong are not popularity contests.” I know you didn’t mean the same thing I read in those words when you wrote them, but it doesn’t really matter.
    When the framers of our Republic wrote the words “all men are created equal” they REALLY meant “all white, land-owning males are created equal” – but the cool thing is, over the last 235 years, our understanding of the universal rights of human beings has expanded to include EVERYONE. As you may know, according to the American tradition and our laws, words on a page don’t give any rights to anyone – the rights are given to us by “the Creator” and merely recognized and protected by the words on a page.
    The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to our Constitution says each state must provide equal protection under the law to all people. What you propose for marriage, that gay people are free to marry someone of the opposite sex, is very much like the “separate but equal” situation after Plessy v. Ferguson and before Brown v. Board of Education. It simply doesn’t pass the smell test. If procreation were the only reason people chose to marry, I’d have to agree with your natural law argument. But according to the one study I could find on the subject ( http://www.relationships.org.au/relationship-advice/faqs/why-do-people-get-married ), not only is procreation NOT the only reason people get married, there are several reasons for wanting to marry that people consider MORE important: 1) Love; 2) Companionship; and 3) To signify a life-long commitment. “Security for Children” was number 4, and interestingly, about half of gay people want to have kids ( http://www.mombian.com/2007/03/27/two-million-glb-people-want-to-adopt-study-says/ ). And IMO, they have the creator-given right to do so within the friendly confines of a loving union with the person of their choosing.
    Two solutions are possible. One solution is marriage equality, which is currently the law in 6 US States and 10 other countries (where the sky has not fallen, btw). The other solution, as you suggest, is that marriage per se be left to the churches and all unions, gay or straight, be recognized by the state via civil union.
    Either of those solutions would treat all citizens equally. The current situation does not.

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  35. Scott

    I’m not attempting to assess peoples’ *reasons* for marrying. For all I know every single person could have their own unique reason why they desire to get married. Some may be just because of a whim, some for money, some for love, some to have children, etc.
    That’s wholly different from the reasonableness of a society collectively upholding a definition that reflects natural law.
    It appears you’re confusing peoples’ individual reasons with society’s purpose for marriage definition.
    If 2 people want to simply marry for love, all that’s needed is a willing person to marry them (such as in the religious aspect for instance), vows, and a ceremony if desired. Love itself does not require state recognition, nor the subsidy that the state’s society must sacrifice to maintain this recognition.
    The conflict is that GM advocates want a state recognized marriage. This *state recognition* doesn’t rely on love or any other individual reason to exist. It essentially boils down to a collective decision by the society whether to subsidize a particular type of union. If the society wishes to encourage the healthiest upbringing for its most critical asset (children), it’s quite reasonable for it to base its decision to subsidize a union on something incontrovertibly true:
    Natural law.
    Not opinion. Not smell tests as assessed by subjective GM advocates. But absolute truth.
    Note if marriage is redefined to make gay unions equally subsidized as hetero unions, the society would be deciding that the unique and critical m/f relationship (and their potential children’s upbringing) are of no special importance.
    I wholly agree with you that rights come from God, the paper just documents this and states protection for those rights we are all born with. Rights that by their nature do not cost money and do not rely on using force to tap the fruits of others’ labor to acquire. I disagree with you about our Founders. While certainly sinful humans like all of us, they laid as strong a foundation as they could, stronger than any other nation’s, that has proved to result in the single most free, most prosperous, most generous nation the world has ever known.

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  36. jon

    Really well said, Bud. I’ve been contemplating for the last few days how to respectfully counter Scott’s arguments, and you’ve done it very well.
    Scott, you seem insistent on a certain mathematical formula: A+B=C, where A=man, B=woman, and C=marriage with potential for babies. You have been very logical in your progression to this conclusion, to which I say, No Duh.
    But where I believe your logic fails you completely is in your assertions as to why A and B MUST represent “Man” and “Woman” respectively, or for that matter why C must equal “babies.” Why *can’t* A = “loving adult” and B also = “loving adult,” with C equaling committed marriage regardless of babies? You argue marriage is special because only a man and a woman can create a baby, to which I again say, No Duh. But as both you and Bristol Palin well know, it hardly takes a marriage to create babies. As Bud so ably points out, that’s only one of many reasons people choose to marry, and, when you strip away your equality gibberish about the current institution being open to all, your logic for dismissing these other valid reasons for marriage seems to fall back on, “Because me and my God said so.”
    That’s a perfectly fine reason for *you* not to get gay-married. But it’s simply not a valid reason for imposing your beliefs on others, whose marital status in not a single way impacts your own marriage. You’re not in charge, and that argument would get you a D+ in any introductory logic class.

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  37. Scott

    Well that one went through so I’ll attempt a repaste.
    I’m not attempting to assess peoples’ reasons for marrying. For all I know every single person could have their own unique reason why they desire to get married. Some may be just because of a whim, some for money, some for love, some to have children, etc.
    That’s wholly different from the reasonableness of a society collectively upholding a definition that reflects natural law.
    It appears you’re confusing peoples’ individual reasons with society’s purpose for marriage definition.
    If 2 people want to simply marry for love, all that’s needed is a willing person to marry them (such as in the religious aspect for instance), vows, and a ceremony if desired. Love itself does not require state recognition, nor the subsidy that the state’s society must sacrifice to maintain this recognition.
    The conflict is that GM advocates want a state recognized marriage. This state recognition doesn’t rely on love or any other individual reason to exist. It essentially boils down to a collective decision by the society whether to subsidize a particular type of union. If the society wishes to encourage the healthiest upbringing for its most critical asset (children), it’s quite reasonable for it to base its decision to subsidize a union on something incontrovertibly true:
    Natural law.
    Not opinion. Not smell tests as assessed by subjective GM advocates. But absolute truth.
    Note if marriage is redefined to make gay unions equally subsidized as hetero unions, the society would be deciding that the unique and critical m/f relationship (and their potential children’s upbringing) are of no special importance.
    I wholly agree with you that rights come from God, the paper just documents this and states protection for those rights we are all born with. Rights that by their nature do not cost money and do not rely on using force to tap the fruits of others’ labor to acquire. I disagree with you about our Founders. While certainly sinful humans like all of us, they laid as strong a foundation as they could, stronger than any other nation’s, that has proved to result in the single most free, most prosperous, most generous nation the world has ever known.

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  38. Scott

    Maybe I was too wordy in my attempts to respond.
    I’m not addressing individuals’ reasons for getting married, I’m addressing the purpose of society defining marriage in a certain way. Individuals marry for all kinds of reasons, money, love, whim, etc.
    Let’s break marriage down into its 3 parts:
    -Religious – All you need is a willing officiate.
    -Social – All you need is an audience.
    -Government subsidy… this seems to be the contentious aspect.
    I govt part is simply a subsidy. Society has determined subsidizing m/f marriage has a return of benefit to society. This is reasonable because it reflects the facts that only m/f relationships can perpetuate society, and childrens’ fathers/mothers are the best ones to raise them, all other things being equal.
    If society were to equate any relationship to the m/f relationship and equally subsidize them, that would be a cost to society, without any special motivation toward the critical thing that society relies on: Children.
    I can see why, if one replaces society’s purpose with individual reasons, GM advocates think what they do. But that’s a mistake because individual reasons vary infinitely, and could result in marriage meaning a union between anything, or even with oneself.

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  39. Scott

    It seems to be letting me post now. I’d like to address the equation example, and modify it a bit:
    Male (M) + Female (F) probably equals Children (C)
    M+M can not = C
    F+F can not = C
    Given that C is of paramount importance to society, and that C’s own parents provide the healthiest upbringing (all other thing being equal), it’s reasonable that society provide some motivation (pressure even), M+F to remain together.
    If society recognized no difference between M+F, M+M, F+F, or any other relationship anyone desires, then no govt backed motive would exist.
    Which ironically I would prefer… meaning I wish govt was out of the marriage business. That would remove the state funded financial motive to get married and leave it in the religious and social realms only.
    Still, if govt is going to spend money to subsidize something, it’s reasonable that it be uniquely beneficial to society.

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  40. Bud

    Scott, as I hope you’re aware, we’re governed in this country, not by “natural law” but by the US Constitution and its Amendments; and by laws enacted by federal, state and local governments which are consistent with the Constitution. There’s a Very Good reason for this.
    “Natural Law” is not, as you suggest, a pure distillation of “absolute truth”. Natural law, like scripture, is subject to interpretation and has been used throughout the years to justify any number of morally-repugnant and/or misguided laws and customs, including chattel slavery, alcohol prohibition – and various marriage prohibitions, including the prohibition of interracial (and now same-sex) marriage. That’s why our founders, while using their own interpretations of “natural law” as they interpreted it, laid down the foundation that you (and I) love so much. It’s the foundation of a rule of equally-applied secular, law, not the rule of “natural law”. Because one man’s natural law is another man’s heresy.
    Each of us is entitled to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” among other rights. Again, the original interpretation of this was rather narrow, but that’s expanded along with our nation over the years. Now, “happiness” legally means any activity a person wants to pursue that doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights. To be joined in a state-recognized union, equal to all other state-recognized unions, is a desire of many of us, straight or gay (although we usually put it a bit more romantically!). To deny anyone the right to pursue that happiness, the state would need a Very Good reason. I don’t consider your interpretation of “natural law” to be such a reason. In fact, I have yet to hear ANY valid reason gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry (or unite with) the person of their choosing – legally, the same way straight people are allowed to do.
    Regarding children, gay couples can raise children as well as straight couples can. If you have actual evidence otherwise, please show us. It should also be noted that the same argument was made against interracial marriage, that only couples of the same race could properly raise children. It wasn’t true in that argument, and it’s not true here, either. I believe ample evidence supports the proposition that children fare better in two-parent homes where the parents are married. That’s an argument in FAVOR of marriage equality, IMO.
    The notion that marriage is somehow a “subsidy” is completely wrong. I’ve seen this argument floating around the internet for awhile, without a shred of evidence to support it. Like a lot of conservative received wisdom, it sounds right to a certain kind of mind, but doesn’t stand up under scrutiny. If you have the evidence, again, please show and tell. The only evidence I found in a (fairly brief) search suggests just the opposite. Here’s one of several articles suggesting that same-sex marriage will actually benefit the economy: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2009/0527/p02s07-ussc.html
    And anyway, even if marriage is a cost, rather than a boost, to society, gay people pay taxes, too. They pay as much for these benefits as straight people do. They are equally entitled to receive them.

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  41. Scott

    We’re governed by the Constitution, laws, etc, loosely since those things can be broken. But it’s incontrovertible that we’re governed by natural law, absolutely. Natural law is that which can not be broken (like gravity, conservation of energy, and that only a m/f relationship can produce a child). I’m not saying that the govt recognized definition of marriage is natural law… it isn’t. All I’m saying is that natural law (being truth) is a reasonable basis on which to mirror our man made rules.
    I’m not talking about whether gay couples can raise children or how well. I’m saying all other things being equal, a child is best raised by his/her own two parents. Regardless, children are not the stated reason for GM. The stated reason usually is “equality” which already exists but is never acknowledged. Perceived inequality is just a product of unequal preferences, some of which result in a distaste for marriage. The reaction is to want to redefine marriage to suit a preference (which adversely affects others’ marriages by changing the meaning). This is why I say GM advocates seek a special privilege: No other group expects to be able to change the meaning of countless current marriages, but GM advocates claim this privilege as a “right”.
    The preferences that result in this distaste vary widely and aren’t limited to just being gay. Regardless, marriage itself is equally available to all.
    I agreed before that interracial marriage seems fine since natural law dictates race is not a factor in producing children. Faulty arguments against interracial marriage should have no bearing on the GM discussion.
    Benefiting economy would be one potential way to benefit society, but not the most important way, since economy isn’t the major determiner in a society’s continuation. Children are.
    It sounds like you’re saying that benefiting the economy should be prioritized above providing special motivation central to children. Economy is important, but I’d expect that to be determined more by how healthy, reasonable, and moral our children grow up as opposed to enacting GM.
    That does seem to be the value priority of GM advocates, where the m/f relationship simply is not acknowledged as something worthy of society holding it in special regard. I guess that is what it is, I’m not trying to sway peoples’ values (although it would be nice). What I’m trying to do is to get past the claims of bigotry and backwardness and hopefully get GM advocates to see that the majority values simply prioritize children and reflection of natural law. And to hopefully see that since children are the single most critical asset to any society, that this value structure is reasonable.
    Speaking of getting past claims of bigotry, some here including yourself have been very civil and I appreciate that.

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  42. Chuck B

    What harm does it do to existing married couples or to society as a whole to allow same-sex couples to marry? I honestly can’t think of a reasonable answer to that question.
    I am a straight married male. If my gay friends were allowed to marry (and receive the same legal rights that I currently have), I don’t see how my marriage is degraded in any way. I also don’t see how society as a whole is degraded in any way.
    To Scott’s point that children are a society’s most important asset and therefore M/F marriages must be given a special status, I ask “why?” If gay people were allowed to marry, would straight couples suddenly start having fewer children? Would society’s ability to perpetuate itself be endangered? Of course not. Straight people will continue having babies regardless of the laws about gay marriage. The argument that gay marriage somehow endangers a society’s ability to perpetuate itself doesn’t make any sense.

    Reply
  43. Martha

    Wow, I was re-directed back here to the comments from a recent Ian post. A lot to digest but my top of mind comments are:
    Scott says:
    I’m saying all other things being equal, a child is best raised by his/her own two parents. Regardless, children are not the stated reason for GM.
    But, “natural law” is YOUR main argument for disallowing GM. You state the manifestation of natural law is M+F=C(hildren). That would be news to my two young boys. Did my female partner and I need a “M”? Yes, in a biologic way, but ways of assisting natural laws are evolving are they not? Aren’t many heterosexual, natural law abiding marriages assisted in fulfilling your stated reason for being with IVF, surrogates and other supportive measures? Why is their marriage government sanctioned and mine is not?
    Earlier Scott stated: Straight, gay, bi, or asexual ppl alike can equally pursue marriage…
    Yes, we can and we have. But it’s a different marriage than others. Our government affords special rights and privileges only to certain marriages of society. Where’s the “equally” in that? We’ve married in a way that publicly states our commitment to each other and now commits each of us to the welfare of the children this union has created. We simply want the protections others enjoy in inheritance, taxes, spousal rights, etc. These rights hopefully were created to support a family and I defy anyone to observe the daily activities my partner and I engage in with our two boys and define us as anything but a family.

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  44. Bud

    Thanks, Scott. You’ve been civil yourself and it’s a pleasant change from most discussions these days, especially on the internet. This is the way a discussion should be. I think most of time, people spend too much time inside their favorite echo chambers and find it hard to believe that anyone could believe something other than what they believe. I’m listening to what you have to say, and I believe I understand what you’re saying. I can tell you honestly believe what you say.
    I disagree with you on some vital points, however.
    I generally agree with you that natural law is a “reasonable basis on which to mirror our man made rules.” So did the founders of our country. But the devil is in the details, isn’t it? Certainly there are natural laws which govern our universe and our lives. But – there have been myriad interpretations of natural law throughout the years, including contradictory views on many subjects. Even our understanding of the “law(s) of gravity” has evolved from Newton to Einstein to Quantum Mechanics…. Can we not say the same for most sciences? As for “natural law” as interpreted by the Catholic church and others, that belief system, too, has evolved tremendously over the years. Today, Christians, Muslims, Jews, scientists, philosophers (etc) have widely different interpretations of natural law.
    Do you agree that there are many interpretations of natural law? Who decides who’s right?
    You claim equality exists under the current system. No way. A heterosexual is free to unite with the person of his/her choosing in a union recognized by the state. According to your position, homosexuals have the same right, because they can marry anyone they choose – as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. With all due respect, to call that “equality” is simply absurd. If the law said you were free to worship God – as long as you do it at a mosque, in complete accord with the Koran – would your religious freedom be equal to a Muslim’s in that society?
    Do you have evidence to support your claim that “all other things being equal, a child is best raised by his/her own two parents”? Martha speaks eloquently of the fact that children raised by gay parents can be as “healthy, reasonable, and moral” as children raised by straight parents. I know other wonderful same-sex parents who would say the same and I believe it’s true. Of course, if you believe homosexuality is wrong, then you couldn’t believe that and still be logically consistent; at least not the “moral” part. Do you believe homosexuality is wrong?
    Do you believe being gay is a choice? If that’s your belief, then your position on equality is again logically consistent – but – I would respectfully assert, your belief would be incorrect.
    You speak of “preferences”. Gay people don’t choose to be homosexual; they are born with those innate (you could say God-given) desires. Some 5-10% of people are homosexual, and this seems to be consistent across the whole world. Homosexuality has existed throughout human history. At first glance, homosexuality would seem to be evolutionarily maladaptive, but given its prevalence and persistence, isn’t it reasonable to assume that homosexuality conveys some evolutionary advantage to a population? According to the “natural law” of selection, this must be so, or it would have died out long ago. How do you explain it otherwise?
    In our society, people have the right to do what they want as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights. Right? You make the claim that marriage equality infringes on straight people’s rights by changing the meaning of our marriages. How, exactly?
    I’m married. Since my wife and I got married, several states and countries have recognized the marriage equality rights of gay people. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the meaning of MY marriage hasn’t changed. My wife and I love each other just as deeply and are just as committed to each other for life. In fact, I’d say I feel BETTER about our marriage the more marriage equality is recognized as a human right. I don’t like being part of something that excludes others unjustly. (I wouldn’t want to belong to Augusta National Golf Club for similar reasons). How is it different for you?
    So, I don’t think you’re a bigot. I do think many opponents of marriage equality are bigoted (just check out almost any other online discussion), but you seem reasonable, thoughtful and decent. I also see that your position is logically consistent, unless I misunderstand your beliefs. Your concern for the welfare of children is reasonable – it’s a vital concern I think all of us share. I hope you see that my position is also logically consistent and grounded in a desire for fairness and a love of human rights. I think the heart of the matter is that we disagree on three fundamental premises: 1) that homosexuality is innate; 2) that same-sex couples can raise children to be as “healthy, reasonable and moral” as opposite-sex couples can and 3) the meaning of opposite-sex marriage changes if the marriage equality rights of same-sex couples are recognized. I urge you to consider the evidence for your beliefs. In the end, however, we may simply have to agree to disagree. But I’m glad for the opportunity to understand each other and I also thank you for a civil, intelligent discussion.

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  45. Scott

    “What harm does it do to existing married couples or to society as a whole to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
    -It would change the very definition of marriage. While some like yourself Chuck B, wouldn’t mind that (obvious due to your stance), many others object to it quite a bit. I certainly don’t want the definition of my marriage changed so that it no longer reflects natural law… and if it were, I for example, am pretty well stuck then having vowed for life long commitment to a union of which I would no longer support the meaning. At that point, personally I’d want to see some reterming of m/f marriage take place. We could call it “natural marriage” or something. My point being there will always be many people who want a recognition through a special union, of that which factually is unique and critical in nature.
    “If gay people were allowed to marry, would straight couples suddenly start having fewer children?”
    Well that’s an interesting question. Last time I checked, countries that have GM correlate highly to having birth rates far below replacement, so if that trend continues, they’ll be replaced by other cultures. I’m not claiming that GM is the sole reason for this… Personally I believe it’s a general abandonment of traditional family values, of which GM is one aspect. My point in highlighting children is that it’s reasonable for society to uphold a special significance for something that nature dictates as critical. Interestingly, the US birthrate is right under replacement (2.11 births/mother required to stay steady). So in my opinion it’s additionally reasonable not to do anything to risk lowering that.
    Martha, congratulations on your two boys, I’m sure you’re a great parent. You admitted my point, that you needed a male in order to have children. All I’m saying is that **all other things being equal**, children are best raised by their mother and father. If it were possible that you and your partner both produced your children together, wouldn’t you agree you’d have done that instead of the path you took? But nature has determined that’s not possible, and while the path you took is probably very reasonable to have the family you want, I don’t think it’s enough justification to expect society to redefine marriage so that it no longer reflects natural law. The protections you mentioned could be pursued in much less controversial ways than trying to redefine marriage.
    Thanks Bud, same here.
    “there have been myriad interpretations of natural law throughout the years… Do you agree that there are many interpretations of natural law? Who decides who’s right?”
    -Yes and I think of 2 classes of natural law… 1) religious/moral/ethically based, and 2) what we can observe in nature.
    While I agree with you a lot under #1 can be subjective, some still is not: For example it’s wrong to kill. Why?… it happens in nature all the time. But we all know it is, so it’s good to make a law in accordance with this natural law. Charity on the other hand, while we all agree it’s good, shouldn’t be codified into law because that makes it forced, and it would therefore no longer be charity.
    What I’m talking about falls under #2, which is based on factual observation and much less dependent on opinion. The only variation that should ever occur here is the extend to which we can observe, and how thoroughly we understand. The example you used of gravity, while it’s still not completely understood, it’s a great foundation on which to make rules for building codes, etc. We would imperil ourselves to make rules that disregard this category of natural law, and this is where the m/f relationship comes in… It’s an observable fact that only m/f’s can possibly produce a child.
    “You claim equality exists under the current system.“
    -Absolutely. I’m talking equality in a factual sense, so let me put the idea of “wanting to marry anyone we choose” aside. I’m saying any adult is perfectly free to pursue another willing adult of the opposite sex and go get recognized as married by the state, as long as they pass certain tests such as, they can’t be brother/sister, they can’t already be married, etc. Note these tests are a good indication that state recognition of marriage isn’t an unalienable right btw.
    Notice there’s no requirement for any sexual preference in this. You don’t have to necessarily be attracted to the person, or maybe you are. Hopefully one would be. But my point is that whether someone calls themselves gay, straight, bi, asexual, etc, every single adult has the exact same right to pursue marriage. Now I grant you that most non-straight lifestyles would generally make those people not interested in pursuing marriage as I’ve described, but that generality has absolutely no bearing on the fact that all adults can equally pursue marriage. It’s peoples’ preferences that are unequal, not the availability of marriage. It’s peoples’ preferences that make them **choose** that they’re not going to pursue marriage under the m/f definition. The People have just collectively decided that these preferences are not a valid enough reason to redefine marriage so that it ignores natural law.
    “Do you believe being gay is a choice? “
    Yes, here’s why. Materially, I believe all that makes up every human being can be categorized into:
    1) Biology.
    2) Environment (including every detail, thought, etc we ever experience).
    3) Choice.
    I say materially because I think we’re quite a bit more than what’s apparent, spiritually, but that’s not needed for this explanation.
    Each of these 3 things are more complex than anyone can understand. Anyone who says otherwise is probably incorrect. No human fully understands the intricacies of our biology, no one can even begin to categorize completely the experiences of even a single person (except in broad terms), and choice is the same. So, when someone claims that they have no choice, they were simply born gay, or straight, or whatever, and they can’t help but feel a certain way, I believe it’s perfectly reasonable that biology could play a role, but since we do not have complete understanding of any of the 3 above, it seems an uninformed stance to claim that it’s only biological, and most reasonable to assume that all 3 probably contribute to some degree. Of these 3, I believe choices (and resulting habits) are the most powerful in determining behavior and developing preferences.
    “isn’t it reasonable to assume that homosexuality conveys some evolutionary advantage to a population?”
    Well, I don’t think we can reasonably say that just because something occurs consistently, that it’s therefore a good thing. I personally think God created this material existence to see if we’ll choose to do His will or not, and set challenges up for us. I think sex in general (to excess) may be one of those challenges.
    “In our society, people have the right to do what they want as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights. Right?”
    I’d say they should. For marriage, I know if my marriage were redefined so that it no longer meant what I knew it to mean when I vowed the rest of my life to it, that would be an infringement on us. Probably not to an unalienable right, but merely to a “manmade right”. I don’t think I can say I have an unalienable right to having a govt recognize my marriage. Hopefully I’m getting across that while this particular reason is important to me, this isn’t the fundamental reason why I oppose GM. Reasonableness based on natural law is.
    “the meaning of MY marriage hasn’t changed”
    Your relationship with the woman you married probably hasn’t, but it’s a simple fact that if your state recognizes GM, then the **meaning** of your marriage changed, by definition. Your state would no longer hold your m/f relationship of any unique importance. Now that fact may not bother GM advocates, but given the existing vows, it’s still reasonable that it would bother others.
    “I don’t like being part of something that excludes others unjustly”
    I don’t either, but as I pointed out, marriage doesn’t exclude anyone unjustly. Some peoples preferences lead them to not want to pursue marriage. That’s completely different. Again, as an analogy, just because you may want to start a business, and I don’t, doesn’t mean we don’t have equal opportunity to pursue that. My preference wouldn’t entitle me to redefine “business” as including hobbies, so that I can do my hobbies and still be recognized as starting a business. This is how marriage is as well. Defining a thing, which is open to all who accept the terms of the definition, does not constitute unjust exclusion.
    “So, I don’t think you’re a bigot. I do think many opponents of marriage equality are bigoted.
    Thanks, and ditto. Sadly I do think many who are for and against GM are bigoted. I have to say your posts are a rarity of what I’ve experienced in this kind of discussion (not just on here), and it’s a very welcome change!

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  46. Bud

    Scott,
    I think we are approaching the end of a useful discussion. The bottom line is that we believe different things. We both honestly believe what we believe, with reasons which are valid and essential for both of us. Our positions on this issue – as well as our positions on several other issues – are the logical extension of our beliefs and values. Neither of us is likely to change each others’ beliefs or values. But I’m glad to understand yours better and I hope you understand mine better and are glad for it.
    You do make a strange case in defense of natural law. I think the best case against killing is something like the golden rule. None of us wants to be killed, or for our loved ones to be killed, and therefore we all agree it’s wrong to kill. Of course, less-enlightened cultures still have the death penalty and almost all cultures still have war. And in this society, uniquely among “advanced” societies, we allow people to die needlessly each year because they can’t afford proper medical care. But these are other discussions.
    You can argue that only a man and a woman can produce a child – but in fact, one no longer needs the whole man or woman. All that’s needed is sperm and an egg. For same-sex couples who want children, your “only a man and woman can produce a child” has been reduced to a technical challenge. To RAISE a child takes a lot more. And that doesn’t necessarily require a man and a woman. Or a marriage, though we both agree that within a loving marriage is probably the best environment for a child to grow up in. So we also agree that marriage should have a special place in society.
    I feel we’re dancing in a circle on the issue of equality. Since the 1967 Loving v. Virginia case, marriage has been explicitly recognized in the US as a fundamental civil right. Not an unlimited right, but any limit has to be for a Very Good reason. Your examples of incest and bigamy are both good reasons for people not to marry. In the Loving case, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no good reason to prohibit interracial marriage and that any such prohibition violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Rulings in the two most recent high-profile same-sex marriage cases, Perry v. Brown and Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, have both affirmed that the same 14th Amendment protections against marriage discrimination apply to same-sex couples. You may find the Findings of Fact in Perry v. Brown interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_v._Brown#Findings_of_Fact
    You repeat the absurd argument that gay people have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex that straight people do. Could it not have been argued in support of prohibiting interracial marriage that white people and black people already had the right to marry – as long as they married someone of the same race? After all, even if interracial marriage is prohibited, can’t all adults still equally pursue marriage? I hope you see from that example that being able to marry the person you want to marry, and not just any person of the opposite sex (or same race) is absolutely vital to true freedom and equality.
    You also return to The People (ie the Amendment One vote) to support your argument – but we both agreed early on in this discussion that “right and wrong are not popularity contests”. This is a human rights issue and will be recognized as such, probably sooner than a lot of people are ready for.
    While it’s true that more than just biology goes into sexuality, one’s sexuality is not primarily a matter of choice. I base that on a large and growing body of scientific evidence. Yes, biology, environment and choice are complicated, but not beyond understanding or scientific scrutiny. Upon what do you base your opinion that choice trumps biology?
    Interestingly, arguments similar to yours were made about left-handedness. It seems absurd today, but years ago, left-handed children were told that being left-handed was morally wrong and that it was within their control to change it. Many lefties were forced into an awkward right-handedness – which didn’t work out very well for anyone. Trying to force gay people to behave like straight people doesn’t, either.
    “I personally think God created this material existence to see if we’ll choose to do His will or not, and set challenges up for us. I think sex in general (to excess) may be one of those challenges.” You have every right to believe those things – but since this is a discussion about whether the State (or a State) can legally prohibit same-sex marriage, religious beliefs are quite beside the point.
    The meaning of my marriage hasn’t changed, any more than the meaning of my parents’ marriage changed after Loving v. Virginia. Marriage is important and unless we find a better way to raise kids, or a better way to recognize a lifelong commitment, it always will be.
    I do regret that you feel otherwise about the meaning of your marriage. We both agreed early in the discussion that a solution which could work for both sides would be State-recognized civil unions for everyone and leaving marriage per se to churches. But I’ll be amazed if it happens!

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  47. Chuck B.

    I would like to take a moment to thank Scott and several other thoughtful commenters (most notably Bud) for a civil and thought-provoking debate. While my views on the subject are pretty firmly entrenched in the pro-gay-marriage camp, reading Scott’s comments gave me a more nuanced and sophisticated view of the arguments on the other side. Thanks to all for refusing to allow this discussion to degenerate into the typical internet name-calling frenzy that usually accompanies this topic.

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  48. Greg T.

    Coming late (okay, very late) to the discussion, but it seems to me that under Scott’s definition of the ‘Natural Law’ driver for marriage being between a man and a woman because they have the ability to procreate, any couple that is incapable of procreation should not be allowed to marry. This would mean that any woman past menopause and any man or woman that has lost the ability to procreate due to health issues should also be excluded from marriage. According to this logic, I would not be able to marry my wife despite the fact that we are both heterosexual adults.
    Government’s involvement in marriage has been primarily driven by the need to regulate property rights. Over time that role has been expanded to include child protection and other other perceived benefits to society. Arguably, all of those expansions on the role of marriage constitute judicial activism.
    Getting back to property rights – government’s role in marriage helps regulate commerce by defining the family as a legal entity through the marriage contract. This helps define who is covered by a contract such as insurance.
    As far as I can tell, none of the reasons that government is involved in marriage are improved by defining a marriage as solely between a man and woman. It is not the governmental interests of society that are in play, it is religious interests in society, which are not uniform and have no place in government policy.

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