No Fair! You’re Saying What the Amendment Does!

It appears that the people in California trying to force a constitutional amendment to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry are outraged that the California ballot will have wording noting that very fact:

As it now stands, California’s November ballot will introduce Proposition 8 with these words: “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.” On Tuesday, proponents of the proposition went to court to change that “inflammatory” language, saying it will unfairly influence voters to reject the measure.

Well, you know. When the result of your proposed constitutional amendment is to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, a right which they currently enjoy, it doesn’t get much more accurate than to describe it doing just that. Personally, I would have labeled it “The Marriage Nullification Amendment,” since that’s precisely what the amendment will do to thousands of entirely legal marriages in California, but I suspect the folks backing this proposition would like that even less.

And yes, while I realize it’s inconvenient for the people hoping to eliminate the right of same-sex couples of to marry to have accurate labels on their proposition, their desire to spin their rights-stripping piece of nastiness as something fluffy and innocent does not outweigh the public’s need to know exactly what they’re signing onto (or, if the polling on the matter is accurate, more likely rejecting). Basically, they’re complaining that the truth of the proposition is inflammatory. Well, sure. I know it pisses me off.

Somewhat related to this, Orson Scott Card brings the economy-sized jug of crazy sauce to the same-sex marriage discussion with this gem of a column. Whether he’s declaring that same-sex marriage marks the end of democracy in America, or hinting that married heterosexuals should overthrow the government because now gay people can marry, or just flat-out declaring that “biological imperatives trump laws” — I think I’ll call this the “forcible insemination get-out-of-jail-free card” hypothesis, because, hey, men got imperatives – this is OSC at his most foamy, and you really don’t want to miss it. As much as I admire OSC as a writer, and I really do, as a social thinker he’s far deep into my “oh, bless his heart” territory, and it seems unlikely he’ll be making a run for that border any time soon.

Speaking as one of the heterosexually-married people OSC clearly hopes will respond to this clarion call of his, I have to say to him: Dude, no. Just, no. On the list of government actions that have genuinely threatened the well-being of the United States over the years, same-sex marriage is probably about number 36,000, wedged between cashmere subsidies and funding for whatever set of still pictures Ken Burns is slow-panning across on PBS this next year. On the other hand, initiatives intended to cancel out existing marriages and deprive citizens of rights they already have under law jump up to near the top of the list of things I personally worry about tearing at the national fabric. Call it a difference in perspective.

Update, 4:50 pm: Stephen Bainbridge opines: “Card’s overwrought prose doubtless deserved Scalzi’s scorn, but the questions Card is raising are perfectly legitimate.” He’s discussing the legal issues surrounding the Cal Supreme Court decision specifically.

354 thoughts on “No Fair! You’re Saying What the Amendment Does!

  1. I have always had a problem with those who couch their ballot initiative titles and descriptions in foggy language. They blatantly display their true regard for the voting public. Tell it like it is. Don’t waste our time.

    This issue is not way up on my list of things to be concerned about. There are so many more important issues to tackle than trying to delve into someone else’s privacy. Your placement of this on the hierarchy above Ken Burns made me laugh.

  2. wow, that was quite the read from Card. I love Ender’s Game, but as a person he seems a bit over the top. Too bad there wasn’t that much passion in the later books in the Ender series. Meh, Gay marriage is such a stupid thing to argue about. Even as a Christian I can’t seem to muster up enough energy to care about something so benign. There are so many more important social justice issues that our energy could be directed towards.

  3. Oh, OSC. Oh dear. Does that mean that, because I am almost certainly infertile due to a combination of medical conditions, it’s a good thing that I’m not married (to a man)? Or should I be forcibly married and travel to the land of Medical Science? Gay marriage is about the least threatening thing facing Western society right now, and I think that Massachussetts is on the right track by voting to allow non-residents to marry there, thus bringing in all their lovely wedding and travel dollars. They’ve gone straight to the heart of the matter, there.

  4. Regrettably, OSC the “social thinker” has long since taken possession of the mind of OSC the novelist, if the macho neo-con “oh noes! the librul academics and George Soros are out to launch a fascist takeover of Amerika with the UFO technology they’ve been creating in their secret underground lab” jackoff fantasy that was Empire is any indicator.

  5. Hard to believe those words came from the tip of OSC’s pen. Seems he’s failed to note the boundary between fact and fiction. Too bad, though. I greatly respect him as a writer and have enjoyed many of his works. Sadly, I’ll have a hard time not allowing this tragic piece of comedy to taint my opinion of anything else he writes.

  6. Wow. Wow wow wow.
    I thought this would be all about gay marriage, but it turns out he also knows a few things about straight marriage:

    “Husbands need to have the whole society agree that when they marry, their wives are off limits to all other males. He has a right to trust that all his wife’s children would be his.

    “Wives need to have the whole society agree that when they marry, their husband is off limits to all other females. All of his protection and earning power will be devoted to her and her children, and will not be divided with other women and their children.”

    My wife will be glad to know she can quit her job. Because her job is to make babies. She’ll be thrilled.

  7. How about the fact that the sanctified state of marriage has meant that rampant adultary, female enslavement, and even pedarasty have been accepted as part and parcel depending on when and where you happen to be throughout history? The sheer audacity that two consenting adults want people to recognize that they have made a permanent commitment to one another, my god.

  8. This is not Scott Card’s only screed against gay marriage. An earlier one declared that gays have more loyalty to gays than to America. Of course one might lay that at the feet of certain religious groups as well. And even if true, what of it?

    I, for example, am more loyal to my immediate family than America.

    Discuss at will.

  9. Wowzers. Having already stopped buying Card’s books because the last couple I read were weak, I now wish I could stop buying them even more because he apparently has lost his marbles.

    I live about three blocks from the Castro, our country’s biggest and oldest gay district, so you’d think I and my girlfriend would be experiencing any of the alleged shock wave of negative effects from all of those happy couples getting hitched. So far, nada. Although I am worried that a further increase in conscientious homeowners in the neighborhood will force me to repaint sooner than I otherwise would.

  10. From Card:

    Its meaning is universal: It is the permanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.

    “Semipermanent” seems like a bit of a retcon. Though I never been entirely clear why people who believe fervently in an afterlife would swear “until death do us part” anyway.

  11. You know, sometimes I hate the internet for showing me just how completely wacko some of my favorite authors are, especially those who are starting to get up there in years. I guess all I can do is shake my head, say “OH ORSON SCOTT CARD NO”, and not buy his books. Not that I was buying them anyways, because at some hard-to-define point he stopped being able to write anything but drivel with fundamentalist wackjobbery leaking in.

    As for the amendment label, I just love (and by love I mean despise) how the same people who whine about democracy being destroyed by the courts can always be counted on to do their best to obscure their actual intentions. It reminds me of how the creationists and so forth are always complaining about ‘bias’ with evolution and the age of the Earth and so forth. Sorry, no, that’s not biased, it’s simply an accurate description of reality.

  12. From Brian White:

    I thought this would be all about gay marriage, but it turns out he also knows a few things about straight marriage:

    *OSC quotes removed for length*

    My wife will be glad to know she can quit her job. Because her job is to make babies. She’ll be thrilled.

    It’s ironic that Card’s argument makes claims that are only viable because his church was forced to drop polygamy.

  13. I’m pretty sure that it’s an OSC doesn’t get out of bed without downing an industrial sized jug of the crazy. There’s nothing economic about his splashy nuts.

    It always amazes me that people can’t let other people be and still continue to take things personally that in the end, have very little to do with them. It’s totally star-bellied Sneetch territory in my mind. Somehow one person having something you also have means what you have is lessened? I don’t get it.

    Maybe I don’t get it because I want to destroy America or something. I don’t know.

  14. you know

    The ender series would have been far more interesting with some Gay Marrage as part of the plot.

    Just saying…

  15. This may be my new personal favorite OSC wacko moment, previously it was his column blasting liberals as short sided while explaining that Goerge W is the best president since Lincoln.

    Man he is a special one.

    I mean, the sheer insanity of what he spouts is not only so utterly outrageous, but also, from a purely philisophical stand point, so completely and utterly wrong, you can’t even get mad, your jaw just hangs slack and you chuckle a little.

    And one last note, would some one be so kind hearted as to shoot him a quick message that “slippery slope” arguments are not actually logically valid? Cause he used about fifteen of em.

  16. Right on, John. (Er. Apparently I’m channelling 1972; I have no idea why, since I was barely able to print the alphabet at the time.) I keep wondering why so many of these people have such weak marriages and such terrible sex. They must, since they are so convinced that the presence of ay alternative will have people turning their backs on hetero marriage and sex in such droves.

    There is only one way in which I can see the legality of same-sex marriages hurting me: if a huge number of new couples are now able to get marriage benefits for health insurance, my costs might go up. But
    1) that system is so broken this is the *least* of its issues and
    2) sometimes there is a cost to doing right. I can deal with that.
    Most other marriage benefits I can think of, like next-of-kin rights and being able to adopt, don’t hurt or cost anyone not directly involved and generally anyone who is hurt by them, in the cases I can think of, is doing something skanky like trying to make medical decisions for a relative while ignoring the wishes of his chosen spouse, or arguing for leaving a child in foster care rather than giving her loving parents who don’t fit a cookie cutter. I don’t find myself able to muster much sympathy for those.

  17. “The pretext is that state constitutions require it — but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.”

    This statement is wrong on so many levels. The big one being that, well, he’s talking about American history, not human history. Gay marriage has existed for thousands of years in human history and wasn’t outlawed until the Church gained power in Europe.
    I thought Card was edumacated…

  18. Oh, and it should be noted that if the judges had reverse a decision to allow gay marriage, which supports his position, he wouldn’t in any way be harping on the anti-Consitution, anti-Democracy stuff that he’s babbling about in his article. Card is crazy.

  19. What you name a bill or amendment is often the most important thing about it (the Patriot Act for example) and this introductory phrase will go a long way toward identification. If they were to get language like “Defending Marriage Against Corruption” they’d get a 10% jump in the ballot booth. As usual John, you’re right on the money with your commentary.

    Regarding Mr. Card . . . oh my. A while back he was doing a signing here in Minneapolis and he was quite rude, even hostile to a lesbian friend of mine. I heard in him every judgmental phrase my own Mormon father repeats and in reading his column it sounds like what my dad would write if he had a gift for words (instead my dad has that truly inspiring talent for forwarding emails).

    Rarely do I make reading choices based on the writer’s politics or religion but in Card’s case I just can’t stomach so much of my childhood thinly masked as fiction and dished out in a sci-fi setting. I’m admittedly sensitive to his particular background and bias.

  20. I had heard on the Interwebs that OSC had passed over the crazification border some time past, but had avoided the issue out of some lingering affection for Ender’s Game and some of his other novels…

    … I hadn’t realized how far over the border he’s roamed, though. Individual words and sometimes whole sentences of that rant Our Host linked to made sense, sometimes. The whole thing, though, was one long froth that quite possibly had a negative amount of sense therein – which is to say, I could feel brain cells dying as I attempted to read the thing. Ick.

  21. Oh, Card, not only are your anti-gay marriage arguments all kinds of utter cack, but this is a real gem:

    “Yet most of these single mothers still demand that the man they chose not to marry before having sex with him provide financial support for them and their children — while denying the man any of the rights and protections of marriage.”

    Yes, of course. Those women chose not to marry those men — those men who obviously all spent many hours pleading with these single mothers to marry them, both before and after they slept with them. (More of them before the sex, I’m sure.) Certainly the men didn’t choose to not marry the women. How dare those sinful single mothers have sex with those innocent, marriage-seeking men, and how dare they get pregnant and then demand that the contributor of the second half of genetic material share in the costs of childrearing! It’s outrageous! It’s her fault she got pregnant! She wasn’t using birth control! (oh, wait…)

    What a jackass.

    Thanks for the link, John. His brand of ‘speshul’ is infuriating if one takes him seriously, but also incredibly entertaining in a rather fun and mock-worthy way.

  22. Well, ideologically, OSC is a crazy nut. I don’t know whether he has always been that way or not. I don’t really care, also. I mean, it takes all kinds, and I’m certainly not going to investigate writers’ ideology in order to decide whether to buy their books or not.

    Regarding his fiction, which is what interests me, he used to be a truly splendid writer. Songmaster, the early Alvin Maker books, Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead… need I say more? At some point, however, it seems as if he was replaced by his untalented twin, and now he only writes unreadable rubbish. I used to buy all his books, and now I don’t even care when he publishes a new one. I’m still grateful to him for all the good hours I spent reading his early books, though.

  23. I gave up on OSC when I first heard about his pretty wack views, which seem to suggest he hates a lot of my friends and thinks they should be somehow classed as less worthy than him. How lame.

    Shame, I normally try and seperate my views of the person from the text somewhat, a bit like how Mr Scalzi recently described his run in with right wig fans of OMW. This goes a bit too far though.

    Thank my gay-tolerant personal god that that article has no comment feature.

  24. Card’s nutsification is not so recent. I’ve known for years that he slipped off the deep end.
    I, too, enjoy his books, but not his wild rantings. I’ve never meet him(his home is only about thirty-five miles from mine), but I have a friend who can’t stand him. She’s had several “discussions” with him about his attitudes toward women and gay couples.

  25. Do remember that OSC is preaching to the choir in this article. His comment on gays in the movies / books in his most recent review http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2008-07-20.shtml is quite a bit less anti gay that the Mormon Times article.
    My church feels that gays are sinners, but certainly not sub human. But then again, we are all sinners, some greater than others. I do not recall Christ Jesus saying anything one way or another about homosexuality. Paul, on the other hand, had quite a lot to say about it and other sexual practices. Much later Augustine was even more adamant about “deviant ” sex, but that was after a lifetime of practicing what he preached against after his conversion.
    I do not recall any of my readings of History mentioning gay marriage. Perhaps you could cite some examples? And by that I mean where it was accepted as mainstream, not some recent revisionist trash written with an agenda.

  26. One particular bit of Bug-***-Crazy from OSC’s rant that really stood out to me: Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of homosexual activists, I have been called a “homophobe” for years.

    Well, duh, perhaps that’s ’cause you are a homophobe? Just a wild guess there. *rolls eyes*

    Still, I think Mr Scalzi’s take of considering it somewhat sad but mildly amusing crazy is the best way of looking at it, for the sake of my blood pressure, at the very least. (Although that’s pretty hard, the closer I got to the end of the diatribe.)

    Like many of the other posters, I really enjoyed the earlier OSC books, but have been far from taken with his more recent work. It seems a shame that the outstanding works that we used to see have now become the rather pedestrian efforts released more recently. Combined with his increasing frothing-at-the-mouth-ness, it makes me exceedingly sad.

  27. Allow me to clarify Mr Card’s position for you (and himself if he ever reads this).

    The reason he calls these processes undemocratic is because the United States Constitution was made into law without a proper public vote. Written and ratified by a bunch of stuffed shirts, it was forced down the collective throat of the American people and has been stuck there like a fish bone ever since.

    Basically, the judiciary is defending this undemocratic legislation without the benefit of popular input. (Yes, the laws which guarantee democracy in America will also end democracy in America!) To make things right the Constitution needs to be repealed immediately in its entirety until free and public voting renders it democratically valid–if it ever could.

    Of course that vote will be void since there would be no legislation marking it as constitutionally valid.

  28. I hope that the wording doesn’t change – it’s about time that something is clearly explained on a ballot for a change.

    I think OSC is correct in this: if one opposes anything in the gay agenda, the label “homophobe” is slapped on.

  29. I suppose I have a hard time understanding the righteous indignation on either side of this issue.

    On one hand, every society that I am aware of has historically defined marriage as a male-female affair. Marriage is a man-woman thing in all of the major religious traditions.

    Therefore, it is reasonable to make a case that the courts have “redifined marriage” by opening the field to man-man and woman-woman couplings. The casual observer can be forgiven for saying, “Hey, for thousands of years marriage has involved a man and a woman. What’s up?”

    At the same time, the bottom line is this: If two men (or two women) want to get married, does it have any negative impact on my life as a heterosexual? Will it make my taxes go up? Will it make my neighborhood more dangerous? Will same-sex marriage make it more difficult for me to pay my bills or get health insurance?

    The answer to all these questions is a resounding “no.” So as a conservative of libertarian leanings, I can’t make myself get as outright giddy about gay marriage as John is. But I can’t exactly get angry about it, either.

    If it were up to me, I would impliment some sort of a civil union arrangement that would acknowledge long-term gay relationships without calling it “marriage.” But that would eliminate another five or ten years of bickering about a peripheral social issue that affects 4% of the population–and this solution is unlikely to be accepted by the diehards on either side.

  30. So…sometime in the future heterosexual parents won’t be able to opt out of textbooks displaying homosexual marriage as normal.

    It’s not as if I, as a heterosexual married adult, have the option to opt out of textbooks for my (thus far hypothetical) children because the text books do NOT display homosexual marriage as normal.

    I think that part gets missed.

  31. “The pretext is that state constitutions require it — but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.”

    So homosexual people have only wanted to be in committed, legally recognized relationships since 1993?

    Thanks for clearing that up, Orson.

    What a Nutbag.

  32. I went and read the OSC piece. I’m disturbed. He crazy! But I do have a question that I thought someone could help with? The crazy goes:

    [...] the end of democracy in America.

    These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.

    Two things:

    1) In America, who normally makes new laws, and what “democratic process” does it take to pass them? (I kinda thought it was the Senate and the House passing bills, and whatnot… Wrong? Y/N?) How is this process not happening in this case? If it is, WTF OSC?

    2) I’m sorry I’m so naive but I’m not American and politically as aware as the average chicken, so which “laws enacted by majority vote” exactly does OSC think are being “struck down”? Is this bluster or reality?

    Is he just being a foam-at-the-mouth moron or have I so completely missed Politics 101 that I just don’t get it?

    *confused* …

  33. Ed Trimnell@31: “On one hand, every society that I am aware of has historically defined marriage as a male-female affair. Marriage is a man-woman thing in all of the major religious traditions.” Well, for starters there’s polygamy. There’s the berdache institution, well-documented late Roman and early Byzantine formalizations of bonding between two men, and on and on. Also, as others have pointed out, what conservative activists laud as “traditional” marriage has very often been “marriage that treats women like no-good shits”. The insistence that society recognize commitments that happen not to be heterosexual is of a piece that society not use commitments as weapons to perpetuate the victimization of one member.

    If you want a really widespread institution, try slavery. The fact that something is old and common doesn’t mean it may not be time to abolish it altogether, or overhaul it. (In fact, the US got its start that way doing it to the state, which makes later reluctance a little missing-the-point. America is the place we give parade for the folks who do it successfully.)

  34. mister slimon#13
    You are so right. I didn’t noticed he is a mormon at first, but the entire argument is made became even more ridiculous when I’ve noticed that fact.

    And also, is anybody else gets a feel as if the OSC column took him to the year 1857.

  35. *sigh*

    Mr. Card seems to be laboring under the delusion that he lives in a democracy. He lives in a republic. A republic which was formed to protect everyone, even the crazy sauce drinkers, from the tyranny of the majority. So when he rants about the judges who are clearly ignoring the majority, he doesn’t seem to realize that they’re doing their job, which is to interpret the Constitution.

    Which document, last time I checked, seems designed purely to protect people’s rights, not deprive them of any.

  36. The thing that I thought was amusing about OSC’s rant is that he basically conceded that his favored version of “marriage” was already practically destroyed anyway, for reasons that had nothing to do with “the gays”. He apparently feels that allowing gay marriage would just finish it off. The analogy I get for this starts with a barn on fire:

    OSC: The barn is burning! If we work really hard, we can still save that one wall, though!
    Me: I dunno, is it worth saving the wall? It will just get in the way when we start building a new barn. It would be easier to just let it all burn, and then start fresh.
    OSC: Quiet, you!

  37. Susanne@34: In the US, social reform like making marriage more available is usually a matter of some legislation and some judicial rulings. In this case, where judges’ rulings have made same-sex marriage available in a particular state, there’s always been challenge via citizen-initiated ballot measure of some kind, and they keep getting upheld. In addition, it’s been long enough since it was the law in Massachusetts that citizens have had a chance to vote on, among other things, whether legislators supported efforts to re-ban same-sex marriage. It keeps turning out that the general public will vote for legislators who support same-sex marriage and against ones who oppose it.

    In short, Card is lying about what’s actually going on, or is so deluded that he’s honest but still can’t be trusted as a reporter. The truth is that the American public is coming around to support same-sex marriage. Younger people are moving that way faster, but every age group is, with a very steady pace over the long term. Getting it recognized in any state was hard, but as more states do and people get to see that it’s not the apocalypse at all, the ranters and haters look more and more detached from reality.

  38. I’ve found OSC tedious and annoying for awhile. But what I’d really like to know is just what the anti-gay marriage folks are really fuming about. Do they just see it as cover for the NAMBLA folks to be allowed to adopt into a sexual relationship? Or is this mostly a case of people wallowing in insecurity projecting their problems on other people. If it really is about religion these people need to work on their own personal faith and butt out; they don’t even have the leg to stand on that I grant the anti-abortion folks.

    P.S.

    Do give a thought to the poor child who will grow up with two Jewish mothers.

  39. All I can say is it’s a terribly sad thought that our *sole* purpose for existing is to make babies whose *sole* purpose is to make other babies who will make babies who will… It can’t *all* be about grandchildren, can it? That seems kind of pointless. And if it’s that pointless, and there is no other purpose to life other than to make more life (you know, like mold or viruses or Scotland*), then who give a crap who marries whom?

    *Just kidding; I love the Scots.

  40. So, basically, I’m the last person in America to notice that OSC is insane? All those fond memories of reading the Ender books, smacked away by the sure knowledge that their creator isn’t just a nut, he’s a nut drinking a Big Gulp’s worth of Haterade. Sheesh.

  41. I would like to point out that the argument OSC puts forth is not from his own personal brand of crazy. It’s pretty much the view of the entire LDS church. They simply cannot reconcile gay marriage with their theology. At all.

    Although if marriage really is something that is rigidly and celestially defined by their Heavenly Father, then why on earth does it matter to them what non-Mormons do on earth to make earthly existence work better for a few gay people? I mean, if you’re right, you’re Right and the truth is the Truth, then it really shouldn’t matter what the California Supreme Court decides to do. Oh. The end of the world as we know it, you say? Oh my. That IS serious.

    Bah. Personally, I was never all that excited about OSC’s work anyway…

  42. Ed Trimnell @31, adding to what Bruce Baugh @35 said:

    “On one hand, every society that I am aware of has historically defined marriage as a male-female affair. Marriage is a man-woman thing in all of the major religious traditions.”

    There are also more recent historical precedents for same-sex marriage in a number of European countries.

    I’m not sure why religious traditions should merit too much consideration when discussing something that grants significant civil rights and privileges and is something that can be solemnized without religious observation at all. However, even if you concede religion as a part of the equation, it’s not that monolithic. I can name the Unitarian Universalist church as being one that doesn’t limit their view of marriage to man-woman. There are probably others.

  43. Shrike58: I’m making my best effort to be fair here. A simple statement of my own interpretation would be much more hostile, but I think that even views I find disgusting deserve an honest presentation. Just don’t think I’m endorsing any of it…

    The honest opponents of same-sex marriage almost all have a very strong awareness of human potential for depravity. They see that individually and collectively, we do terrible things to ourselves and each other with very little provocation, and we very often pass up opportunities to do good or be good in favor of some more degradation. They regard long-standing institutions within society as the leashes we need to rein in some of our worser sides so as to make the better sides attainable.

    They also, or as part of the above, tend to be keenly of human potential for self-deception. We do so much bad to ourselves and each other while confident that it’s not harmful at all. High-fructose corn syrup, anyone? As a story-making species, we kid ourselves at the drop of a hat.

    Marriage, then, is one of those leashing and enlightening institutions. In particular, it’s a leashing institution for men, who have a remarkable capacity for violence, sexual exploitation, and other bad stuff. And it’s a liberating institution for women, letting them use their nurturing and caregiving impulses to a particularly good end. It’s not easy. Many men want to shirk their responsibilities, and many women are tempted by the appeal of using their talents in less constructive ways, away from the home and family.

    Marriage is also a material symbol of a social, mental, and spiritual reality about hierarchies. The husband’s authority over his wife is a symbol of God’s authority over humanity as a whole; the wife’s support and devotion symbolize humanity’s proper submission to God. That pattern of authority and follower is echoed throughout the social cosmos: in the state, in the church, and so on. But it’s the echoing at home that makes fundamental realities part of routine experience.

    In this context, same-sex marriage is bad in several ways, but three in particular.

    1. It’s a sham with regard to responsibilities. If it’s two men, there’s no civilizing pressure. If it’s two women, men are going untended, and the women’s caregiving turns inward and becomes selfish.

    2. It’s necessarily a transgression against that cosmic pattern of authority and follower. Insofar as it’s tolerated, we let a denial of core truths flourish in our midst as surely as slavery made an everyday denial of the basic dignity of all humanity. People are weak and prone to distraction and need reinforcement on basic truths again and again; if we let this violation become acceptable, every other institution is that much more at risk of failure because people aren’t being reminded of their duties as leaders and followers. A little hollowing out of marriage’s educational, moral role is no more okay than a little rape or a little murder is, when it comes to the well-being of society as a whole.

    3. We live in a society of twisted sex obsessions. We glorify “let’s do it”, and then we neglect children in countless ways. We elevate self-indulgence and then peer blankly at our difficulty in maintaining discipline for anything else. Marriage provides a safe and protected field for sexual satisfaction, while embedding the reality that this pleasure has consequences in the very fabric of the family’s life. Same-sex marriages are fundamentally sterile, and there’s no scope for this tempering.

    At least, that’s much of the argument, no matter how bogus it looks to you or me.

    One thing that bears some slightly sympathetic attention: it’s an awful thing to want very badly something that you are sure is bad for you to have. Some of us have the philosophy that when there’s that kind of tension, you need to change either your thinking or your acting, or maybe both, and also that wanting something you think is bad may be a sign that your thought about what’s bad is what needs to change. Many of us have systems of worldview in which the fundamental nature of the universe, whether simply the products of evolution on shaping our most basic mental aspects or the result of something numinous at work, doesn’t actually care who we screw so long as we honor the actually universal values like respect, honesty, integrity to one’s commitments, and so on.

    The opponents of same-sex marriage with this concern don’t get that. And a lot of them, particularly among the ranks of leaders, are closet cases. So they know intimately what it’s like to crave something they hate. And that forms part of their worldview. They know how hard it is to honor one’s creed in the face of such temptation. They favor marriage in part because it lets those intense sexual cravings that could otherwise lead to something dirty and wrong have a safe, legitimate outlet. They fear that all of us, or at least a lot of us, are being hollowed out inside by desire like they are, and are desperate not to let the desire become any bit more acceptable than it is now, so that it can be rejected once again.

    It’s a horrible way to live, and all I can do for them personally is hope that the spirits of the world open their eyes and let them see that the problem is not their desire but their creed. But I don’t have to tolerate their efforts at self-therapy via legislation in the meantime.

  44. Cassie@30:

    I think OSC is correct in this: if one opposes anything in the gay agenda, the label “homophobe” is slapped on.

    If by “gay agenda,” you mean the desire to be given the same rights as straights, rather than being treated as second-class citizens, then I think the label is entirely appropriate, because there’s no rational reason to bar gays from marrying.

    I used to be of the opinion that letting gays marry but calling them “civil unions” would be OK. One day, though, I had a revelation: if it walks like a marriage and quacks like a marriage, it’s illogical not to call it a marriage. In fact, it’s insulting: “OK, we’ll let you into the Marriage Club, but you can’t tell anyone, or EVERYONE will want in.”

    Finally, OSC and his writing. Oy. I read EMPIRE. It was, as almost all of OSC’s books are, a fantastically entertaining story. Unfortunately, it was a fantastically entertaining story built on a premise that I found odious. His afterword claims that the precise ideologies he chose to demonize were irrelevant to his main point — that the vast American center is being poorly served by the radicals at both ends of the spectrum — but I have to say that I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he picked the sides that he did. And if the book is truly meant to be a paean to the American Moderate, it fails utterly. (It also fails because, in the end, the book is a novelization of a computer game that hasn’t yet come out and, Deo volente, never will, and therefore suffers from batshit crazy plot twists and set pieces that are pretty clearly “Oh, here’s the next battle scene” moments.)

    I could’ve done without the Ender’s Shadow series, too. The first book was pretty fun, as parallel novels often are. The sequels…yeah, didn’t buy them. (By which I mean that I did buy them, and then wished I hadn’t.)

    OSC can be a great writer. I just wish he didn’t use his gifts for Evil.

  45. Jesus Frigging Christ. Every time I think I might try to give Ender’s Game another shot, he goes and pulls some wack shit like this. From the opening paragraph, you know the guy’s just a fundie crank.

  46. Bruce Baugh@35: The berdaches and the few examples from the ancient world are exceptional. For at least the past thousand years or so, marriage has been a predominantly male-female affair. (Admittedly, the ancient Greeks and Romans were more open to same-sex relationships.) And marriage has certainly been a man-woman thing throughout the history of the U.S.

    My point is not that same-sex marriage will bring about the downfall of Western Civilization. My point is that same-sex marriage *does* represent a “redefining of marriage” from what we have recognized it to be throughout the history of Western Civilization.

    As you state, “The fact that something is old and common doesn’t mean it may not be time to abolish it altogether, or overhaul it.” I agree. I say, let the voters in each locality determine whether or not they want to redefine marriage as a same-sex bonding. Open the question to the legislative process. But judicial decree is the wrong way to go about it.

    As for polygamy (which you mention in support of your argument), I am not sure if gay marriage advocates also support redefining marriage to include polygamy and polyandry. But why not open the field to groups of men and women while we’re at it? Both Islam and Mormonism make provisions for marriage between multiple parties. My guess is that they—no less than gay marriage advocates—will be able to make a case for redefining marriage to suit their agenda/lifestyle requirements.

    This is why I am in favor of passing a law for civil unions and putting the matter to rest. On one hand, the one-man/one-woman arrangement has served Western Civilization well for centuries. I see no compelling reason to change it. On the other hand, I recognize the issue of acknowledging long-term gay relationships. Civil unions would make life easier for gays in an overwhelmingly heterosexual society— without making the definition of marriage completely arbitrary.

    (As a side note: Your suggestion that heterosexual marriage is intrinsically exploitive doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The homosexual relationships of ancient Greece (usually between an older man and a youthful “apprentice”) were by no means voluntary. The Ottomans also engaged in the involuntary homosexual slavery of young boys. So that argument can be spun either way. )

  47. I am also a big fan of OSC’s early work (I’m not familiar with anything he wrote after Pastwatch).

    As for his politics, let me say this: I disagree with a huge amount of what he says, though not with his right to say it. But what struck me when I read a whole bunch of his opinion-izing back in 2001-02 was how badly thought out so much of it was. Not only would he be a hypocrite, but he’d be so damn obvious about being a hypocrite that you’d think he were writing the really easy first quiz for his Spotting Hypocrisy 101 class. It disgusted me, because I’d read so much of his fiction and I knew he had the smarts to be so much less stupid. He didn’t have to agree with my views; I only wished he’d be someone I could respectfully disagree with.

    On the bright side, exposing myself to OSC’s easy-to-spot hypocrisy and intellectual laziness helped me develop critical thinking skills. Now that I’m wise to his BS I’m much less likely to let similar offenses slide when I’m reading opinion pieces that I happen to agree with. Thank you for that, Mr. Card!

  48. Cassie@30: Out of curiosity, what is the gay agenda? I tried to come up with actual points but couldn’t think of anything beyond “to be treated equally.” Maybe someone else can help.

    Considering the propensity of human beings to fear anything they do not understand, I can’t imagine opposition to the gay agenda being borne of anything but fear (at the roots). I suppose that’s due to a lack of imagination on my part. Homophobic is the right term, it’s just too often used synonymously with ignorance. Which is also apt, but not the same thing.

  49. #30: Is it possible to oppose equal rights for gay men and women without simultaneously being a homophobe? The various “state’s rights” or “paperwork reduction” (which Jesse Helms tried at least once) arguments are dodges at best. There are more effective ways, for the same effort, of advancing those causes than to curtail the rights of gay men and women.

    Moreover, what’s wrong with calling someone who opposes gay men and women having all the rights and responsibilities of first class citizens a homophobe? It’s a rather handy term.

    What I find interesting is that in repudiating the term “homophobe,” OSC acknowledges that being a homophobe is a bad thing. This is a victory, of sorts. Now he just wants all the benefits of being a homophobe without any of the obligations. That hardly seems fair.

    #31: You realize that some of the so-called “Defense” Of Marriage Acts also disallow civil unions? Also, the problem with your “separate, but equal” solution is keeping things truly equal. Like it or not, without the term “marriage,” it really does feel like gay men and women are given the second class goods. I mean, if civil unions are so wonderful, why don’t opposite-sex couples enter into them rather than marriage?

    I personally like the idea that the government performs only civil unions, regardless of the participants’ genders. If people want also to be married, they need to go to some sort of religious official and have a separate commitment ceremony. (i.e., treat marriage as purely a ceremonial construct with no force in law.)

    This, however, will not achieve the goal of denying gay men and women the recognition of marriage, unlike Ed’s proposal. For all your even handed manner, Ed, your proposal ultimately gives the homophobes what they want.

    If being a “die-hard” means insisting on equal rights for everyone, I don’t see what’s wrong with being a “die-hard.” We put too much importance on name-calling.

  50. Jen in CT: Ah but the LDS (Mormon) Church is one of those over-zealous groups that sends out 5 billion missionaries to convert everyone. So since they want to take over, of course they want to have the laws reflect their beliefs, instead of, oh, I don’t know, being fair. Rehauling all the laws (once everyone’s a Mormon) will be so tedious! ;-)

  51. Me thinks he protests too much…….I must wonder whether he has ever passed a certain senator from Utah in the men’s room.

    Secondly, as he tries to deny “and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality ” I must wonder whether he blieves that homosexuality was indeed a choice. If it was a choice someone make, perhaps he can present to us readers the feelings he went through when he made the choice. What kind of feelings did he feel towards the likes such as the senator mentioned above.

  52. My own religion is a modern version of one that recognized same-sex relationships that worked out the same as marriage. They just called it “blood brother” when it was two dudes. Or three. Or four. My personal rule as an officiant is that I will say the magic words for any consenting adults and sign the state’s paper for those who are eligible. So if they are going to get all “universal law mandated by god”, my questions are “Which god? And why should I care what he thinks?”

    The only reason I sign the state’s paper is that Maryland requires people who marry outside the courthouse to get clergy to do it. I have a completely secular ceremony in my kit. It’s not fair to make perfectly nice people pay for getting married by enduring a religious ceremony.

    If anyone wants to get hitched in MD, by the way, my fee is “Plant a tree” plus the run of the buffet.

  53. Honestly, now, has Card written anything truly worth reading as an adult? I mean Ender’s Game was a hoot when I was a young teen, but as my tastes matured I found the next doorstop in the series unreadable.

    This was before I knew anything about his politics (back in the 80s) so this was just my “love it/hate it” reflex in action. I know this is a highly personal response based on the opinion of an unsophisticated fannish reader, but I lost patience for (what I considered) bad writing early on.

    I did consume a /lot/ of pulp (even digging back into the 30s and 40s) once I discovered speculative fiction, though, so it might have just been too much of a good thing.

    I just recall Card’s voice being pompous and ponderous even back then. I don’t think he’s a good read, even for young adults. Certainly I chafe at his simplistic (on one hand) characters and overly complex (on the other) plotting.

    I recently scanned the first chapter of a more recent Card novel (again, before I heard about all his woo-woo creepy Mormon politics) and was still unimpressed. The guy needs an editor who can stand up to him. If there ever was a writer who needed to be told “show me, don’t tell me” it’s Card.

    Again, all opinion, and I realize some folks might enjoy his brand of epic story telling. No accounting for taste!

    I guess I was just surprised when I heard his name mentioned as a result of all his foot-in-mouthery the last year or so. My first reaction was “he’s still writing his unreadable dreck?” rather than “oh another religiously driven anti-democratic asshole”. That came later.

    I mean, really. He’s entitled to his own opinions on these matters. I just want to go on record as saying I don’t read his books because I think they are /bad/ and that he is a /bad/ writer, an opinion I formed well before I knew about his faith-based politics. I’m certainly less inclined to give him a third chance the next time I’m stranded at an airport looking for something to fill and 8-hour flight. Not that it matters, of course, but there you have it.

    I’d hate to join a pile-on for the wrong reasons!

  54. Why? Why do we even need to be having this debate? Why does there even need to be an ongoing debate over same-sex marriage? It has absolutely no bearing on whether or not someone else’s marriage will be successful or fail. It has no bearing on the sanctity of marriage, which as a whole left the building well before Elvis did, I’d wager. The sanctity of marriage exists within each individual union, and it’s up to each couple–straight, gay or otherwise–to decide if they’re going to respect that sanctity.

    Sigh. This crap will never end, will it?

  55. Read the first line. Double-checked the author. Remembered how crazy Card is in real, non-fiction life. Read the rest of the article in the same way that I read something by Charles Krauthammer. It’s like having a drunk, angry uncle who tells funny stories at Christmas.

    P.S. We still love you for Ender’s Game

  56. An amazing screed….

    Perhaps the right-thinking Mormons will rise up in wrath and righteousness to strike down our crazy, liberal, anti-progeny judges. Let the hangings begin!

    The only balancing points I could find for him was that he realized that there were many worse problems for marriage in this country than allowing the gays to wed, and that all those problems were due to heterosexuals. Of course, the Mormon church is not primarily known for supporting monogamous relationships either. Perhaps that slipped his mind, or perhaps he approves of polygamy, since it will allow for more grandchildren.

  57. I really do consider gay marriage to be one of those stupid things things to argue about. Mainly because most of the couples I know are already married, in all but the words, and I want them to have the same legal rights as other couples.

    A lady I’m related to once told me she was against gay marriage because the gay couples at her job got insurance, but she and her boyfriend (who lived together for 12 years) couldn’t. And explaining that the gay insurance was because there was no law, and if they could get married, there wouldn’t be this exception, but all she cared about is they got insurance.

    I don’t understand that train of thought, I really don’t. I’m married to a lovely woman but I still fight for the rights of other people to marry whoever the hell they want.

  58. Doug from Vancouver:

    “Me thinks he protests too much…….I must wonder whether he has ever passed a certain senator from Utah in the men’s room.”

    As fun as it is to imagine every guy who opposes same-sex marriage has hungering for a thick, juicy love stick, I think labeling every SSM opponent as a closet case is in itself a lazy act. I suspect personally that SSM opponents are straight, because most people are straight (or straight enough to count for this sort of exercise).

  59. I’m personally convinced that Card is a closet homosexual. He gets so worked up about this issue that I can’t see any other real reason. If you read between the lines in some of his books, you’ll get a sense that he’s gay (and that his wife is aware of it and is doing everything she can to make him un-gay). I have sometimes suspected that this ideological diatribe is being required by church elders who will otherwise expose and excommunicate him. It’s like night and day, reading his books and then reading this crap he posts on the internet.

    To get around the “I don’t want to support him by buying his books” problem, I never buy his books from a first-run bookstore anymore; when I need to replace one of the books I have due to the cover shredding or whatever, I go to my used bookstore. Card doesn’t get a dime from used bookstore resales of his books.

    Finally, about the Prop 8 people: they’re running scared. This lawsuit is going to go down in flames, just as this initiative is. The truth will always out, and the truth is out here: they hate gay people and want to write discrimination into law, and that’s what the ballot says, and they don’t want people to know the truth. Isn’t there something in their very own book of holy shit that says “don’t lie”? They should be ashamed, and this publicity is making them ashamed. Good.

  60. Well, Orson (and Cassie), if you don’t like being called a homophobe, don’t act like one. Consider this statement: “I think OSC is correct in this: if one opposes anything in the Black agenda, the label “racist” is slapped on.” Well, yeah!

    Virtually every idea in the “Gay marriage is morally wrong!” rants has been used before in the “Interracial marriage is morally wrong!” rants of the not-too-distant past. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now.

    I would send my copies of his books back to him, if I had his home address. And I certainly won’t ever buy another one. If I hear enough good about a future book, I will check it out of the library, since that sends no extra money into his pocket.

  61. Well. At least he’s stopped saying that gays already have the right to marry (people of the opposite sex they don’t love)? Not that this is much better, but the other thing was pretty asinine.

  62. Speaking as someone who hopes someday to be a grandmother: I want my kids to find happiness how and where they can, rather than trap themselves in an unhappy marriage in order to fulfill our biological imperative.

    But that’s just me. Clearly I fail at life.

  63. Orson’s whine about those bad mean gay people calling him a homophobe is particularly annoying. What a spineless weak little boy he is, to be unable to stand some basic contempt from the “other side”

    How dangerous is this, politically? Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of homosexual activists, I have been called a “homophobe” for years.

    This is a term that was invented to describe people with a pathological fear of homosexuals — the kind of people who engage in acts of violence against gays. But the term was immediately extended to apply to anyone who opposed the homosexual activist agenda in any way.

    I’d like to point out a few facts here: The LDS church has a documented history of “treating” gay teens with forced hospitalization and electroshock therapy. There’s a good chance that it’s continuing today (probably without the electroshocks) – parents of gay teens are encouraged to force them onto meds, keep them locked up in what are essentially psychological prison camps, and hold them there until they “change”.

    This actually happened to someone I went to college with. She had to have a friend break her out, and stay on the run until she was old enough not to be forced back because of her parents.

    And Card is all pantiwadulous because he got called names? Poooor baby. Poor weak, unable to cope, whiny little baby.

    As for the jerkwads in CA trying to chance the wording, where were they when the “Defense Of Marriage” act was passed? Oh, right! They were voting *for* that wording.

    Hypocritical schmucks.

  64. Ed Trimnell #48: “And marriage has certainly been a man-woman thing throughout the history of the U.S.”

    And, from the formation of the US until 1968, marriage was between a man and a woman of the same colour. Loving v. Virginia “redefined” marriage, and lots of racists were spitting feathers over it. Does that mean that it was wrong to give mixed-race couples the same rights and protections that same-race couples had always enjoyed?

    John Chu #52: “I personally like the idea that the government performs only civil unions, regardless of the participants’ genders. If people want also to be married, they need to go to some sort of religious official and have a separate commitment ceremony. (i.e., treat marriage as purely a ceremonial construct with no force in law.)”

    Why not keep “marriage” as meaning exactly what you want “Civil Union” to mean? Why should we redefine “marriage” to mean something that it’s never meant before?

    For that matter, who gets to inform the tens of millions of couples in America that didn’t get married in a church that they’re now in a civil union? Will they be required to refer to each other as “life partners” rather than “husband” and “wife” just because the person performing the ceremony wasn’t wearing a silly hat?

    Besides, do you really think the no-gay-marriage people will be happy to discover that the Unitarians and Episcopalians and the First Church of Jesus and the Villiage People (established 5 minutes after such a law gets passed) are capital-M marrying gay couples? How exactly is this supposed to placate anyone?

  65. John #63: “I suspect personally that SSM opponents are straight, because most people are straight (or straight enough to count for this sort of exercise).”

    Agreed, but people who think that no-one would marry a member of the opposite sex if they weren’t forced to are probably more likely to be gay than the national average.

    Equally, the claim that being gay is a choice only makes sense to me if I assume that the speaker is bisexual and has made a concious choice not to act on his feelings towards men. And then assumes that everyone else is exactly the same.

    The majority of anti-SSM campaigners are probably straight, but I’m willing to bet that it’s a smaller majority than in the population at large.

  66. For those of you confused about the stances of people like Orson Scott Card (as I was until recently) I strongly recommend the book “Whats the Matter with Kansas” by Thomas Frank. While it reads like a far left screed from time to time he makes some very astute points about WHY people vote for Conservative politicians. Even when it’s totally against their interests.

    http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Matter-Kansas-Conservatives-America/dp/0805073396

    Why would a middle class factory worker or farmer vote themselves into higher taxes, destruction of unions, and lower pay while granting tax cuts to the rich and destroying oversight and regulation of large corporations? Why do they CARE about seeming trivialities like gay marriage so much?

    I’ve always tried not to let a writer’s politics or personality get in the way of enjoyment of their books. Fortunately, I’ve never understood the appeal of OSC’s books even before I found out about his politics.

  67. Adam G.:

    “I’m personally convinced that Card is a closet homosexual. He gets so worked up about this issue that I can’t see any other real reason.”

    Well, possibly another real reason is that he’s a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, which is doctrinally opposed to same-sex marriage. Indeed, that’s a far more obviously predicate cause than any imagined latent homosexuality (note the publication in which Card’s column was posted).

  68. Isn’t this the same Orson Scott Card who used to do “Secular Humanist Revival” meetings at cons? Did something change in him, or did he always have, umm, a multifaceted view of politics?

  69. I like how he conveniently rewrites history over and over again, especially in his argument that “in every society” both men and women need to have exlcusivity of their one spouse. He’s ignoring even the history of his own religion on that one.

  70. Gay marriages do not threaten *my* marriage. But I will note that a much bigger threat to traditional marriage and child-rearing did occur in the past – and that was divorce.

    But people who object to threats to their world view, aren’t interested in history. God intended from the beginning for their values to be the right ones. Obviously conservatives from a century ago were wrong, just as liberals of today. Only one set of values are right, so obviously all other sets of values are wrong and we would be shirking at our duty if we didn’t do everything we could to enforce our values on others.

    Just as bin Laden and Bush and just about every war maker are doing.

  71. Wintermute@69: “And, from the formation of the US until 1968, marriage was between a man and a woman of the same colour. Loving v. Virginia “redefined” marriage, and lots of racists were spitting feathers over it. Does that mean that it was wrong to give mixed-race couples the same rights and protections that same-race couples had always enjoyed?”

    No. A marriage between a man and a woman of different races is not at all the same thing as a marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Mixed race heterosexual marriages have been acknowledged in many cultures—same-sex marriages only rarely so (or, more accurately, almost never). So from a broader historical/anthopological perspective, the 1968 decision did not qualify as a “redefinition” of marriage.

    Barack Obama, himself a product of a mixed race marriage (between a man and a woman, obviously), has the same opinion on this issue that I do: Implement civil unions—just don’t call it marriage.

    I think Barack sums up the issue about as well as anyone has:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73oZ_pe1MZ8

  72. Honestly, all this tying oneself in knots to justify reading Card’s books without giving him money is a bit much.

    People, read his books, or don’t, for whatever reasons you like.

    But coming up with a convoluted story regarding used books and libraries to justify your choice is a bit specious, isn’t it? I mean, an author wants more from readers than /just/ sweet, sweet lucre. Being seen with a title, talking about works, otherwise engaging your brain with the ideas and notions contains in a work. A lot of this is simply mind-share, which cannot be priced accordingly.

    For example, I’m sure Scalzi (or other professional, working author lurking here) can correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that library sales are a key part of a writer’s career. They are solid, guaranteed sales that get many, many eyes looking in the direction of your book. Along with grubby little hands that might buy another one of your titles. The idea is to get your name near the front part of our brains (not unlike a brain-eating alien). Thus, the next time we enter a bookstore and are zapped with the “who was that now with the thing” ray all bookstores employ to turn us into a drooling, zombified idiots, we might actually remember enough to pick up the latest.

    Reading and enjoying their works is what artists live for, not /just/ the satisfaction of taking your hard-earned money for a bundle of matter created from a mash of dead trees. I’m sure the money is super, and is a fine way to put shoes on the table and food on the feet of their children, but it isn’t the only thing.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, if you read Card’s books, regardless of where you get them, you are “supporting” his career in a fundamental way. If you don’t want to do this, don’t read his books, regardless of how much money is or is not exchanged for the privilege.

    Otherwise we are only arguing about how many homophobes can dance on the head of a rhinestone.

  73. Yeah, I thought we Californians were cool. But we whole-heartedly subscribe to the same bullshit majoritarian oppression of minorities as those redneck states.

  74. Why is it that the only people who talk with confidence about what’s in the “Homosexual Agenda” are heterosexual? Did the mass mailing go so horribly wrong that all of the copies meant for us gays ended up in the hands of straight people? How can I advance my own Agenda if I’ve never seen the darn thing? I’m just askin’ …

  75. I am not big OSC fan, and as for his political ramblings, how ever ridiculous, he has a right to spew, i just exercise my right to not listen to them.

  76. If you like or don’t like him and his views, he is right about the judges. Judges interpret what the law says, they don’t make it.

    I suppose all you supported Gavin Newsom when he illegally let people marry even though the county, not the city, gives out marriage licenses.

    Judicial activism is wrong, regardless if it’s liberal or conservative.

  77. John:

    “Well, possibly another real reason is that he’s a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, which is doctrinally opposed to same-sex marriage. Indeed, that’s a far more obviously predicate cause than any imagined latent homosexuality (note the publication in which Card’s column was posted).”

    Yes, but he wasn’t always like this, even though he was always a Mormon. If he had been, I’d accept the argument that it’s being LDS which makes him this way, but it’s only been the last ten years or so – not even that, really – that he’s become a virulent, raging homophobe. I don’t think it’s all religion that’s doing this. I’m in a same-sex marriage. My in-laws are LDS, and they don’t go off on me and my husband (their son) the way Card does, and they’re devout. I’ll agree that it’s knee-jerk to assume latent homosexuality, but in Card’s case I think that there’s some merit to the claim. If you look at his earlier books with a gimlet eye (Songmaster, for example), you can see Gay Orson peeking at you through the paragraphs. Just sayin’.

    Of course, there’s also the fact that these diatribes are so over-the-top and so obviously written by a terrified, angry man. Being steeped in any right-wingish church can easily make a person terrified and angry – and guilty and ashamed – if they aren’t exactly like the church says they should be. I know about that. I grew up Catholic, and it’s the same kind of atmosphere. (The hubs and I are both Unitarians now.) Why is he so terrified and angry? As someone else mentioned above, it’s probably due to him being (at least) bisexual and feeling like he has to deny his attraction to men because It’s So Wrong. Feeling like something that you feel, something that you are, is Wrong can be a powerful motivator to lash out against that thing in (somewhat) socially-acceptable ways. Isn’t that precisely what he’s doing here? Whether we like it or not, the sport of gay-baiting and gay-bashing by closet gays has a long and documented history.

  78. Ed Trimnell #77: “Mixed race heterosexual marriages have been acknowledged in many cultures—same-sex marriages only rarely so (or, more accurately, almost never)”

    First of all, does that mean that your claim that “marriage has certainly been a man-woman thing throughout the history of the U.S.” (to which I was specifically responding) was a red herring that you’re prepared to drop?

    To address this new point, a brief and woefully incomplete census of societies that practised same-sex marriages (in the same legal or social form as opposite-sex marriages) the Greeks, Maori, Polynesians, Cathars, Britons, Vikings, Ainu, Cherokee, Inuit, Picts, Samovars, Essenes, Magyars and Aki. I’m sure a little research could add many more.

    “So from a broader historical/anthopological perspective, the 1968 decision did not qualify as a “redefinition” of marriage.”

    But, from an American historical/legal point of view (which, I’ll remind you, you also argued), it did. And same-sex marriage is only a redefinition “from a broader historical/anthopological perspective” if you ignore the many cultures that have always had same-sex marriages. But it’s OK to pretend that cultures that are different from your own don’t exist, right?

  79. Steve Sc @83:

    If you like or don’t like him and his views, he is right about the judges. Judges interpret what the law says, they don’t make it.

    And when the law contradicts the state constitution, they throw out the law. Which is what they did here. That’s been a feature of both federal and state judiciaries since the late 18th century, so I think it’s a bit late to rail against it now.

  80. To be fair, OSC brings an economy sized jug of craziness to damn near everything he does. No matter what your political leanings are I believe that if one day you read an essay by a writer whose work you like and his thesis boils down to “those damn dirty muslims, we should nuke them all” you are going to be a tad dissapointed.

  81. You know, back when I was making my living as a waitress, part of my closing duties was to “marry” the ketchups. I kind of always had the impression that “marry” simply meant “join two somethings (or someones) together”. Period. I never knew where to look to see if the ketchups were of opposing genders…

  82. Aelf’en, if you ever married the Heinz to the Hunts, you’re in deep theological doo-doo.

  83. OSC and I share a hometown. I have been to a couple of his local booksignings, and he is an entertaining and engaging speaker. I love his 1985-1988 output, which included the first two Ender novels and the first three Alvin Maker ones. And, IIRC, his cyberpunk story “Dogwalker”, which is a hoot, is from this time period.

    So much for my Card fanboy tendencies.

    If I put a label on my political and social leanings, I’d say I’m mostly conservative with a smidgeon of libertarian thrown in. I want government to basically leave people alone, as long as they’re not harming others; I would love to see it work in this country to bring us together as “Americans”, to build something. It’s probably not going to happen, but that’s my little bit of idealistic fantasy.

    I am more neutral on the subject of gay marriage than anything else. My marriage to my wife is not going to be affected by the union of two men or two women in a legally binding committed and hopefully loving relationship, either negatively or positively. And I truly don’t care who, voluntarily, sleeps with whom; in most cases, that is.

    Why do I temporize? It’s simple. My first wife, the mother of our three children, left me for another woman. That colors everything about gay issues for me.

    Am I wrong to let the fact that one woman hurt me, however intensely, give me some satisfaction that she can’t marry her partner of a dozen years? Probably, and I get less satisfaction from it every year.

    I’m to the point with it that I simply don’t care. I don’t see it as a pressing civil rights issue. Nor do I see it as the end of Western civilization.

    I realize that gay marriage is an inevitability in our society. I feel no need to fight it; nor do I need to hasten it.

  84. #49: Regarding spotting hypocrisy, Milton has something good to say, 350 years on:

    For neither man nor angel can discern
    Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
    Invisible, except to God alone.

    It took me ages to figure out what Milton was saying in Paradise Lost: hypocrisy is invisible to the hypocrite. I’m sure that OSC doesn’t see himself as saying one thing while doing something else– we are all blind in that way from time to time.

    And as for the weasel words favoured by the marriage nullification people, I bring to this a Canadian perspective. During the two Quebec referendums on secession (in 1980 and 1995), the question was not: “Do you want Quebec to secede from Canada and become an independent country?” Sovereigntists (i.e. Secessionists) came up with questions that they thought would bamboozle the electorate better than such a simple question would.

    In English, the questions asked were (apologies for the length of the text; this is what actually appeared on the ballots):

    1980
    The Government of Quebec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Quebec to acquire the exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad — in other words, sovereignty — and at the same time to maintain with Canada an economic association including a common currency; any change in political status resulting from these negotiations will only be implemented with popular approval through another referendum; on these terms, do you give the Government of Quebec the mandate to negotiate the proposed agreement between Quebec and Canada?

    1995
    Do you agree that Québec should become sovereign after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership within the scope of the bill respecting the future of Québec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995?

    Despite the lengthy ballot questions, everybody in Quebec (and Canada), including Quebec politicians who explicitly stated it before and during the campaigns, knew that a Yes vote meant Quebec secession.

    To conclude this post, a suggestion for John: judging from the 1980 question, if you want your books to sell well in Quebec editions, you should instruct your translators to take the short, clear, sentences of your prose and convert them into long, l-o-n-g sentences. The 1980 question was a 106 word sentence (in English; the French version was 113 words, also in one sentence).

  85. When I first learned about OSC’s beliefs, it led to a small quandary. Should I read (and thus support) a good writer whose views I vehemently oppose?

    Luckily, he hasn’t written anything worth a crap in many years, so the decision was moot. Empire was one of the worst books I have ever read, and the more he returns to the Ender universe trough, the worse it gets.

  86. JJS @ 65

    Buy you don’t know why I might protest. I might not like “Heather Has Two Mommies” for any number of reasons – I might not like the pictures, I might not like the binding. But if I say “I don’t like that book” I’m a homophobe.

  87. Sorry, I don’t care how brilliant a writer he may be, I refuse to subsidize his craziness with my cash. I’ve read Ender’s Game. It was a decent enough book, although it’s got some plot holes you can steer a Mac truck through (I don’t hold this against it, there are a lot of great stories in many media that have some hole or other in the plot, ignore it, move on), but his insanity and likelihood to use the money to fund things I actively oppose prevent me from buying his books.

  88. JReynolds@91

    Using Canada’s voting record as a contrast to the United State’s voting record is not so accurate. You’re contrasting a country widely regarded as having the fourth best educational system in the industrialized world (just after them Nordics) against the country with the worst educational system in the industrialized world.

    I’ll let you work out which is which.

  89. Hmm, I like how Card goes from defending America to threatening to overthrow the government in one column. Doesn’t saying something like “the government is my enemy and I will do everything in my power to destroy it” win you a one-way ticket to G-Bay? Or not.

  90. So single mothers, divorcees, and homosexuals are destroying the traditional definition of marriage. And apparently the traditional definition of marriage is to create apermanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.

    If that’s the case, I’m all for redefining marriage. I noticed how in the whole article, the word LOVE is never used. Never! In an article about marriage! I don’t know about you, but I married because I love the guy and wouldn’t want to spend a day without him…not because of some social responsibility to procreate.

    But love would defeat his argument, wouldn’t it? After all, if we married for love then we’d have to include homosexual love. Good thing Americans only marry to produce little Americans.

  91. Cassie @ 93:

    I’ve been pretty much gay since I worked out boy parts could be used for things other than peeing, and I have yet to have the Grand Poobah of the Gay Conspiracy hand me a formal agenda. Why is that? Because there isn’t one!

    If you’re asking if I want my relationship to be recognised, my employment status to be protected (in the same way people have their employment status protected on the basis of gender, race, and religious belief), the government to efficiently prosecute crimes committed against me, and not have strangers abuse me on the street because I’m holding my boyfriend’s hand then yes, that’s an agenda, and I do think opposing at least some of those (there’s room for debate on employment, I think) makes you a homophobe.

    Otherwise, you just have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    Steve Sc @ 83:

    Do you actually know what you mean by judicial activism, or is it just code for “judges doing something I don’t like” (whether it be conservative or liberal)? For better or worse, judges in America have the power of legislative review. In my country, they don’t – so if you don’t like the constitutional arrangements of your own country, how bout moving to New Zealand… Christmas on the beach :).

  92. (1) In the Good Old Days, OSC’s church defined “marriage” as a sacred bond between “a man, and a woman. And a woman. And a woman…”

    (2) I enjoy the HBO series created by Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer “Big Love” featuring a polygamous family (Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Amanda Seyfried, …) living in Utah. But I would no more take it (or, say, The Handmaid’s Tale) as a guide to the American future than I would take X-Files as a documentary, Star Trek as the mandate of NASA, or The Addams Family as a therapeutic guide.

    (3) I am willing to let other people practice their religion without interference, so long as they do not deprive other citizens of their rights.

    (4) But, with all due respect to OSC, who can be a very strong writer indeed, we must remember that he started by writing Mormon radio plays, and for some time was his church’s leading playwright, a role now taken by writer-director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Nurse Betty, Possession, The Shape of Things).

    (5) Thus I do not mind that OSC is always on the edge of trying to convert his readers to the one true faith. C. S. Lewis does the same. But Lewis’ Inkling friend, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was a better writer, because on reading his fiction, you feel that he doesn’t give a fig for what you believed.

    (6) So, my unsolicited advice to OSC is: emulate Tolkien, not Lewis. Use your religion as a source of confidence and personal strength, but not for didactic effect. The didacticism of Science Fiction is primarily a technocrat Secular Humanist creed. Unless you’re Hubbard. By which parallel, OSC should forget about messing with the California voters, and start his own religion. Kill those nasty alien Bugger planets. Unless that’s what he thinks that California is. I, for one, welcome Vice President Willard Mitt Romney and our new Ender’s Game masters. Remember that Nehemiah Scudder will be elected in 2012, and that there shall be no 2016 election.

  93. For Marriage, the Honeymoon’s Over

    A scholar unveils an institution’s troubled history

    By CARLIN ROMANO
    The Chronicle of Higher Education
    From the issue dated August 1, 2008
    http://chronicle.com/temp/email2.php?id=gJkySwVpX3sjHNgccYtkpRcvDfYGThFY

    Till death does the confusion last.

    Can anyone, in or out of a marriage, explain what it is? Many think of it as the mystical melting of two people, a man and a woman, into “one flesh.” (Try not to visualize Sir Paul and Heather, or Christie and Peter.)

    Romantic or ridiculous?

    Many also think of it as a contract between the same two kinds of people, in which both retain individual rights and absorb new obligations, with no unified being in sight. (Call it the “melting not” theory.)

    More romantic, or a lawyer’s idea of love?

    David Levy, author of Love and Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relations (HarperCollins, 2007), predicts we’ll eventually pick partners who require real rather than metaphorical battery recharges. Some in the animal-rights movement doubtless expect discerning humans before long to get hitched to Fido or Jezebel. (This is serious. If Leona Helmsley could leave billions to dogs, wouldn’t an evolved Leona-type down the line marry a dog with billions?)

    Such is the vaunted social institution that gays in the United States struggle to enter …
    [truncated]

  94. I was going to make the point that, legally, you can’t really “eliminate” a right created by courts, because rights are creatures of statutes and constitutions and legislatures and public debate and all that wonderful stuff about We The People, not judicial fiat, and that any “right” created by a court without a clear and explicit basis in said constitutions or statutes is null and void to begin with. (That said, the people who write the constitutions and statutes can, with few exceptions, create, modify, or take away any damn right they want!)

    But I see I’m clearly in the minority here. So I’m just going to profess my love for Ender’s Game, post a somewhat relevant XKCD comic and slowly back out of the thread.

  95. # 83 Steve Sc –

    If you like or don’t like him and his views, he is right about the judges. Judges interpret what the law says, they don’t make it.

    I suppose all you supported Gavin Newsom when he illegally let people marry even though the county, not the city, gives out marriage licenses.

    You bet your bippy. I’d have supported Rosa Parks for illegally sitting on the wrong part of the bus too.

    Gavin? I was cheering that man on. I was watching in the crowd the day the courthouse opened with tears in my eyes as my dear close friends got married on that day. Sure it was civil disobedience. Sure we knew the marriages would probably be overturned. That didn’t matter. We made a statement. We didn’t “destroy marriage”.

    Gavin Newsom is a hero.

    Judicial activism is wrong, regardless if it’s liberal or conservative.

    Tell that to the schoolchildren who were the victims of segregation before Brown v. Board of Ed.

  96. I like the Ezra Pound analogy for Card. It makes hash of the idea that we shouldn’t read anything by a writer whose views we don’t like (writers don’t even rate up there with actors/actresses whose wacky views I’d rather not support). In Card’s case I think that reading already-purchased copies of his books might not be such a bad idea–especially if Card is a loyal financial supporter of his church, which seems quite likely. And John Scalzi, thank you for continuing to speak out on this matter. It’s great to see a writer whose works I admire stand up for truth, justice, etc.

  97. MasterThief:

    “I was going to make the point that, legally, you can’t really ‘eliminate’ a right created by courts…”

    In this case, however, the right wasn’t created by the courts. The courts merely pointed out that the right already existed in the California Constitution, and that the law subordinate to the California Constitution violated that right. Which is what courts are supposed to do. So that’s settled.

  98. Note OSC’s aside: “(In another column I will talk seriously and candidly about the state of scientific research on the causes of homosexuality, and the reasons why homosexuality persists even though it does not provide a reproductive advantage.)”

    That ought to be a good one.

    It’s not like the “why it persists” should be any great mystery: There’s no physical impediment to reproduction by homosexuals. Women have long had little say in the matter of marriage and sex, so lesbians’ preference would hardly matter. (And it’s not like the soldiers plundering a town would ask the womenfolk “Do you, you know, like men” before the raping.)

    Gay men through history would have the same reasons to take a wife as anyone else did – to obtain extra hands to work around the farm or shop, to obtain the bride’s dowry, and for access to inheritances on the wife’s side. In wealthy families there’d be the incentive to take a wife in order to keep the line going and maintain the estate. Among royalty there’s the incentive to take a wife for geopolitical reasons.

    The mind reels when it tries to imagine what Card’s explanation would be.

  99. I attribute much of OSC’s over-the-top reactions to the position of being a famous (relatively) person in the LDS community. If you are famous, you both get more latitude and less latitude over your actions. (More latitude over things the church regards as small potatoes, less over things they are hardline on.) For years, when I was growing up, people’s reactions ran the gamut between generally approving of OSC to outrage and speculation that he should be excommunicated for the nasty sex and violence in his books. (Their words, not mine.) If you are not famous, you can fly comfortably under the radar of church officials* and have plenty of unorthodox notions, but if you are famous (or get famous) and deviate from the playbook, you can and will be excommunicated or subjected to whatever punitive actions church elders deem necessary. Excommunication often results in unofficial shunning, divorce, and other social rifts. (And weirdly, it’s been my experience that if the male is the one excommunicated, oft-times family members will encourage his wife to divorce him so she can find a worthy man who will get her into the Celestial Kingdom, whereas if a woman gets ex-ed people think she should still be with her husband. I think this is due to the subconcious “woman is her husband’s property and where he goes, she goes” idea that is perpetuated amongst church members.) So I personally think that at some point, church elders had a “little chat” with him about the ideas he’d been leaving behind and he’s been trying to toe the line ever since, with the subconcious fear of losing his wife, family, and respect of his immediate circle driving his vocal ideas. (And then of course, this would be reinforced by the homophobic Mormons who write in to tell him he’s being a voice of wisdom for this generation, yadda yadda yadda. The non-Mo fans who protest his notions get written off as evidence of persecution for saying the “right” things.)

    All that said, OSC’s been drinking some Krazy Koolaid lately. I’ve stopped reading his non-fiction altogether, and his fiction might soon follow if his next couple of books are anything like Empire. (Full of fail!)

    *Full disclosure: I’m an ex-Mormon. Grew up idealising OSC, because hey, Mormon SF writer. Also have dealt with the Feet of Clay issue and come to terms with our inverse graphs of faith. I tend to cut him a little slack because I know what it’s like to butt heads on doctrinal stuff and leave the church and I STILL haven’t told my parents that I had my name officially removed because that’s how big a deal leaving the church is for some families. (My sibs know, as do many of my old friends. But considering the argument I got into with my dad over gay rights, when he said he’d wasted all the money he’d spent raising me, and how we’ve finally recovered from THAT, I’m not anxious to tell the ‘rents I’m out of Ye Olde Church.) I don’t cut OSC much more than that though, because when it came down to it, I DID leave because I thought the beliefs were harmful and in no way did I want my kids getting raised with those notions.

    I am also a bit annoyed because I introduced Ender’s Game to one of my best friends, who is a lesbian, and then OSC came out and said all this hurtful stuff. And I really think he should know better. His early writing indicates as much.

  100. 48 “[...] the guy’s just a fundie crank.”

    No, he’s a Mormon. The Fundie cranks would loathe him as much as they do Catholics and people who don’t think the world is flat.

  101. My response to folks like Card and the Pro-Prop-8 group is generally a sort of condescending, “Poor babies”, followed by a nice pat on the head and a lollipop. I’d like to think that a little time out would help clarify their thinking, but I know better than that.

  102. Regarding my own post at #50: I don’t think the word “hypocrisy” really fits what made me so annoyed about OSC’s political writings, and I kinda regret using it.

    I just meant to say that he not only wrote columns that contradicted their own internal logic, but he almost seemed to be trying to make it as blatant and as easy to spot as possible. Like he was secretly trying to test us. He also had the habit of building one shaky leap of logic atop another shaky leap of logic to finally come to some outrageous conclusion that he treated as an obvious truth. (This was what he’d written in the 1999-2002 period.) This would have been par for the course from some anonymous Internet troll. But I’d read his fiction. I knew he was capable of doing much better.

  103. 69:

    There’s a bit in Empire where one of the protagonists explains that the worst thing about having terrorists successfully blow up the White House, the President and a good chunk of the chain of succession while framing either the guy speaking or his buddy for coming up with the plan used is that somewhere in Europe, someone may laugh at the USA for its misfortune. For some reason, Card is very touchy about being mocked.

  104. Wintermute@86:

    Within the societies that form the cutlural bedrock of the U.S. (Christian Europe prior to 1776, and American society since then) marriage has been an almost exclusively male-female affair. Yes, prior to the 1960s, the laws in some U.S. states restricted heterosexual marriage between the races. But heterosexual marriage was always the starting premise.

    Therefore, same-sex marriage *does* represent a redefinition of marriage within the American context. And I don’t mean to insult the Essenes or the Picts, but I don’t think that most of my neighbors in Ohio even know who those folks were. Most Americans are more concerned with the latest episode of Survivor. Unfortunate but true. They don’t care about the sexual practices of the Pict tribesmen who ruled part of Anglo-Saxon England.

    Let me reclarify my own sentiments: I personally wouldn’t care if a law were passed legalizing gay marriage tomorrow. But like Barack Obama, I recognize that this would represent a major paradigm shift for most people.

    At present the U.S. has a lot of serious problems to tackle: a quagmire in Iraq, dependence on foreign oil, the loss of manufacturing jobs, etc. etc. A debate on the definition of marriage (with the variations of same-sex marriage, polygamy, polyandry, etc., etc.) is perhaps interesting in the context of an internet chatroom. As a country, though, we have more urgent matters to tend to.

    Which, once again—this is why I favor a law implementing civil unions. Let’s put this issue to bed.

  105. Jon H #107:

    There are plenty of other reasons, too. Like, for example, it’s not entirely genetic. People predisposed to homosexuality might well grow up being heterosexual. Or bisexual and happy spreading their genes.

    Another reason is that sexuality is more complicated than eye colour. Suppose there’s a gene complex on the X chromosome that predisposes men to be gay, but makes women more fertile, or more libidinous, or more nurturing. So the men with this version of the chromosome have fewer children, but the women have more, including males. And women have twice as much chance of having that X chromosome than men. So it thrives.

    But, of course, if people like OSC believe that sexuality is an all-or-nothing “gay gene” thing, then the reason it’s survived is obvious: homosexuals are forced by society to prove they’re not gay by marrying and having kids. By this logic, allow gays to form relationships with whomever they like, without any stigma, and the gay gene will die out.

    If they’re right, then a couple of generations after same-sex marriage is normalised, gay people will be extinct, and everyone’s happy, right? Why won’t they buy that?

  106. Ed Trimnell:

    Wait. Survivor is still on?

    Personally, I would agree that allowing same-sex couples to marry is something new to the American experience. But, in my opinion, this is not at all a bad thing. Lots of things about the American experience have changed over the years. This is just another of them.

  107. Ed Trimnell #114: “I don’t mean to insult the Essenes or the Picts, but I don’t think that most of my neighbors in Ohio even know who those folks were.”

    Full disclosure: I’m one of your neighbours in Ohio.

    “They don’t care about the sexual practices of the Pict tribesmen who ruled part of Anglo-Saxon England.”

    The Picts were in what is now Scotland. But pedantry aside, we’ve gone from “US history has never favoured same-sex marriages” (which you rejected because it also applies to mixed-race marriages) to “almost no cultures have ever favoured same-sex marriage” (which is rejected for being a blatant lie) to “almost no cultures that I care about have supported same-sex marriage”. The fact that the majority of Americans are culturally illiterate (in your opinion) does not mean that their misunderstanding of history trumps reality.

    “Which, once again—this is why I favor a law implementing civil unions. Let’s put this issue to bed.”

    And — once again — we already have a legal framework for civil unions. It’s called “marriage”. Why do you want to redefine that word to mean something exclusively religious, while simultaneously bringing in a new word to mean what “marriage” currently does? Does that really sound like a good idea?

  108. It’s not even all that original a jug of crazy, is it? It looks like mostly just the standard “o noes, teh activist judges”, plus the standard “Every! Society! In! Human! History!” fail.

    (And no, there really isn’t anything better than lolcat terminology for describing craziness on the Internet.)

  109. California already had a legal framework for civil unions. They’re called “domestic partnerships” and have all the rights and privileges of marriage under state law. The insistence on having the label of marriage as well has provoked backlash that endangers that.

    It is funny to see the Prop 8 folks arguing about the plain title language. Especially given the plain language they propose to insert into the CA. Constitution.

    SECTION I. Title
    This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

    SECTION 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution. to read: Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

    Seems to me that a plain language amendment deserves a plain language description.

  110. I must say I’m with Ed Trimnell in his arguments.

    Personally, I really don’t care one way or other about the debate. But anyone who says they’re not redefining the institution of marriage in American culture is being disingenuous. The Oneida Community, or New Harmony, or the city of my birth (Zion, Illinois) hardly qualify as mainstream.

    Something of this magnitude needs to go thru legislative channels, not the courts. Changing societal norms needs to be done with honest debate, not by judicial fiat. The abortion debate should have been handled the same way. Roe v Wade short-circuited a necessary public discussion on an important topic.

    And before anyone starts complaining about states and a patchwork of laws, remember that customs that are right for Massachusetts aren’t necessarily right elsewhere, and people have a right to move to a place that suits them. Remember the “laboratory of democracy” arguments for states, especially when you make a right turn on red. People figure things out the right way when given a chance. Shove it down their throats — and look out for backlash. Human nature, human nature.

    Personally? I’m for civil unions, and letting everyone else figure out that the world isn’t ending, which will open the door to redefinition without a bunch of yahoos and professional protesters cluttering things up.

  111. Not to go completely OT, but:
    Dude, Jane Yolen commented on your blog. That’s like, two hundred kinds of cool.
    And OSC? Stopped reading him years ago, when his level of true crazy was revealed. He can influence the Mormon church all he wants. Just stay off my lawn.

  112. I have such a hard time reconciling that this is the same man who wrote Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. Wasn’t the whole point of those two books that a person had to expand what they thought of as “normal” behavior in order to share a bond with a different sort of creature? It even had the themes about actions that may seem reprehensible but which are harmless being acceptable.

    Humanity thought the bugs were horrible but once they understood each other they were able to co-exist in a peaceful manner that was beneficial to both. I don’t understand how a guy who can wrap his mind around the idea of people getting along with giant bugs that mentally dominate worker bugs suddenly says “A dude putting his penis in another dude in a way that hurts absolutely no one (except maybe the first couple of times)! Quickly! To the OSC Cave! This must be stopped!”

    I can’t believe how mean spirited that was. It’s like it was so mean spirited that if a gay Anne Rice vampire drank Orson Scott Card’s blood it would become a mean spirited homophobe.

    This whole thing makes the baby Jesus cry.

  113. Dave wrote: “Something of this magnitude needs to go thru legislative channels, not the courts. ”

    This would be a more effective argument if it could be shown that someone, somewhere, will be damaged if gay folks can get married.

  114. ‘something new to the American experience’

    Wait, wait – where are the defenders of pure race marriages in this debate?

    Have activist judges silenced them so completely that we no longer hear the brave voices of those so concerned about biblical principles that they are still opposed from, in the charming words of a non-activist judge in Virginia –
    ‘Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.’

    Actually, this is just a long way to say, that since we now ignore the race designation on birth certificates, I don’t think ignoring the sex one will be all that hard. And since the arguments against same sex marriage are pretty hard to actually distinguish from those opposing ‘mixed’ marriages.

    Oh, and though OSC is a fairly appalling human being in terms of his dealing with those he considers non-heterosexual, he is not a racist – actually, he seems quite appalled at the racism still existing in the part of the south he calls home, and is not one to deny it. Makes his blindness to the blatant parallels the more irritating, actually.

  115. Patrick M:

    Now you’ve gone too far. I suppose you’ll be saying ketchup can marry mustard next. And then we slippery slope all way down to polycondimentary. What’s next? Condiments marrying dog food?

  116. 124: “Humanity thought the bugs were horrible but once they understood each other they were able to co-exist in a peaceful manner that was beneficial to both.”

    In the sense that the poor senior officers of the IF were forced, simply forced, into manipulating young Ender so that he’d drop a package of Blowed-Up-Real-Goodium on the Bugger homeworld, exterminating all of their queens and as far as anyone except Ender knows sending the entire species into extinction. The fact that the Buggers actually managed to avoid being completely wiped out is a close kept secret.

    Ender’s Game features a closeted Bugger. Imagine that.

  117. @129

    Well Ender was the POV character, and it was through him that we finally ended up coming to the understanding that the attempted extermination of the Buggers was wrong. He’s the one who incubated the new hive queen at the end of the book, and we look back and see humanity’s violent freak out as being ugly and unwarranted, simply because humanity and the Buggers did not understand one another. I don’t know if you read the later books, but that kind of became a big theme.

    I just don’t get how someone can go that far in one direction, and then snap back this far.

    Maybe OSC just becomes less cultured over time? Like he was born a giant headed enlightened alien, and when he’s 90 he’ll be some guy that talks in a Cajun accent, wears a pair of bib over-alls and nothing else, and thinks the Earth is flat?

  118. Cassie @94:
    If you simply state that you don’t like “Heather Has Two Mommies” and I don’t know anything else about you, I will assume you’re a homophobe because that is the most common reason for challenges to that book. If I’m introduced to you socially and you state that you don’t like the book, I’ll assume it’s because it’s not a very good book. (And it isn’t. Have you read it?) But lacking any other information, if you express agreement with an opinion that is associated with homophobia, people will assume you’re homophobic. Given how easy it is to qualify such an opinion, I don’t think that’s a huge injustice.

  119. It turns out that civil unions can’t do the job, because too much is tied specifically to marriage.

    For instance: you love a person of the same sex and have formalized it in your state with a civil union. You travel to another state, which doesn’t recognize them, and have a car accident. You may or may not get to have any say in your partner’s care, but their homophobic parents or siblings are guaranteed a say.

    This is a real case, that has happened to several academic bloggers I’ve read in recent years: you are in a same-sex union, acknowledged by your state or province as a civil union (in the US) or a marriage (if you’re coming from Canada). Your partner has children from a previous union, whom you love and who love you too. Your partner’s parents have made no secret of their desire to take the kids away from sinners like you. You and your partner go with the kids to a professional conference or on vacation in a state of the backward sort. Your partner goes away for a day on a trip to, say, a historical site you don’t care about, leaving the kids with you. The parents get the local cops to pick up the kids as abandoned…and you have no legal standing to make an immediate defense.

    It goes on and on. There are literally hundreds of rights and responsibilities tied to the specific institution of marriage. We could in theory get a national law that specifies they all extend to civil unions. But if we could do that, we’d also have exactly the leverage necessary to recognize that marriage may be between two people of the same sex, ont he national level, and not have to change all the individual bits.

  120. I was going to make the point that, legally, you can’t really “eliminate” a right created by courts, because rights are creatures of statutes and constitutions and legislatures and public debate and all that wonderful stuff about We The People, not judicial fiat, and that any “right” created by a court without a clear and explicit basis in said constitutions or statutes is null and void to begin with.

    Doesn’t that contradict the 10th Amendment?

    And on the philosophical level, I always thought the Bill of RIghts wasn’t to ennumerate rights, but was to make pretty damn sure the government wasn’t going to trample THOSE rights? And that it wasn’t an exhaustive listing?

  121. In this case, however, the right wasn’t created by the courts. The courts merely pointed out that the right already existed in the California Constitution, and that the law subordinate to the California Constitution violated that right. Which is what courts are supposed to do. So that’s settled.

    1. Legally, maybe. Remember that this was still a close 4-3 decision. Loving v. Virgina this ain’t.

    2. Logically, no. The dissenting justices make (to me, anyway), a persuasive case that the majority’s rationale involves bootstrapping a series of unrelated laws on domestic partnerships into a new Constitutional right, then claiming that’s what the state legislature really intended to do all along, nevermind the fact that the CA legislature is forbidden from repealing laws, like the domestic partnership law, which passed by popular initiative. (As Judge Baxter put it, “the majority holds, in effect, that the Legislature has done indirectly what the Constitution prohibits it from doing directly.” Baxter, at p. 133). If gay marriage is such a clear thing, why the sleight-of-hand?

    Is gay marriage good or bad for society as a whole? I have no fucking idea. But gay marriage advocates are the ones asking for the change, so they bear the burden of persuading the rest of us. Courts are supposed to protect the rights that minorities already have, not give them new ones without popular consent. If gays want to marry, fine. Just go ask the legislature, not the courts.

  122. scalzi@128

    Ketchup and Mustard can already marry. It’s called barbeque sauce – a reason for crossing and mixing the condiment lines if ever there was one. Sometimes they even bring a little Honey into the mix.

  123. So sad. I remember reading Ender’s Game very young and was struck at how illustrative it was on the need for empathy in the human condition. The contrast between Ender and Andrew was fundamental in the novel. The vitriol in his views makes me kind of nauseated.

  124. Dog food? That’s just sick! Why do all opponents of Catsup/Ketchup immediately say “what’s next, policondimentaryism?”

    I have just three words.

    Thousand Island Dressing.

  125. I would prefer that state legislatures would vote approval of same gender marriage, but there is a large list of stuff I think legislatures should do that they fail to do and an even larger list of stuff they have done that I wish they had not done. I do hope the good citizens of California will have the wisdom and compassion to vote down the anti-gay marriage proposition.

    Last night my wife and I watched the film “Iron Jawed Angels” — about Alice Paul and the woman’s suffrage movement. I fail to see much difference between those who were vehemently against votes for women and those who are vehemently against gay marriage.

    One of my friends from work has been in a committed relationship for fifteen years. I can see absolutely no reason why he and his partner cannot have the same legal rights as my wife and I have. I do not see how ending the denial of the rights of gay couples could in anyway damage the partnership my wife and I share.

  126. John@125

    “This would be a more effective argument if it could be shown that someone, somewhere, will be damaged if gay folks can get married.”

    No, you’re missing the point. When you start re-defining terms like that, you need to a have a broad consensus that the terms need re-defining. That’s not the province of the courts. In fact, that’s a major over-reach.

    MasterThief@136

    “But gay marriage advocates are the ones asking for the change, so they bear the burden of persuading the rest of us. Courts are supposed to protect the rights that minorities already have, not give them new ones without popular consent. If gays want to marry, fine. Just go ask the legislature, not the courts.”

    Exactly. You can’t ram it down people’s throats. Teach, do not compel.

  127. MasterThief:

    “1. Legally, maybe.”

    No: Legally, yes. And whether it was 4-3 or 7-0 or any combination therein matters not a jot in terms of the legal force of the ruling. It’s certainly not Loving v. Virginia, because it’s limited to a single state, not the entire nation. But if the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same-sex marriages must be recognized nationally, it certainly would have the same force as the 9-0 Loving case.

  128. Jim@141: “I do not see how ending the denial of the rights of gay couples could in anyway damage the partnership my wife and I share.” This. This is it, for me. The reality of life in early 21st century America is that some non-heterosexual people are in fact in long-term committed relationships, carrying the burdens and delights of shared life. They’re living the married life, they deserve to have that recognized by the government and protected just as if they were straight.

    In the face of the present reality of people who wish to be married and are prepared to take it seriously, I care not one whit what past times and other places used to do. I care about supporting my fellow Americans who want to be married for all the reasons anyone ever does. Our neighbors and fellow citizens are what should matter in making policy. And that’s all.

  129. If OSC is concerned about the sanctity of one-man-one-woman marriage, perhaps he could turn is attention to the fundamentalist Mormon splinter groups who are distorting marriage and “God’s will” to justify the exploitation and molestation of teenage girls, the formation of harems by powerful older men, and the banishment of teenage boys from their community.

    Seems like that’s a greater threat to marriage and family than gay couples declaring their love and lifelong commitment.

  130. But gay marriage advocates are the ones asking for the change, so they bear the burden of persuading the rest of us. Courts are supposed to protect the rights that minorities already have, not give them new ones without popular consent.

    WHAT new rights?

  131. I admire OSC in his capacity as a SF writer, but when he starts blabbering about his archaic social views, he comes across, in my humble opinion, as a first rate d*^&%e bag.

    OSC complains about judges making law. To a large extent, that is what judges do. That is their job. If you took away all the judge-made law in American jurisprudence, you would be left with very little (at least at the state level). People who are even moderately educated in the law have a term for this type of law: common law.

    Judge made law is not per se violative of democracy. Quite the contrary. In many jurisdictions, judges are either elected or subject to retention elections after their appointment by politicians who are elected. How is it that judges are considered further removed from the will of the people than is the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in the late 18th Century by voters (the white male variety) who have long ceased to exist as political beings?

    I understand the distinction between common law and statutory and constitutional law. But there is a fine line between statutory/constitutional interpretation and “judicial activism.” The only people who seem to be able to discern this line with such clarity are political operatives like OSC.

    I pose a question for OSC: Did the U.S. Supreme Court endanger democracy by “making up law” when it held in Loving v. Virginia (1967) that OSC’s precious “majority” could not tell whites and blacks that they cannot get married? Our history has proven that sometimes the minority needs to be protected from the majority. Good thing we have judges who are willing to do just that.

  132. MasterThief @136 and Dave @142:
    This legislature you’re calling on, is it the same CA legislature that has voted for same-sex marriage and was told by the governor to take it to the courts? That would be the governor who supports the recent ruling, and doesn’t think the ballot amendment should pass. What I’m saying is that the legislative branch has stated its opinion on this matter, and it is in agreement with the courts.

  133. What’s with all the testimonies to the effect of “Card was once a good writer, but now …”?

    I claim religious superiority to you all. I’ve always thought he was a lousy writer. Ender’s Game seemed to me a long, haranguing screed full of violence and degradation porn, and that’s not even going back several years earlier to the original “Ender’s Game” short story, Card’s first publication in the SF field, which seemed to me a one-trick pony of “Surprise! The video game you thought you were playing was actually real!” Not, with sufficient variance for the term “video game,” a new idea in SF even then, and I couldn’t understand why people were so ga-ga over it. That was over 30 years ago, and I’ve been baffled by Card’s popularity ever since. The world is finally catching up to me.

    Yours smugly,

    DB

  134. If I recall, OSC really started showing the crazy after 9-11, sort of like Dan Simmons did. Ever read Simmons’ little essay on killing all the Arabs? Oh man is that a laugh riot!

    I was one of the few people that wasn’t bowled over by Ender’s War. I thought the portrayal of gifted children was pretty inaccurate and brother-sister-brother competition/attraction a little high on the ick scale. I really don’t have any ammunition for the theory that OSC’s issue might be latency/denial other than it struck me that other than his sister, Ender wasn’t too keen on girls.

    I should point out that not all LDS authors are drinking OSC’s brand of Gatorade. A sf/f forum that I visit regularly has had numerous posts by Brandon Sanderson. He has taken pains to point out that while he is a practicing Mormon he does not advocate the extreme views that some others do. It seemed to us that he might have been implying OSC between the lines but he has enough restraint and class to not go there explicitly.

  135. MasterThief and Dave:

    What Marc said. The incoherence of arguing that something is a matter for the legislature WHEN THEY’VE ALREADY VOTED FOR IT TWICE beggars belief.

  136. Woah, John – when I hit the “Submit” button on my previous comment after previewing it, I got a screenful of error messages. When I went back to try it again, I got a single line saying “You’ve already posted that,” and it turned out I had.

    Some kind of software bug goin’ on.

  137. The California Supreme Court did not actually make a law, but instead noted that a particular law violated the State Constitution, and ruled that it was unconstitutional. I see that Mr Scalzi has already made this point, but I feel it’s worth stressing via repetition.

  138. DB:

    It’s nothing to worry about. Sometimes you post at the same time the cached page updates, and you get they gobbledygook.

  139. I’m in favor of just abolishing the institution altogether. People should be together because they want to be together, not because some archaic practice or convention dictates that they can only be together in a certain manner. Think how much society would save in time and resources! No more $50,000 weddings, no more $100,000 divorces. In fact, we can suddenly get rid of divorce courts altogether! Close them all! The divorce lawyers can find something else to do, trust me.

    The modern institution is ludicrous. I mean, it was one thing back in the day when you literally couldn’t get divorced and you were really pledging not to part until death. The ease of divorces these days means you’re only pledging to stay together until it becomes more of a hassle than you want to deal with. What is that, really? It’s cheap and tawdry, and expanding it to homosexual marriages, while a great equalizer, does nothing other than compound the problem.

    In fact, I submit that the underlying reason people are up in arms about the marriage issue is because of health and insurance benefits. This problem is easily solved. Permit people to name one beneficiary or affiliate regardless of marital or family status. This can be done by legislative fiat ordering insurance companies to make it so. Anyone who wants to have their financial affaris handled or to have living wills or powers of attornies can get those done just like they always could. There. Done. No more marriages. At all. For anyone. Go be free.

  140. Gah. I couldn’t get more than halfway through the OSC column. Life is too short.

    If he were making a rational argument that marriage is too important to be left to the government to regulate, well, then, that would be something else. I would take seriously the notion that all the state should be able to do is issue licenses for civil unions, which convey property and inheritance rights, etc., etc. Let the term “marriage” be defined by society and/or the participants.

    The problem with that argument is that it has a certain flavor of “if you won’t play by my rules, I’m going to take my ball and go home” to it. As long as anyone living can remember, in the United States marriage has been a function of the state as well as society and other institutions, and changing that now, while it has a certain principled libertarian feel, probably doesn’t solve the problem because people expect and may actually want the government to say who can and who can’t get married. For the serious gay marriage haters, it isn’t enough to say that gays can’t get married in their churches; gays and lesbians must be barred from even speaking the word “marriage.”

    I’m done. Any other point I’d want to make has been better made by prior commenters, and as I said, life is too short.

  141. Richard,

    It depends on your definition of “make.” The California Supreme Court recognized a legal right that had, in the weeks, months, and years before its ruling, not been recognized. A right that once was not recognized by the courts is now recognized. In a very real sense, this is making law, even if it occurred through constitutional interpretation.

  142. And is there something supposed to be freaky about making law? The courts exist precisely to determine both the facts of a case (as they can be established within rules of evidence and so on) and what implications those facts have for the law and vice versa. Courts have routinely “made law” for centuries, if by that we mean ruling that laws may have consequences some didn’t foresee.

    Just recently, for instance, the US Supreme Court ruled that only the first paycheck embodying a decision to pay a woman much less than a comparably skilled man would get for the same job; every paycheck thereafter has nothing to do with whether she’s experiencing sexual discrimination in compensation. Some of us find that vastly more remarkable than the decision that a few percent of the population should have equal access to an important legal status available to the rest of the adult population. Standards for bogglement obviously vary.

  143. Running across Ender’s Shadow was something of a life-changing moment for me at age fourteen. So was Ender’s Game a few months later. Knowing of my obsession with that particular author, a family friend even bought me the entire Speaker of the Dead series for me as a Christmas present. It was, of course, quickly devoured. Or as quickly as it could, given its greater… “density” than either of the Ender books, and my attention span at that age.

    I haven’t read any of them for a number of years now.

    It’s no fault of the texts themselves. Taken alone, and blatantly ignoring their critics, I still feel them to have… significant form. The message I thought they preached- not the surface level degradation and violence that critics love to harp on, but the tragedy of conflict and the necessity to understand even those you have cause to despise- was absorbing and enlightening.

    But it’s hard to read them again. If OSC’s latest espoused opinions are what he truly feels, then it’s impossible for me to reread Ender’s Game without feeling somehow cheated. It’s premise and message now ring hollow and insincere- knowing what the author really believes has stained their words somehow.

  144. There are days when I’m glad I *wasn’t* accepted into the OSC Bootcamp writing workshop.

    Yeah, I probably would have learned some good thing about writing but a week full of stuff like that post (as I understand happens at OSC Bootcamp)? Would have driven me completely crazy and I surely would have snapped.

    Gaagh.

    – yeff

    Note: Instead, I was accepted (and went) to Viable Paradise and it rocked! As the new class will discover in about 2 more months, with the assistance of Mr. Scalzi and the other fine teachers.

  145. Dave @ 121:

    Something of this magnitude needs to go thru legislative channels, not the courts.

    Did you miss the part where the California legislature approved it, and Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed it, claiming that he felt it should be decided by voters or the courts?

    Courts don’t make new laws; they interpret and apply the laws that already exist. That’s their job, and it’s part of the fundamental concept behind the ‘checks and balances’ system of our government.

    As for:

    “customs that are right for Massachusetts aren’t necessarily right elsewhere, and people have a right to move to a place that suits them.”

    Sure – if by “elsewhere” you mean somewhere outside of the United States of America. Unfortunately, I don’t believe you do. Civil rights and equality under the law for all citizens of the U.S. are not a custom. The right for women (and men and transgendered) to choose is not a custom. (Those who oppose the anti-abortion brigade are not “pro-abortion” – they are pro-choice and there is a world of difference between those distinctions that the anti- group chooses to overlook and ignore. But that’s a debate for another day.)

    Gay marriage is not about “customs”, it’s about the freedom to live ones life as an equal citizen, and to be granted the same rights and privileges. The fact that you would equate “turning right on red” with anti-discrimination and civil rights issues is actually rather appalling.

  146. Back when I was friends with Scott Card, and I was at a conference in Salt Lake, he took me on what he called the “Real Mormon tour.” And he debunked many of the myths which had become LDS “history.” He understood that history ends in the word story. He seemed open to the universe despite the strictures of his religion.

    What happened to that Humanist Card, I don’t know. It makes me very sad.

    But sadder still is that he is using his considerable writing and persuasive talents to try and spread a vicious phobic view of the world.

    As for that “homosexual agenda”, I think it got sent to the same addresses as the old “Jewish agenda” Because as a card-carrying Jewish Quaker, I never got to be part of the world domination stuff. And damn, I’d be good at it.

  147. #52 “Thank you very much for explaining! It’s nice to know that I read OSC correctly as pulling this stuff out of his hat.”

    Ah, Irony.

    (Mormon. Hat. Get it?)

  148. Is no one other than me noticing the irony about Ender’s Game, and gay issues?

    I mean, here’s a child sent out to destroy a race of “Buggers” who’re ruled by “Queens”.

    Me all but one, but is mentally seduced by the last “Queen”.

    Hold double-entendre, Bat Man!

  149. Ms. Yolen: according to my rabbi, the Jewish agenda has a new addition–that we send around Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda and rugelach for total snacky domination. Spread the word….

  150. Jane Yolen @161 & 9: Actually, your comment at #9 got me to thinking, partly about this whole “gay agenda” idiocy, and partly about gay marriage and what marriage is for, sort of. Because it’s always seemed to me that the purpose of a nation–the purpose of being a citizen of a nation, and defending that nation–is to defend and protect my own family. This is, I thought, not a new idea; see the Preamble to the Constitution, among other places.

    And that took me back to the whole “should gays serve in the military argument,” of yore, not currently, and my original (very young and naive) response to that, which was “why should they want to serve?” Note, that wasn’t a kneejerk pacifist, anti-military reaction of any sort; it was more an instinctive realization that this nation didn’t offer all that much to homosexuals in terms of the protection of their lives, liberty, and posterity.

    And that got me thinking about an open letter Abraham Lincoln once wrote, to a crowd of rabid Unionists who were desturbed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

    “You say you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but, no matter. Fight you, then exclusively to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistence to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time, then, for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes.

    I thought that in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his resistence to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white soldiers to do, in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you? But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive–even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.”

    Here’s the link to the whole letter (I hope; I’m not good at this), if anyone wants to read it: “http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/conkling.htm”.

    I think the point I’m making, such as it is, is that the relationship between nation and citizen is a complex interdependency . . . and it also seems to me that the more honest and decent people we can include in that interdependency, the stronger and better we will be as a nation, too.

  151. Two humorous reasons to oppose gay marriage!

    1. If I get drunk off my ass in Vegas one night, I’m fine with waking up married to Brianna Love. I’m not so fine with waking up married to Evan Stone, however.

    2. My cousin does this thing where she goes to bars with her also-very-attractive female friend and they pretend to be bi/lesbian in order to get horny guys to buy them drinks on the unstated promise of three-way. If Cara can go get married to Jaimi as a horny-guy-attraction method, my god, she’ll end up with cirrosis of the liver! We have to protect our family’s physical health!

    Personally, though, if the gays want to get hitched, I don’t see a problem with it. Mrs. and Mrs. Jessica le Page? Sure, why not. Maybe have both spouses trade last names with each other. Charles Head and Richard Horse can do this with as much potential hilarity as hyphenated last names.

  152. #114: “Let’s put this issue to bed.” But with which other idea(s) or people or animals or exbots? Begs the question.

    Re: Jane Yolen’s awesomeness. Besides Umass/Amherst, parties on pirate ships, prolificacy, poetry, and the like, she and I have in common multiple tragic losses of loved ones to cancer, and families very multiple in writer/editor members. In that grain, note that a notable friend of my father’s, Louis L’Amour, (whose novels sometimes crossed over to Fantasy and Science Fiction) is a descendant of Francois Rene, Vicompte de Chateaubriand, who notes [about page, The Californios, one of the Fantasy-Westerns, with two great strong female characters, "Since 1816, thirty-three members of his family have been writers."]

  153. @84

    If you like or don’t like him and his views, he is right about the judges. Judges interpret what the law says, they don’t make it.

    I suppose all you supported Gavin Newsom when he illegally let people marry even though the county, not the city, gives out marriage licenses.

    Judicial activism is wrong, regardless if it’s liberal or conservative.

    Wrong. While the legislature and executive branches might sign laws into being, it is the purpose and right of the judicial branch to rule if those laws are right or not. The Supreme Court ruled that laws that put people into jail if they were an inter-racial couple (Loving v. Virginia) were illegal, as was school segregation (Brown v. Education). Both instances it was a court of judges who were appointed, rather than elected, who struck laws from the books and while I’m sure at the time people would’ve declared it something like “judicial activisim”, few people today would say that the Supreme Court was wrong in those rulings.

    @Master Thief, 136

    Courts are supposed to protect the rights that minorities already have, not give them new ones without popular consent. If gays want to marry, fine. Just go ask the legislature, not the courts.

    So, then blacks/asians/whites to marry people who don’t look like them? By what you said at 136 that was a “new” right that a court gave to the minorities.

    Sorry, your argument doesn’t hold water.

  154. perhaps, from the point of view of a social scientist, marriage serves (or historically served) the ‘function’ of legally establishing paternity, and ensuring the welfare of women and children (inheiritance), and defining ‘next of kin’.

    If one looks into our past, when our society was more male dominated than it is today, the social construct of marriage served the role (among several) of ensuring that a man took responsibility for the children he sired, and created some assurance that those children were actually his (It wasn’t that long ago that infidelity, and adultery were illegal/ criminal in this country)
    The establishment of paternity, when men hold all wealth (it also wasn’t that long ago in the USA/western Europe when women didn’t have property rights) created a legal model of inheiritance.

    Societies, civilization as a whole, and our social institutions EVOLVE – as a society we don’t rely on marriage as a license to establish a household or have sex, we don’t assume (legally) that marriage establishes paternity (DNA tests now establish paternity, and court/legally enforced child support is much more prevalent than say 50 years ago) and most of us don’t walk around with clubs to hunt our food etc.

    all of OSC’s sreed ignores the other roles of marriage, (and most likely the reason people get married anyway) 2 people who care about eachother decide to have the community recognise their permanent relationship. They declare that they will care for eachother (usually exclusvily)- infront of witnesses. In the United States – this has legal ramifications, next of kin visitation rights at hospitals, inheiritance, health insurance benefits, tax benefits/penalties – none of which have anything to do with bearing children.

    Card is a whakadoodle – his objections are based on his religious beliefs (regardless of how he tries to relate them to democracy as a whole) Our government is supposed to be secular – religious objections are irrelevant.

    Also I recently re-read Ender’s game – now that I am older I see Ender as a sociopath.

  155. This might not be the best forum to comment, but….

    The United States is built on the notion of compromise. And when it comes to gay marriage, we have two extremes who are utterly unwilling to compromise.

    1) Religious marriage-defenders loathe the idea of the state re-defining an institution that they believe is really a church function. Most of these people are also highly critical of the high divorce rate, and the general ease with which people both enter into, and exit out of, marriage. They feel the institution is cheapened enough as it is, and that allowing gays to marry is the final straw in the debasement of what is, for the religious, a sacred and solemn foundational element of a healthy, moral society.

    2) Gay rights activists loathe the idea of the state barring equal protection under the law to homosexuals. To do so would seem to be a kind of “gay Jim Crow” and one has a hard time arguing otherwise when gays marrying does not, in fact, rob the straights of anything in a legal sense. It merely offends their sense of propriety. Complicating the matter is the fact that some homosexual militants also like the idea of “rubbing the noses of the homophobes” in their own institution, and see ‘marriage’ as a path to not only equal protection, but also moral equivalence.

    Our solution is to compromise. And regardless of what either side might say, I think I know how it might be accomplished.

    a) we get the state OUT of the marrying business! Strip marriage off the ‘marriage license’, which is just a legal item anyway, and turn it into a general document for “union” which can cover hetero, homo, or even poly relationships. No longer a “marriage” document, it becomes less scary to many who don’t think homosexual or poly “marriage” is ethical or desireable. Yet the rights and protections are retained EQUALLY for all parties. Nobody is a “special” case and nobody has rights above or below anyone else. The state considers the union to be a legal bond between people, and doesn’t care if they’re homo, hetero, poly, whatever.

    b) give MARRIAGE back to the churches. Since no church is obligated to acknowledge the marriage of any other church (just like baptisms) then those churches opposed to homosexuals marrying, won’t have to worry about it, and those churches which affirm homosexual marriage can marry all the gays they want, and it doesn’t become a LEGAL battle. Religiously conservative faiths like the LDS church won’t have to “swallow” gay marriage any more than the Universalist Unitarians won’t have to “ban” it. Again, marriage becomes a CHURCH institution for all, apart from the law. As it probably should have been the whole time?

    Obviously this requires a certain amount of “hold your nose” acceptance on the part of both sides in the debate. But it would accomplish the basic goals desired by both.

    Religiously conservative marriage-defenders wouldn’t have to feel like the state was re-engineering a religious practice under their noses, and gays would get all the legal rights and protections of matrimony, and have access to certain ‘open’ churches which don’t have a problem with homosexuality.

    Now, speaking as an LDS person, I can see where Orson Scott Card is coming from. He opposes what I oppose: the gradual stigmatizing or even outlawing of language or thought which calls the act of homosexuality a sin, or wrong, or what have you. Because the act of homosexuality is ultimately what we’re talking about, and all ACTION is open to moral interpretation. Card made a great point, in that “homophobe” is now applied with a gargantuan paintroller by gay activists and gay sympathizers, to the point that reasonable argument and compromise gets lost in the angry screaming and name-calling.

    Perhaps gays and gay activists feel justified. They’ve been abused badly for decades, often by religious people of a conservative stripe. Why not get some revenge? Get in some digs when the digging is good! Certainly there are few in these camps with any love for a stuffy old backward religion such as my own.

    Just the same, if we’re going to make any real progress, as a country, on this issue, it’s going to be done through calm dialogue which does not demonize, but instead seeks the rational boundaries within which BOTH sides of the issue can co-exist and not step all over one another.

    Oh, BTW, I am enjoying Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” quite a bit. I’m in the Army Reserve, and it’s interesting reading Scalzi’s re-invention of the military, as it might exist in the future. Well done.

    On a final note, I also think homosexuality should NOT be a bar on military service. As long as a homosexual soldier can retain military bearing, execute to standard, and complete his or her mission, who he or she chooses to sleep with when not on duty is not really anyone’s business. Whatever squeamishness straights might have about being in uniform with gays who don’t lose their military bearing, is on the straights. Besides, all of us who are in for any length of time already know gays are in uniform anyway. They just keep it on the down low to avoid UCMJ action. Which is really not fair, and has already cost some good people their careers.

    JMHO. Thanks again for the fun read, Mr. Scalzi.

  156. My then-fiance was laid off late last year. Because of the gay rights movement, I was allowed to add him to my insurance through my employer. Unfortunately, the amount of money my employer paid into his insurance was added to my taxable wages. This meant each paycheck dropped about $60, in addition to the extra $50 I paid out to cover his insurance. So when we most needed money (because my fiance was laid off), we got extra-dinged, in both insurance AND taxes. Yeah, it sucked.

    We just got married, and I was reimbursed for the extra taxes I paid out for the 24 days it took my employer to process my change in status. I got an $180 on my last paycheck. That’s right, that stupid law (that you are taxed on the amount of money your employer pays into your domestic partner’s health insurance) cost me $7.50 each calendar day.

    And since gay people aren’t allowed to marry (according to federal law), I guess this is really a gay tax.

    I will be most definitely voting AGAINST this law (yes, I’m in Cali), in part as a thank you to all those gay folk who fought for equal rights that in turn allowed my fiance to be fully insured before we were married, and also because it’s just the right thing to do.

    Oh, and OSC is a total nutter, and my husband, my brother, and I have all sworn to only buy OSC books used from now on.

  157. I’m going to vote against Proposition 8 (not surprising, really; I’m a married gay man, and while my marriage has never been state sanctified, I’d like to preserve the option for it to be), but I’m somewhat disturbed by the change in the ballot language. This means that the language which will appear on the ballot is no longer the same language as the language which appeared on the petition.

    The ability of the Attorney General to change the ballot language after the petitions are submitted and the signatures are counted is an ability which could easily be abused. In this case, it’s probably necessary – when the petitions were circulated, gay marriage wasn’t yet legal in California – but I can easily imagine the power being put to malevolant use.

  158. Just a quick note for those suggesting we should get the state out of the marriage business and reserve the term for religious marriages. That option might just pose a tiny problem for atheists and the non-religious, many of whom are also quite attached to the term marriage and the fact that they can get one through the state without having to have some sort of religious ceremony, and who would prefer that option not be taken away from them. It’s really much simpler to do what California has done and stop discriminating against same sex couples.

  159. One more item, for everyone who says they can’t stand Card’s (enormously well-done) Ender series, because they disagree with Card religiously or politically….

    Come now. Must you always agree, down the line, with every artist whose work you digest? If I used this standard, I’d not be able to listen to 90% of the music I listen to, nor watch 90% of the movies I watch, nor enjoy the great majority of media I enjoy, to include television and print.

    It is my (amateur) opinion that artistic works ought to stand more or less on their own. Enjoy them according to your own taste. Separate them from their creators in the way you might separate a character in a movie from the actor who plays him or her. Yes, with fiction it’s probably hardest because the views of the author also influence the writing. It can’t be helped.

    But the Ender series is a very good series, and its first two books very much deserve the accolades heaped on them.

    Be opposed to Card’s religious or political views all you want. But it doesn’t seem mature to me to begin calling the Ender series into question simply because you learn things about the writer that don’t sit well with you.

    if I might be so bold, that seems as wrong-headed as all the people who got upset that Ian McKellen played Gandalf, and therefore Gandalf had become “gay”. It was a specious notion in the first place, and thankfully McKellen’s Gandalf was masterfully played, and will be the definitive film Gandalf for a long, long time. Love Gandalf for Gandalf, and hat tip McKellen for doing a great job.

    And love Ender for Ender, and hat tip Card for doing a great job.

    JMHO.

  160. Keri, it’s actually worse than that.

    Because the Internal Revenue Code *explicitly* defines marriage as involving a husband and a wife, health benefits provided to same-sex married partners will still be taxable as income at the federal level, but they won’t be at the state level.

  161. I stopped reading Orson Scott Card years ago, after I noticed that he likes to put gay characters in with, seemingly, no other purpose than to die horribly to show how awful homosexuality is. Sometimes they kill themselves out of deep shame. Later on I found out that he was a raving homophobic jackhole and started telling other people not to read him, too. If you want to read him to see what all the fuss is about, check his books out of the library or borrow them from someone who hasn’t burned them yet doesn’t know any better.

    I understand he acts all shocked and offended when someone in the science fiction world calls him on his homophobic foamings. You see, only his fellow right-wing Mormon nutbars (please note not all Mormons are right-wing, or nutbars) were supposed to read those. We’re supposed to let him have two separate lives, you know, like the respectable professor Hannibal Lecter.

    And OF COURSE the California anti-marriage fuggheads want to get rid of the “inflammatory” language! They’ve passed that in other states chiefly by making it seem as if it meant something else, something that sounded better than the blatant right-theft it is.

    mister slim 11: I think ‘semipermanent’ is the “death do us part” version. Mormons have a secret arcane ritual where married couples are “sealed” to one another so their marriage lasts beyond death. If the spouse dies, a man can remarry and be “sealed” again, but a woman cannot.

    SMD 20: He is educated. He is a liar. (And btw I was once told that Egypt had legal same-sex marriage until the 1930s. I have been unable to verify or refute this, but the person who told me had studied quite a lot about Egypt.)

    Farseer 25: Songmaster was the last OSC book I read. It’s the one where the homosexual kills himself out of shame (because the main character has been messed with so he can’t have sex without agony, and tried to have sex with the homosexual…note that the main character isn’t homosexual, just the guy he tried to have sex with). Hateful crap. Beautifully written hateful crap.

    Dr Dgo 28: See? He thinks he has the right to be taken separately when he writes for Mormons and when he writes for general consumption. This is bullshit.

    Cassie 31: I think OSC is correct in this: if one opposes anything in the gay agenda, the label “homophobe” is slapped on.

    And accurately, since the “gay agenda” (a phrase used almost exclusively by homophobic jerks) is entirely composed of wanting to be treated as human beings. If you don’t want to treat us as human beings, then yes, ‘homophobe’ is what you are. Also, what Andrew Hackard says at 47. And Xian B. at 51. And John Chu at 53. And JJS at 66.

    Ed 32: Not having the label means that discrimination will be harder to fight. “You’re not married, you’re civil unioned, so you can’t go into the ICU!” By the way, the modern wedding ceremony used in churches evolved from medieval ceremonies used to bless “special friendships” between people of the same sex. The heterosexual wedding ceremony of the time was a simple transfer of property.

    Joe Sherry 33: No, you don’t. And you don’t have the option of opting out of texts that display interracial marriages as normal either. Why don’t you fight that one? I’ll watch.

    Doug from Vancouver 55: Yes! Whenever I hear someone say that particular stupid thing, I always want to ask them “Can you recall when you chose heterosexuality over homosexuality? What was that like for you?”

    Adam 65: The whole CHINO right has abandoned the commandment against bearing false witness.

    Josh Jasper 69: I know someone who got the electroshocks in the 90s. OSC is doing the usual CHINO thing, whining about how he’s “persecuted” because his beliefs and choices are not given a special place in society, but instead are treated on their merits (or lack of same).

    Seth Gordon 74: You didn’t realize that he was making fun of secular humanist? I did.

    Cassie 94: What a lot of nonsense. Show me one case ever when there was an organized protest against the binding of a book. Honestly, having said something like this, do you really expect to be taken seriously by anyone?

  162. Kelly @ 175: secularists and atheists don’t need a priest or a court official to declare them married, yes? Getting the state out of the marriage business would not prevent anyone who is areligious from getting a Union document, and simply declaring themselves Husband and Wife. Heck, hold a secular ceremony if you must. If you want it officiated, find an officer who suits your needs. Traditionally, ships captains could marry. Take a cruise and make it happen! Your Union protects you legally. Whatever else you might want or need to make it “real” would be up to you.

    I attended a lesbian wedding in the late 90’s which pretty much did this. I think the officiator was a shaman of some undetermined pseudo-Native American distinction. Anyway, the state never entered into it.

  163. There has been some discussion of the “Gay Agenda”. For some reason I got this in the mail today.

    ___________________________________________

    Gay Agenda

    10:00 a.m. – news and rumours

    10:15 a.m. – approval of minutes

    .
    .
    .

    ______________________

    Sorry.

    Andrew

  164. Xopher, @181: No no NO. Brunch is on the Jewish agenda. And please, nu, let it be at Sophie’s house this time round…last time we were at Sharon’s and the bagel platter (drops to a loud whisper) wasn’t good.

  165. Sub-Odeon # 171

    Now, speaking as an LDS person, I can see where Orson Scott Card is coming from. He opposes what I oppose: the gradual stigmatizing or even outlawing of language or thought which calls the act of homosexuality a sin, or wrong, or what have you. Because the act of homosexuality is ultimately what we’re talking about, and all ACTION is open to moral interpretation. Card made a great point, in that “homophobe” is now applied with a gargantuan paintroller by gay activists and gay sympathizers, to the point that reasonable argument and compromise gets lost in the angry screaming and name-calling.

    People who’s religion forcibly institutionalized and conducted electroshock therapy on gay people should really really stop complaining about insults from gay people.

    What do you expect, anyway? It’s like a generation of slave owners getting shocked when former slaves call them names.

    As for outlawing language? Bullcrap. Card can say what he wants. It’s the LDS that has a history of censoring GLBT people, not the other way around.

  166. Xopher @ 178

    I read Joe @ 33’s comments as saying that he objects to the current textbooks, the one’s that don’t accept queer sexuality/marriage as normal. And yet the lack of a choice to opt out of those for his (hypothetical) children is somehow not seen as important. IOW, I think y’all are on the same side.

  167. Sub-Odeon #171:

    “Give marriage back to the chruches”? You do realise that marriage has always been a legal, rather than religious, institution, right? The churches weren’t even involved until the 15th Century.

    Basically, what you propose doing is taking marriage as it’s existed for thousands of years and renaming it “civil union”, and then redefining marriage as a non-binding celebration between two or more people that anyone can preside over, so long as they’ve sent their 10 bucks to those Internet dudes? What, exactly, do you think making “marriage” utterly meaningless is going to achieve?

    Is the law defining civil unions going to explicitly state that it’s exactly the same as what marriage used to be, or are the ~1,400 laws that reference marriage going to be amended so that they refer instead to civil unions?

    Do you really think that the anti-same-sex marriage people are going to be OK with same-sex couples getting equal rights and treatment, so long as no-one mentions the M word? Somehow, I doubt it, myself.

    Why not just keep “marriage” exactly the same as it is now, but remove the gender requirements? That would be a lot easier, and it wouldn’t smell like “separate but equal” – because we all know how that turns out, right?

    “Religiously conservative faiths like the LDS church won’t have to “swallow” gay marriage any more than the Universalist Unitarians won’t have to “ban” it.”

    In the same way that Catholic churches don’t have to “swallow” divorcees getting married, you mean? As it stands a church can refuse to marry anyone for any reason. Legalising same-sex marriage isn’t going to change that, any more than legalising divorce did. And we didn’t need to destroy marriage (as in your “compromise”) to do that.

  168. 172 – Keri — by swearing to only buy used OSC books from now on aren’t you still supporting the market for his books? As the value for the used books stays high it motivates others to buy his books new. Just something to think about. (I think that OSC would be happy if people continue to read his books)

    Just because many people on this list disagree (strongly I might add) to OSC doesn’t make him a ‘nutter’. I disagree with some of Scalzi’s point, but I don’t think of him as a nutter (well, I sometimes think he is wrong, but I don’t hold that against him).

    If two people want to commit legally to each other — let them do it. Let the various religions decide what they will about it — none of it diminishes what I have with my wife.

  169. Josh @ #184: got an issue with the LDS church? Yes?

    Wintermute @ #186: I proposed my solution, and I think it works for our 21st century America. Virtually all modern Americans opposed to gay marriage, oppose it on religious grounds. Removing ‘marriage’ as a state function and giving it strictly to the churches gives the religious conservative what they want. It also gives gays what they want because they can still MARRY according to their own religious (or areligious) convictions, and enjoy equal protection under the law. Separate but equal? How does that apply to a Union document that provides IDENTICAL legal rights and protections to straight, gay, and poly alike?

    Again, it’s not going to make everyone happy. But then, compromise seldom does.

  170. Sub-Odeon @ 179,

    Again, why go to all that bother when it’s simply easier not to discriminate against same sex couples?

    You said give marriage back to the churches. I said, there are people who will have problems with that because they don’t see marriage as primarily a religious function. Many non-religious people see the “real” bit you referred to as being derived from the state sanction and recognition of their “marriage.” Both the word and the state’s involvement are important to people.

    But really this is a side issue and a distraction because the chances of getting the state out of the marriage business are somewhat greater than zero percent and a whole lot less than one percent. People like having state-sanctioned marriages for a wide variety of reasons, many of them not religious. Removing the state from the marriage business is not going to happen and I’ve mostly seen the idea raised as a way of changing the subject when people don’t want to stop discriminating against same sex couples.

  171. OSC says “Already in several states, there are textbooks for children in the earliest grades that show “gay marriages” as normal. ”

    While there are certainly books available, I am not aware of any textbooks that show what Card purports. While it could be true, I would need more than his insanity to prove it.

    As a school librarian, I tend to follow such things, but I don’t mind being proven wrong.

  172. Kelly @ #189: But when does the pursuit of non-discrimination for gays begin to run across the top of majority rule? Our laws are designed to protect the individual, but they were not designed to make the particular wants and needs of the individual paramount over the public want. And the fact of the matter is that if we go to a national level and vote the issue, gay marriage will get voted down. Statistics back this up. There is no way a gay marriage ammendment which includes homosexuals will survive at a national level when put to the vote. Too many Americans (apparently) still want to keep the hetero definition; whether its explicit or implicit.

    Which brings me back to getting the state, both local and federal out of the business of “marrying” altogether. Because the secular state cannot conduct religious rite, and for almost all people opposed to gay marriage, it’s the religious and moral aspect of gay marriage that bothers them.

    I think a majority of Americans could be convinced to go for the idea, with time and explanation, and as stated, I think it satisfies both parties; even if it stretches the imagination.

    So far, where gay marriage is concerned, it’s been one side trampling the other, and then back again. Until a working compromise is struck, we’ll just keep seeing legal volleyball: judicial rulings, overturned by further judicial rulings, overturned by the vote, overturned by still further judicial rulings… It would be nice to just quit the cycle and settle on something.

  173. It’s more the LDS Church that has the issue with GLBT people.

    You may just not be aware of it. Forcing gay kids off to what are essentially aversion therapy based reeducation camps is a pretty serious issue.

    I’m not in favor of doing that to you, or anyone else. I recognize that the church is not a monolithic institution, but you need to deal with your history (and present, though most of the reeducation camps have gone underground), and recognize why people might be pretty pissed off at the church, and people like Card who’re talking on behalf of the church (official or not) against GLBT people.

  174. Sub-Odeon @ 188,

    Or we could get churches out of the marriage business. Reserve the term marriage for state-sanctioned marriages and call the religious version a “holy-union.” That compromise does exactly the same thing your compromise does but reverses the language issue. Does that work for you? If not, why not?

  175. Scalzi@128.

    I’ve eaten at McDonalds, not is polycondimentary an accepted practice in many cases it is necessary. Since I have not sampled the food you feed your dog I will leave the comparison to what they serve at McDonalds to you.

    Personally I think mayonaisse on a burger is an abomination, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think people shouldn’t be allowed to eat the Whopper at Burger King.

  176. #177 Aphrael: Yeah, you’re right. So the term ‘Gay Tax” is even MORE appropriate.

    #187 Kirk: OSC is definitely a nutter. I’ve read other rants by him, and yep. Nutter. Regarding buying his used books, eh, so long as he doesn’t directly get my money, I’m okay with it. Besides, the three of us (my bro, my hubby, and I) can just pass that one book amongst us and therefore spend even LESS money on him. To be honest though, the Enders series is dead to me because I can’t stand Bean, so unless he continues publishing Alving Maker books, OSC is dead to me as well.

  177. If any idiot (including a future President Obama) tries to pull the “Oh, life partnerships can come in creamy ‘marriage’ flavor for opposite-sex couples, and crunchy ‘civil union’ flavor for same-sex couples” nonsense, my (opposite-sex) husband and I are getting a divorce and joining whatever group of opposite-sex couples is bringing suit for the right to have a civil union.

    Because most of the best life partnerships I know are between same-sex couples, and I think that it’s unfair to deny me and my husband access to that just because we had the misfortune to be born straight (him) and bi (me).

  178. I see no reason to knuckle under to the lie that marriage belongs to the Church in the first place; that’s a theft from the people that has been working in the English-speaking world since about 1200, and they haven’t pulled it off yet.

    I am devoutly religious, and don’t think the gods give a damn about marriage per se. (Proper upholding of contract, sure, but that is a much larger set than “marriage”.) But the Christian hegemonialism that presumes that the devout all agree with marriage as a sacrament is pretty much invisible in the US, alas.

    Speaking as someone who is, arguably, conservative, I am very concerned about undermining marriage.

    When people cannot have their partnerships recognised through ordinary social channels, that undermines marriage. I actually have evidence for this — in people who refuse to marry because partnership-recognition is denied to their friends, who come up with alternate, subversive ritualisations to mark those partnerships that cannot marry legally. So long as those relationships exist and cannot make the social ritual, the social ritual will suffer for it.

    Card’s ilk thinks the solution is to fix “so long as those relationships exist”.

    I disagree.

  179. Darn it, Kelly McCullough’s #193 beats me to it. If the problem is that some people don’t want their legal sanction of relationship to be called the same thing as others’, the obvious thing is for them to stop calling their own “marriage”. Lots of other words available and lots of traditions to draw upon. But “marriage” is, in the modern West, the formal notice that a couple is committed to sharing life’s burdens and rewards together – their assets, their liabilities, any children they may have (whether their own or adopted), and so on. Approving same-sex marriage means just noticing that non-hetero couples often feel that way and are willing to try to live up to their best commitment to each other, too.

    And as for whether terms like “homophobe” stigmatize people who are sincerely convinced, for religious or secular reasons, that homosexuality is undesirable and shouldn’t be encouraged…tough. When the mainstream of Christian thought supported racism, it was wrong; the KKK and Stormfront and all are wrong right now. My friend who sometimes flirts with succumbing to a full-bore anti-male lesbian separatism is wrong when she does it. Putting people in an inferior moral category because of their group identities like this is wrong. If you think God is telling you otherwise, you’re wrong. I respect people’s right to hold pernicious doctrines, but I’m not going to stop calling them that or trying to win away bystanders just to keep a bigot comfortable.

  180. Kelly @ #193: For me personally, I don’t care what the state says. I remember thinking it funny that I had to go get a document from the state prior to being sealed to my wife in the Salt Lake LDS temple. It was the sealing ceremony that was paramount in my mind. The state document was just a detail. A legally important detail, yes. But for me, and for most LDS and non-LDS but still religious people I have discussed this with, it’s the church-officiated ceremony of marriage that has been the definer; not some document from the state.

    If we must juggle semantically, I’d be fine with “marriage” being the state form, and “holy union” being the church form. Again, for LDS, those of us who go to the temple are “sealed” and this is something different from a routine “marriage”; which is also done by many LDS, either aside from or even prior to being “sealed”.

    I know it’s dumb, but semantics is 90% of the problem. A majority of Americans are just flat out not OK with gays being “married”. Yes, we can wish that these people would think harder about it, and lend their gay friends and fellow citizens the benefit of legal status without having a cow. I personally am all for gays getting legal status. But I also understand why so many straights are upset, and I think whether “enlightened” people think opponents of gay marriage are “homophobic” or not, it’s worth it to try and find a compromise between opponents of gay marriages, and gays.

    Josh @ #192: Uhhh, ‘camps’? I knew some gay LDS kids in Jr. High and High School. This was 1988-1992. Beyond a lecture from the Bishop or Stake President, I am not sure any of them got any kind of church-sanctioned or church-run ‘camp’ time. But then I think we’re discussing “gay recovery” groups, most of them religious centered. And while I have no doubt there are many LDS-inspired groups, I don’t think there are any such groups administered by the LDS church itself as a matter of standard church practice.

    If you’re expecting to slap me in the face with dirty church laundry, and have it shock me or otherwise shake me up, I think you’re wasting your time. I essentially left the church in my teens, and when I came back I made peace with the idea that church history was checkered and that a lot of dumb and even wrong stuff happened under the Mormon aegis. I can live with that, mostly because the church itself is just a human construction founded on the higher teachings of a person I consider divine: Jesus the Christ. No Christian church in history has been without problems, nor has any avoided mistakes. I chalk it up to stupid, flawed people being stupid and flawed. It doesn’t make the enterprise as a whole permanently evil or derelict.

  181. Back in my high school days, there was only one guy roundly suspected of homosexuality. (I can’t even remember if he ever really came out). In any case, he’s also the only person from my graduating class who killed himself (although I may be mistaken).

    He was a nice guy. And our class, our school, and our culture probably didn’t make his life any easier.

    In the years since, I’ve known more than one teacher working from the closet. It can’t be easy.

    These are the men and women I think of when people start to pretend that society is somehow injured by homosexuals. (The reverse is far easier to argue).

    ~Dave

  182. I almost feel bad for Card. The level of persecution he clearly feels he and his are suffering under is ugly. Not to mention he thinks he lives in a world where “any abortion up to the killing of a viable baby in mid-birth was made legal.” I’d hate to wake up to that world, even if it was all in my head.

    I have to laugh, though, at his repeated identification of supposed “irony,” given that he’d undoubtedly turn himself explosively inside-out if the government were to recognize that they DON’T have the power to define marriage, as he says, and declared from this point forward they wouldn’t recognize or solemnize ANY marriage.

    Could you imagine the uproar from the very people who claim they want to ‘defend’ marriage if we declared that from now on that was between people and their churches?

    It’s that intellectual dishonesty that keeps me from feeling any real pity for Card and his bunch. They don’t really want government out of the marriage business, they just want it to uphold what they want.

    If Card wants real irony, how about the fact that as a mormon he shouldn’t be advocating for civil rights protection by popular vote. Watching people say they didn’t think Romney was a “real” christian should have been enough tipoff for that fact. He’d be huddling in the dark conducting his religious rituals in hiding right along with the wiccans, jews, satanists, and unitarians if he got the rights by popular vote that he claims he wants.

  183. Bruce @ #198: I am inclined to agree.

    However, I would point out that people having a problem with the act of homosexuality is different from people having a problem with people because they’re black, latino, asian, etc.

    I personally have a HUGE PROBLEM with people who smoke. I think it’s a disgusting habit and it has tremendous detrimental effects on our whole country and is so pointlessly absurd and offensive (especially at bus stops and other “open air” communal spaces) that smokers ought to be fined for repeatedly exposing non-smokers to their habit via second hand smoke.

    Yet some of the people I am closest to have, or are, smokers.

    I know a lot of people who are anti-gay really are irrationally homophobic, in that they experience a near-violent aversion to gays, gay lifestyle, etc.

    But this doesn’t mean every single person who has a moral issue with the act of homosexuality is a homophobe, nor a bigot, nor incapable of being friends with, close to, or even love, gay people.

  184. Sub-Odeonon@171

    The United States is built on the notion of compromise. And when it comes to gay marriage, we have two extremes who are utterly unwilling to compromise.

    I could argue your first comment in so many ways except to say but I’ll simply say, no, it isn’t.

    Beyond that, what would you have said to the black community during the 60’s? Would you say, “Hey, let’s compromise; I mean, you get your own special drinking fountain too.”

    Sometimes there is room for compromise and sometimes there is simply right and wrong.

    and again @191
    But when does the pursuit of non-discrimination for gays begin to run across the top of majority rule? Our laws are designed to protect the individual, but they were not designed to make the particular wants and needs of the individual paramount over the public want.

    Because the majority is always right? The majority, at one point or another in this country’s history, thought slavery was ok, thought that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, thought that it was ok to not allow people of different racial backgrounds to marry, that they were all for segregation of people based off of ethic background. All of these ideas were wrong and, through time and education, they were changed. Can you argue that this is untrue?

    And the fact of the matter is that if we go to a national level and vote the issue, gay marriage will get voted down. Statistics back this up. There is no way a gay marriage ammendment which includes homosexuals will survive at a national level when put to the vote. Too many Americans (apparently) still want to keep the hetero definition; whether its explicit or implicit

    Care to back that up with numbers? I would also like to argue that said numbers can and do change; ABC has a story about the changing opinions regarding gays in the military. And guess what? People are either becoming more accepting of it or are at least not seeing it as much of an issue as it was before.

  185. Sub-Odeon @202:

    But this doesn’t mean every single person who has a moral issue with the act of homosexuality is a homophobe, nor a bigot,

    Yes, actually, that’s exactly what it means.

  186. Sub-Odeon@202
    However, I would point out that people having a problem with the act of homosexuality is different from people having a problem with people because they’re black, latino, asian, etc.

    …care to explain that?

  187. Sub-Odeon @ various numbers:

    This article should help you understand why your compromise will never work. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/5/14/21342/2778/771/515859

    How about you religious folks change the names of your unions to something special, instead? Since you’re the ones who want to be all unique and set apart. Call your marriages holy unions. Then you can be special and unique and you won’t be infringing on my rights.

  188. Sub-Odeon @ 199

    Fair enough on the terminology. I respect your consistency on the issue. I don’t see that very often. I can’t speak for all secularists, but I know quite a number for whom it’s the state marriage that is the definer–this includes several who had religious ceremonies for family reasons.

    As for the majority argument, I think that A) in this case the majority is very wrong, and B) not going to be a majority for very much longer.

    If the data in this poll is extrapolated out in time that majority is going to flip to a minority in the next 10-20 years. Now, it’s possible that curve is going to shallow out over that time, but I suspect that the opposite is true, especially with Massachusetts and now probably California demonstrating that same sex marriage has pretty much zero negative impact on anybody not in a bad one. This poll matches others I’ve seen and shows a very clear long term trend upward in acceptance of and support for same sex marriage. Unless I’m very wrong, in thirty years or less the vast majority of Americans are going to be baffled by and appalled at those who used to oppose gay marriage.

  189. people having a problem with the act of homosexuality is different from people having a problem with people because they’re black, latino, asian, etc.

    “The act of homosexuality?” What “act” are you talking about? Same-sex marriage isn’t about same-sex fucking any more than opposite-sex marriage is about opposite-sex fucking.

    Opposing same-sex marriage is exactly the same as opposing interracial marriage.

  190. Sub-Odeon #188:

    So, your “compromise” involves giving gays equal rights, and turning “marriage” into a literally meaningless institution such that I could marry a pig to a tree, and no-one would have any reason to complain, and you think the “keep marriage sacred” crowd would accept this?

    What, exactly, do you think they’re going to approve of, here?

  191. Andrew @ #204: You’re painting with the gargantuan roller. If I can borrow language I have seen applied since 9/11… Are all homophobes against the act of homosexuality? Yes. Are all people against the act of homosexuality homophobes? No.

    Renthing @ #203: There are a significant number of African Americans who greatly resent seeing Civil Rights co-opted for the purpose of furthering Gay Rights. These are not and never will be the same issue. They may be similar in some respects, but they’re not the same. And it all hinges on the fact that homosexuality, at its most rudimentary description, is a behavior. A verb. It’s an action. Something being done. African Americans can no more choose their ethnicity than any of the rest of us; Michael Jackson not withstanding. (smirk) Hence, the key difference.

    Basically, gay people need to get over the fact that a majority of the American populace probably won’t ever smile on the act of homosexuality. It’s just not going to happen. We might curb violent homophobia and ensure legal and workplace protections for gays against discrimination. But you can’t outlaw people being uneasy with one man having the act of sex with another man, or one woman having sex with another woman. You can’t leglislate or outlaw a feeling. And just because gays might crowbar “marriage” out of the hands of straights, most straights won’t ever accept “gay marriage” nor will they call two gay men “husbands” nor two gay women “wives”. You mind find lots of straight individuals willing to do this, but not the majority.

    Meanwhile, straights need to get over the fact that gays are here, they exist, they are human beings, they deserve rights, and they deserve to not be physically abused or lose jobs because of their sexuality. Straights may argue that homosexuality is morally wrong, but you cannot legislate morality of this nature because homosexuality is “victimless” and such legislation is discriminatory at its base. What consenting adults choose to do with one another, sexually, is not for the state to decide. And if straights could see the emotional and ethical damage done by discriminatory laws and TRUE homophobia (ergo, beating up gays on the street) maybe they’d chill out a little?

    This is the compromise. It’s about learning to live together as a society and realizing that nothing will ever be totally and perfectly to the liking of the other. For gays, a magical world would mean everyone everywhere totally condoned and approved of the act of homosexuality. For anti-gay straights, a magical world would mean everyone is straight and homosexuality doesn’t even exist.

    Neither of these magical worlds will come into being.

    So we either learn to live with each other and find the compromise, or we keep labeling, name-calling, screaming obscenities, and duking it out on the streets and in the courts, venting our righteous rage and anger (yes, gays too) at the “evil Other” who makes our lives so hard.

  192. Sub-Odeon @202:

    “I would point out that people having a problem with the act of homosexuality is different from people having a problem with people because they’re black, latino, asian, etc.”

    No, it isn’t. It’s still discrimination and it’s still wrong. They aren’t hurting you. You’re simply prejudging them.

    “But this doesn’t mean every single person who has a moral issue with the act of homosexuality is a homophobe, nor a bigot, nor incapable of being friends with, close to, or even love, gay people.”

    Yes, it does, unless you mean in the “Some of my best friends are Jews” sense, which is not friendship but trophy-collection.

    Wake up. I don’t hate you because you’re Mormon – and your religion is a total choice! If I did, I would be a bigot. I might have a problem with actions you take that directly, actually harm me – like trying to deprive me of my rights – but the simple fact that you’re a Mormon is not the basis for my dislike of you.

    My having sex with my husband doesn’t touch you even a little tiny bit, so you cannot say that my actions are harming you. You’re a bigot, plain and simple.

  193. Sub-Odeon, please stop saying “the act of homosexuality” over and over. It’s crazy-making and meaningless.

    What do you even mean by it? Do you mean “same-sex sex” or do you mean “not being closeted” or what?

    gay people need to get over the fact that a majority of the American populace probably won’t ever smile on the act of homosexuality

    Without knowing what you mean by “the act of homosexuality” I cannot argue the merits of this statement.

    “Probably won’t ever” is a ridiculous comment, especially considering that one of the main candidates for President this year is a man whose parents’ marriage was illegal in many US states, and to whom many US states would legally have denied the vote on the basis of his color as little as 143 years ago.

  194. Sorry, should have said “a man whose parents’ marriage was illegal in many US states as little as 41 years ago, and to whom…”

  195. meh, people who claim to be religious have just as high divorce rates as any other group. According to a study I read a few years ago the lowest divorce rate belongs to mix-race couples. My guess it is due to the amount of hardship they faces from society so they hold on to each other that much harder. My hypothesis is that in a few years the lowest divorce rate will belong to same-sex marriages for the same reason. Bottom line, religious folks lost the right to complain about the sanctity of marriage when they treated it with the same contempt as every other socio-economical group out there.

  196. Me @ 207

    I feel the need to qualify that my “Fair enough” does not mean that I think that the state should or is likely to get out of the marriage business.

    Sub-Odeon, I really don’t think your compromise will work, nor do I think that it is right but I respect your intellectual consistency on the terminology part of the issue. I believe strongly that same sex couples should be allowed to marry and that denying them that right is a case of discrimination plain and simple and one that will and should ultimately fail.

  197. I couldn’t resist making the substitutions in the original text to see how it reads.

    The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to “interracial marriage,” is that it marks the end of democracy in America.

    These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.

    The pretext is that state constitutions require it — but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.

    It is such an obvious overreach by judges, far beyond any rational definition of their authority, that even those who support the outcome of the decisions should be horrified by the means.

    We already know where these decisions lead. We have seen it with the legislation extending voting rights. At first, it was only black men; within a few years, though, suffrage was given to women.

    Not only that, but the courts upheld obviously unconstitutional limitations on free speech and public assembly: It is now illegal even to kneel and pray in front of voting booths.

    Do not suppose for a moment that the “interracial marriage” diktats will not be supported by methods just as undemocratic, unconstitutional and intolerant.

    Already in several states, there are textbooks for children in the earliest grades that show “interracial marriages” as normal. How long do you think it will be before such textbooks become mandatory — and parents have no way to opt out of having their children taught from them?

    And if you choose to home-school your children so they are not propagandized with the “normality” of “interracial marriage,” you will find more states trying to do as California is doing — making it illegal to take your children out of the propaganda mill that our schools are rapidly becoming.

    How dangerous is this, politically? Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of colored activists, I have been called a “racist” for years.

    This is a term that was invented to describe people with a pathological fear of black people — the kind of people who engage in acts of violence against people of color. But the term was immediately extended to apply to anyone who opposed the so-called “civil rights” activist agenda in any way.

    A term that has mental-health implications (racist) is now routinely applied to anyone who deviates from the politically correct line. How long before opposing interracial marriage, or refusing to recognize it, gets you officially classified as “mentally ill”?

    Remember how rapidly interracial marriage has become a requirement. When “civil rights” were being enforced by the courts back in the ’70s and ’80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of civil rights that they would never attempt to legalize interracial marriage.

    It took about 15 minutes for that promise to be broken.

    And you can guess how long it will now take before any group that speaks against “interracial marriage” being identical to marriage will be attacked using the same tools that have been used against voter-protection groups — RICO laws, for instance.

    Here’s the irony: There is no branch of government with the authority to redefine marriage. Marriage is older than government. Its meaning is universal: It is the permanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.

    The laws concerning marriage did not create marriage, they merely attempted to solve problems in such areas as inheritance, property, paternity, divorce, adoption and so on.

    If the government passed a law declaring that grey was now green, and asphalt was specifically designated as a botanical organism, would that make all our streets into “greenery” and all our parking lots into “parks”?

    If a court declared that from now on, “blind” and “sighted” would be synonyms, would that mean that it would be safe for blind people to drive cars?

    No matter how sexually attracted a black man might be toward a white woman, or a black woman toward a white man, and no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within interracial couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a white man and a white woman.

    This is a permanent fact of nature.

  198. meh, people who claim to be religious have just as high divorce rates as any other group.

    Higher, when you compare “people who define themselves as both religious and Protestant” and “people who define themselves as Protestant, but not particularly religious.”

    Also, if everyone’s so concerned about how same-sex marriage could lead to heterosexual divorce, wouldn’t the logical solution be to outlaw heterosexual divorce? I mean, if anyone really cares about “the sanctity of marriage,” wouldn’t the first step be to impose that on the 90% of the population who might be tempted to heterosexual divorce?

  199. And Ron, that’s exactly what arguments against interracial marriage in the US and apartheid South Africa read like. Word for word.

  200. Sub-Odeon 210: “And it all hinges on the fact that homosexuality, at its most rudimentary description, is a behavior. A verb. It’s an action. Something being done.”

    Really? That is fascinating. I have this really good friend, you see, who calls herself a lesbian. In the entire 12 years we have been friends, she has never once gone on a date. Her own personal approach to sex is that it belongs in a relationship, so it is fairly obvious to me from our conversations and such that she has not had sex with another woman in over 12 years.

    And yet, she is still a lesbian. According to you she is… straight I guess… since nothing “is being done.”

    At any rate, all this wranging over the “M” word…are you aware, Sub-Odeon, that many of the loudest critics of same-sex marriage ALSO oppose any form of civil unions and similar arrangements?

    Many of the anti-marriage state constitution amendments passed over the last few years went out of their way to include language suggesting that such arrangements should also not be recognized. So the idea that if we’d all just accept another word everything will all work out is sorta silly.

    All I want is the ability to protect my own family. I fail to see why your religious beliefs or your church should be allowed to interfere with that.

  201. But this doesn’t mean every single person who has a moral issue with the act of homosexuality is a homophobe

    Yes, it does. Because there is no such thing as THE “act of homosexuality”. I assume what you’re coyly referring to is anal sex between men. A person who believes that homosexuality is a behavior, and a particular behavior at that, is indeed a bigot.

    As for whether or not they can say some of their best friends were gay, plenty of bigots are capable of being kind to individual members of groups they despise and wish to no longer exist. Strom Thurmond was one example, as was the author of Soldat.

  202. I think it’s worthwhile to consider that one of the reasons this is so complicated is that we are considering same-sex marriage and this notion we /now/ call “homosexuality” as the same thing. They overlap, to be sure, but they are different domains.

    Foucalt (of course) is the guy you want to start with for an historical overview of how we got to our modern, western idea of homosexuality. This history is why it can be a mistake to say that such-and-such figure from the past was or was not “homosexual.” How a part of the population is identified or self-identifies has always mapped differently onto who they got naked with.

    The same sorts of historical views can be taken of marriage (as has been alluded to in these comments). Marriage has changed a lot, and continues to change. There are actually few “marriage” universals, when you look at it from an anthropological POV.

    For many, same-sex marriage proposals are a way for the state to a.) protect a part of the population from the tyranny of the majority (something most democracies have to consider) and b.) flatten as many barriers to full expressions of citizenship as they can. An ideal, to be sure, but some of us prefer the ideal of democracy and freedom (both freedom to and freedom from) over some slippery and ill-defined moral ideal.

    States (rightly so) have recently strived to stay out of the bedrooms of their citizens. Because once you go there, it’s hard to get out, and resulting statutes are very hard to apply fairly (check out recent changes to Georgia’s statutes on adultery, which were primarily used to target poor minorities in practice).

    So, for me, this is an easy one, but I’m a bit of democracy zealot. As soon as I hear folks talk about “different & separate, but equal” rights for same-sex marriage, I get nervous.

    Tell me, America. How did those separate, but equal statutes work out for you in the post-reconstruction South?

  203. Sorry it took so long to jump back in. Work just gets in the way, don’t it?

    Marc Moskowitz@148
    “This legislature you’re calling on, is it the same CA legislature that has voted for same-sex marriage and was told by the governor to take it to the courts? That would be the governor who supports the recent ruling, and doesn’t think the ballot amendment should pass. What I’m saying is that the legislative branch has stated its opinion on this matter, and it is in agreement with the courts.”

    Eddie Clark@150
    “The incoherence of arguing that something is a matter for the legislature WHEN THEY’VE ALREADY VOTED FOR IT TWICE beggars belief.”

    Guess I misspoke. It’s the legislative PROCESS, not just the legislature. Gotta get it past the governor, or overturn the veto.

    Midnitemarauder@160
    “Courts don’t make new laws; they interpret and apply the laws that already exist. That’s their job, and it’s part of the fundamental concept behind the ‘checks and balances’ system of our government. ”

    Yeah, but they’re redefining the terms with this ruling. That was my point.

    “Gay marriage is not about “customs”, it’s about the freedom to live ones life as an equal citizen, and to be granted the same rights and privileges. The fact that you would equate “turning right on red” with anti-discrimination and civil rights issues is actually rather appalling.”

    Uh, yes it is customs. In this country, marriage has been man/woman since Day One. I have no objection to efforts to redefine marriage as an institution. None at all. I have objections to doing it thru the courts.

    Goes back to what I said earlier: Teach, not compel. You have to convince others that you are right. And you’re assuming I’d vote no on the idea. Don’t assume.

    Making a change like this requires a political debate. Without the debate, any imposition of a new paradigm doesn’t really have legitimacy.

    Teach. Convince. Do Not Compel.

  204. No: Legally, yes. And whether it was 4-3 or 7-0 or any combination therein matters not a jot in terms of the legal force of the ruling.

    By that logic, Roe v. Wade (7-2) and Korematsu v. U.S. (6-3) should still be good law. Yet Roe gets another fang pulled with every other Supreme Court term, and there seems to be this tacit agreement among legal professionals that we will simply forget Korematsu ever happened.

    Ultimately, the legal force of a ruling depends on how accepted it is by the public at large. And since the job of a court is to say what the law is and not what the law should be, the less grounded a decision is in the text of the relevant law, the less popular acceptance it will have. (And when the dissenters accuse you of usurping the Legislature’s authority, you may have gone just a tad too far.)

    @Renthing:

    All minorities are entitled to equal treatment, but some get more equal treatment than others. (That’s not me, that’s the Supreme Court’s own jurisprudence on levels of scrutiny. Really. I haven’t studied the issue in great detail, but AFAIK most states follow the Supreme Court’s lead on levels of scrutiny, even if they disagree about what goes in which level.)

    The Loving decision was not about marriage, it was about race. Questions about discrimination are not about what a person is or is not allowed to do as much as they are about the basis of that discrimination. Race discrimination is subject to “strict scrutiny,” which in practice means nobody can be denied the right to do anything (including get married) on the basis of their race, and there is both Constitutional law and a metric assload of statutory law to back it up – A majority of Congress said “no racial discrimination period,” even if they pussed out on the enforcement for a few decades. (That’s the reason why Loving was a 9-0 decision – there was no argument to be made against it.)

    But some kinds of classifications aren’t protected as strongly, or protected at all. Gender discrimination, for example, only gets “intermediate scrutiny,” which allows discrimination if the government has proved a plausible reason for it. Some laws prohibit gender discrimination, but a few allow it, e.g. Women aren’t eligible for the draft because they don’t have the physical strength of a man for combat. And some forms of discrimination, (including, yes, sexual orientation), get only “rational basis” scrutiny, which allows discrimination if the government simply asserts a single valid policy reason for it. Again, some laws prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, some allow it.

    The bottom line is that unless and until the people writing the laws (legislators, constitution drafters, people voting in referendums) say you are protected from discrimination, you aren’t. If the Congress or the state legislature is dealing in an area where their respective constitution(s) say absolutely nothing on the subject, (or as in the CA case, they are acting consistent with it) and they choose to say “thou may do A,” and then along comes the high court which says “but thou must not do A,” then the court, by definition, is wrong, regardless of what A is. Any other way, no matter how good you think the cause is, and that whole “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” thing gets tossed out the airlock.

    (Yes, I know Arnold told the CA legislature to leave it up to the courts. He was either wrong or pandering or more likely both. It was his job to make a decision one way or another and he just ducked it.)

    …Dear God, WHAT HAS LAW SCHOOL DONE TO ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
    (MasterThief’s subconscious: “Hey, you were like this before law school, you goddamn geek. Quit complaining before Scalzi starts making fun of you.”)

  205. And some forms of discrimination, (including, yes, sexual orientation), get only “rational basis” scrutiny

    MasterThief, you haven’t had Con Law yet, right? Because one of the things you learn in law school is that in addition to the Constitution of the United States, there are state Constitutions, and that states are free to give their citizens more (not less) rights that the United States Constitution grants.

    Another thing you learn in law school is to read the case, not the news story about the case, or the Westlaw headnote.

    If you’d absorbed both of these lessons, you’d have understood that the California decision was made under the California state constitution’s provisions. NOT the US Constitution. And, under California law, sexual orientation is a suspect classification.

    (For bonus points, you may want to ponder how anti-same-sex marriage laws draw a facial distinction based on GENDER – a class suspect to intermediate scrutiny even at the federal level – just as the law at issue in Loving drew a facial distinction based on race.)

  206. Dave #224: Uh, yes it is customs. In this country, marriage has been man/woman since Day One. I have no objection to efforts to redefine marriage as an institution. None at all. I have objections to doing it thru the courts.

    Goes back to what I said earlier: Teach, not compel. You have to convince others that you are right. And you’re assuming I’d vote no on the idea. Don’t assume.

    Forty years ago, exactly the same arguments applied to mixed-race marriage. I assume you are opposed to the courts just high-handedly giving blacks the right to marry white women as if they were actual humans with rights, right?

  207. Sub-Odeon@210

    Before I get to my arguments I’d like you to please answer my post at 205. I’d really like to know how you think they are different.

    These are not and never will be the same issue. They may be similar in some respects, but they’re not the same.

    You are absolutely right in that the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Rights Movement are two different things. No where in 203 did I compare the Civil Rights Movement to the Gay Rights Movement.

    You are only seeing the words I’m typing while failing to grasp the meaning, so I’ll repeat myself and hopefully you’ll get it this time. The majority in the past has been wrong. It was wrong regarding women’s sufferage, it was wrong about slavery, it was wrong about segregation of all kinds. And it can be wrong about same sex marriage as well.

    And it all hinges on the fact that homosexuality, at its most rudimentary description, is a behavior. A verb. It’s an action. Something being done.

    And, you see, that’s where you’re wrong. Homosexuality is not just an act. You are heterosexual. You claim that you are heterosexual to your core, that it is how you are, yet you fail to see and apply the flipside that perhaps homosexuality is how they are. A lot of straight and ignorant people ask homosexuals when they decided to become gay; well, Sub-Odeon, when did you become straight? Did you always like women sexually or was there at some point in your life a time where you made the conscious decision that you were going to be sexually interested in them?

    Homosexuality is also a culture and a way of thinking. It’s also a way of life. It’s an orientation, as much as heterosexuality is.

    Trying to limit it to an act is ridiculous. Name a sex act that a homosexual pairing can do that a heterosexual pairing cannot? And if you result to “having kids” I’m going to be disappointed in you.

    And just because gays might crowbar “marriage” out of the hands of straights, most straights won’t ever accept “gay marriage” nor will they call two gay men “husbands” nor two gay women “wives”.

    So? There are many white people in the world who can’t stand to see an inter-racial marriage happen? Does that mean we should disallow two people of different backgrounds to get married?

    Straights may argue that homosexuality is morally wrong, but you cannot legislate morality of this nature because homosexuality is “victimless” and such legislation is discriminatory at its base. What consenting adults choose to do with one another, sexually, is not for the state to decide. And if straights could see the emotional and ethical damage done by discriminatory laws and TRUE homophobia (ergo, beating up gays on the street) maybe they’d chill out a little?

    Do you think that the racism is limited to those people who go out and physically assault others based off of their race or sexism with violence against people of the opposite gender? Sexism, racism, homophobia are all mindsets that can and do lead to behavior. They are the line of thinking that Person X is not as important than Person Y for Z reason. It used to be thought that blacks were less intelligent than whites because they supposedly had a smaller brains, that women were worse at math and science than men. Both are patently untrue and both are racist and sexist without being violent. If I suspect that all black people are out to steal my car, that women are automatically inferior to me because I’m simply male, or that all homosexuals have AIDs and are out to spread it, guess what, those are racist, sexist and homophobic ideas.

    Come on, give me a good argument here that has some kind of logic behind it.

  208. I’ll try and hit the replies and be brief about it. I originally came to compliment Scalzi on the book, then saw this thread, then saw Card being bashed, and well… My fault for entering a conversation already well underway and probably not in need of my input.

    Still, here goes:

    Sara @ #211: I realize for most gays it’s an intrinsic part of who they are and they FEEL IT down in the root of their being, and greatly resent the idea that choice has anything at all to do with the matter. I myself think it’s a lot more complex, and simple, than that (contradiction, I know, but it’s case by case..) but the fact remains most gays these days identify as gay long before actually having sex with someone of the same gender. And yes, I realize I am swimming as much upstream against same-sex marriage critics, as I am against same-sex marriage proponents. But I think it’s worth doing because I think pro and con spend so much time talking over, through, at, and above one another, nobody ever wonders if anything could ever be different, beyond shouting at the other side, calling names, and remaining satisfied that the other side is filled with Bad Guys.

    Michael P @ #215: I agree that heteros have trashed the institution of marriage beyond almost all recognition. The rate of divorce and infidelity would seem to suggest that straights would be best served setting their own houses in order, before tackling the same-sex issue. So you won’t see me making excuses for straight behavior. It has been attrocious at best.

    JupiterPluvius @ various: I’m in an interaccial marriage as the “light” partner, so I think I can speak a little on the comparison between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage. It’s not really the same because my wife could never “act white” and get away with it. She’s brown. Always will be. Can’t hide it. No access to Michael Jackson treatments. Nor would she ever want them. A gay person can “act straight” and many do; sometimes their whole lives. Some so successfully that it begs the question: how much is being gay a choice, and how much is being gay a predetermined quality? My wife might be culturally “white” but her skin color will never be escapable, and earns her racism to this day, even in “liberal” parts of the country. Meanwhile, one of her best friends, an active lesbian, could walk into anywhere she wanted and nobody would know she is gay unless she told them. Being “gay” is not readily observable in the same way as race, and this is an important reason why borrowing the Civil Rights movement for Gay Rights doesn’t fit exactly; and why many African Americans resent it.

    As for “the act of homosexuality” I feel forced to use the phrase because it’s the only way to separate the issue into its true components, and separate the true homophobes from people for whom the issue is moral and/or philosophical, without it being mean-hearted or hateful. Because a lot of the problem I see is in gay proponents automatically assuming everyone on the “marriage defense” side as being automatically bigoted and nasty; and this is neither accurate nor helpful in resolving the ultimate problem: how to get gays their rights under the law, and how to do it without trampeling the religious doctrines and traditions of the straight population.

    I don’t hate gays. I don’t gay-bash. I support the abolition of “don’t ask don’t tell” and I support gays having equal protection and rights under the law. At the same time, I still think I am entitled to my moral belief concerning the ACT of homosexuality, because my religious doctrine only ever discusses the ACT itself, not the people performing it. In terms of the people, my faith admonishes non-judgment and love. Some might disagree that you can’t support or love a gay person and still think the act of homosexuality is wrong. I used an earlier example of smokers to illustrate that it is possible to perfectly supportive of, and even love someone, even if they engage in an ACT you find wrong, sinfull, loathesome, etc.

    Again, the solution is not helped by automatically making it into an artificial black/white landscape with Good Guys on one side and Bad Guys on the other. This is what gay-bashers do, and it’s not really any better for pro-gay people to bash marriage-defense people as if all people (like Card) who speak out against gay marriage are automatically hateful, nasty, evil, fucked up people.

    wintermute @ #209: I don’t think I said the Union document would be meaningless, as you portrayed it. It would still be a legal bond between consenting human adults. No silliness about animals or plants or inanimate objects. It would apply to hetero, poly, and homo. The same set of legal protections and stipulations for all cases. No “special” treatment for anyone. Nor any discrimination within the law. It might seem like silly semantics to remove the word marriage, but I think that would be the quickest way to sell straights still opposed to gay marriage on the idea.

    mythango @ #222: you’ve got the giant roller going. It is possible to be loving and supportive of gay people, yet disapprove of the actual act of homosexual sex. Just as it is possible to love and support anyone who does something you may or may not approve of. I think smoking is gross and very wrong. It doesn’t mean I think smokers themselves are, by default, all gross and very wrong. Differentiation between the person and the action is important. Some might argue that the person and the action are indivisible. I don’t accept this as an axiom.

  209. Sub-Odeon 191: Our laws…were not designed to make the particular wants and needs of the individual paramount over the public want.

    Bullshit. Our highest law (the Constitution) is designed to, among other things, protect the individual against the tyranny of the majority.

    _____ 199: A majority of Americans are just flat out not OK with gays being “married”.

    Evidence, please? Because I’ve heard the opposite, quite recently: that 75% of Americans approve of same-sex marriage or don’t care (which together constitute “OK with”).

    Sub-Odeon 202: But this doesn’t mean every single person who has a moral issue with the act of homosexuality is a homophobe,

    Um, whether the issue is moral or not, that’s kind of the definition of homophobia. This is like saying “Just because someone has an issue with African-Americans doesn’t mean they’re racist.” Sure it does.

    nor a bigot,

    See above.

    nor incapable of being friends with, close to, or even love, gay people.

    Now that’s true. Very different thing. People struggle with their homophobia, and that’s good, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. I have friends, especially young male friends, who struggle with it. Being friends with me has helped them work on their homophobia. But if they “have a problem with” homosexuality, that’s called being homophobic. That’s the name we give to that condition.

    ____ 210: What the HELL do you mean by “the act of homosexuality”? In fact, what the hell do you mean by “against”? I’m “against” “the act of tattooing one’s face” in the sense that I really, really don’t want my face tattooed. I dislike seeing facial tattoos on others, actually. But you know what? Tough shit. If someone wants to tattoo their face, I’m free to avoid them (if I’m a jerkwad), but I have no right to impose my will on them, and there should be no law against facial tattooing.

    And it all hinges on the fact that homosexuality, at its most rudimentary description, is a behavior. A verb. It’s an action. Something being done. African Americans can no more choose their ethnicity than any of the rest of us; Michael Jackson not withstanding. (smirk) Hence, the key difference.

    I have two things to say to this (I had three, but the third one wasn’t polite). One: So is tattoing your face, and so is sleeping with someone of a different race. Interracial SEX is just like homosexuality in the eyes of bigots; they think people of different races ought not to be in bed together every bit as much as they think people of the same gender ought not be. Two: Since you’re not back to the old “but homosexuality is a CHOICE” argument beloved of homophobes everywhere, what WAS it like for you when you chose to be heterosexual? Explain how you came to that decision, pray.

    Basically, gay people need to get over the fact that a majority of the American populace probably won’t ever smile on the act of homosexuality. It’s just not going to happen.

    Oh, really? Where do you get this idea? Do you really think the community you live in is representative of the American majority? And are you a prophet, to predict the future? I’ve seen enormous changes in my lifetime, from an era where a gay teacher who was found out would be fired as a matter of course, to an era now where that’s considered patently absurd by virtually everyone.

  210. Comparing smoking to an act of intimacy between two consenting individuals is perhaps one of the… less intelligent, shall we say, observations I’ve seen made so far.

    It’s not comparable. Smoking is a method of absorbing stimulants with the unwanted side effect of physiological addiction and harm to internal organs. An act of intimacy and trust between two adults has nothing in common with it.

    And I thought the whole purpose of a sovereign court with judges for life is so that it could make rulings with the perspective of long-term consequences, and not bow to the whims of temporary and inconstant popular ethics? Eris knows it doesn’t work like that most of the time, but the theory’s nice.

    Finally, some issues ARE black and white. There is, in some cases, where there is a clear right choice, and a clear wrong choice. In the case of civil rights and liberties, and especially given the various finicky legalities involving marriage specifically, it is WRONG to turn a whole demographic of people into second-class citizens based on religious doctrine.

    There’s no- or shouldn’t be- compromise on equality between human beings. There’s no such thing as five-eighths of a citizen. There’s no such thing as separate but equal.

  211. I’ve found that one safe way to answer questions about my religious beliefs is to say: “You may call me Reverend Jonathan Vos Post. I have performed legal marriages in the State of California.”

    Is it a contradiction for an agnostic to say: “Thank God for separation of church and state?”

    If pressed, I’ll admit that most of those were as favors for friends whose parents wanted a religious ceremony, which the fiancees did not really want.

    In one case, between an astrophysicist and another JPL employee, I hitched them in the Dabney Garden of the Caltech campus. Rather than read from a flimsy laser-printed page, I held the page in a copy of Volume 1, The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

    “I’ve never seen that edition of the Bible,” said the mother of the bride. What denomination did you say you
    were?”

    Other Caltech and JPL people were having a hard time not ROTFL.

    Each of the weddings that I’ve performed, some Christian, some Jewish (“turn the page please; no, the other way”) were heterosexual.

    Nobody ever asked me to perform a gay wedding. But I’d have done it in a heartbeat, presuming that I’d met the couple beforehand to discuss the matter. And I still would, even if it risked my being sent to jail by jackbooted fascists.

    Much as I love my freedom, there are some things for which it is worth risking jail.

    As Daffyd ab Hugh what he told the Judge when I sued the Town Councilmen and ended the career of the sheriff who handcuffed and jailed me for asking polite questions at a public meeting where I was an elected councilman who had the floor.

    I will go to prison over the first amendment, or over gay marriage. Among other things.

  212. Renthing @ #228: No, I think I understand what you’re saying. I might agree, save for the fact that the abolition of Jim Crow and the Suffrage movement were about granting equal rights to people previously discriminated against because of physiology: how they look, and what their gender is.

    An African American, approaching a store where they fear they might encounter racism, cannot decide to “act white” and magically walk in the door being caucasian. Nor can a woman decide, in an instant, to become a man when walking in the door of a store. Gays can “act straight” at will. They do it all the time to avoid being fucked with. Some even take it so far as to claim “recovery”, and while I have no doubt most here think “recovery” for gays is a sick joke, the fact remains that you can’t tell a gay person by what they look like or their genitalia.

    This is why racism directed against minorities, and sexism and misogyny against women, are subtly different problems which can’t necessarily be compared to homophobia and discrimination against gays. They might be similar, but they’re different.

    I think my basic stance is, again, that not everyone who isn’t onboard with the current push for gay marriage is a “homophobe” or a hateful “nutter”. Accusing people of such, automatically, cheapens the discussion and reduces it to the black/white field where nobody solves anything or understands anything; they just shout and call names and walk away sure of their righteous fury at the fools on the other side who don’t “get it”.

  213. Sub-Odeon 229: This is what gay-bashers do, and it’s not really any better for pro-gay people to bash marriage-defense people as if all people (like Card) who speak out against gay marriage are automatically hateful, nasty, evil, fucked up people.

    First, you’re misusing the term gay-basher slightly here. Those of us who’ve actually been beaten bloody by gangs of people shouting “faggot” are a bit sensitive to it. That’s what “bashing” means. If I punch Card in the head repeatedly (as some nice heterosexual boys did to me and my then-boyfriend back in the 80s) you can call what we do “bashing.” Til then, lay off the exaggerations.

    But I will state, categorically, that all people like Card who speak out against gay marriage are automatically hateful, nasty, evil, fucked up people. In fact I will say that all people like Card are hateful, nasty, evil, and fucked up (pretty safe since as far as I know and hope there IS no one else quite like him).

    I won’t say that ALL people who oppose gay marriage are autimatically hateful, nasty, or evil. Fucked up: depends. Is egregious ignorance and prejudice a kind of fucked-upness? If so, then yeah, they’re fucked up.

    The reason the phrase ‘like Card’ makes such a difference in there is that Card does not have the excuse of ignorance. He has every reason to know better, and speaks out anyway, and in the most bigoted terms. He is hateful, nasty, evil, and fucked up.

    Opposing my right to marry* is denying my humanity. You don’t get that. You need to understand that it’s a basic human right. I do not have any friends who openly oppose gay marriage: unlike your gay friends, I’m not willing to be pals with someone who denies my humanity.

    *And just to forestall the Cardian objection: I mean my right to marry any other single adult who also thinks it’s a good idea for us to be married, subject to appropriate restrictions of consanguinity.

  214. I’m in an interaccial marriage as the “light” partner, so I think I can speak a little on the comparison between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage. It’s not really the same because my wife could never “act white” and get away with it.

    That’s completely irrelevant to the issue of interracial marriage–people who could, visibly, “pass for white” but who had another race on their birth certificate could not marry someone who had “White” on their birth certificate.

    Being “gay” is not readily observable in the same way as race

    Being in a same-sex marriage is observable in the same way that being in an interracial marriage often is.

    I still think I am entitled to my moral belief concerning the ACT of homosexuality, because my religious doctrine only ever discusses the ACT itself, not the people performing it.

    What do you mean by “the act of homosexuality”? Seriously, you just keep repeating this phrase over and over.

    Do you mean “any sexual acts between people of the same gender”?

    I know very little about the doctrines of the LDS Church, and I’ll wager I’m not the only one here. However, one thing I do know is that Spencer Kimball and his predecessors were strongly opposed to interracial marriage less than 50 years ago.

    If your own church’s attitude toward interracial marriage can change over the course of the past 50 years, can’t you imagine that society at large can change its attitude toward same-sex marriage in the same, or shorter, period of time?

  215. I think my basic stance is, again, that not everyone who isn’t onboard with the current push for gay marriage is a “homophobe” or a hateful “nutter”.

    You are trying to push your personal religious doctrines onto others who believe differently. In my book, that’s like Joe Lieberman deciding he should outlaw cheeseburgers because his religious beliefs forbid him to eat them.

  216. I had a comment about the irrelevance of Sub-Odeon’s wife not being able to “pass” for white, or him to “pass” as whatever her racial/ethnic self-identification might be, to the fundamental similarity between opposing same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, but it is in link jail, so let me briefly say:

    Interracial marriage was illegal, where it was illegal, regardless of whether the parties involved could “pass” as members of the same race or not.

    And opponents of interracial marriage would say stuff like, “It’s not that we’re discriminating against black people! We just want them to marry other black people!”

    I’m still not seeing how saying “It’s not that we’re discriminating against gay and lesbian people! We just want them to marry people of the opposite gender!” isn’t EXACTLY the same thing.

  217. xopher: If you’re gay, and I gather that you might be, I think I understand the ire. You see me as the “gentle bigot” whose ‘soft homophobia’ is almost worse than the openly homophobic. Right?

    In the end, I am willing to argue over things, but only to a point. I am uncomfortable being made into an “enemy” when that is neither my purpose nor my desire.

    I think gays having full rights as citizens and being free to be gay without violence, without loss of work, without being molested and abused in public places, is 100% riseable.

    I just don’t think this will be accomplished through militancy which treats all people who have a moral or philosophical problem with the physical act of homosexual sex, as cretins and monsters.

  218. I wonder what the Orson Scott Card who used to run secular humanist revival meetings at cons would think of this new Orson Scott Card.. I still remember those meetings which were not only funny, but which brought up good points about science vs religion. It seems to me based on this and other articles, that he’s changed somewhat.

  219. SubOdeon 234: “Gays can “act straight” at will.”

    You’re right, they can. Except for that part where they can marry the person they love.

    And also, we don’t have the right to force them to act differently than they are. We do not have the right to tell a gay man, if you don’t want to get the shit kicked out of you for being gay, then pretend you’re straight. And by the way, I used to work with a gay man who was beaten more than once because he was an extremely flamboyant gay man. Sure, he could have pretended to be straight and possibly not have gotten beaten, but the problem isn’t with this guy (who, like most gays, wasn’t gay by choice), but with the men who put him in the hospital.

    The problem isn’t with gay people. The problem is with everyone else.

    BTW, that flamboyant gay man was eventually murdered. Way to go, America!

  220. Sub-Odeon: Right. ALMOST worse. You’re not a complete foaming freakazoid like Card, and that makes you better than him in my book.

    What I don’t understand is how you can think “gays having full rights as citizens” somehow doesn’t include having the right to marry as they wish. Equal Protection Under the Law—we don’t have it. And isn’t the “gay tax” a form of abuse? We’re being economically exploited, in addition to everything else. (And the separate-but-equal idea won’t fly: it would require every single law that mentions marriage being amended to add “or civil union” and everyone that mentions spouse to add “or civil unioned partner.” Politicians being what they are, you don’t have to be a prophet to say “not gonna happen” about that one.)

  221. Jon 239: Why, you’re acting as if Orson Card, the devoutly-Mormon homophobic freak, were the same person as Scott Card, the jolly secular humanist science fiction writer! How dare you tar the one with the sins of the other!

    (No, actually I think he’s always been a hypocrite.)

  222. Whenever I see “the act of homosexuality”, some little bit of my brain substitutes “the act of femaleness”.

    And I have been told, in so many words, that harassment I’ve dealt with could be avoided if I’d just not leave the house while wearing breasts. If I only tried to pass as male, you know….

  223. Sub-Odeon – While I respect your opinion and right to hold it (and Card’s right to hold his opinions), what you are suggesting in part seems to be that “If you can hide in the closet and avoid persecution, you’re not persecuted”, unlike someone who’s Black/Asian/whatever whose differentness is obvious and unavoidably evident to anyone who is not blind.

    I disagree – any persecution against someone is the same. That one can avoid it in some cases by not evidently being one of the persecuted minority (hiding in the closet, not stating ones race to a racist blind man) doesn’t make it go away.

    Also, suggesting that Gay people should be free to be themselves but that their being sexual humans and having sex with each other is wrong is disturbing (if another commonly held view). Humans don’t just love – they lust. If one accepts gay people, one must accept that they will act on those urges as well. Picking one without the other is unreasonable. Celibacy is a lifestyle which only a tiny minority are able to humanely embrace.

  224. JupiterPluvius stated, “You are trying to push your personal religious doctrines onto others who believe differently.”

    Let me twist that a little: “You are trying to push your personal sexual identity onto others who believe differently.”

    That’s exactly how the “straight marriage defense” side feels about all this. That’s how Card sees it, I gather. And that’s how I sometimes feel about it too. And I am on the “gay side”; much as xopher would probably like to hurl me to the “Bad Guy” side.

    Frankly, I don’t think I “pushed” anything on anyone today. I wanted to float the idea of making marriage licenses into a sexuality-neutral Union document of equal stature for all: gay, poly, and straight, while giving marriage to the churches (or secular stand-ins thereof)

    I thought it a reasonable, if imperfect, solution.

    Most seem to think it’s popycock. Some seem openly PO’d.

    I suppose I’ll shut up about it.

  225. Georgewilliamherbert 244: Bravo. I’ve been looking for the right way to say that about celibacy for a long time; every way I tried to put it sounded judgemental on celibates, but you nailed it. I’ll be quoting you.

    And in some ways the very non-obviousness of the difference can make it MORE burdensome. Black people don’t have to listen to their white friends making n****r jokes or saying they think all n****rs should be killed.

    Moreover, their families will not turn on them because they are black. This is why the suicide rate among gay teens is something like six times higher than in the general teenage population.

  226. Sub-Odeon @234

    Ok, before I get to your post I have to say that you failed to answer my request at 205 to explain yourself in 202, which says you have no explanation and rather than come out and say it you’re ignoring the multiple requests for you to do so.

    Ok, again, you’re failing to get what I’m saying. I’m not talking about the individual instance or what was going on with it. What I was saying, in a rebuttal to your “well, the majority of people feel that same sex people shouldn’t marry so we shouldn’t let them” is that the majority has been wrong about civil issues in the past and those views were changed for the better for this country.

    Nor can a woman decide, in an instant, to become a man when walking in the door of a store.

    And yet the so-called power suits of the ’80’s were cut to de-emphasize a woman’s breasts, the pants to minimize their curves, and they often had large shoulder pads to add to their size. Attempts were made, through fashion and also behavior (there was a trend among executive training of the time for women to have them act more “dominant, aggressive, or manly”) to make them more into a man. It could be argued that black culture, in many ways, has been repressed in an effort to try to make them act more white. Sure, this doesn’t actually create a physical change but it is still the wrongful attempt to make something that is other into something that it is not just to try and make it more palatabile to intolerant people.

    This is why racism directed against minorities, and sexism and misogyny against women, are subtly different problems which can’t necessarily be compared to homophobia and discrimination against gays. They might be similar, but they’re different.

    But all three of them have to do with the fundamental lack of respect for something they can’t change. The issue with all “isms” (racism, sexism, ageism, size-ism, etc.) is that, at their core, they are about disliking someone entirely for one thing, often something they can’t change.

    Yes, homosexual people can hide the fact that they are homosexual but does that change the fact that they are homosexual? No. But they are still disliked or hated for being “other”, which is what it all boils down to.

    Accusing people of such, automatically, cheapens the discussion and reduces it to the black/white field where nobody solves anything or understands anything; they just shout and call names and walk away sure of their righteous fury at the fools on the other side who don’t “get it”.

    I have never once called you homophobic or implied that, and if that is what you have taken away from my responses then I would like to state that was never my intent; I don’t know you and I wouldn’t make that judgement of your character. However, for each of your points I’ve made a logical argument against them which you’ve failed to rebut.

  227. Xopher @ #241: so nice of you to put me a hair above the evil Orson Scott Card; even if it’s just a hair.

    But really, go back and read post # 199. I personally wouldn’t shed a tear if “marriage” was given over to gays, whole-parcel. Straight society has so totally trashed “marriage” in the last 50 years that it’s become a total joke; so much so that I don’t even know why gays even want the word, when for the straight populace being “married” is compared to being in jail, is trampled on through divorce and infidelity, etc.

    In my church we get “sealed” as a way to demonstrate commitment and fidelity to our wives and husbands, even beyond death. So I have my “word” as it were, and I am content.

    But the larger American society still needs to grapple with things, and if gays and straights could both stand to have “marriage” stripped from the state documentation and replaced with “union”, while MARRIAGE rode in bold print atop whatever church documentation they might get; even if it’s Church Of The Subgenius and Bob is there with his evil smile and 50’s-vintage pipe, then I think we’d arrive at a solution that could keep both sides more or less satisfied with the outcome.

    But I have belabored my point enough for this group.

  228. Sub-Odeon 245: Actually I think that making the state license the only one that counts (legally) for everyone, and requiring nothing but signatures and witnesses to make it binding, is the best idea. This works fine in some European countries, where the only legal marriages are the ones done in the courthouse, and anything you want to do in church may have standing with the church, but no legal force.

    That would be great. It would require clergy losing the right to solemnize marriage (that is, to perform a key role in “making it legal”).

    First, that didn’t sound like what you were proposing. You sounded like you were proposing that the churches keep being able to create marriage contracts with legal force, but allowing another thing too.

    Second, it wasn’t your idea that got me all riled up; it was the things you brought in to support it.

  229. Sub-Odeon,

    For the intrest of disclosure, you really need to come out and clearly state for the record that youre Mormon.

    It lends a great deal of explanation to all of your…um…very calmly stated but basically kooky opinions on the nature of homosexuality.

    Plus, it handily explains to all those gathered here why you happened to stumble across this site today of all days.

    And, for the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I am an ex-Mormon and ex-fan of OSC.

  230. “…care to explain that?” @ #205

    I thought I had explained it, several times.

    Seems people are just going to disagree, because they disagree.

    But I’ll re-state my beliefs again, and the why:

    I believe racism is not the same as sexism. It is similar, but not the same.
    I believe this because my wife, as both minority and female, can get spitting mad at minority males who complain endlessly about race issues and yet behave typically chauvanistic with their women. It is one thing to be black in America. It is another to be black and female. The suffering and hardship is not equal, and never has been.

    I believe sexism and racism are not the same as homophobia. Again, contrast my wife, who has been called “nigger” to her face from childhood, in several states, by both whites and asians; and her lesbian friend who is white and never heard the word ‘dyke’ used against her in derogatory fashion until she came out and started being activist about her sexuality. My wife’s lesbian friend can blend any time she feels like it. My wife can never blend, even if she wanted to turn white as a sheet.

    This is not to demean what gays go through. But the hardship of women is different from the hardship of gays, just as the hardship of straught minorities is again different from the hardship of gays.

    Saying they’re all one and the same, of equal pain, all one one big Rights path, isn’t fair nor is it accurate; and trying to borrow the suffering and struggle of one group and bring it forth in the guise of another, is insulting to those who want no part of seeing Civil Rights and Gay Rights blended.

    There, that’s it in a nutshell.

  231. EvilDan,

    Well, let’s see. I take my marching orders from the church office building in Salt Lake. I don’t make a move unless Gordon Monson tells me to. So when my Bishop forwarded me the link to this site and told me Jesus wanted me to wage ideogical battle with the secular gay rights crowd, I knew what I had to do. Forget that I love military SF and picked up Scalzi’s book after reading a good review. That’s just my cover story. I’m really here fishing for converts, so I can forward their e-mail and website URLs on to the local missionaries who will then endlessly pester them with polite inquiries about whether or not they’re interested in The Book of Mormon.

    Dan, seriously, few people hate the LDS church more than ex-members. Especially the excommunicated kind. And it’s been my experience that there are two kinds of excommunicated: those who remain bitter and hateful and carry a chip, and those who move on and forget about it.

    Before I engage in any real discussion with you, I’d like to know: have you moved on, or do you still carry a grudge?

    If the former, we can dialogue. If the latter, I doubt anything productive will happen; and I’d not want to bother. Mostly because every accusation of “kooky” you might fling, is an accusation I also flung when I left in my teens. Been there, done that. Didn’t find much value in being a bitter former member.

    Oh, and my admiration for Card’s novels never waivered, even when I was a self-styled agnostic. Good, entertaining fiction is good, entertaining fiction no matter who it comes out of.

  232. I am personally sick and tired of bigots hiding behind religion and God for the purpose so that they can be bigots. Many of these same arguments where similarly used by the so-called “good Christians” to obstruct allowing inter-racial marriages. Persanlly I believe such people are bigots, and hiding behind religion does not provide an excuse for bigotry. These people have used the bible as an excuse for slavery, and oppresion of women for much too long. A bigot is a bigot, hiding behind religion does not remove this lable.

  233. I have enjoyed OSC’s books, and will continue reading any of his books that interest me. I don’t have to agree with a person’s politics to enjoy a good story.

  234. wintermute@227

    “Forty years ago, exactly the same arguments applied to mixed-race marriage. I assume you are opposed to the courts just high-handedly giving blacks the right to marry white women as if they were actual humans with rights, right?”

    Thanks for proving my point. That issue was settled thru the legislative process in the late 1860’s thru amendment to the Constitution. The bigoted holdouts were rightly overturned thru the courts. The language in the Amendments were clear and concise, with a clear understanding of what was meant.

  235. I believe sexism and racism are not the same as homophobia. Again, contrast my wife, who has been called “nigger” to her face from childhood, in several states, by both whites and asians; and her lesbian friend who is white and never heard the word ‘dyke’ used against her in derogatory fashion until she came out and started being activist about her sexuality. My wife’s lesbian friend can blend any time she feels like it. My wife can never blend, even if she wanted to turn white as a sheet.

    Stop looking at the end result of the hatred and fear or the experience of the victim, and please realize that what I’ve been talking about is what lies at the heart of ideas such as homophobia and racism is simply hate and fear. That is what I meant when I said they were similar; I never said that they, or the experience of being the victim of them, are the same.

    This is not to demean what gays go through. But the hardship of women is different from the hardship of gays, just as the hardship of straught minorities is again different from the hardship of gays.

    Saying they’re all one and the same, of equal pain, all one one big Rights path, isn’t fair nor is it accurate; and trying to borrow the suffering and struggle of one group and bring it forth in the guise of another, is insulting to those who want no part of seeing Civil Rights and Gay Rights blended.

    Does that mean we’re not supposed to have empathy? Does that not mean we’re not supposed to have sympathy, or to try to find any similarities in our experiences and come to some common ground.

    I, thankfully, have not yet had to know what the death of a parent is like but I know what experiencing the death of a loved one felt like for me. Is my experience 100% the same as someone elses? No, but it would be appropriate to say, “I know how hard it was for me, and you have my sympathy.”

    Mildred Loving, the black woman wife in the Loving v. Virginia case before SCOTUS that finally struck down the illegality of saying inter-racial pairings were illegal, had this to say about same sex marriage:

    “Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

    I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

    She did not know what it is like to be homosexual, she had only her own experience to draw from, but that did not mean she did not suffer hate, did not suffer inequality, and that meant that she could empathize with people who had, not in the same was as her exactly, still suffered.

    The results of sexism, racism, and homophobia may be different, but in the end they are all based off of hate and are all wrong.

  236. And I just now saw Steven Bainbridge’s comments on the matter. I wish I were that eloquent.

  237. Xopher @ #250: Ah, OK. No. I was not proposing that church marriages be as equally “legal” as the Union. Nor that church marriages be better than same. A church marriage would be just a religious ritual with no legal bearing whatsoever. For those who truly claim it’s all about God, they shouldn’t care if the document is from the state, right? As long as you have that church document in your hand, you’re golden. And if you church doesn’t give them to gays, what’s to bitch about?

    It’s a kind of logic trap for people who want to use the church as a way to deny gays equal protection. If the root of the argument is church, then fine. Strip marriage off the legal documents from the state, remand it to the churches, and then the churchy can’t complain, can they? No “marriage” for gays! Well, not in the conservative churches, which don’t have to give a fig about the liberal churches, and vice versa.

    Basically, everyone who wanted LEGAL and STATE rights, as a couple, or a trio, or whatever, would need the Union. And since the Union would have “marriage” nowhere on it, again, the opponents could not complain. Oh, I am sure it would happen anyway. “A rose by another name…” and all that. But it would undermine the anti-rights argument a great degree and strengthen the argument that gay marriage is about RIGHTS. At least in my opinion. How can you deny gays equal protection under the law when “marriage” at the state level, as a word, doesn’t even apply anymore? And when one church is not obliged to acknowledge marriages from any other church?

    I think United States citizens ALL DESERVE EQUAL STATUS UNDER THE LAW. Bottom line. How we get to that place, well, I guess my ideas are… unusual?

  238. Sub-Odeon, you’ve been asked several times, but have never yet explained: what IS “the act of homosexuality”? Is it having matching furniture? Is it keeping the lawn mowed? What?

  239. Gays can “act straight” at will.

    Mm. Jews could “act Aryan” in Nazi Germany.

    Godwin’s Law FTW!

  240. Renthing said, “The results of sexism, racism, and homophobia may be different, but in the end they are all based off of hate and are all wrong.”

    I agree with this 100%. Racism, sexism and homophobia are all wrong and are indeed rooted in irrational, lizard-brain hate.

    I guess I split hairs on what does, and does not, qualify as “homophobia”.

    And yes, I think it’s perfectly natural for one oppressed group to feel empathy or sympathy for another oppressed group. I’ve just personally witnessed tempers flare if ever the “sharing” gets carried away. People are protective of their pain. And if someone who has been dragged across a field of barbed wire sits and listens to someone who pricked their finger on a thorn talk about, “Hey man, we’re in the same boat, I feel your pain!” Well, the guy who got the barbed wire is liable to be yelling “Like Hell!”

    I think the gay struggle (overused word, IMHO, can we find another?) in America is very much a unique kind of thing unto itself. Worse than racism and sexism in some ways. Not as bad as racism and sexism in others. The ability of gays and blacks and women to all co-empathize does have boundaries. Or at least that is my observation.

  241. #257 Renthing:

    I am not sure if I am correctly interpreting what you are saying.

    I have no problem in considering racisim, sexism and homophobia as separate and distinct entities. By definition, they do not overlap though one can be members are all three at the same time.

    I do have a concern that just because one can “blend in” or “hide one’s self” that it makes such bigotry less disgusting. Jews can often blend in with society, but bigotry is still disgusting.

    I commend you in recognizing homophobia is wrong and hateful, I just don’t think that a victim should have to hide.

  242. Cally @ #261: in my religion, the “act of homosexuality” is more or less defined as grown women having consensual, passionate, intimate, physically sexual contact with other women; and grown men having consensual, passionate, intimate, physically sexual contact with other men.

    It excludes:

    – Molestation (not consensual)
    – Prison rape (again, not consensual)

  243. Sub-Odeon #265: That’s hardly a singular “act”, now, is it? That’s like saying the “act” of miscegenation is when a white man has passionate, intimate, physically sexual contact with a black woman. The “act” is the same as non-miscegenation sex. It’s just the color of the people who are different.

    When someone says “the act”, they’re generally understood to be referring to a singular, individual act, not a vast sweeping range of acts.

  244. As a Pastor I strongly oppose using Biblical text to bash homosexuals. Biblically speaking the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with traditional Christian teachings, however I recognize that not everyone is a Christian and should not be held to the same moral teachings that I am. I don’t expect to be held by the moral code to any organization, religious or otherwise, that I don’t publicly affiliate with why should they be held to mine?

  245. I thought that stable, long lasting relationships were good for society. Love is a precious thing and our lives our so short. I’ve been married for 23 years and there is nothing threatening to my marriage from allowing people who love each other to enjoy the same.

  246. Cally, split hairs if you like.

    I am pretty sure the “the act of homosexuality” doesn’t involve repeated screenings of the Will & Grace series finale.

    If you wanne get grungy about it, “The Act” boils down to:

    – A man putting his penis up another man’s ass, and both liking it
    – A man putting his penis in another man’s mouth, and both liking it
    – A man jerking off another man’s penis, and both liking it
    – A woman touching her labia, clitoris, or vagina, to another woman’s labia, clitoris, or vagina, and both liking it
    – A woman performing oral stimulation of same on another woman, and both liking it
    – A woman using dildoes or toys on another woman, and both liking it

    I suppose a single session could involve many, many “acts” as it were.

    Does two men kissing qualify as “the act”? How about two women? How about feel-ups? Dry humping?

    I dunno. God knows. Or maybe God is a Buddhist spotted hippo like on South Park, and doesn’t give a crap?

  247. Regarding the remark Sub-Odeon made to Dan at 253: Um. As an ex-Mormon, I’m going to have to note that the “few people hate the church as much as the ex-members” line is almost always designed to cast doubts on the motives of the ex-member for leaving the church or anything they say about the church. Poisoning the well, as it were.

    Certainly, many people have reasons for their anger. Then too, anger is one of the five expected stages that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross put forth as stages of grief/loss. However, if you criticise the church at all, many members will be quick to say that you must be angry and bitter, ergo, your statements must be suspect.

    When I was a kid, we were told that people only left the church because they A) wanted to keep participating in a sinful behaviour or B) somebody had offended them and they couldn’t separate doctrine and culture from one person’s offense or C) because they were too prideful to admit to wrong-doing or D) it was just a rebellious phase and they knew the truth and would come back round someday. Rarely would I hear somebody give any of the ex-Mos credit for honestly disagreeing with the church or its doctrines. (I left the church because I didn’t want my children to be exposed to doctrines that would lessen women and gays. Also, when I believed in God, I believed that God’s true followers would be ahead of the civil rights curve, not trailing it. I can try explaining my doctrinal issues to certain family members til I am blue in the face, but all I get in return is “If you’d pray more, you’d pass through this phase quicker.” Argh.)

    For Sub-Odeon to put the onus on Dan not to be angry at the church so they can have a dialogue about the church, particularly when criticism of church doctrines will be interpreted as “bitter and angry” is disingenous.

    Sub-Odeon, you can mark me down as bitter and angry if you want. I’m sure angry at some of the influences the church has on my life to this day, but I do prize my friendship and family. And I know you won’t believe this, but this is the most I’ve thought about my former religion this week. But I really do feel that the LDS church’s doctrine regarding homosexuality, women, and race is something it’s perfectly fine to be angry and upset with.

    Back to the discussion at hand. I know Xopher abominates Songmaster, and from his perspective, I can’t fault him for his reading of the book, but in one of life’s great ironies, it was the first book in my wee Mormon youth that let me see homosexual and bisexual people as people. That’s partly why I find OSC’s current screeds painful.

    As I mentioned before I grew up idealising OSC because hey, he was Mormon and a science fiction writer. Which I wanted to be as well. We’ve parted ways ideologically, but I can’t help crediting him and his writing with helping shape the person I am today. Songmaster, Xenocide, Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead all shaped various parts of my childhood.

    Still, that just makes this doubly sad for me. I see a gifted writer who is using his gifts to lessen people I love and care about.

  248. If the graphic description offends, my apologies.

    Maybe Cally was being facetious? It seemed like she wanted a technically precise answer.

  249. Oh, and to clarify why Sub-Odeon’s remark about Dan’s feelings about the church was disingenous, it’s because he’s pretending to offer an open dialogue IF Dan follows rules he knows Dan can’t if Dan is to argue Dan’s position at all.

  250. Pixel,

    Given the prickly nature of Dan’s post #251, I suppose I was getting out in front a little with some of my comments. He didn’t seem exactly like he was going to pat me on the back for being a member.

    I’m actually rather sympathetic to ex-mos; at least the ones who can move on and not carry a hate grudge against the rest of us who find a way to mesh modern life with doctrine and belief that can, at times, be a little “out there…”

    My doubting period lasted about 4 years, from age 14 to 18. I had pretty much decided it was all crap, a fantasy, resented being told what to do, blamed my parents a lot, and essentially quit. I didn’t have my name taken from the rolls, but I essentially ceased being a Mormon in my heart. To the point of being a verbal basher with member friends and lampooning the church leadership in effigy.

    I had some very personal experiences in my 18th and 19th years which indicated, to me anyway, that I’d directed a lot of my anger over “people stuff” towards the doctrine itself, and when I shed the connection, I was able to more clearly see the church for what it was, as an adult. Plus, I had an overwhelming sense that God (or the Divine, or whatever you want to call it) wanted me to remain in the LDS faith even if I am, by self admission, something of a lazy Mormon. I don’t like the time expected out of me as a member and I don’t like meetings. Tithe? I am OK with that, because I have a personal testimony of it. But I’d not shed a tear if they somehow decided to cancel weekly activities and limited Sundays to a quick 15-minute meet to take sacrament.

    Anyway, as I said, I am sympathetic to ex-mos if they depart for philosophical and ideological reasons and don’t turn into Tanner clones who make it their mission in life to trash the church, trash church leaders, tell everyone who remains inside what a bunch of morons they are, etc.

    In many ways I feel like I’ve “been there” and probably would have remained “there” save for some personal spiritual experiences that pretty much told me I needed to stick with the LDS faith, for better or worse.

    Do I personally agree with women not holding the keys of priesthood? I guess not. But then church is not a voted thing. It’s not a club. And if doctrine says women don’t hold priesthood, that’s the way it is. I actually had to explain this to my daughter recently and both my wife and I sorta cringed. Ah well, if my daughter chucks it as she gets older, that’s her path. I knew going in I wouldn’t be one of those pestering LDS parents who hangs the shit over their kids heads until the kids want to scream. My path is an LDS path. Doesn’t mean my daughters is. She could go be an Animist Goddess worshipper and all I’d do is give her a hug and ask her if she was happy. Beyond that, what can a Dad ask? Better she be happy and out than miserable and in. That includes if she’s a lesbian too, which is TBD.

    Anyway, the blacks and the priesthood is something my wife has had to deal with, as a minority. She thinks that was pure 100% white-man mistake on the part of church leaders after Joseph Smith died. I think she’s probably right. Why would God let his church leaders be wrong? I dunno. Most of the Old and New Testament leaders and figures were often wrong about a lot of things. I don’t let it worry me if the church was wrong until 1978. The point for me is, it’s “right” now and moving forward. Maybe if women ever get the keys, I’ll feel the same? Again, it’s not a voted thing…

    I’ve learned to live with the idea that the LDS church is not perfect. No church is. My heart says this is where I need to stay. If my heart ever says otherwise, I will probably follow it.

    For those whose hearts told them to leave, again, I have no ire. As long as they don’t turn around and make it a personal goal to oppose the church at every step, lambast leaders, become actively hostile to membership (like picketing and arguing at General Conference). This, to me, almost seems a reverse of BoM-bashing. Having discovered “enlightenment” beyond the church, they turn and tell me I’m a dope if I don’t do likewise, as if their personal path out now has to be my path too?

    Again, I suspect such people have truly failed to get over their departure in their hearts. They really are hurting over some kind of sin or string of sins for which they cannot reconcile themselves; or they’re too prideful to admit serious mistakes, or they can’t get over their parents ramming it down their throats, etc. In this sense their leaving is not pro-active, it’s re-active. Reacting against someone or something. And I do not believe such a path is delf-designated as much as it’s a “herded” course every bit as hemmed in and prison-like as such people claim the church and its doctrine to be.

    If you gotta leave, leave clean.

    Anyway, lots of people leave the church over race, homosexuality, and gender rolls. If they can leave clean, fine. And if their friends and family do the wrong thing and keep badgering or, worse, condemning, well, that sucks, and it’s on the family. I think being too invested in the choices of our families and friends, as LDS people, is a fool’s gamble. Everyone deserves the right to their own path and if we load hopes or expectations onto one another, it’ll hurt us down the road. I’ve seen too many LDS kids quit, and never have a good relationship with friends or family again. Some of it is their fault. A lot of it is their friends and family’s fault.

    I try to be cool about my faith and have a sense of humor. I think you have to have a sense of humor, as a Mormon, to make it in modern America.

    My sense of humor fails me, though, if it seems like someone is desiring deliberately to be insulting or pick a fight. I’m not saying Dan was, but his post was… prickly. Too much like some conversations I’ve had before, that turned instantly to LDS bashing, and therefore me-bashing.

  251. Whatever. OSC, great fiction from a religous whack job.
    The majority have repeatedly demonstrated their collective stupidity and the courts job is to prevent our collective IQ from messing with the minority.
    Goverment is the perfect example of less is more.
    Until god comes down and tells EVERYONE on earth what the rules are I am not buying any religon.

  252. Pixelfish # 271: Well said, I wish could articulate these things as well as you.

    I would also like to add that I was never ex-communicated, I left on my own accord after 17 years because I realized that I didnt believe about 90% of the doctrine, and I felt it would be disingenous to continue prentending to do so. 22 years later, and I still don’t regret that decision.

    Wait a minute, does this mean I’m still a Mormon? Oh noes!!! I better watch out for the excommunication posse! Seriously, I bear no hatred or rancor towards the LDS church. Just a bit of snark, a whole lot of “you go your way and I’ll go mine”.

    lastly, I normally wouldnt out someone on their religion, and I apologize to Scalzi’s corner of the internets if that is unseemly. But Sub-Odeon’s ideas about Homosexuality and gay marriage were coming from what I perceived to be a very Mormon ideology (or at least from what I remember anyway), and it seemed to therefore be germane to the topic.

  253. Is it time for a Mo and Ex-Mo shout-out?

    (raises hand, grins foolishly)

    Oh heck, it’s the day before month-end at work and I am bored, people.

  254. **** HUG ****

    Rootbeer & Jell-O 4 everybody!

    J/K!!!!

    BTW, Mr. Scalzi, do you have an official “Praise for OMW thread” somewhere?

    It’s been a very fun read, I am almost done.

    A few military nits to pick, but then everybody who is current and prior service has probably already given you an earful on that one.

    Overall, for a first novel, it’s great stuff. I will probably go get Ghost Brigades ASAP.

  255. With this many comments, I may have missed something and be inadvertantly redundant. If so, I apologize.

    On why won’t either side compromise: The “equal marriage” side HAS compromised, to the extent of trying “civil unions” (or other language) to indicate a legal union that is not marriage. The “save marriage” side will not compromise.

    Civil unions don’t work. They do nothing but bestow an empty, meaningless title on the couple. Several jurisdictions that once thought the civil union was enough have found that it is not. Too many laws, regulations, policies, etc are already in place and triggered by the words Marriage, Spouse, etc. Many of the regulations and policies are put in place by private companies and organizations. For instance, the government can’t tell thousands of hospitals that civil partners must be treated the same as spouses for decision making, visiting, etc.

    Besides which, the “civil unions” compromise is rather like the old educational compromise “let’s give the negroes their own schools, then they can be educated but our kids won’t have to associate with them.” We know how well that worked. As the Supreme Court in that case observed, “separate but equal” is rarely if ever equal.

  256. Doug from Vancouver@264

    It may be difficult to make out but some of that text was itaclized and quoted from the comment I was responding to by Sub-Odeon and I think it’s there that’s causing the confusion. It seemed to me that he was arguing that the negative experience of homosexuals at the hands of homophobia, because they can “hide” themselves, is less than what a person might feel because of sexism or racism because they cannot hide those aspects of themselves (gender and skin tone).

    Personally, I think the fact that some homosexuals feel (whether they “have to” or not”) that they must hide who they are from friends, family, coworkers, and the people around them is wrong. I could not imagine having that kind of life and having to live that way.

  257. @226:

    Yes, I did take Con Law. Made a nice 93% on the exam and everything. Yes, I know about state constitutions, too. I also know (from reading the case) that, under the California constitution, state supreme court judges cannot plausibly interpret a series of legislative-passed acts prohibiting some forms of sexual orientation discrimination together as overriding a law passed by initiative petition that explicitly allows sexual orientation discrimination when it comes to marriage. (California is quite protective of initiative and referendum – initiative-passed laws can only be repealed by other intiatives, including constitutional amendments.) Which, if you read the dissenting opinions in In Re Marriage Cases (link in my post, #136), the four-justice majority basically did.

    The other reason I keep referring to federal law is that I can’t shake this nagging feeling that somebody in a few years is going to try this same thing with the U.S. Supreme Court (either by challenging DOMA under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause, or invalidating state bans directly under the Full Faith & Credit clause). Instead of going to, you know, the people whose job it is to actually write the laws (when they’re not blowing taxpayer money on shit named after themselves and hamming it up on C-SPAN.) Call it a preview of coming attractions.

  258. Now we can debate to the death over…

    – A&W
    – Hires
    – Barq’s
    – Shasta
    – (insert obscure rootbeer here)

    My grandmother always stocked Hires rootbeer and Shasta cream soda. But A&W rootbeer and cream soda are both quite yummy.

    Only rootbeer I tend to shy from is the “generic” store brand sort that is 60-cents per 2-litre.

  259. #284 Renthing: Thanks for the clarification. It would be interesting to look back at this discussion thread 50 years from now. It could be similar us now looking back at the debate surrounding mixed marriages 50 years ago.

  260. Glad to see Scalzi’s board hasn’t gone up in roasty toasty flames while I was out picking my bf up from the airport.

    RE: Rootbeer – My family had a homemade recipe that was used until some bright soul noticed it had yeast in it, and was mildly alcoholic. Woot. (I’ve never had this rootbeer, it was before my time, but it was LEGEND in the fam.) I’m mostly a Stewart’s girl–Stewarts with Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla makes a great float.

  261. IBC was always a favorite of mine.

    I remember making root beer in seventh grade. Real rootbeer, made with spices and carbonated in the bottle. (It was in biology class, we were studying yeast.)

    Damn, I wish I had saved the recipe. That was good root beer.

  262. “SMD 20: He is educated. He is a liar. (And btw I was once told that Egypt had legal same-sex marriage until the 1930s. I have been unable to verify or refute this, but the person who told me had studied quite a lot about Egypt.)”

    Xopher @179: Same-sex marriage has been around for thousands of years. It’s a relatively new thing to ban it, particularly since there wasn’t much of an issue with even during the beginning of the Christian church.
    Not to mention that the idea that Christian ideals of marriage are the only ideals that count pretty much goes against everything this nation apparently stands far. That’s why we have marriage in a church and marriage by a judge. You don’t have to be Christian to get married here.

  263. Thief – first, your post was an argument based entirely on equal-protection classifications under the US Constitution, and ignored the California Constitution, which is separate. Second, I wonder if we’re reading cases from different parallel histories or something – because in the California I’m in, “voter-passed initiative” is not a magical trump card that erases the protections of the state Constitution. Hence, Proposition 8, which attempts to get around the issue by amending the state Constitution.

    In other words, this isn’t an issue of an evil activist Court deciding to feel sorry for all the San Francisco gay people; this is a Court that applied the state’s constitutional protections to the law, and found that it did not pass muster. What happens at the federal level is a different issue; but “gee, what might the federal courts do?” is not really relevant to the analysis.

    Sub-Odeon: I’m not really interested in playing the rhetorical gymastic game of separating ‘sinner’ from ‘sin’ and ‘disapproval’ from ‘hate’. Your actions are hateful; I don’t particularly care what motivates them. You are imposing your church’s rules for marriage rather selectively to the secular, civil institution of marriage.

  264. Begin Rant

    Personally I think people who are gay are just wrong, I guess it offends my sensibilities (unless its two hot lesbians, bull dikes are not ok) but that doesn’t mean that I have a right to say how two consenting adults (same sex or not) should live their own lives. Especially if their choice to marry doesn’t affect me in any which way.

    I guess OSC and his ilk forget about the whole Jebus and the not judging of others thing. If your morally against it because of religious beliefs, let God sort it out its none of your business if Peter likes to play with Pauls meat stick.

    Growing up in NYC i have a crap load of gay friends, they know I think its strange when I see two dudes (who by the way don’t “seem” or “act” like your stereotipical gay lovers) kiss. However, if they ever did decide to get married and if I’m so lucky to get invited to the wedding you better believe I’ll be there dancing on down to a bad live band version of the Village People’s “YMCA” song and filling up on the shrimp cocktails.

    End Rant.

  265. Here’s the email I sent OSC…
    Mr. Card,
    while I enjoy your writing, I disagree with your statement about gay marriage. To paraphrase what Robert Heinlein said in Time Enough for Love what people do with their genitals is their business. How does the idea of gay marriage make your marriage any less? Personally, I prefer the idea of gays getting married. It means more stability in the gay community, a legalization of long term relationships that provide stability to a community. Marriage, other than in churches, is a legal contract. Just as getting married in a church has no legal standing, without a marriage liscense, getting married with a liscence is the only legal standard. Making gay marriage, or any other kind that is between two or more adults of legal age, is simply making a legal contract. The trigger word is marriage. Maybe instead of outlawing gay marriage we should outlaw the term marriage?

    respectfully
    Mike O’Brien

  266. Oh. My.

    Well, I suppose I should be grateful that he has allowed as how my clearly second class family (given that we chose adoption to build our family) is still “ok” because I had the grace to marry a man. I’ll sleep well tonight.

    What saddens me most about all this stuff is how, once again, homosexuality is stripped down to being only about sex. Heterosexuals are somehow able to have relationships that transcend the mere need for sex, but not those pesky gays.

    Oh and once again marriage is all about kids, so to all my “childless by choice” friends: Hey guys! Get a divorce already! Why bother with marriage if you aren’t spawning?

    All that said, Scott Card is fairly traditional as Mormons go and I would be surprised not to see this type of view point. Further proof to me that we can’t allow religion and superstition to rule us. Who gets to decide which is the right way? I can’t think of a single person or faith I trust with that, including my own.

    I am not concerned about healthy gay marriages, or for that matter dysfunctional straight marriages or any other type of marriage destroying the fabric of this country. The powers that be are doing a nice enough job of that all on their own.

  267. Sam, I’m guessing you don’t inform your “crap load of gay friends” that your approval of, and attitudes towards, lesbians depend on how fuckable you find them.

  268. Actually, I’m rather upfront about my contradictory feelings to my “crap load of gay friends.”

  269. Re: The phrase “act of homosexuality”

    Hey, at least we know Sub-Odeon is okay with gay marriages as long as they’re not consummated.

  270. Meh, living in a country that happily buried this issue three years ago, I realize now the amount of intellectual energy we have saved for better purposes.

    I tell you, there are very rancid and conservative parties in Spain, and they certainly pumped a lot of hot air about making marriage the exact same for any couples (including adoption and assisted reproduction rights). But, once the law settled, all that Brain Warming has vanished. It’s not an issue anymore. Just a worn old story. Probably because for all the individuals not directly affected by the change, reality hasn’t changed the width of a hair.

    It’s just that some people tend to find a way to feel outraged by a subject as soon as you place a microphone and an audience in front of them. Once the audience and the microphone walk away, they aren’t so interested anymore.

  271. mythago @ #296:

    I think you’ve cherry picked some of my posts to arrive at your conclusion, but OK. I guess a majority of the country is just seething with hate, too?

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/o/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/ohiopolitics/entries/2008/07/17/voters_oppose_samesex_marriage.html

    I’m not sure what good it does to put hate in the minds of people who don’t feel hate. Is 55% of America nothing but a bunch of hate-filled homophobes?

    I don’t think so.

  272. Fran Ontanaya @ 304: Like Spain, Canada figured this issue out a few years back, and it’s become a non-issue, as it should be. The Canadian military had it’s first in-service gay marriages a little while ago, even.

    The world on this side of the border has noticably failed to come to an end.

    Which makes the ranting, frothing & drama south of us even more bemusing. Really, folks – it’s the extension of identical rights to all citizens. Why is this so hard?

  273. Sub-Odeon@#235:
    “This is why racism directed against minorities, and sexism and misogyny against women, are subtly different problems which can’t necessarily be compared to homophobia and discrimination against gays. They might be similar, but they’re different.”

    Okay, how about we compare it to discrimination against, say, witchcraft then?

  274. I think what a lot of us are having trouble with, Sub-Odeon, is the idea that people who are gay or lesbian ought to feel at all bad about… well, having sex. I mean, I get that you’re nominally on the side of Justice and Right and Fluffy Bunnies, with your references to fully equal protection under the law.

    I’m not questioning that, and I don’t want to paint you as some kind of intolerant jackass. I want to be very careful about that. It’s just that I don’t get how you think that humans can be humans if they’re not expressing their feelings, sexual and romantic, for those they want to get sexual and romantic with. Celibacy isn’t for everyone, and we shouldn’t demand it of a group that constitutes between two and ten percent of the people on the planet.

    I guess, too, that I have a hard time understanding why you think you think what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedroom, with another conscenting adult, is… well, any of your business, really. I mean, I get that you think “the act of homosexuality” is a wrong, sinful thing to do, but what is it to do with you?

  275. Sub-Odeon @ #252
    I’m a gay male and I have had the epithet faggot used against me repeatedly and with venom both before and after I came out. It has been yelled at me from passing cars when I was wearing conservative clothing (slacks, green cotton twill shirt, dress shoes), it has been yelled at me when I was holding hands with my boyfriend, when I was in renfair garb, in a mixed group, and alone.

    I don’t know your “wife’s lesbian friend”, but I’ve never been able to pass even when I was trying desperately to act straight as a closeted young catholic. Your contention that all of us can pass if we really want to is a load of horsecrap.

    And it burns weirdly, even though intellectually I know it should not. Especially when I think I’m not dressed in a gay way. It brings back the horrifying school days where I had indignities like my clothes being torn up and pissed upon when I was in gym class visited upon me. How do they know? How can there be a target on my back when I’m not expecting it?

    The truth is that an awful lot of gays don’t have a choice and some of us (not me) have it worse than blacks if we want to try the futile task of measuring social pain. The stories of total and early rejection by families are not just made up to win sympathy. I know guys who were abused (the real thing, not unhappy, abused physically and mentally) from an early age for being ‘too effeminate’. Some of us cannot hide and for the rest it is a quiet pain whenever we hear a ‘friend’ or colleague makes it clear through jokes or remarks that if he finds out we’ll be rejected. It is hard to hide as well.

    Think of if you had to hide your religion and could not respond. How would that make you feel? How about if you could be legally fired in a lot of states or illegally fired, but no one would bother to enforce the law? Or beaten to death because some snot nosed punks saw you coming out of your temple? Or just live with the fear and notice in the papers every time it happened again in your own city.

    You are right that black liberation is not the same as gay rights. But the way you talk of it belittles what has happened and continues to happen to queer people all over America. People like you upset me greatly because you have no idea. You sound like one of the ignorant whites from the suburbs who say, “But blacks wouldn’t have such a problem if they would just stop listening to rap and acting so gheto,” when you say things like that.

    Mishalak

  276. Sub-Odion #230: “I don’t think I said the Union document would be meaningless, as you portrayed it. It would still be a legal bond between consenting human adults. No silliness about animals or plants or inanimate objects. It would apply to hetero, poly, and homo. The same set of legal protections and stipulations for all cases. No “special” treatment for anyone. Nor any discrimination within the law. It might seem like silly semantics to remove the word marriage, but I think that would be the quickest way to sell straights still opposed to gay marriage on the idea.”

    No, the union wouldn’t be meaningless under your compromise, but marriage would. You are arguing that there should be literally no set definition, nor legal weight, to the institution of marriage, and that it should be replaced with something equivalent that the “keep marriage sacred” crowd don’t care so much about. Under your compromise, if I want to perfom a religious marriage between a pig and a tree, with no legal recognition, it would be a capital-M marriage by your definition.

    Please explain how this is going to be acceptable to them.

  277. The elephant in the room of SubOdeon’s comments is “poly.” “Poly” actually would change marriage, as opposed to recognizing gay marriages, which I think tend to strengthen our existing concept of marital union.

    Consider what legal issues would actually need to be addressed differently if same sex couples were allowed to marry: surrogacy law and maybe some related issues, that’s it.

    Consider how hard it would be to even define polygamous marriage under the law (in a fair and reasonable way, not just grandfathering a few misogynistic traditions of it.) That just might be a change that potentially threatens “the family.”

    The whole “give any set of consenting adult parties a government contract and let us sort out the metaphysical niceties ourselves” argument is an attempt to get a very different set of arrangements through the door. I won’t elaborate on this because it would be off topic for this thread; I just want to clarify that is what I think is driving part of SubOdeon’s commentary here.

    However, I also think that SubOdeon has been one of the most civil and reasoned commentators I have seen on a blog, even though I don’t agree with his solution and even though the implications of some of his comments might be hurtful to many people. I think he was basically saying, even if my religion requires me to disapprove of you in private, that should not have any effect on your public rights. It was not clear if his “compromise” was his ideal outcome for the issue or just what he thought was the optimal outcome for today’s realities. Assuming the latter is the case, the only thing you can fault is his admission of his religious belief in practicing homosexuality as a sin. You are free to tell him to f-off if he believes that (and even as a straight man I might just do that), but that is more of a personal issue and less one about the public issue covered by the thread. (It was also ameliorated by his comment on how he would react to his daughter’s potential choices in this matter; holding religious beliefs along with a reasonable attitude toward modern life is always going to be a mess of contradictions; so I give him some slack for his attitude too.)

  278. Sub-odeon @ 200 – Josh @ #192: Uhhh, ‘camps’? I knew some gay LDS kids in Jr. High and High School. This was 1988-1992. Beyond a lecture from the Bishop or Stake President, I am not sure any of them got any kind of church-sanctioned or church-run ‘camp’ time. But then I think we’re discussing “gay recovery” groups, most of them religious centered. And while I have no doubt there are many LDS-inspired groups, I don’t think there are any such groups administered by the LDS church itself as a matter of standard church practice.

    If it were standard, they’d actually face legal challenges. It’s an underground thing. There are Catholic institutions that do the same thing. Doesn’t mean it’s doctrine, just that it’s there for those who want it.

    But seriously, dude, stop trying to wave your hands at it and say that you never saw it. I don’t care if you never saw it. This post was about Card, and his bigotry. Not you.

    If you’re expecting to slap me in the face with dirty church laundry, and have it shock me or otherwise shake me up, I think you’re wasting your time. I essentially left the church in my teens, and when I came back I made peace with the idea that church history was checkered and that a lot of dumb and even wrong stuff happened under the Mormon aegis. I can live with that, mostly because the church itself is just a human construction founded on the higher teachings of a person I consider divine: Jesus the Christ. No Christian church in history has been without problems, nor has any avoided mistakes. I chalk it up to stupid, flawed people being stupid and flawed. It doesn’t make the enterprise as a whole permanently evil or derelict.

    I’ll try one more time, then I’m giving up on you.

    No one is saying that you personally are responsible for the Church’s actions. No one is waving the church’s dirty laundry in your face. This is about one person who’s virulently bigoted against GLBT people, and his whiny complaints that he gets called names, and his hysterical claims of gay censorship and childhood indoctrination.

    He’s a damn hypocrite. If you can’t accept that, it’s not my problem. But I’m saying that *if* you make an argument like Card’s, *and* you’re coming from a background of a member of his church, *then* when the worst you get is gay people calling you names, acting as if this was a surprise or unwarranted is *idiotic*.

    So far, I’ve not seen you support Card’s arguments. You made the mistake of saying you can see where he’s coming from in getting defensive about gay people calling him names. That’s foolish, but forgivable.

    An anti-gay bigot who’s a member of the Church of the LDS (not you, get it?) complains that gay people are censoring him? Calling him names? If you’re not seeing the hypocrisy there, there’s something wrong with your perception.

    I have no reason to be angry with you as a person. But your church? You betcha I do. They’re horrible when it comes to GLBT rights. They’ve got a history of censoring gay people, and being physically abusive.

  279. Wow…over 300 comments! Do you think either Scalzi or OSC will read any of them?

    It does pose a question though–can one separate an artist from the artist’s creation?

    I’m thinking about director (and child rapist) Roman Polanski and his oscar-winning The Pianist as well as OSC’s Ender series.

  280. Mad Professah:

    “Do you think either Scalzi or OSC will read any of them?”

    Are you under the impression I don’t read the comments on my own site?

  281. “It does pose a question though–can one separate an artist from the artist’s creation? I’m thinking about director (and child rapist) Roman Polanski and his oscar-winning The Pianist as well as OSC’s Ender series.”

    I just re-watched Chinatown the other day. It’s just as good as I remembered.

    I’m a big fan of Neal Asher for hard science fiction. His blog, on the other hand, is filled with reality-denying anti-global-warming libertarian screeds that I could only stand for a couple of weeks. Still love his books, though.

    On the other hand, I never got into OSC, and the more I hear about him, the less tempted I am to try.

    So I think it mostly depends on how much you come to appreciate their work before you find out that they’re… not the kind of person you’d want to spend time with. Hrm, actually, I’m going to add in Heinlein as another example, and say that it also depends on how much their art is just a platform for their crazy beliefs *cough*thecatwhowalksthroughwalls*cough*.

  282. I, for one, would love to see OSC’s Ender series helmed by Roman Polanski.

    I read Ezra Pound with delight, even though he and his buddy T.S. Eliot were antisemite reactionary weirdos.

    I had a Jewish great-aunt who went every year to the Bayreuth Festival to enjoy Richard Wagner.

    There are very good reasons to distinguish between the writer and his/her stated beliefs.

    Note how friendships are strong within SFWA between political pairs in deep disagreement, as with Jerry Pournelle and Harlan Ellison loyal to each other. The split between Heinlein and his friends versus Clarke and his friends over SDI was painful, and recapitulated split over Vietnam.

    Professional writers have common enemies — bad publishers, the government (tax-wise), and the like. It is a mistake, IMHO, to attack each other in public over even virulent hate-speech.

    As I say, I’ve been to jail over the 1st amendment, have been in two trials about same (one over a student newspaper on the exact 200th anniversary of the 1st student newspaper in USA).

    Best cure for darkness is light.

  283. SMD 295: That’s terrific! Any references I can use to back that up (the thousands of years thing)?

    Rens 308: As a gay Wiccan I can tell you they really are kind of similar. In fact, letting people know you’re Wiccan is often called “coming out of the broom closet” among Wiccans!

    Mishalak 310: Well said, my brother. (I believe I was called faggot for the first time in first grade. Of course the kid didn’t know what it meant…but his parents did.)

  284. You wrote: “economy-sized jug of crazy sauce”

    John, I think I love you. I will need to use this expression. A lot.

  285. Sub-Odeon, the state doesn’t actually do religious marriages. What you get, in a religious ceremony, is a religous and a civil act. You can get married in a courtroom by a judge (at least in California), and it’s just as legal and official as getting married in a church. Or in your backyard, or in your kitchen with your buddy with the mail-order ordination performing the ceremony.

  286. Falstaff @ #309: I personally don’t care what grown adults do with each other in the privacy of their homes. Gays are not evil. And I am opposed to the social stigmatizing and bashing and abuse that gays get in public. By the same token, not everyone who has a religious or moral problem with homosexuality is a monster or a an intellectual cretin. And I am not sure where, in anything I have written in this thread, I advocated inserting myself into the bedroom or demanding celibacy out of anyone. I had some ideas about how we might legally change the way we do things in the U.S. so that gays get what they want and religious people opposed to homosexuality get what they want, but maybe it’s a bridge too far? The compromise is too far outside the box? Certainly the hostility expressed by many here seems to indicate it’s probably a non-starter.

    Mishalak @ #310: good point, in that some gays simply “ping” on the gaydar of even people who don’t really have a gaydar, and for these gays, life is often made miserable. Sounds like you have had numerous horrid experiences at the hands of the ignorant and the spiteful, and that’s a damned shame. They sound (ironically) similar to some of the stories I’ve heard told by some of the missionaries from my faith: being chased out of public places, beaten up, belongings wrecked or defacated on, etc. My current boss, who is a doctor, was a mission president in Russia for a couple years and said one of his young missionaries got his jaw broke by a Russian cop, just because the cop saw the missionary’s LDS name plate, and decided that was enough for him to begin violence. I personally have sat in the room with good, intelligent people who tell rude Mormon jokes, not knowing I am Mormon. And no, I am not saying that the LDS experience anywhere approaches the gay experience. From what I can tell, gays get it far worse, far more often, and enjoy far less acceptance. So I won’t pretend to “feel your pain” because I can’t. I just think that it’s a bit of stretch when any one “victim group” begins comparing itself to another victim group, and claims equal or worse victimization. It’s like the overlapping circles: all people who have experienced persecution, have a central area of overlap. But there is also the rest of their ‘circle’ that is unique to them, and which nobody else can quite understand, and this is where it’s not appropriate to morally equate one group’s struggle with another. Each group has a separate path that is its own. African Americans have theirs. Women have theirs. Gays have theirs. It’s not about belittling one group or setting another group above anyone else. It’s just recognizing that the suffering and pain of each group has a unique quality to it that can’t be shared or appropriated by any other group.

    Rens @ #308: see above.

    Wintermute @ #311: See my comments to Falstaff. Maybe it’s just a non-starter. I don’t feel bad for making the proposal. I also don’t feel bad if people say WTF and ignore it. Ideas are where action begins. Gay marriage and its successful integration into the U.S. framework is going to require a hell of a lot of ideas by a hell of a lot of different people, not all of whom can agree on all things.

    PrivateIron @ #312: thank you. I am glad that my efforts to explain my thoughts and ideas in a civil, composed manner have not been in vain. I realize that by a) even posing these ideas and b) outting myself as a Mormon and c) also outting myself as a believer in Mormon doctrine on homosexuality, that for some people, that’s enough to declare me despicable. I might not have even brought up my religion if Orson Scott Card had not come into this, and because Card is Mormon I wanted to try to explain a little why Card is writing what he writes and why it doesn’t necessarily make him a beast. Maybe I’m just being a Mo-homer? Or maybe I think it’s important that people realize that even in a conservative religion like the LDS religion, there is a wide range of thought and feeling, regarding homosexuality and much else. It’s not a monolithic block. Not when it comes to everyday members. Part of being an LDS person in the wider world means daily compromise between the rigidity of the doctrine, and the fluidity of modern life. Each LDS person finds their own compromise. Or, as noted by others, some LDS can’t do it and they leave the church because the contradictions become too much for them to stomach. Me, I just try to roll with it and have a sense of humor and not be too rigid if I don’t have to. I have an abiding respect for the gospel of my faith. It works for me. But I realize it doesn’t work for everyone, and I think even people who think and behave and feel vastly different from me, should enjoy a life free from persecution, molestation, and injustice. That’s the crux of the American Bargain, as I see it. Everyone all jostling together and figuring out a way to co-exist.

    Josh @ #313: well, what can I say? I think Card is being made the target of a great deal of venom and bile and when I re-re-read the article Scalzi posted, I still have to say, I sorta feel where Card is coming from. Polls indicate that most Americans aren’t ready for, or don’t want, gay marriage. We can argue, morally, that it’s the job of courts to “lead the heathen by the nose” as it were. But where does it end? How far is the judicial branch allowed to go, overturning popular vote and railing against popular decision, before the United States ceases to be a Republic and instead becomes an oligarchy, presided over by the Enlightened Few who Know Better? Our triumvirate system–representative, judicial, executive–only works so long as the three competing forces remain in balance. Currently, there is great fear on the leftward side of the country that the executive is out of control and doing great harm. Likewise, on the right side of the equation, there is great fear that the judicial is out of control and doing great harm. Depending on how you look at it, both judicial and executive seem to be throwing the representative (“the will of the people”) into the shitter. When do we say enough is enough? I’m not saying I know the answer, nor do I share Card’s belief that gay marriage is the end of America. But I am sympathetic to Card’s premise that courts can and do go too far when they spend more time making law as opposed to simply enforcing existing law. When making law becomes more important than enforcing the laws as laid down by the representative, then it’s not democracy anymore; it’s oligarchy. And oligarchy is anti-American and should be opposed, even if the oligarchy might seem, at first, quiet benevolent and with our best interests at heart.

  287. Just wandering in with a perhaps tangential thought. I wonder if people who oppose gay marriage/rights/etc.–and certainly all homophobes, if those are different–do it purely because they’re gender schematic, for whatever reasons, and we who support gay marriage/rights/etc or are indifferent are aschematic. (Definition follows for people who need it.) Then it would be basically a psychological problem (well, problem as I see it) on those people’s part, and their fervor would be due to the foundations of their worldview being in danger whenever they’re confronted with people who don’t do What Men and Women Should Do. And it might explain why the gay marriage == interracial marriage thing doesn’t work on them. I think I like thinking about it as a psychological problem rather than a “why are these people so intolerant?” one–but then, I’m a psych major, so duh.

    Gender schematics are people who have internalized society’s traditional definitions of male/female roles; use gender in judging people’s behavior; apply gender stereotypes to everyone, including themselves; and don’t like people who don’t fit those roles. Aschematics don’t refer to gender very much when judging people and tend to stereotype less–basically, schematics see people as “men” and “women,” while aschematics see people as “people.”

  288. This gem of a passage should be particularly noted:

    “Because when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary.”

    How does this differ from Malcolm X’s use of the phrase “by any means necessary”?

    I suggest that Mr. Card seek the counsel of an attorney who is familiar with the Smith Act of 1940.

    At the very least, fans who are outraged by Mr. Card’s remarks ought to bring them to the attention of the Transportation Security Administration. When he finds that he is only able to attend cons by driving or taking the train, that will give him more time to think about the consequences of expressing his opinions in such a fashion.

  289. Sub-Odeon: “I am sympathetic to Card’s premise that courts can and do go too far when they spend more time making law as opposed to simply enforcing existing law.”

    That is a complete misrepresentation of what happened on May 15th, and you know it. The courts were enforcing the highest law of the state, the Constitution. The law passed by the people did not meet the standard of the highest law, ergo, it was thrown out.

    The law passed by the people restricted rights. The Court said “No, you can’t do that because the Constitution trumps the law you passed. Gay people have been unfairly and unlawfully deprived of those rights. That situation ends now. That law is overturned.”

    That was not MAKING law. That was INTERPRETING and ENFORCING law. That was and is the Court’s JOB. Do you get it now?

    Card has no legal leg to stand on, and neither do you.

  290. Sub-Odeon @ 247 “Let me twist that a little: ‘You are trying to push your personal sexual identity onto others who believe differently.'”

    That’s not a little twist. That’s an enormous twist that destroys the real meaning. I’ll restate the original so as to preserve its meaning, and you’ll see how it can’t really be twisted that way.

    “You are trying to push the rules derived from your personal religious doctrines onto others who believe differently.”

    If you twist it as you did, you get:

    “You are trying to push the rules derived from your personal sexual identity onto others who believe differently.”

    As you can see, the predicate noun clause has no referent.

  291. Blaming the courts is coming in way at the end of the process. If lawmakers were better at making laws, the courts wouldn’t have to spend all this time reviewing and then finally throwing them out. It’s only to be expected – takes a long time practicing the law and meeting high standards to become a judge – especially a judge at this judicial level.

    What does it take to become a legislator? The right financial backing, a good smile and strong handshake, maybe. About the only criteria politicians meet is the ability to convincingly make promises they never intend to keep.

    I live in Los Angeles – I’m straight and married and I hate jury duty, but I registered to vote just to vote against this dumb proposition.

  292. Adam @ #324: I think now we’re quibbling about “interpretation” of existing law. When the common perception is that the courts are “interpreting” as they see fit, extracting stretched or non sequitur rulings from the existing constitution, the general impression is that the courts are making it up as they go and dictating by fiat. Now, I possess no law degree, but I think it’s this “interpretation” problem that so often spurs the anti-gay activists to clamor for an ammendment at the federal level that specifically defines marriage as being hetero-only; thus “interpretation” becomes blocked. You can say the same about the ERA, which is the feminist movement’s tool for explicitly leveling the male-female legal field and eliminating any sort of chauvanist “interpretation” of the law. Judicial ‘activism’ can and does cut both ways.

    I don’t think we’re going to see the legal ping-pong over gay marriage brought to a halt, simply because judges block or put down popular initiatives, citing existing constitutional “interpretation” in the process. It’s just going to get worse, and the perception that the judges are making law without representation by the people will only be reinforced.

  293. I consider OSC a tragic figure, of the sort that appears in his early work (I stopped reading him in the mid-90s).

    Card’s early novels — including Songmaster, the first 3 Ender books, Wyrms, Hart’s Hope, and the first couple of Alvin Maker books — are all about children who are horribly abused, and a lot of the abuse comes from their traditional patriarchal families. Indeed, for a long time I assumed Card was a progressive-feminist-type SF writer, because his focus on child abuse was so relentless, he had such sympathy for the victims of patriarchy, and because even the “buggers” and the slimiest of aliens turn out to be more sympathetic than the human authorities.

    I have heard readers say that they think OSC always showed child abuse as being “for the best”, but to me it always seemed he showed it as profoundly tragic: parents *try* to do what’s best, but in a controlling way that creates horrible pain for all.

    When I see him put out things like this screed, it strikes me as the worst of writerly betrayals: that he’s turned against his own characters, the children of his heart, and is sacrificing them like Isaac on Abraham’s altar.

  294. Sub-Odeon
    The thing is that I think it would be right for you to compare your experience of being a Mormon to mine of being gay. Or to blacks, or Quakers, or Atheists, with caveats and careful writing. None of our experiences is the same, even the experience of being gay isn’t the same for all gays. Some of us have had relatively trouble free lives. Since I’ve not been beaten up I might include myself in being less troubled.

    I think it is good to have conversations about how we do and do not understand each other. And I think a good part of this is to not diminish or seem to dismiss the experience of others. I wouldn’t dare say that, “Oh well its different if you’re a missionary, you’re out looking for trouble if you do that.” That sort of thing is nonsense. The problem is with the people who beat up missionaries, not with the missionaries. Sure I’ll keep a friendly “no” when missionaries come to my door (unless they want to hear the good news of Orthodox Atheism in return, ha, ha), but it should not reduce the outrage or sympathy at how people are treated for their faith when nothing they do hurts anyone.

    That’s my whole point. Your words seem, probably without intending it directly, to excuse inequality or maltreatment even as my own words would if I said something like, “But the whole act of being a missionary is to outrage the normal social order, you’ll never been accepted as long as you proselytize.” Or something of that nature.

    Mishalak

  295. You know, not meaning to be rude to Sub-Odeon (or anyone who holds the same views as him) I have to say, I really don’t give a fig what “the majority of the country” thinks about gay marriage or gay folks in general.

    The majority of the country, if I remember my reading right — I have no cite for this, so if I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I have no defense — wasn’t in favor of interracial marriage before Loving v. Virginia was ruled on by the Supreme Court. None of us — certainly not Sub-Odeon himself, whose life is directly affected by this stuff — would want to let the majority rule there, because the majority is wrong.

    Personally, I flat out don’t believe that people in America actually give much of a damn one way or another about gay marriage, not in general, but even if they do… well, I don’t care.

    This is not about what is popular. This is about what is just. Orson Scott Card should be dismissed as a crank. (A crank entirely entitled to his views… the man can believe whatever he likes… but a crank nonetheless.)

    It is unjust to deny the benefits of legal marriage to this many people just because the idea of them being able to get married squicks some people out. I’m not sure how much of a compromise we can reach with people who don’t believe that.

  296. First of all, I owe an apology to Sub-Odeon, whose views are more nuanced and more compassionate than I originally gave him credit for. The fact that he is willing to set aside his own morals-based views of homosexuality to support ANY measure of legal sanction for same-sex unions puts him, I believe, head and shoulders above many people on the no-gay-marriage side of the debate. There are still points with which I disagree, strongly, with his views, but he deserves commendation for being willing to support a right that goes against his own moral code.

    Now, to Falstaff’s comment in #330:

    It is unjust to deny the benefits of legal marriage to this many people just because the idea of them being able to get married squicks some people out.

    This is the heart of the matter, IMO. Heterosexual adults have the right to pick a sexually desirable partner and get the government to support a whole slew of rights based on their pledged commitment to each other. Homosexual adults, except in a handful of states — and especially not at the federal level — do not have the right to require this government recognition.

    As a result, a gay life partner (among many other injustices):
    * can be overruled by his/her partner’s immediate family in medical matters,
    * does not automatically inherit if the partner passes away intestate, and
    * does not retain custody of any children, absent a formal adoption.

    There are legal ways to ensure that these rights are not infringed — medical power of attorney, a duly witnessed will, and formal adoption, respectively — but these methods can be (and often are) challenged by intolerant family members. And, even absent that, it’s a burden for gay couples to have to go to the trouble of hiring lawyers and going to court to obtain rights that straight couples get automatically as soon as they sign a marriage license.

  297. Said Sub-Odeon:

    JupiterPluvius stated, “You are trying to push your personal religious doctrines onto others who believe differently.”

    Let me twist that a little: “You are trying to push your personal sexual identity onto others who believe differently.”

    Sub-Odeon, I am not gay. I am bisexual, and I have been happily legally married to a person of the opposite gender for many years.

    You do advocates of marriage equality a huge disservice to imply that all of them are themselves currently deprived of the civil benefits of marriage.

  298. Sub-Odeon, you’re the one prattling about separating the sinner from the sin; by those lights, the people acting hatefully are not necessarily filled with hate. Those 55% could be stupid, or misled, rather than merely hateful.

    But if a poll stated that 55% of a group of people were opposed to interracial marriage, I wonder what your conclusion would be. That they love black people but hate “acting black”?

    The reason that the religious argument isn’t convincing, by the way, is that some of us religious folks are able to separate what our faith recognizes and what the secular government recognizes. We Jews are prohibited from marrying Gentiles, yet you don’t see Jews pushing for initiatives to eliminate mixed-faith marriages.

  299. Falstaff & Andrew:

    Your points about the rights of the minority superceding the wishes of the majority are well put. Well put indeed.

    It’s the classic battle: the needs and wants of the many versus the needs and wants of the few. In the USA we have a system that attempts to broker between the two. We have majority vote, but the majority vote faces a breakwater of guaranteed personal rights.

    Its tough for me to totally throw myself to one side or the other in the gay marriage debate, because I (for me) detect truth and validity on both sides. I think it’s absolutely true that gays deserve equality and equal protection, as is already provided to straights. But I also think there is truth in the conservative notion that in an already permissive and morally teetering society, allowing homosexuals to ‘marry’ is a disquieting landmark; provided you see homosexuality as a serious sin, that is.

    Awhile back the LDS church put this out:
    http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,00.html
    It’s pretty much a manifesto of LDS belief that precludes homosexuality entirely, along with premarital sex, infidelity within the bonds of hetero marriage, etc.

    Just the same, my church also believes in allowing men and women the freedom to choose. Free agency is at the heart of the ‘war in heaven’ doctrine, and whether one sees it as pure fable, or takes it seriously, the war in heaven seems to make it pretty clear that God intends for all humanity to have free agency, and that attempts to contain or stiffle this free agency, even for ‘good’, are in and of themselves evil.

    I think a lot of LDS (and Christians in general) forget about the war in heaven, and what it was fought for. They focus entirely on their fear that society is morally unraveling out of control, and don’t stop to consider that men and women must still be free to choose, and in a democratic republic that claims to uphold individual rights, the individual rights of homosexuals must be addressed properly, even if homosexuality seems morally repugnant to many.

    Now, as to the rights of homosexuals to adopt or have children, oh wow, that’s a whole other conundrum. Many argue that a moral society cannot allow homosexuals “living in sin” to adopt, or bear, children. But then, we see children born endlessly into single-mother situations and unwed couple situations all the time. Which situation is better for the child? Two gay men or two gay women who can provide a stable environment, or a single mother who struggles, or even a hetero couple environment that is neglectful and abusive?

    Again, when the hetero side of that house is in such shambles, it’s tough to argue against the homo side. With so many out-of-wedlock births, divorced parents and split homes, endless physical and sexual abuse, heteros don’t exactly have a good track record; even if pockets of heteros work harder than average to do it right and take it seriously.

  300. Mythago @ #333: I think I can answer quickly, because my grandmother was one of those old-school LDS who absolutely believed in the “do not mix seed!” idea, and would have been disturbed a lot (I think) had she lived even a single year longer; long enough to witness my taking my “negro bride” through the temple in 1993.
    Grandma was not a hateful person. I am not sure there was a hateful bone in her body. And while she’d have been disturbed by my choice of mates, I think my mate would have won Grandma over, given time. I think Grandma was just from a different era and was from a different POV and as much as I think she was ‘wrong’ in that POV, I cannot fault her for it because it’s who she was and how she was brought up, and she never hurt anyone or was malicious about it.
    My own mother was a lot like Grandma. Being from small town Utah, Mom was not ready for who I brought home. She never says it, but I think it took her time to get over my wife’s ethnicity, not to mention how outspoken and not-typical-LDS-woman my wife is. I can’t really fault Mom much because she came from where she came from and was the product of her small town Utah world. And I’m not much for blaming or ridiculing people for failing to be as “enlightened as me” when everyone starts at a different place and not everyone has the same exposure and Mom was never malicious about anything.
    I suspect the great majority of the 55% opposed to gay marriage are not malicious about it, and do not want to hurt gays, or be mean, or otherwise molesting in any form. I think most are just from a certain mindset and are used to things being a certain way, and gay marriage is such a foreign idea, with added moral implications that make it more complex than, say, a racial issue, that they’re not ready to just say, OK, sure, gay marriage? Fine! Does this make them bad, evil, cruel, hateful, etc? I don’t think so at all. Not everyone opposed to progress is opposed due to black-heartedness. It’s easy to stereotype that way, but it’s not an accurate stereotype.

    I’d wager of the 55% cited in the link, maybe 5% at best hold any real, true, active ill will towards gays. These would be the extreme bashers of the equation and they’re the ones out displaying real homophobia, like the Rev. Phelps clan who seem to have managed to piss off everyone in the known universe, including many parties (like military vet Harley-Davidson clubs) otherwise sympathetic to the discomfort many feel over gay marriage.

    The other 50% is just average people, brought up in and used to a world where man and woman marry, and that’s just the way it’s done, either out of custom or because of religious belief; and they’re just not ready for the idea of gay marriage. Especially when their only exposure to gays (that they’re aware of, anyway) might be some of the more outlandish provocateurism one finds at some large gay pride parades, or through media soap opera like Queer As Folk.

    Not their fault. They come from where they come from and they are who they are. Branding them all as bigots and homophobes not only seems unfair, but counterproductive. It’s making enemies out of people who aren’t enemies, just because they’re not experienced enough to know better.

  301. Especially when their only exposure to gays (that they’re aware of, anyway) might be some of the more outlandish provocateurism one finds at some large gay pride parades, or through media soap opera like Queer As Folk.

    But consider this. You said that your interracial marriage was different from same-sex marriage because your wife is obviously black. (If she prefers African American or some other term, please substitute; I do not mean to offend.) You say that because gays are not obviously different, the situations are not parallel. But, from my outside perspective, Gay Pride events are the attempt by some gays to be exactly as obvious about their sexuality as your wife is about her ethnicity. Their point seems to be, in so many words, that to expect them to “act straight” is just as offensive as telling a black woman to “act white.”

    Part of your argument is that gays can “pass,” where many black people cannot. The counterargument, by several people here, is, “But why should they?”

  302. Good point.

    I think I wasn’t trying to encourage gays to pass as straight, I was just citing an example (my wife’s friend) of how gays can (sometimes?) pass for straight whereas my wife could never pass for white, even if she wanted to. And yeah, I suppose I shoulda qualified it and said SOME gays.
    Even I know there are gay people who are so obvious, without even trying, if ever they do try to “go straight”, it’s almost embarrassing.
    So I stand corrected.
    Oh, and my wife doesn’t really prefer a certain term. Given her adopted status she’s not even sure she can claim African American, though white society has labeled her black and, sadly, a nigger, her whole life.

  303. Biological imperatives trump laws.

    I’ve been fishing for a nice way to say this, but I can’t find it so I’ll come out with it. If Mr. Card really believes that, I’m sure there’s very good odds the the next man who drags his wife into an alley and rapes her will heartily concur. Because, Orson, that’s one way to ‘maximise your reproductive opportunities’ especially if your victim, as I understand Mormon doctrine and practice, regards contraception and abortion as very bad things indeed.

    And could someone please explain to me in small words how my entering into a civil marriage with my (male) partner — and a relationship, BTW, where either of us following our BI’s into another man’s pants is all the way out of bounds — is demeaning or threatening to Mr and Mrs Card. Let alone “diminishing their reproductive opportunities”. (Really, O, you’re not that hot.)

  304. Craig @338:
    could someone please explain to me in small words how my entering into a civil marriage with my (male) partner … is demeaning or threatening to Mr and Mrs Card.

    Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. Your marriage would obviously be between two people with the same rights, with no obvious hierarchy determined by who has what bits. You model an egalitarian marriage.

    I try to have an egalitarian marriage, but because my husband & I have different bits, the Cards can tell themselves that our marriage is “really” traditional — and a traditional marriage is between a human being with full legal rights & powers and one with reduced legal standing, a kind of legal half-human.

    By clearly and obviously modelling a marriage between equals, you threaten traditional marriage between unequals. You marriage makes it look as though women are equal to men.

    This is why I support same-sex marriage: because it *does* have something to do with me. The more blatantly egalitarian marriages there are going around, the more likely that people (and law) will assume that my marriage is egalitarian — and that a woman is legally equal to a man.

  305. Andrew Hackard 331:

    I owe an apology to Sub-Odeon, whose views are more nuanced and more compassionate than I originally gave him credit for. The fact that he is willing to set aside his own morals-based views of homosexuality to support ANY measure of legal sanction for same-sex unions puts him, I believe, head and shoulders above many people on the no-gay-marriage side of the debate. There are still points with which I disagree, strongly, with his views, but he deserves commendation for being willing to support a right that goes against his own moral code.

    Hear, hear.

    And me too, actually.

    I also agree with everything else in that comment, but that’s the part I felt the need to emphasize. And Sub-Odeon…it’s way more than a hair. OSC is a lunatic. You are a sane and compassionate man with whom I strongly disagree. Sorry if I let my passion overwhelm that fact.

  306. Xopher and Andrew: can I ask what tag people are using to insert quotes into the forum with that neato big quote thingie?

  307. I suspect the great majority of the 55% opposed to gay marriage are not malicious about it, and do not want to hurt gays, or be mean, or otherwise molesting in any form.

    That may well be. But I am looking at the effect of their views. If Person A votes to destroy a lesbian couple’s marriage because “they should have civil unions”, and Person B votes the exact same way because “queers should all be shot”, the result of their vote is exactly the same. Their motivations are irrelevant.

    As for ‘passing’, one of my children is blond and blue-eyed and does not fit the stereotype of what Jews look like. I’m sure she ‘passes’ as Gentile in many people’s eyes. I don’t think that has a thing to do with whether anti-Semitism is justified, or whether it would be OK for Jews to try and get a law passed forbidding civil marriage between Jews and Gentiles.

  308. Test test test.

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    Thanks!

  309. Before OSC and his fans march on the Capitol with torches and pitchforks to overthrow their perceived tyranny, can we head them off with a compromise law to have the motto on currency changed to what he seems to prefer: “Insert Tab A Into Slot B We Trust”?

  310. Sub-Odeon wrote:

    I proposed my solution, and I think it works for our 21st century America. Virtually all modern Americans opposed to gay marriage, oppose it on religious grounds. Removing ‘marriage’ as a state function and giving it strictly to the churches gives the religious conservative what they want. It also gives gays what they want because they can still MARRY according to their own religious (or areligious) convictions, and enjoy equal protection under the law. Separate but equal? How does that apply to a Union document that provides IDENTICAL legal rights and protections to straight, gay, and poly alike?

    This solution is what was made law in the UK on 5th December 2005 – same-sex couples can register a civil union (civil partnership) which has virtually identical rights, responsibilities, and obligations to marriage. Civil partnership is legally equal to civil marriage, but marriage (civil or religious) is for mixed-sex couples, civil partnership (if you want a religious ceremony, it must be held separately) is for same-sex couples. Separate but equal – and the UK government was a lot more serious about the “but equal” part than the Southern states ever were.

    Was this an acceptable compromise to the homophobic bigots who oppose gay marriage? Hell no. Because civil partnership is legally identical to marriage, they said “This is just gay marriage under another name!” and they protested – and still protest – same-sex couples having the right to enter a legal, state-sanctioned civil union with all the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of marriage.

    Civil partnership was Tony Blair’s attempt to offer the homophobic bigots who use religion as their excuse an acceptable compromise. It didn’t work. It won’t work in the US, either. (I have a stack of stuff about this on my blog tagged equal marriage, including a blog post about the registrar who claimed it was against her Christian faith to solemnize a civil partnership ceremony.)

    Legal marriage in the US has been civil marriage only for as long as the Union has existed – the fact that a couple can ask a pastor to marry them does not affect the fact that it’s the civil ceremony that binds them, not the religious one. To redefine “marriage” as a “religious union only” would be to change the whole history of marriage in the US – and be pointless as a means of appeasing homophobic bigots who oppose same-sex marriage, because they’ll oppose it no matter what you call it.

  311. Sub-Odeon (335) – So, supposing you’d been bringing a man home as your future spouse, how easy do you suppose it would have been for your man to “pass” as a woman so as to make your marriage acceptable to the Mormons who would otherwise have supported it?

    But, that aside, I do recognise what you’re saying as most people who oppose same-sex marriage aren’t doing so because they’re actively homophobic – or, really, homophobic at all. They’ve just never heard of such a thing, and they’re “instinctively” agin what they’ve never heard of.

    But these people are exactly the people who will come round in approximately five minutes or so once they realise that this awful skyfalling GAY MARRIAGE is in fact just that nice George and Brad getting married after being together for 15 years. In short, the cure for these people’s feelings of being agin gay marriage is simply to legislate (or have the courts determine) that it’s legal for same-sex couples to get married.

    Within about a month, I think I can almost certainly promise, everyone who had listened with half an ear to the homophobic nutcases saying that if two men or two women were allowed to marry THE WORLD WOULD COME TO AN END, will be witnessing their friends and neighbors getting married, and wondering what all the fuss was about.

  312. Get the government out of the business of marriage altogether. If we all had civil unions from the governement, we could return the issue of marriage back to the churches. Since some churches would marry gay couples and others wouldn’t, everyone should be satisfied.

    The only things the state should provide concern property rights and taxation. Civil unions are sufficient to provide equality in all of those areas. Anyone who wants the “m word” for a deeper meaning can go their church.

  313. I just read this and thought some of the people who were involved in this conversation here might be interested to see what the LDS Church itself says on the issue.

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  315. And this is why I no longer purchase or read OSC books. “How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”

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