Random Thoughtery, 11/5/08

Some various thoughts I’m having about the election. Don’t worry, I’ll move on to other things soon. But, hey, I just had another slice of Schadenfreude Pie and now I’ve got a hell of a sugar buzz going.

* First, could someone call North Carolina for Obama, already? 100% of the vote is in. He won it. Let’s nail this electoral vote thing down.

* If I could pick who the big losers are today, aside from people who actually lost a race, I would pick Joe Lieberman and the Lady de Rothschild. The LdR thing makes me feel especially snarky, but I feel just a little sad for Lieberman, who is now going to have to drag his hangdog ass back into a Senate whose leadership doesn’t actually need him anymore to keep itself in charge, and which will undoubtedly feel it’s time to settle up accounts for him for campaigning against Obama. One makes one’s choices.

* I find it deeply amusing that the same conservative who were perfectly fine with Bush running everything from the hard right are now falling over themselves to suggest that Obama needs to lead from the center, not from the left. While I personally would prefer Obama leading from the center, this sort of hypocritical yamming engages my bitch, please reflex. The one thing that genuinely annoys me about the professional conservative spew class here in the US is not that it’s conservative but that it’s the equivalent of the sports fan who is perfectly fine with a crooked umpire as long as the umpire is crooked toward their side.

* I know people are excited about Virginia turning blue for president, but personally, I was more impressed with Indiana going blue. Maybe it’s a proximity thing.

* I’ve had a couple of people write me and ask me if I had any thoughts about the fact the US elected a black man to the presidency. I do, but aside from saying I’m very proud we did, I can’t speak too much to it — or more accurately, won’t. I was obviously aware of Obama’s race, but it wasn’t close to being a factor for my vote, and I think it would be insincere for me now to push it into the forefront of my personal consideration. But more than that, look, you know what, I’m white, and the Obama victory doesn’t have the visceral weight in my psyche that it has for blacks in this country, and I don’t want to pretend it does. I stand outside that particular victory, and I am content to let others have it, because it is theirs. I have enough victories through Obama at the moment that I don’t have to have them all.

* A note on the Schadenfreude Pie: One of the reasons I love this pie I have invented is that it is perfect for what it’s supposed to be, which is something rich and dark and bitter that you better not have too much of. Last night and this morning, each time I took a slice of it, I took ever-so-slightly more than I should have, and now both times it’s sat in my stomach, threatening reflux. It’s a moral lesson, really: Like this particular pie, too much gloating invites payback. It’s nice to have a physical lesson to go with the existential one.

* Re: Proposition 8 and the other anti-same-sex marriages initiatives on the ballots, which passed in their respective states: I am disappointed, of course. I had hoped voters, particularly in California, would have had better moral sense. But as I mentioned to someone else earlier today, the struggle against bigotry is long and difficult, and the fact of the matter is we’re in the middle of this particular struggle, and it will take years to see it through, as has every struggle against bigotry here in the US. I’m willing to invest the time.

That said, I do wonder if the people who voted for Proposition 8 in particular have thought the implications of what they’ve just done. If, as I expect, the consequence of Proposition 8 is that 18,000 marriages are destroyed, they’ve just handed those who want equal marriage rights under the law an extraordinarily potent symbol, and a concrete goal: namely, the restitution of those marriages. The fight for those marriages starts today.

In the meantime, there are the words of a certain wise man which apply here to those who voted for these propositions, and they are, “Forgive them, Father; for they know not what they do.” Perhaps they will, in time.

251 thoughts on “Random Thoughtery, 11/5/08

  1. nth!

    On Obama’s race, I like the take of today’s Doonesbury, in which the white guy says, “What a great, great day! We did it! He’s half white, you know.”

    I also think it’s worse for Lieberman that the Democrats are unlikely to pick up the 60th Senate seat, because if they had they’d have at least some motivation to keep him engaged with the Democratic caucus. Now, there seems to be very little to gain politically by doing so. Anything short of them forcing him to wander in the wilderness would represent a truly transcendent shift in American political thought.

  2. JS,

    Methinks the hard edges of both Left and Right have spent a lot of time calling on the Republican and Democratic presidents of the last 30 years to, “Go to the center!”

    Yes, it very much seems like sports fans who are fine with lousy officiating, so long as that officiating favors them.

    Which I guess is a way of saying that the mouthpieces of the Left and Right who shout at one another, across our national divide, are all just a bunch of Lakers fans?

    ;^)

  3. Yesterday, I saw a chilling anti Prop 8 commercial on YouTube. It involved two clean-cut well dressed young men, clearly meant to be religious proselytizers. They ring a doorbell. When the door opens, they enter and ransack the house until they find the lesbian couple’s marriage license and rip it in half in front of them while the women shout, “You can’t do this. We have rights.” They respond, “Not if we can help it.”

    It ends with a stinger about how much the Mormon church has donated to the “Yes on 8″ effort. Part of the point of the ad is the how voting Yes on 8 was allowing religious groups to legislate.

    Perhaps the portrayal was a little over the top. However, their point is utterly accurate. They’ve reached into the houses of those 18000 couples, taken away their rights, and ripped up their marriage licenses.

    Yes, the fight for those marriages starts today. I hope those who voted for Prop 8 realize what a terrible mistake they’ve made, and soon.

  4. “Bitch, please” reflex? I think I have one of those, but never knew what to call it.

    Another irony is that many conservatives were just fine with President Bush’s use of signing statements and other expansions/abuse of executive power, but are now very concerned that the presidency and Congress will be held by the same party. Waily, waily – Obama, Reid and Pelosi will run amok! As if President Bush hasn’t tried to render Congress irrelevant.

  5. To echo point five: one of my favorite memories of last night will be watching my friends who are black change their statuses on Facebook. You’re absolutely right, John: I can’t imagine what it must be like from their prism, but I can see the joy and be happy for that.

  6. The ‘big losers’ of this election are the disenfranchised gays and lesbians of California. I think its downright disgusting that thousands of loving, married couples will be split apart merely because the religious right thinks they can legislate their morality. Well I’m not going to stand for it! I pledge to do everything in my power to fight for equal marriage rights until the day that every gay couple in this country, in every state, has the inalienable right to get married. The battle may be lost, but not the war.

  7. John Chu,

    It’s worth noting that the YouTube in question was roundly criticized for inflammatory religious hate-bait. It has since been removed from YouTube, and rightly so.

  8. Proposition 8 may destroy something closer to ten million marriages than 18,000. The logic that led the California Supreme Court to say that same-sex couples must have equal status with different-sex couples has not changed — all that has happened is that one remedy for it, allowing same-sex marriages, has been prevented. The only other remedy is for the California Supreme Court to ban all marriages, and have civil partnerships for everyone.

  9. It isn’t so much that California voters didn’t have better moral sense as that they were bamboozled, led astray, and deliberately lied to by a pack of pseudo-christians and their false claims about horrible things that would happen if same-sex marriages were allowed to exist.

  10. By the authority vested in me as a resident of the State of NC, I cheerfully call it another win for Obama.

    There, now we’re both happy.

  11. California voters really shot themselves in the foot by voting in Prop. 8. In an already bad economy, they’ve managed to throw away the money generated by gay couples coming into the state to get married. This is going to hurt hotels and airlines, but also small businesses like bakeries, wedding planners, tent rentals, caterers, etc.
    In addition, a sheep-load of State money will now have to be used to defend lawsuits from at least some of the 18,000 couples. I imagine some boycotts will follow, too.

    As for me and my lovely wife Jennifer, we’re looking into suing for at least our marriage license fees back, and maybe a couple of mil or two in punitive damages for the emotional distress of having our marriage invalidated.

  12. Lieberman, who is now going to have to drag his hangdog ass back into a Senate whose leadership doesn’t actually need him anymore to keep itself in charge, and which will undoubtedly feel it’s time to settle up accounts for him for campaigning against Obama.

    From your lips to Harry Reid’s ears.

  13. Mike,

    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I think it would be a good step to get the state out of the “marrying” business altogether. Give it back to the churches. Equal legal protection for all, regardless of sexual preference. And nobody has to worry about what “kind” of marriage the church down the block is handing out because no church need acknowledge another church’s ceremony or certificate.

    Not a perfect solution, but I think it’s the one with the best long-term appeal, and actually gives both sides what they desire.

    I shant say more, for fear of upsetting Der Scalzinator, who fish-smacked me last time I went into this on one of his threads.

    ;^)

  14. Oh, yes. I am very much looking forward to four years of utter, utter silence from the “unitary executive” crowd.

  15. I’m equally impressed with Indiana and Virginia going going for Obama. I’ll be even more impressed if North Carolina does.

    Really, everything about Obama’s campaign was impressive. If you had told someone 8 months ago that he’d win Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania AND Florida, not to mention Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Indiana AND Virginia, and then told him he was very close in North Carolina AND Missouri, AND was only 5 points behind in Georgia (Georgia!), they’d have looked at you like you’d just sprouted another head.

  16. I think the aftertaste of that pie may linger for a bit longer than you think, Mr. S. No rational business will sink more money into any venture until they have a better idea of what Obama really intends to do, and most will not care to take a chance. The folks that I’ve talked to today have no intention of having their wealth “redistributed” and are already making plans for year-end removal of wealth from the country.
    If you think there’s a recession now, wait until the smart money leaves the nation. Redistribution may take place, but there will be a much smaller pie to redistribute, mark my words.

    Also, all readers should stay on guard. World events are afoot. Israel now has no choice but to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities in the immediate future before Bush leaves office. Russia, who is nobody’s fool, has today moved missiles into the Baltic region. Go check a map to see where Tehran is in the “Baltic” region. No fewer than five (5!) US carrier groups are in the region currently. For reference, only two (2) carrier groups participated in Gulf War I and II.

    This will not end well.

  17. [quote]Hey, they made some progress. The first time Cali banned gay marriage, they won by 20% of the vote. This time, only 4%. Annoyingly slow baby steps.[/quote]

    The next step for the Prop 8 people is to propose an amendment that all future amendments to the state constitution will require a 60% majority. Which is really how it should have been in the first place, but watch, they’ll try to lock in their victory this way.

  18. I feel no pity for Lieberman. He chose to be a Republican in Democrat’s clothing a long time ago. The real losers as far as he is concerned are the Democrats: they still have to allow him to caucus with them.

  19. @ Michael Rawdon #18

    If you told people twelve months ago that he would beat both Hillary Clinton and John McCain to become the president-elect, I think most people would’ve looked at you the same way.

  20. John–

    I find it deeply amusing that the same conservative who were perfectly fine with Bush running everything from the hard right are now falling over themselves to suggest that Obama needs to lead from the center, not from the left.

    The problem is that Obama didn’t run as a hard left candidate, and he certainly didn’t win as a hard left candidate. Promising tax cuts for 95% of Americans isn’t a left-wing position. Promising a “pay-as-you-go” spending policy isn’t a left-wing position. Traditionally, these are center-right positions, and they were the heart of Obama’s economic policy.

    Bush governed from the hard right in a few places, but we knew that he would in advance there (in foreign policy, for example.) He campaigned as a big government conservative on the economy, and that’s what we got. He campaigned as a moderate on immigration and education, and we got that too.

    It’s not that Obama has to run to the center as a general principle, but he does have to stay pretty centered to follow through on his campaign promises.

  21. Sub-Odeon:

    “I shant say more, for fear of upsetting Der Scalzinator, who fish-smacked me last time I went into this on one of his threads.”

    (raises fish)

    Oh, wait, you’re done.

    (sets fish back down)

    Bill Dickson:

    “The next step for the Prop 8 people is to propose an amendment that all future amendments to the state constitution will require a 60% majority.”

    Ironically, I would be for that amendment in principle, but yeah, that’d be a shitty way for them to do things.

    Brian:

    “The problem is that Obama didn’t run as a hard left candidate, and he certainly didn’t win as a hard left candidate.”

    Bush didn’t run as a hard right candidate in 2000, either — he touted his bipartisan creds in Texas. Didn’t stop him from tacking to the right when in office. So I find this argument not particularly compelling.

  22. “My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.” – John McCain

    “Tomorrow, I hope, I pray, I believe that I’ll be able to wake up as vice president-elect and be able to get to work,”
    - Sarah Palin

  23. KIA, I encourage you and your wackaloon friends to take their money out of the country – their absence from the business world will let smart investors rush in while you’re all sitting around mumbling bitterly into your Scotch.

  24. Re: Proposition 8.

    I was utterly shocked when I woke up this morning and discovered that this may have actually passed. So I’d like to begin a way we, the legally married, can show our solidarity with those whose rights are currently witheld, and John, you with your bully pulpit are an excellent place to start the ball rolling.

    I propose we choose a day, preferably one easy to remember–say Dec. 1–and on that day, every legally married or engaged couple who believes that it is love and not gender that defines a relationship removes their rings. I imagine this an an annual event, continuing until all americans, gay and straight, can wed whomever they choose.

    It’s a small gesture, I know, but one that is especially meaningful to very many couples. It would serve as a reminder of both what those couples have and what millions of others must do without.

  25. @ mythago #26 “their absence from the business world will let smart investors rush in”

    Into what, praytell?

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

  26. While I do dislike the specifics of Prop 8, and my thoughts are with Joan and those like her who face the (ridiculous) invalidation of loving marriages, I’d say that I’m almost a little more worried by the type of precedent that was set.

    Prop. 8 basically allowed a simple majority to take away the right of a group of people. In this case it was the right to same-sex marriages, but regardless of how one feels about that particular issue, that’s a really slippery slope.

  27. @ #19 KIA – The folks that I’ve talked to today have no intention of having their wealth “redistributed” and are already making plans for year-end removal of wealth from the country.

    Tax evasion is a crime. Even if it involves moving funds overseas to hide them

  28. I got a good proposition for the next election. California should vote on whether to start taxing Churches as they have no problem getting involved in politices, or raise their personal income-taxes to cover budget shortfalls. Unfortunately, such wording could not be used.

  29. KIA @# 19: “No rational business will sink more money into any venture until they have a better idea of what Obama really intends to do.”

    You know, this morning I was on a conference call with the CEO and executive management of my employer, a major multinational telecommunications manufacturer, and not once did they mention anything about us or our customers suspending investment in the US in the wake of the presidential election. A whole lot about how the market is expected to be lower over the next year due to the credit crunch and global recession, but nothing about how we have to slam on the brakes in the US because the incoming redistributionist administration will make it a riskier place to do business than, say, Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan.

    I guess they’re just irrational.

  30. John–

    “Bush didn’t run as a hard right candidate in 2000, either — he touted his bipartisan creds in Texas. Didn’t stop him from tacking to the right when in office.”

    Which campaign pledge did he break to move right? He campaigned as a compassionate conservative, a moderate on most domestic issues, and a tax cutter. We got the faith based charity bill as promised, we got bipartisan education reform as promised, and we got the tax cuts that were promised. Calling it “governing as a right-winger” doesn’t change the actual policies. Bush attitudinally moved to the right, maybe, but I’m still hard pressed to figure out what “governed as a hard-right winger” means here. Governed as a social conservative? He campaigned as a social conservative. If you’re going to make that argument, you have to point out some actual campaign promise that got broken, not just attach convenient labels.

    I suppose you’re referring to things like domestic spying, the Patriot Act, etc.? Those never came up in the campaign.

    Obama campaigned as a social liberal with some moderate positions (slightly anti-teacher’s union on education, not anti-gun, etc.) and an economic moderate. He spent the entire last 2 weeks of the campaign denying any intent to seriously redistribute wealth. I expect that he should be held to that promise.

  31. KIA: That’s a really strange location; the last time I looked, the Baltic Sea was surrounded by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and a finger of Russia. Did you mean the Black Sea? Bit less of a distance. Although Iran actually borders on the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, but that last is drying up. Did you mean the Persian Gulf? Because nothing around the Persian Gulf is Russian or Russian-friendly territory.

    I suspect Israel does have a choice, and that cooler heads are prevailing.

    As for business being twitchy about redistribution, I was under the impression that many American jobs had been internationally redistributed with no outcry from business, and frankly, I’d think that redistributing that wealth stuff to areas like the infrastructure would likely benefit commerce, but I understand that the plan was to have everyone go back to shoemaking and farming anyway.

    Oh, the snark has me in its grip today!

  32. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

    I think your post is better summarized as “fools rush out where angels fear to tread”

  33. I think one of the key tactical lessons from the Prop 8 fight is that the path of legislative change, though it takes longer to implement, leads to a more lasting result and less chance of creating blowback than trying to force change through the judicial branch. (Contrasting to California is New York, where Democrats now control the entire statehouse and gay marriage is certain to be legalized there by the legislature – it was blocked by the formerly Republican-controlled senate.)

  34. @#37 KIA -

    Yeah, hard numbers can be a great way to illustrate a point.

    However, showing a stock index which has been, shall we say, underperforming as of late as an example that you’re point about smart investors pulling all their wealth out of the US capital markets is a little disingenuous, don’t you think? Nobody really thought that with Obama’s election the Dow was going right back up to where it was a few months back.

  35. DG Lewis #1:

    Mention of today’s Doonesbury cartoon brings this week’s Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon to mind.

    In the style of an FBI file on suspected subversives, they list a number of famous people, including:

    Dwight “Bolshevik” Eisenhower
    Makes Obama look like Gordon Gekko. Under his presidency (with a Republican congress), the U.S. had a 91% top tax rate. Welcome to the collective, Ike.

    Very much worth a look.

    http://www.gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug/

  36. Sub-Odeon:
    “Not a perfect solution, but I think it’s the one with the best long-term appeal, and actually gives both sides what they desire.”

    I’ve asked this before, but how, exactly, does making same-sex couples identical in law to mixed-sex couples, and even letting them call it a marriage, so long as someone with a licence they bought of the intertubes performs the ceremony give people who don’t want same-sex couples to have the same rights as mixed sex couples what they want? I honestly can’t see what you think they get out of it.

    Besides, you’ve got it backwards. Churches should get out of the marriage business. Marriage is a civil contract between consenting adults that is licensed by the state. Rights and responsibilities are granted by the state, and the church really can’t do anything about it, either way. If people want to have a religious-themed party to celebrate their marriage, fine. But let’s not pretend that that party is the marriage.

  37. KIA, darkly muttering “Mark my words” and making batshit predictions – in the face of all reality – about the economy collapsing is the mirror image of pixie dust. Maybe snorting angel dust is a better metaphor.

    If the Dow had shot up, you’d be gloomily predicting “irrational exuberance” that would soon collapse in a second bubble. It’s been rising and then falling back for quite some time, so to claim that Obama killed the Dow is a bit like saying he also caused the temperature to dip. (Which is not one of the certified miracles of St. Obama.)

    So, really, other than “I talked to some people who also hate Obama,” you’ve offered nothing to support your dire predictions other than…okay, nothing.

  38. Brian:

    “I suppose you’re referring to things like domestic spying, the Patriot Act, etc.? Those never came up in the campaign.”

    I like the interesting logic that as long as it involves something that wasn’t explicitly detailed in a campaign point, it’s okay that Bush went hard right on it. I’m going to file that away to use it just in case Obama does something really lefty, yet wasn’t covered in a campaign point. I’m sure people on the right will say, “oh, well, that’s just fine, then.”

    In the meantime, entertain the notion that as well as specific campaign points, Bush presented a candidate gestalt that said that he was interested in governing from the middle, not from the right, and that this gestalt was drastically different than the one he had as president — and the folks on the right thought that was fine. As I said, I personally hope Obama leads from the center as well, but it doesn’t change the fact that commenters on the right are being damn hypocrites.

  39. @#41 Wintermute

    In response to your question, I’d argue that rights are personal things. They are your right to something, or to do something. Or they are your rights to be protected from something that can directly influence you or your other rights.

    The big thing I always have trouble with on the same-sex marriage debate is the argument that someone else getting married affects me. Whether I want someone to get married or not (and in this case, I’d say gender really doesn’t matter) what direct impact does it have on my rights, and therefore why should I impact their right to marry who they choose?

    (And for the record, let’s not take this to some people’s hypothetical next step, that in allowing same-sex people to marry, we’re only one or two steps away from people being able to marry their pets. Come on people, they’re called HUMAN RIGHTS for a reason.)

  40. KIA:

    The argument that investors may be shy while waiting on Obama to reveal The Direction Of The Presidency may be accurate but if so, it is also unavoidable since we had to elect one of these guys and both are new to the spot. I’d rather have the smart one running the show.

    Further, the president won’t have a heck of a lot of say in investment matters unless the investors in question are thinking of investing in Blackwater or other defense related contractors.

    Investors gotta eat too, and if they’re sitting on their collective asses, they may have some trouble justifying their pay checks. More likely smart investors will be doing their jobs and finding profitable and expanding markets to invest in.

    Also, as somebody who has analyzed stock indexes a fair amount, I can say that todays DJI going down has pretty much no statistical significance. One day does not a trend make, and frankly given the world financial situation, good luck trying to tie a drop to any one factor.

  41. Ugh. Should probably have just left this alone, but I feel compelled to try to fight ignorance. So here’s an article from a decent source confirming that businesses are leery of an Obama Presidency:

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081105/wall_street.html

    Snip: “A case of postelection nerves sent stocks plunging Wednesday as investors again anxious about recession began questioning what impact a Barack Obama presidency will have on business and the overall economy. The Dow Jones industrials dropped more than 350 points and the major indexes all fell more than 3 percent.”

    @ DG Lewis #33 – I would be stunned if a large telecom manufacturer or company a) still had substantial taxable assets in the US and b) was so nimble that they were prepared to discuss cost-hedging or tax planning on the morning after. These items may take months, but with year-end looming, rest assured they are on the legal department or CPA agendas.

    @ Josh J # 30 – you said “Tax evasion is a crime. Even if it involves moving funds overseas to hide them.” When did I speak about crime? Almost all businesses plan for their tax liabilities and take legal steps to minimize them. Why do you think the entertainment and sports industry has grown so huge? It’s better for businesses to spend the money on advertising than to pay Uncle Sam, so they do, then they write it off. In terms of removing taxable income or getting write-offs, why do you think Bank of America bought Countrywide? Do you think they wanted massive lawsuits and liabilities? No. They wanted losses for tax purposes. Why did movie studios shoot so many movies in Germany in the early 2000′s? Because Germany had very favorable tax treatment for such endeavors. So sending money overseas or to tax havens is not necessarily illegal. It may just be very good business.

    Next up: D @ 35: I can see I need to be more direct in my explanations. The Russians follow the adage of Sun Tsu: make a noise in the East and attack in the West. If they position their missiles in a way that they could overrun Poland and threaten Germany while the vast majority of the US Fleet is tied up in the South, they place considerable pressure on the US to remain out of the fray in the South, thereby pressuring Israel to refrain from action.

    I am curious, however, about what “options” you suggest Israel has.

  42. KIA, you need to read your linked articles more carefully:

    “I think what is happening in the market is a continuation of really the last few weeks,” said Subodh Kumar, global investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto. “The markets are still incorporating the slowdown in the global economy.”

    “I would put what we’re seeing today not so much as disappointment about policy from the incoming administration and more about continuing to incorporate assessments about how weak economies are,” he said.

    John, I’m disappointed. You used to attract a better class of troll.

  43. #9: Sub-Odeon, as I said, I thought the portrayal might be considered over the top. Aiming so hard at the Mormon church was probably counterproductive, I agree. However, you do not challenge that what has, in effect, happened is that people went into other peoples’ houses and ripped up their marriage licenses. Interesting.

    As for government getting out of the marriage business, I don’t think that’s really feasible. Government got into the marriage business because it got pulled into the divorce business. Also, if religious is strictly the province of religious institutions, then there ought not be any legal benefits to marriage. The government ought not treat a married couple any different than two random people who also have no legal relationship to each other. Is that what you really want?

    As others have said, the most reasonable solution is to separate religious marriage from civil marriage. However, that’s the sort of rethinking that may take a generation to sink in.

  44. “It’s worth noting that the YouTube in question was roundly criticized for inflammatory religious hate-bait. It has since been removed from YouTube, and rightly so.”

    No, not rightly so at all. This was a successful effort by out-of-state extreme religious conservatives to invade the privacy of of the entire state population, based on their religious doctrine. The LDS was part of it. Are you aware of how much money they spent on their ad campaigns?

    If you think the video was ugly, you obviously haven’t thought about the factual effects of this unconstitutional – in the real sense – act of discrimination.

    Based on this precedent, there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of future attacks on inter-racial marriage or some other target of socio-religous discrimination (except human decency and fairness, of course).

    Do I need to mention that it’s often secret deviants who seek control of others’ private lives?

  45. But as I mentioned to someone else earlier today, the struggle against bigotry is long and difficult, and the fact of the matter is we’re in the middle of this particular struggle, and it will take years to see it through, as has every struggle against bigotry here in the US. I’m willing to invest the time.

    While I’m wondering why it should have to take time, why it’s a separate struggle each time. If human beings are unable to learn from past mistakes, then how is there any hope for improvement? We spent centuries learning that discrimination is wrong. Over 200 years ago people realized that the pursuit of happiness is worth building a country around, and that religion should not be the basis of government.

    If millions of people have forgotten that, that’s not a sign of a long, noble struggle against bigotry. That’s the sign of a severe learning disability.

  46. “It’s worth noting that the YouTube in question was roundly criticized for inflammatory religious hate-bait. It has since been removed from YouTube, and rightly so.”

    If you mean “rightly so” as in “based on right wing christian ideologies” perhaps, otherwise it is censure of a factually correct opinion.

    I have been married for 16 years and I can say without any hesitation that the effect of Gay Marriage Radiation really has not made the slightest bit of difference to my marriage. Those who speak evil of marriage between folks with the same dangly bits are obviously suffering from psychosomatic delusions that the problems with their marriages have anything to do with people besides their own crazy selves.

    In regards to the ad, if religious anti-gay folks don’t want people to accuse them of breaking up gay marriages, they maybe ought not to break up gay marriages. Just a thought.

  47. You know, Sub-Odeon, this is really simple. You should have the same rights I have.

    Not less.

    Not more.

    And so it should be for the rest of our citizens.

    KIA, have fun with your spleen.

  48. KIA@19: No rational business will sink more money into any venture until they have a better idea of what Obama really intends to do

    Fer the love of Gawd. If you’re going to go all John Galt on us, could you do so without the three hour John Galt monologuing? The John Galts of the world can take their ball and go home and no one but the John Galts will give a flying fck that they were gone.

    Seriously. If there is anything more fkd up about Atlas Shrugged, it’s that people keep asking “Who is John Galt?” and that Rand created a fantasy world where the world revolves around them and comes to a screeching halt when they leave. It’s no more absurd than Marx’s fantasy world of communism. It only works on paper.

    If the John Galts of the world were to flee to their own little enclave, the world would go on JUST FINE without them. And threats from John Galts to leave are probably best replied to with “then why are you still here?” or something similar.

  49. Re: Prop 8

    The biggest reasons people voted for prop 8 is–well, fear encompasses them all, but breaking them down:

    1) Teaching kids about gay marriage in school–this was the focus of their biggest ad campaign, fear that children would have to learn about it in school. Head school guy says no, they don’t teach marriage, the ad says that’s a lie, his website says they do. A teacher invited her class to her lesbian wedding. Parents could refuse to let their kids go. Two or three did just that. The rest went, and pro-8 used that against us.

    2) Churches are going to get sued because they refuse to perform same sex marriages, and/or they’re going to lose some of their funding, which messes with that whole separation of church and state bit. A church back east somewhere did lose part of their funding; I’m sorry I don’t have the reference for that. Though the law does say that if officials may refuse to perform ceremonies on moral grounds.

    3) Save the Family, meaning they think a family equals one man plus one woman for procreative purposes, and that’s the way it’s been for many thousands of years and there for it should not change.

    There’s likely more, but that’s what I can think of at the moment. It’s far more than that they just don’t want same-sex marriages. Word is that San Francisco is going to sue over it being non-constitutional, so hooray! And they are saying that it’s not automatic that the marriages are invalidated. That’s still up in the air, as are the 3 million absentee votes.

  50. Sub-Odeon:
    OK, I read that, and I still don’t see how allowing gay marriage is any kind of compromise for the people whose only aim is to ban gay marriage. It seems like you’re suggesting they should capitulate completely, and then quibble over the semantics? Why is that going to be more acceptable than “gay marriage is exactly the same as non-gay marriage. Get over it.”?

  51. It’s pretty embarrassing for this Californian to see Prop. 8 pass. Gay couples who are adversely affected by this should find some consolation in the knowledge that, for sure, we’ll reverse this in a future election. Unfortunately, dumb dies hard.

  52. TNC:

    2) Churches are going to get sued because they refuse to perform same sex marriages, and/or they’re going to lose some of their funding, which messes with that whole separation of church and state bit.

    You mean in exactly the same way that Catholic churches get sued when they refuse to marry divorcees? Or synagogues get sued when they refuse to marry atheists?

    Churches can refuse to perform weddings for anyone they want to, for any reason or none, and that’s not going to change just because they have the right to perform weddings for people with the same dangly bits, if they so choose.

  53. For everyone critical of me for my comments about the YouTube video…

    Imagine if someone had decided to do an identical video, but instead of LDS missionaries, they portrayed two devout Muslim men going into the home of the lesbians, dragging them into the street, and stoning them to death.

    This too would be a “factually correct opinion”, because gays and lesbians do get stoned to death in Islamic lands, and YouTube would ban such a video immediately because it would also be an obvious and outrageous piece of anti-Muslim hate-bait.

  54. @Wintermute (#56)

    Part of the problem is people’s perception of rights. You’re correct, it isn’t a compromise for those who only want to ban gay marriage.

    But as I said above, this is because they see it as an infringement upon their rights that someone else is allowed to do something that doesn’t concern them at all.

    So, there’s really no way to appeal to that part of self-interest.

    However, it seems that in a lot of cases, the dominant and successful politicking strategy is fear-based, so maybe what the No side should have done is shown the revocation of a few other rights by simple majority. After all, in a world where all are supposed to be equal (enshrined in many global constitutions and charters of rights and freedoms), why should the rights of one group be susceptible to revocation while the rights of others are sacrosanct?

    Not that I’m a big fan of fear-based propaganda, but at times it’s hard to argue with results.

  55. Sigh. If there was an Islamic Council that was pouring millions of dollars into a ballot measure to allow lesbians to be stoned to death on sight, then it would in fact be an accurate and factually correct opinion.

    TNC – you are flat-out wrong on a couple of points. No church has ever been successfully sued for refusing to marry people in violation of the tenets of its faith. Period. You don’t have a reference for that case because it doesn’t exist.

    Also, the teacher getting married did not invite her class to her wedding; one of her students’ parents, stupidly, decided to surprise the teacher by having the kids show up.

  56. Josh Jasper @ 30:

    Tax evasion is a crime. Even if it involves moving funds overseas to hide them

    Claiming legal transfers of money to overseas accounts/investment as tax evasion is patently absurd, I’m sorry. To my understanding, there are taxes involved with international banking and investments (i.e., whenever transactions cross international borders), and so the gov’t would get its slice at the time the money is removed from our domestic economy. (Gladly willing to be corrected if I’m wrong.)

    Of course, you could always make laws forbidding U.S. citizens from taking their money outside the country. That would go over well, let me tell you.

  57. Scalzi

    I find it deeply amusing that the same conservative who were perfectly fine with Bush running everything from the hard right are now falling over themselves to suggest that Obama needs to lead from the center, not from the left.

    Um sorry. That’s how he sold himself in the General and that’s what (many) people bought.

  58. John – re: Brian’s comments – Bush may have been a hard right candidate, but he was willing to moderate his views and run center-right on some issues. After which, he stuck to those more moderate policy views… but in other areas, where he had made no promises of moderation, he stuck with his hard-right principles. You may think that sucks, but I the point here is that he moved center on some issues to get elected, and then *kept* those positions after winning.

    It remains to be seen if Obama will do the same. In the coming years, we’ll get to see if his walk matches his talk. Personally, I think he will (with whatever level of fudging you want to allow for changing views, changing situations, etc.) However, in areas where he *hasn’t* made concessions to move towards the center, I will not be in the least surprised if he acts in keeping with his core principles, which are leftist. I may not like it, but I won’t be complaining that he “misled” me.

  59. On Prop 8.

    I voted against it. I support gay marriage. I feel sorry for my gay friends and coworkers who are now left without the option to marry, or with their marriages in jeopardy.

    That said, could I rant a little bit about the political and legal organizers behind the gay marriage strategies of the last five years or so? ‘Cause man, those guys screwed up hard, and they have spent a hell of a lot of time not helping anyone.

    It’s not like the state supreme courts woke up one day and said, “We’re going to make gay marriage legal.” Gay rights advocacy groups pushed cases forwards, developed legal arguments, attacked the problem with a strategy. Which means that at some point, people sat down in 2002 or so and said, “As our preferred strategy for making gay marriage legal, understanding that right now this is a deeply alien concept to much of the country, let’s push forward with a strategy of making it legal through equal protection-style arguments via the courts.”

    In retrospect, that was a deeply stupid strategy. At a time of already upswinging conservatism, it energized a socially conservative base, bringing voters to the polls who not only re-banned gay marriage, not only made it considerably harder to reverse the damage in five years or ten when the population liberalizes a bit, but also without a doubt led to a lot of other conservative electoral victories. The strategy played directly into an existing and powerful conservative narrative about activist judges, and was open to frankly correct accusations that it was deeply undemocratic.

    While I personally don’t care much whether gay marriage is the democratic choice, and if I were dictator, I’d allow it regardless of what most people thought, you go to change the laws with the electorate you have, in the legal system that exists. It’s not like you had to be a genius in 2002 to see that people would feel like their prerogatives were being trampled on and would react poorly.

    We can see now that if the advocates of gay marriage had pursued a softer sell, aiming for civil unions and a campaign of making people comfortable with gay marriage, then right now instead of being further from allowing gay marriage than we were 5 years ago, we’d be closer. Not all the way there, which is a shame, but the present strategy is one step forwards, two steps back.

    I feel for anyone whose marriage or prospects of marriage have been destroyed by prop 8 or similar measures, but I have no sympathy for the authors of this political strategy, who have done nothing but damage to their cause and the causes of many groups that they’re loosely associated or allied with.

  60. Sub-Odeon @60:

    While the example using Muslims would be factually correct, it would also be irrelevant. The folks behind prop. 8 have been overwhelmingly right wing Christians, specifically the Church of LDS (whom the aggressors in the ad seem to be dressed like). There may be a few Muslims behind it too, but they don’t seem to have quite the same numbers base. We could go after Nazis too, as they weren’t keen on homosexuality either, but again, not terribly pertinent to the discussion.

  61. The CJCLDS was up to its armpits in the pro-8 fight. They had no business getting into it. They were a major force against civil rights, and they were against interracial marriage (because they were by definition interfaith, since they wouldn’t let people of color join) until appallingly recently. So: will they try to ban and invalidate interracial marriage next?

    I hope so, actually. I hope they try. They will not succeed, but it will make two points: 1) the nature of such efforts, and 2) the true nature of the CJCLDS, which is against human rights in general (even freedom of religion, which they should know better than to tamper with; you can see they have no respect for other religions when they do posthumous proxy baptism of Jews, for example).

    I saw two Mormon missionaries today, on my way to work (pairs of young white men in identical jackets are quite rare in Hoboken, so I noticed right away). I wanted to hit them, which shocked me deeply (in fact I felt a little sick when I realized I had such a violent urge toward people who probably had little or nothing to do with the evil their church has been promoting). Of course I did no such thing; I didn’t even glare at them or anything, but I am not going to be nearly as polite toward LDS missionaries as I have been in the past.

    Not even the RCC is as vehemently anti-gay as the CJCLDS. I’m considering a policy of shouting at Mormon missionaries whenever I see them (something along the lines of “Take your hate-preaching somewhere else! We don’t want that here!”).

  62. We can see now that if the advocates of gay marriage had pursued a softer sell, aiming for civil unions and a campaign of making people comfortable with gay marriage, then right now instead of being further from allowing gay marriage than we were 5 years ago, we’d be closer.

    Um, we HAVE civil unions in California. That’s been one of the arguments the professional hater crowd has used against same-sex marriage: they already have all the rights of marriage so why do they want to get married?

  63. One thing to keep in mind re prop 8 funding is that the majority of funding on both sides came from within the state. In-state contributions to both sides were almost evenly matched, with the No side having a slight edge. Out-of-state contributions on the No side had an even larger edge.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-moneymap,0,2198220.htmlstory

    I’m not aware of the LDS church itself donating any money, though they did produce a website and some ads and offer the use of local facilities. The money came from individual members (and from businesses they own). The church urged members to donate and to volunteer for the campaign, but by and large that urging was done by local unpaid leaders who are California residents.

    Mormons are not some kind of foreign invaders; there have been Mormons in California since the 1850s (they founded San Bernardino) and there are currently something like 800,000 members here, making us the second-largest church in the state by membership.

    —Peter

  64. Stocks PLUNGING 350 points… Huh,wake me up when the stock market REALLY plunges. We’ve seen some doozies the last while and up & down by a couple of hundred points is hardly news.

    Also, no one seems to be talking about VOLUME of trading.

    Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a light 597.64 million shares. -MSNBC

    The stock market is thrashing and needs be defragged. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  65. he was willing to moderate his views and run center-right on some issues.

    Where by “some”, we shall leave it as an unnamed unquantified ball of gas to allow the koolaid drinkers to continue to convince themselves that this nonsense is true.

  66. Peter 70: there have been Mormons in California since the 1850s…and there are currently something like 800,000 members here, making us the second-largest church in the state by membership.

    Whether big, like the CJCLDS, or small, like the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group is a hate group, even if it calls itself a church.

  67. Michael B Sullivan,
    Do you think that the strategy you advocate would have made same-sex marriage thoroughly unobjectionable in Massachusetts? Because it is. And Connecticut and New York may be permanently on the side of same-sex marriage by next November. Prop 8 was a huge setback, but it’s part of a larger struggle that is still gaining ground.

  68. Greg–

    Where by “some”, we shall leave it as an unnamed unquantified ball of gas to allow the koolaid drinkers to continue to convince themselves that this nonsense is true.

    Actually, I already listed a few. Try reading the thread. Specific examples include education reform, faith-based charities, and immigration (where he took a lot of heat from his own party for a moderate amnesty proposal.)

  69. Greg: Brian mentioned a few of those points earlier – sorry that I didn’t reiterate them. He mentioned education and immigration, two issues where Bush has kept to positions that have really managed to torque off the conservative base. I’m sure you can come up with some others – anything Bush has done that didn’t make you grind your teeth, probably made me grind mine.

  70. Xopher,

    So all LDS members belong to a “hate group” now? By default?

    Your increasing volume and vexation reminds me of the scene from Excalibur, where Lancelot chastizes an enraged Arthur:

    Lancelot: “You sir would fight to the death, against a knight who is not your enemy.”

    The LDS church does not hate gays, and does not teach its members to hate gays. You personally might interpret church membership activity in favor of Prop. 8 as “hateful”, but then I too consider the actions (such as the YouTube video cited earlier) of anti-Prop. 8 people to be likewise hateful.

    Yes, I am surprised you felt the urge to strike LDS missionaries on the street. I’ve been LDS my whole life and never once felt the urge to strike a gay person.

  71. This is where I pop in and say that while I’m not going to stop the discussion re: LDS and Prop 8, I will remind all participants to keep the tone between each other civil. No one’s got out of line yet, so let’s keep it that way.

  72. Michael B Sullivan,
    Do you think that the strategy you advocate would have made same-sex marriage thoroughly unobjectionable in Massachusetts? Because it is. And Connecticut and New York may be permanently on the side of same-sex marriage by next November. Prop 8 was a huge setback, but it’s part of a larger struggle that is still gaining ground.

    I’m better I could find some folks who object in Massachusetts. But, long story short, yes, I think that the strategy I advocate would have made gay marriage thoroughly unobjectionable in Massachusetts. It might have taken a couple of years longer, but I’ll go ahead and assert that if Massachusetts takes a few more years to pass gay marriage, and the rest of the country takes a few less, that’s a net win.

    The larger struggle is, in the time frame of, say, 2002 to 2012, is losing ground, not gaining it. Yes, Massachusetts and Vermont allow gay marriage, but many, many more gay people now live in states which explicitly and/or Constitutionally forbid it than did in 2001.

    If New York and Pennsylvania actually do legalize gay marriage in the next year, my position may change. But four months ago, it looked like California was going to as well, so right now I’m pessimistic.

    Longer term, I think that we’re broadly on a track towards legalization: younger people support marriage equality and are generally more pro-gay-rights. That’s great, but I think it’s independent of the strategies used by the gay marriage movement in the last few years: it’s a generational and culture thing.

  73. Sub-Odeon @ 77:

    While you may not claim to hate homosexuals, one of the guiding forces for those with intelligence is that actions will always speak louder than words.

    Prop. 8 was an attack on homosexuals. It will cause real harm to homosexuals. Whether your support of it was based on biblical references, your notion of the definition of marriage or some other source, it is important for you to realize that what you think is irrelevant when viewed from the perspective of whether or not it is in fact anti-gay.

    Since we’re all fond of analogies, this is like walking up to somebody and smacking them because they like to wear the color blue. You may have reasons for thinking that it’s not proper to wear blue, you may even believe that smacking those smurf loving infidels is just and proper and makes you a good person.

    The person in blue really is not going to care overmuch. They just see some guy walking up and smacking them for no good reason.

  74. Just food for thought for all you homophiles. One of the most pro-gay states (CA) has voted against you. Any second thoughts on your side about being out of step with ordinary Americans??

  75. John: Class action suit? Jen and I are so there. :-)

    Gary: I know of a few Unitarian Universalist ministers who have pledged they will marry no one at all until all are free to marry. That’s putting one’s principles action. The ringless-December-1st would be a nice gesture. Thank you.

    TNC: Our commitment ceremony (held before CA even had domestic partnerships) was held at the Point Loma Lighthouse in San Diego, because it could not be held inside Jen’s Lutheran church. Our “second” marriage, the one with legal standing (until yesterday), was a civil ceremony at a county clerk’s office. We just want the same rights – and responsibilities – as everybody else who has gotten a state-recognized marriage. Whether it comes with “smells and bells” or just a signed legal document is totally irrelevant.

    Michael B. Sullivan : I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be grateful for being permitted to hang on to the back bumper of the bus. I paid my fare; I will sit inside it anywhere I damn well please. I refer you to MLKjr’s “Why We Can’t Wait.”

  76. The LDS church does not hate gays, and does not teach its members to hate gays.

    The LDS church officially supported Proposition 8 and exhorted its members to pour money into supporting Proposition 8. Isn’t it a bit disingenous to wail that people then criticize the LDS church for its actions? Who cares if the motivating emotion is hate, deep pity or misguided affection? If you are stepping on my foot, I don’t really care if you did so because you hate me or because you think God told you it would be a loving act; you’re still hurting my foot.

    Of course not all Mormons are anti-gay; many individual Mormons had different views that the church policy. But the church, as an institution, took a stand.

  77. Steve @82:

    You’re making a couple of erroneous assumptions.

    First, somebody that opposes Prop. 8 is not necessarily a homophile (although it is quite possible). I personally don’t give a damn what folks do with each other’s naughty bits as long as it is consensual.

    Secondly, a very narrow majority voted against Prop.8. By the same argument males are out of step with ordinary americans, as females slightly outnumber us.

    Thirdly, even if “ordinary” americans did not like homosexuality, there is no moral reason to oppose it. It’s not going to go away just because your average person doesn’t like it. If you’re going to have homosexuals about, why the heck not let them get married? Let’s kick the shit out of some left handed people instead, bloody deviants.

  78. Well, I guess there is no help for it then.

    I won’t expend energy trying to convince people to not hate my church because they think my church “attacks” gay people by taking stands on California propisitions which get broad voter support beyond the LDS community.

    I’ve offered my own solution, which I think comes closer to solving the issue permanently than anything else I have seen yet.

    I think gays deserve equal protection under the law. As a uniformed defender of the constitution and a believer in free agency, I feel conscienstiously obligated to look for ways to get gays the rights they deserve.

    I also think my church (and its members) are not “hate based” simply because it — and we — take a decidedly old school stance on a hot-button social issue. I also do not think it’s “hate” for a majority of Americans who have moral, religious or philosophical feelings about the act of homosexuality, to follow their own consciences and speak out on gay marriage.

    And because I’ve already spent too much time in this thread, talking about the damn issue, when I promised JS I’d not do so, I am going to self-ban myself from this topic on this thread. And maybe all future Scalzi threads on this topic? I’ve spoken my side of things, and I don’t think my opinions are a mystery.

  79. Brian@75: Actually, I already listed a few. Try reading the thread.

    ok, here’s one.

    Brian@23: Bush governed from the hard right in a few places, but we knew that he would in advance there (in foreign policy, for example.)

    Uh, speaking of koolaid, you just chugged the whole pitcher.

    from George Bush’s mouth during the 2000 debate.

    I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it’s got to be.

    If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. And it’s — our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that’s why we have to be humble.

    You mentioned Haiti. I wouldn’t have sent troops to Haiti. I didn’t think it was a mission worthwhile. It was a nation building mission, and it was not very successful. It cost us billions, a couple billions of dollars, and I’m not so sure democracy is any better off in Haiti than it was before.

    we’re going to have kind of a nation building core from America? Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight and win war. That’s what it’s meant to do. And when it gets overextended, morale drops.

    I don’t want to be the world’s policeman.

    deployment: the force must be strong enough so the mission can get accomplished and exit strategy needs to be well defined.

    So, tell me again how we knew how Bush was going to be on Foreign Policy before he got into office? read the thread? Try listening to what Bush actually said and compare that to how he actually behaved, and then tell me you’re not revising history.

  80. A related thought I had today about Prop 8 in Cali is that they’ve now come up with the necessary lawsuit material to challenge the constitutionality of the law. Bad move. If they had gone for ‘civil unions’ or something like that, rather than outright banning gay marriage, then it might’ve let sleeping dogs lie, but not now.

    That is, of course, assuming that the California State Supreme Court isn’t also made up of a bunch of bigoted folks who wouldn’t know what Constitutionality means if it bit them on the ass.

  81. Sub-Odeon:

    “Yes, I am surprised you felt the urge to strike LDS missionaries on the street. I’ve been LDS my whole life and never once felt the urge to strike a gay person.”

    That may be because the Vast Gay Conspiracy never openly advocated nullifying YOUR marriage. And they certainly didnt succeed in undoing 18,000 mormon marriages.

    The hierarchy of the LDS church did just that to gay people. You can’t just do that cunning trick and reverse LDS/gay in Xopher’s sentence, because the LDS church HAS just actively hurt gay people, and the (nonexistant) Vast Gay Conspiracy hasn’t done a thing to the LDS church. False equivalence much?

  82. Sub-odeon: Gah, you posted while I was typing. And fair enough. I massively disagree with you, as do many other posters it seems, but we’re not really likely to change each others’ opinions, so what’s the point of continuing to bash our heads together. We’ll just both get headaches :).

  83. Greg,

    Might you be the Greg London I know? The one with the cutest son in the world?

    Sorry for the off topic.

  84. For Obama to govern from the Center he would have to move to the Left not the Right. Both he and his politics are Center-Right.

    As to the disgusting piece of trash that is Proposition 8, I think the way to deal with it is to completely separate religious and civil marriage. Civil marriage should be between any two legal adults; religious marriage should be up to whatever church sanctions it and have no status anywhere outside that church.

  85. Tumbleweed – I don’t think you understand exactly what happened here. California already has “domestic partnerships”. It also has a law banning same-sex marriages. Several couples challenged the law; the California Supreme Court found it to be unconstitutional. The usual suspects then put forth Proposition 8, which amends the California Constitution.

  86. Sub-Odeon @87:

    Hit and run? Please don’t make a statement and then self banish, it’s in bad form. You’re being polite, and argument without disagreement is somewhat dull and brief.

    In your statement above you say:
    “I also do not think it’s “hate” for a majority of Americans who have moral, religious or philosophical feelings about the act of homosexuality, to follow their own consciences and speak out on gay marriage.”

    What is interesting to note is that you are making two statements. First that you have moral objections to homosexuality, and second that you think gay marriage is a valid expression of that objection.

    That you have moral objections to homosexuality is of interest to me, but is not something inherently good or bad. Essentially I can do nothing about your beliefs except attempt to convince you that you are wrong, but neither your beliefs nor mine cause each other any harm.

    The idea that your beliefs give you the right to harm others though, is evil. I think that the notion of dogma is the root of much of humanity’s suffering, yet I don’t go about burning peoples’ bibles. If I did, I would be guilty of attempting to impose my belief system on others, which is both mean (because I have no right to do so) and stupid (because burning people’s bibles won’t reduce their belief in dogma).

  87. Note: Correction to 97 (must proof read)

    “and second that you think gay marriage is a valid expression of that objection.”

    Should read:

    “and second that you think *banning* gay marriage is a valid expression of that objection”

  88. My random thought of the day: Do we have to keep Biden for four years? Isn’t there someone who likes the sound of his own voice a little less, that is equally capable of serving all of the VP functions, and a Democrat? (I’m thinking this set is something like 30% of Americans aged 35+). I swear, the man’s brain turns off and mouth goes to overdrive whenever someone shoves a microphone in his face. I’d rather not do four years of that.

  89. I think the North Carolina thing is a combination of ADD Media (the election is over, so they’ve moved on) combined with getting burned by Florida in 2000.

    It is possible (don’t know NC’s election laws) that there are still absentee, provisional and/or overseas military votes to be counted. Sometimes they aren’t part of the “100% of the precincts reporting.” With a margin of over 12,000, that does seem a bit silly.

  90. We had a marriage proposition on our (AZ) ballot as well. This was my philosophy as I looked at it.

    1) we have a seperation of church and state in our nation.

    2) I might be morally opposed to a same-sex marriage based on religious teachings.

    3) because of that seperation of church and state I see no reason why the government should restrict marriage to meet ANYONE’S moral stance. Morallity should have nothing to do with government. Common sense and decency, sure, but not morallity.

    4) letting the government define marriage for their purposes (ie taxation, etc.) has nothing to do with how I define marriage for my own religious position.

    5) you can live with someone long enough that the state recognizes a “common law” marriage even though you haven’t signed any licenses or said any vows and yet you’re still not “married” under the eyes of God.

    6) government and churches are two entirely seperate entities and should be treated as such

  91. Prop 8 opponents believe that the ban harms homosexuals and that same-sex marriage harms heterosexuals not at all. Prop 8 supporters believe that the ban is ultimately helpful to homosexuals and that same-sex marriage does harm heterosexuals.

    Each side thinks the other is using a ridiculous definition of the word “marriage.” Both sides believe they have the moral high ground. But they’re standing on different hills.

    Sub-Odeon’s solution is to bulldoze both hills as far as legal recognition is concerned. I’m not sure how well that would go over.

    I have no idea how to resolve the entire situation other than people sharing their views with their friends and teaching them to the next generation. Ultimately, one side will prevail. (But not through trying to give the other side a guilt trip.)

    —Peter

  92. KIA @ 46:

    “A case of postelection nerves sent stocks plunging Wednesday as investors again anxious about recession began questioning what impact a Barack Obama presidency will have on business and the overall economy. “

    Your cite does not suggest or support the idea that businesses are wary of an Obama presidency per se, but that they are wary of uncertainty, which has ever been, and always will be so.

    And, I think your hat is missing some tinfoil.

  93. I’m a little raw right now since I just had to tell one of my best friends at work that I was really, really sorry, and I made her cry. That was hard.

    She was so happy and proud to finally marry her partner last week, and the whole thing is now in shreds. So I’m upset and angry and sad and ashamed.

    I recently got married too. She doesn’t love her wife any less than I love my husband. But my marriage stays and hers is…gone. It’s unfair and it sucks.

    @Sub-Odeon: I really don’t get how you hold these two beliefs in your head:

    I think gays deserve equal protection under the law. As a uniformed defender of the constitution and a believer in free agency, I feel conscienstiously obligated to look for ways to get gays the rights they deserve.

    I also do not think it’s “hate” for a majority of Americans who have moral, religious or philosophical feelings about the act of homosexuality, to follow their own consciences and speak out on gay marriage

    “Speaking out” on it is one thing. Spending millions of dollars lying about how it’ll hurt kids is quite another. I get you and your church don’t like it. Fine. So why does your church have to rip apart my friends’ marriages? It doesn’t hurt your church. It doesn’t invalidate their marriages. It doesn’t affect them in the slightest. But yet they feel the need to destroy it.

    How is that not hate? It’s like saying, “I don’t mind black people, I just don’t want them marrying our white women. That’s just not natural.” I’m NOT calling you a racist, but it’s the same damn argument.

  94. Peter Ahlstrom:

    “Both sides believe they have the moral high ground.”

    You can’t destroy people’s marriages and claim the moral high ground.

    The people who voted for Proposition 8 did a hateful thing, period, end of story. Believing that destroying someone else’s marriage is not a hateful act does not make it less of a hateful act.

    Noting that voting for Proposition 8 was a hateful act is also not a guilt trip. It’s a statement of fact.

  95. Prop 8 supporters believe … that same-sex marriage does harm heterosexuals. Each side thinks the other is using a ridiculous definition of the word “marriage.”

    True, but one side, and one side only, is using a ridiculous definition of the word “harm”.

    :/

  96. While I’m sure that Obama won’t be as far to the left as I would like, I could live with center-left. Center-right? Byte me. After the last 30+ years, I despise right of any flavour.

    As for prop. 8, the bottom line is simple. The pro-8 backers are in essence racist bigots in fancy clothes and a different ‘race’ to be scared of.

  97. I don’t disagree with you, John, but that doesn’t mean they don’t believe they have the moral high ground — they believe that these marriages weren’t real marriages, and that they should never have taken place, and all they were doing was restoring the status quo.

    That they were close-minded bigots, with no sense of empathy, or self-delusional, doesn’t change that what they believed. (Of course, a lot of them were, I’m sure, “simply” homophobic.)

    Personally, I am full of hate right now. And I want to hurt these people back; I just don’t know how.

  98. Sean Eric Fagan:

    “Personally, I am full of hate right now. And I want to hurt these people back; I just don’t know how.”

    Hate’s not going to bring those marriages back. And wanting to hurt others is not going to help people get back their rights.

  99. “harm” shouldn’t be a code word such that it suddenly allows Congress to make a law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    saying gay marriage “harms” heterosexual marriages is playing language games similar to creationists who try to dress up their religion and call it “intelligent design”.

    Both are attempts at linguistic games and should be stripped bare any time someone attempts them.

    Whenever you see someone say gay marriages “harms” them in some way, they should be called out on the lie immediately. Gay marriage doesn’t ‘harm’ them. Gay marriage offends their flavor of religion.

  100. Sean, the best way to hurt them is to continue the fight. We’ll get there eventually. Put all that hate into beating them up at the ballot box, not with your fists.

  101. I sure haven’t seen any actual evidence presented that gay marriage harms hetero marriage other than:

    “It just DOES.”

    Cough up some proof, please.

  102. Could someone please explain the class action lawsuit?

    Who would be named? Who would adjudicate?

    As I understand it (and I’m not from CA, so I don’t know their procedures) this was a constitutional amendment. The state court is bound by it. Does the federal judiciary have the right to judge a state constitutional issue?

  103. Sub-Odeon 77: So all LDS members belong to a “hate group” now? By default?

    Well, if a) the CJCLDS is a hate group, and b) LDS members belong to the CJCLDS, then c) LDS members belong to a hate group, with or without scare quotes. So yes, I do think so. Not “by default,” however: by their own choice. Admittedly, being raised in the CJCLDS limits your choices to a great extent; leaving the church can amount to leaving your family. This is why I felt bad about having the urge to strike the poor little “elders” on the street.

    Churches are weird, though. I have Catholic friends, yet the Catholic Church is IMO a force for evil in the world, overall. So I probably shouldn’t hold the actions of the CJCLDS against individual Mormons, though I probably will ask them how they feel about it, and how they feel about being members of a church that organizes hate campaigns (I trust it has been adequately explained to you why the CJCLDS’s efforts in California amount to such). It really is kind of a litmus test for me: I’m not friends with anyone who opposes my right to marry whom I choose, any more than I’m friends with anyone who opposes my right to decide where to live or what to do for a living.

    Your false equivalencies have been, in my opinion, dealt with sufficiently by other commenters that I need not address them here. But I will ask you this: what would your reaction be, if a religious organization urged its membership to support a constitutional amendment in your state that would ban interracial marriages and dissolve those that already exist? You are in an interracial marriage. Would the fact that they say “planting two kinds of seed in one field is against God” and “we’re actually trying to help you come to the light” and so on make you view them with charity? Or would you see them as a racist hate group, even if they had ‘church’ in their name?

    I’d really like you to search your heart and give me a real answer to that. I’m hoping you’ll be honest about it, and that it will help you see how I (and especially the married couples in California whose marriages are jeopardized by this horrible proposition) feel about it.

    Peter 104: Prop 8 opponents believe that the ban harms homosexuals and that same-sex marriage harms heterosexuals not at all. Prop 8 supporters believe that the ban is ultimately helpful to homosexuals and that same-sex marriage does harm heterosexuals.

    False equivalence again. One side of this has a basis in fact, and the other is based on absolutely nothing.

    How is the ban “helpful to homosexuals” aside from the “jeopardy of their immortal souls” or whatever religious objection you have, which is of course purely irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t share your religion—unless you are willing to admit that you are trying to impose your religion on them, which would make you very unAmerican indeed, and undermine the principles of freedom of religion which, in a past century, allowed the Mormons to survive at all? (Yes, I know there were attempts to exterminate them. Had we not had an ideal of freedom of religion, they would have been completely successful.)

    How on Earth does same-sex marriage harm heterosexuals? And don’t give me any horse-hockey about “weakening the institution of marriage,” at least not without explaining exactly what you mean by it. It sure seems to me that an institution is strengthened by being joined by many people who are deeply committed to it, in fact have fought hard for it.

    Again, I’d like a thoughtful answer, if you have one. Because “it harms heterosexuals/the institution of marriage” sure sounds a lot like “our neighborhood won’t be any good if we let the n*****s in, because then it will be a neighborhood with n*****s in it.” You need to simulate logic better than that.

  104. Re Indiana:

    YES!Spent a bunch of time (and shoe leather) in Lake County, and it was really gratifying to see Indiana come up Blue.

    Re Bush governing from the center: Kinda odd how GJ & Brian want to focus in on “No Child Left Behind” and a half-hearted attempt at immigration policy. Sorry, but even if we ignore BushCo’s defense policy, foreign policy, economic policy, and civil rights record, then…well then all we have is his political mastermind’s 50% + 1 agenda. They quite openly and deliberately governed as far to the right as possible while maintaining a bare majority.

  105. Scorecard: Slandered ad hominem 4x (troll, tinfoil hat, spleen, John Gault), article directly misinterpreted 1x, Canadian commentator contradicting entirety of article on US markets 1x, total non sequitur re Ayn Rand 1x.

    Total number of actual, meaningful rebuttals: 0

    @ Brian # 60 – you said: “Of course, you could always make laws forbidding U.S. citizens from taking their money outside the country. That would go over well, let me tell you.”

    About as well as banning private ownership of gold in April, 1933. That’s not to say it won’t happen, obviously. For those who aren’t keeping track, you are already prohibited from carrying more than $10,000.00 in cash across the US border without filling out a report as to where you got it and what you’re doing with it. Failure to fill out the form or attempts to take more lead to forfeiture. Oh, that and you get five years in a Federal prison.

    The more you know…

  106. The Prop 8 fight isn’t over. There’s a half-million vote margin between the two. There could be up to 4 million absentee and provisional ballots that haven’t been properly counted. We’ll know within the next couple days.

    Furthermore, its entirely possible that, due to procedural issues, Prop 8 wasn’t a proper constitutional amendment, and that voters didn’t get this authority from the legislature like they were supposed to.

  107. JS: Sorry, I know I said I’d keep it shut. But I wanted to respond to this one…

    snoozebar,

    I’m white, my wife is not, so I am sensitive to the racial angle, where gay marriage is concerned.

    I can only repeat what I have said on this in other places:

    The LDS church took a stand. Most LDS members — especially those of us who know and respect gays as friends or neighbors — are painfully aware of how it must seem to outsiders to have the church inject itself so visibly into an issue like this.

    I think the bottom line for the LDS church is that the LDS church has a very specific definition of marriage and family, and that failure to stand up for and fight for this definition in the public arena is a vote of no-confidence in a core church doctrine.

    Gays and gay rights activists see such efforts as evil.

    From the LDS church POV, to stand by silently while gay marriage gets normalized would be its own form of evil.

    Neither gays nor the LDS church (and most of its members) will ever agree about this, I think.

    From the gay perspective, all religions which prohibit or otherwise proscribe homosexuality as a sin, are wrongheaded and backward.

    From the religiously conservative perspective, the advancement of Gay Marriage is just more proof that society is headed down the crapper of moral relativism and that any moral argument — for or against anything — is soon to become irrelevant in our, “It’s all right if it feels good” society.

    I think a working compromise is possible, because I think both sides have valid arguments based on their own unique POV, and any solution which attempts to please all of one side while ignoring the other is just begging to be endlessly overturned. Which is no solution at all.

    Being a member of a conservative religion in 21st century America is never easy. You’re always being forced to make decisions, between what you think God says is the right thing to do, and what society says is the right thing to do.

    Seculars and those who don’t have religious convictions about homosexuality, probably think those of us in the LDS church are nutty, bigotted whackjobs. And I understand why. From the secular and/or progressive POV, much of LDS doctrine is whacky, which is why I won’t waste time defending church doctrine because nothing I say will make it any less weird or wrongheaded to those who approach life from a secular and/or progressive POV.

    All I can say is, having once left the church in heart and mind when I was a teen, I came back to the church because I felt like God wanted me to be there. I had a few key experiences — profoundly annoying, actually — which caused me to reverse course on my own drift into secularism. And of course, once you commit to a path like that, to do so half-assed is sorta lame. I say if you’re gonna believe in a religion, you don’t get to pick and choose which of its doctrines you will or will not believe, because of convenience or because of which one of your friends that doctrine might piss off.

    We LDS believe homosexuality is a sin. We believe that God has told us in no uncertain terms that homosexual marriage is wrong. And that standing by and seeing sin of this magnitude normalized, is itself a sin.

    And no, I do not expect anyone here who is not LDS or is not a member of a conservative religion, to understand.

    Xopher thinks we’re a hate group. I guess from his POV, he’s right.

    I feel like hate is the wrong word, because it’s largely absent for most LDS on this issue, in their hearts. We just believe we’re sticking to God’s plan, and that God doesn’t have to make His plan politicaly correct for the sake of sinners.

    If that makes me an immoral agent of hatred and evil in the eyes of secular progressivism, well, then there’s no help for it.

    I think this is a textbook case of what happens when two highly different cultures, operating from different ethical and moral imperatives, and both assuming they claim the Ultimate High Ground, collide.

    Because I am a member of the LDS faith, I feel like I should stick up for us. Even if that makes me seem terrible to some people.

    Because I know and am friends with people who identify as gay, I feel like a compromise solution is worth working towards, even though my suggested solution has been deemed impractical at best, impossible at worst.

    Doublethink? Yah, I guess so. But then, life doesn’t always let you have a clear path on such a significant issue like this.

  108. I don’t have an answer to the “what harm” question that would satisfy you, so I’m not going to try. If someone else wants to, they’re welcome to. I’d rather save my energy for someone whose opinion I have a chance of affecting.

    With that post, I was just stating how each side sees the other. Did I get something wrong?

    “Forgive them, Father; for they know not what they do” is what I was thinking of when I mentioned guilt trips. Equally, most same-sex marriage proponents know not what they do; they honestly believe they are doing the right thing. I do respect that you believe you are doing the right thing.

    —Peter

  109. You didn’t answer my question. Are you saying that, just as from your POV a group advocating the dissolution of interracial marriages would be a hate group, the CJCLDS is one from mine?

  110. (125 was addressed to Sub-Odeon, not Peter.)

    Peter, if you give any kind of logical argument in favor of the notion that same-sex marriage harms heterosexuals (outside the religion argument which we’ve established is irrelevant in a free and pluralistic society), you DO have a chance of affecting my opinion. I have never heard anyone give one. I may argue your points, but so far no one has even come up with ANY halfway-plausible harm that comes to heterosexuals as a result of gay marriage.

    It doesn’t even have to be something you believe yourself. Just explain how (i.e. by what mechanism) harm comes to heterosexuals through legal (not religious) same-sex marriage, in the opinion of the pro-8 faction. I may shake my head over their illogic, but so far I have heard nothing but “it just does” and things that amount to “gotta keep the n*****s out.”

    I’m not really buying your first paragraph (in 124). I think the real reason you’re not going to give a “harm” argument is that there are none to give. Prove me wrong, I charge you.

  111. Peter Ahlstrom:

    “‘Forgive them, Father; for they know not what they do’ is what I was thinking of when I mentioned guilt trips.”

    The fact you see this only as a guilt trip, Peter, validates the sentiment.

    And I think it’s incorrect and disingenuous to suggest that the people who were fighting to save their marriages from being destroyed by the intolerant didn’t know what they were doing. They knew exactly what they were doing. They also knew what the people voting their marriages out of existence were doing, apparently better than those voters did.

  112. From the gay perspective, all religions which prohibit or otherwise proscribe homosexuality as a sin, are wrongheaded and backward.

    No, from the gay perspective*, all religions which prohibit or otherwise proscribe homosexuality as a sin, is… a religion, and therefore shouldn’t be put into LAW, due to that whole “separation of church and state” thing.

    From the religiously conservative perspective, the advancement of Gay Marriage is just more proof that society is headed down the crapper of moral relativism

    Ah, “moral relativism”. Another religious code phrase meaning “Any Morality Not Handed Down from God”.

    and that any moral argument — for or against anything — is soon to become irrelevant in our, “It’s all right if it feels good” society.

    See, you switched terms there to strawman the opposition. Your original argument was that gay marriage in some ways “harms” het marriage. but in this case, you switched from a morality based on not “harming” others to a morality based on “feeling good”.

    (1) Are gay marriage advocates arguing that gay marriage should be allowed because it “feels good” whether or not anyone is harmed?

    (2) Or are gay marriage advocates arguing that gay marriage should be allowed because NO ONE IS HARMED by the existence of gay marriage and that THEY are harmed by a LACK of access to marriage for themselves?

    Stop. Seriously, stop whatever thought you were about to have, and go back and read those two options. Because there is only one right answer, and your last post just forwarded the wrong one. You strawmanned gay marriage advocates as arguing (1) when in fact they’re arguing (2).

    Now, without indulging in what some hypothetical “they” as in “they who oppose gay marriage for some religious reason” believe, I want you to tell me if you personally can see any fundamental difference between (1) and (2).

    (*) gay perspective, or het, married for many years, and haven’t felt any harm from gay marriage, perspective.

  113. Peter, Sub-Odeon:

    Just read this one sentence from an MSNBC report on the issue:

    “Jake Rowe, 27, and James Eslick, 29, were in the midst of getting married at Sacramento City Hall on Wednesday morning when someone from the clerk’s office stopped the wedding. ”

    In the midst of getting married.

    No chopped logic, no sophistry, no tortured definitions of words, just one question:

    What if that was your wedding?

    Think how that’d make you feel, then see if, deep down, you really can think that Prop 8 is right.

  114. Xopher,

    See my post to snoozebar.

    If any group attempted to push forward a state or federal ammendment banning interracial marriages — and disolving existing interracial marriages — I would obviously oppose it. If such an ammendment were passed, say, in Utah, I would probably pick my family up and move us to a state that had no such ban. We’d go back to Washington State. If the ban went nation-wide, I’d probably just stay in Utah and keep living the way I am living, and dare the FBI to come lock me up for it.

    My sealing in the LDS temple is what joins my wife and I — beyond state documents and laws, beyond even the boundaries of flesh and mortality. The state can take away or ban whatever it wants, and I feel secure knowing my eternal union with my spouse can’t be touched. (And no, I do not expect anyone here to believe this as I believe it, it’s part of my religious paradigm; something seculars might find odd or silly…)

    As for those pushing forth the hypothetical ban, I’d have to examine what drove them, before declaring them racist. If they were doing it for reasons they considered ethical, and especially based on scripture or some other form of over-arching commandment from a higher power, and it was done dispassionately, I’d probably try to engage them in a dialogue and find out more about what made them tick. Maybe even talk them around to my way of thinking, also using scripture. If it could be done.

    Unless they were spewing the n-word at my wife and calling me a n****r lover to my face, and making bodily threats at myself or my family, I’m not sure I’d want to automatically declare them racist. Racism, like the word “hate”, is a very serious word. And it’s used way too often and too easily these days by people who should know better.

    Case in point: My own grandmother was as peaceful a soul as you could find; kind and generous and never said a bad word against any of her neighbors. She and I were very, very close, and I am quite sure she’d have experienced some pretty big heartburn over my marriage, had she lived to see it. Because she was old school LDS and believed in the separation of the “seeds” and all the other racial detritus that went with such. Had my grandmother lived, I am not sure she’d have approved of my marriage. She might have even spoken out against it. But I’d have not declared her evil. Nor even racist, per se, because I know her heart. And darkness did not dwell there.

    My wife might think or feel differently, and we’ve discussed the fact that my wife owes nobody in my family anything, if ever any of them have hard feelings because of her race. Nor would I feel it was her job to “make nice” with my family over the issue. That’s not something I expect from her.

    Would it mean my family was hate-filled and evil? No. Again, when you know the hearts of people, I think you can know for certain whether or not they truly carry darkness in their souls. My grandmother, there was no darkness there. At best I can say that Grandma was a good woman who just happened to be from an older time with an older way of looking at the world, and it’s not her fault if she absorbed all the conventional wisdom that went with it.

    Bringing this back around to gay marriage, it’s entirely possible the LDS church eventually caves and gives up the fight against gay marriage, even going so far as to embrace it, just as the LDS church has embraced interracial marriage and male African American members who seek the priesthood. I know lots of people who would leave the church over this. I would not be one of them, because as long as it came from the Prophet and the Twelve, I’d trust that it was God speaking His will through His designated mouthpieces. (Caveat: I know nobody has to take that at face value, and no I do not expect people to think the Prophet or the Twelve are any better than snake oil salesmen…)

    Until that happens, I will trust that the LDS leadership is doing God’s will, in opposing gay marriage. Even if this might seem like hypocrisy, or bigotry, to the outside world. The LDS church has been through a lot, seen a lot of slings and arrows, and survived. It will survive this. And if the time comes for the LDS church to do an about-face on homosexuality and gay marriage, then I will roll with the flow and not blink. Because I don’t have a bone to pick with gays in the first place. Not personally.

    Xopher, as I stated earlier in the thread, I think this is one of those times when two totally different paradigms (mindsets? cultures??) who each have a very different POV and who each believe totally that they have a solid grasp on the moral high ground, collide. In such a situation, we could talk and argue and accuse all day long, and never get anywhere. Which is usually how it goes.

    If you and I were having this conversation in person, I would hope that our mutual humanity and our ability to discuss it without blows, violence, or nasty ad hominem language, would affirm our ability to co-exist, even if in a rough sense. I’m not sure you could ever like me, nor would you want to, given your stance that all who oppose you living your life unfettered, as a gay person, are unfit for your company. But I’m pretty sure you’d discover that I have no hatred in my heart for you, nor any other gay person.

    Again, I am not one to discount the gay side of this. It’s why I always get wrapped up in these conversations, because I think gays deserve to have equal protection under the law AT THE SAME TIME I believe my church is doing God’s will when it seeks to quash the normalization of something it considers wrong and perverse.

    Now please, everybody, if we must continue this conversation about why Sub-Odeon believes the way he does, and so forth, can we do it at the BBS? This thread isn’t about me. It’s not even about gay marriage, per se. And I am not sure if Der Scalzinator enjoys seeing me keep breaking my promise like I have been.

    So, anything else to be said to me, about gay marriage, on this thread, would probably best be addressed here.

    Thanks.

  115. “And no, I do not expect anyone here who is not LDS or is not a member of a conservative religion, to understand.”

    I understand you perfectly. (You can still be understood and in the wrong.)

    No theology is absolute. All theology is relativism at some level. All of it relies on interpretation and reason, and yes, theologies do change over time, sometimes drastically.

    Whether one chooses to recognize that or not, of course, a separate matter; but that doesn’t diminish the reality.

  116. Jim@102

    As of a few hours ago (according to NPR’s “All Things Considered”) there were about 40,000 provisional ballots still to be processed in North Carolina. The segment said that it was considered unlikely that the provisional ballots would change the results, but it may be that the various networks figure they might as well wait until the various precincts finish processing the provisionals.

  117. Just to clarify the last sentence of my #132.

    The bit about being unlikely that the remaining provisionals would change the results was included in the NPR report.

    The bit about the networks figuring they might as well wait is my own speculation.

  118. You’re making “racist” out to be lower and more horrific than “evil.” This… just isn’t so. One can be racist without being evil, because one isn’t perfect. No one is. One can also be insensitive without being evil. One can step on the toes of a stranger on public transport without being “evil.” One can make any number of errors without being written off as “evil.” But when one’s errors (racist, sexist, homophobic, authoritarian et cetera) are pointed out to one, and one makes no effort or has no inclination to change — that’s when one gets written off.

    People need to stop being afraid of the word “racist.” “That action is racist” (so please stop it) is not the same as “you are a racist” (and I wash my hands of you). It’s not the end-all and be-all of existence, it’s not a whole definition of self.

    Willful disregard, however, crosses the line into “bigotry” — am aware, don’t care, won’t try. THAT is irredeemable.

    How this applies to your grandmother and your wife is for you to piece out — I would not be so bold. (But I’d retain the right to keep my black self quite far from those who exhibit these traits and attitudes, and to fight like hell to keep them from being able to interfere in my life as an equal and recognized citizen of my country.)

  119. I am deeply saddened by the inhumane decision by half (plus or minus a couple thousand) of California’s voters. I can’t imagine how much worse I would feel if I were (a) gay or (b) Californian.

    Here’s my suggestion to gay couples, in California and elsewhere: Whether the law allows you to marry or not, those of you who are married know you are. Present yourselves to society as married couples. Don’t talk about your boyfriend or girlfriend or partner, talk about your husband, wife, or spouse. Make the people who deny you legal sanction confront your refusal to deny you the reality of your situation. The only possible response to, “Well, you aren’t *really* married,” is an immediate, shocked, “I *beg* your pardon?” — the same way you’d reply to any other unforgivable breach of propriety.

    As long as the bigots out there can delude themselves that civil unions and domestic partnerships are equal to marriages, de facto as well as de jure, they won’t see a reason to change their approach. It’s time to confront them at the root of their prejudice.

  120. @Sub-Odean 123,

    Believing homosexuality to be wrong is one thing – you can believe what you like.

    I think the problem arises in that by changing legisation to fit with your own moral code you are directly imposing your beliefs on others. (Small “your” there – refering to LDS members actively persuing the Proposition).

    Now if they were doing something that was detrimental to you or other people (ritual human sacrifice as an extreme example) then imposition of those beliefs would be justifiable.

    But in this case they are harming no-one and, frankly, thier sexual practices are no one else’s business than thier own.

    The whole basis of the proposition is entirely religious in nature (the groups proposing it sort of give that away!) and as a consequence the whole thing seems contary to the entire ethos of the USA (seperation of Chuch and State, etc).

    As a non-American I find it beyond belief that such a display of rampant bigotry has that it has got as far as it has. The Proposition is replusive in the extreme.

    Electing Obama, 2 steps forward (actually a heck of a lot more given that the US practised apartheid within my own lifetime).

    Proposition 8 was at least 1 step back alas.

    BTW – the Catholic Church was at least as instrumental in promoting this proposition. I guess that given a 2000 year record of getting stuck into politics in a major manner though people pretty much expect that sort of behaviour from them.

  121. Sub-Odeon@123

    I think the CJCLDS has every right to hold beliefs on subjects such as the sinfulness of same-sex marriage and to apply those beliefs to their membership. They also have the right to espouse those beliefs to anyone who will listen.

    However I do not believe they have the right to take action toward either imposing those beliefs on people who are not members or supporting legislation which would force people to act in accordance with religious beliefs that are not their own.

    By CJCLDS standards it is wrong to choose to enter into a same-sex marriage, and therefore the morally correct decision by those same standards is to choose not to enter into such a marriage. By banning such marriages the net effect has been to devalue the choice not to enter into such a marriage.

    If one is not permitted to make the “wrong” decision there can be no value in making the “right” one.

    Regardless of one’s personal opinion of the value of a same-sex marriage there is no doubt in my mind that it is wrong to impose that opinion on others who do not share it.

    Proposition 8 is a bad law that cheapens the very moral values its proponents claim to protect.

  122. A coworker of mine told me today that he voted for Prop. 8 because he wants his name to go on, so he doesn’t want his son learning in school that homosexuality is okay.

    There are so many things wrong with that derailed train of thought, yet it and similar ones led to a yes vote for the wrong reasons.

  123. If you don’t think your commentary and hostility toward Obama are splenetic ad hominem attacks, KIA@121, then I doubt you have either a dictionary or a mirror.

    Think about how what you’re sowing is what you’ll be reaping. That’s the big problem with hate, fear and violence.

  124. Michael B. Sullivan : I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be grateful for being permitted to hang on to the back bumper of the bus. I paid my fare; I will sit inside it anywhere I damn well please. I refer you to MLKjr’s “Why We Can’t Wait.”

    I’m pretty sure that I didn’t ask anybody to be grateful for anything. If you’re someone affected by inequality of marriage, then hey, I fully understand your impatience.

    But I’m not talking about rank and file supporters, I’m talking about the people who organized these technical legal challenges. They’re professionals. It’s their job to deal with the reality of the political situation, not how a perfect world would be. And it’s their job to advance the cause of marriage equality. As far as I can tell, they’ve done the opposite (and, along the way, given the Republicans various other gifts in the form of an energized and active base).

    All done with the best of intentions, I’m sure, but I don’t regard that as much of an excuse.

  125. I think Sub-Odeon is doing a much better job at this than I am. He has obviously thought about it a lot more than I have.

    (Though I think the church someday doing an about-face on this is never going to happen, due to the core nature of the belief in opposite-sex marriage—as core as the belief in Jesus Christ and in the exercise of agency [free will], as I’ve said various times before. Those other issues on which the church has changed its position were never core beliefs. [i.e. polygamy (even the Book of Mormon said polygamy was usually wrong unless God temporarily commanded it for population increase reasons), giving the priesthood to people of black African descent (the canonized scriptures never said anything about the matter beyond the fact that at various points in history the priesthood was restricted to one descent-based group or another, like the tribe of Levi, which did not mean that anyone not in that tribe should be looked down on)—and by the way, Xopher, unlike what you said earlier in this thread, blacks were never forbidden church membership.])

    But I will try to answer your challenge, even though I know you’re not going to like the answer and you’ll just call me intolerant.

    It’s not about “us” versus “them.” It’s about “us” staying true to “us.” I don’t want to make this personal, but it’s the personal that matters. If your own daughter grows up and announces she’s fallen in love with a woman and wants to marry her, you may be perfectly OK with that and supportive of her decision. You may celebrate her decision. If my daughter does the same thing, I won’t be perfectly OK with it because I’ll know her decision will keep her out of the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. Sure, I’ll want her to be happy, but I’d prefer her to be happy in a way that does not keep her out of the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. If she grows up in a sexually permissive world that is fine with same-sex marriage, with peers who are fine with it, she may begin contemplating that life before she is emotionally mature enough to understand the importance of choosing otherwise. (For a related reason, the church forbids dating before age 16 and strongly discourages non-group dating before age 18.) I’m not saying “gay people will turn her gay”—I’m saying that if she already has the potential to be homosexual or bisexual, a society in which homosexuality is seen as the equivalent to heterosexuality might lead her to express that potential through homosexual acts when otherwise she might have chosen not to express it. The choice to lead that lifestyle would cause me and my wife a lot of pain and heartbreak. i.e. harm. We could start blaming ourselves or each other for not doing a good enough job bringing her up. The blame game has led to the destruction of more marriages than one.

    You will, of course, say, “Get over it, you’re bigots not to accept your daughter’s potential homosexual acts. Your only argument is FUD?” But the argument I gave has a lot of weight for those who believe homosexual acts are a sin. The effect of the legal status of same-sex marriage on one’s own family is what matters most (both for same-sex couples who want same-sex marriage to have legal status and for those who are against it). Yes, religious people who think homosexual acts are a sin would be happier if fewer people in the world sinned, but whether or not someone chooses to do a sinful act is their own responsibility, not the responsibility of someone else who thinks it’s a sin. But it is a parent’s responsibility to see that the world is as good a place as possible to raise one’s children in. (People on opposite sides of this issue will have opposite opinions on what would make the world a good place to raise children in.)

    So that’s the most basic way the harm comes about from the point of view of someone who believes homosexual acts are a sin. Another factor is the successful court cases against religious people who have declined to perform services for homosexuals that they believe have a religious component. But those have already been brought up in these threads and ignored or rejected as relevant, so what’s the point in bringing them up again?

    Now that you’ve seen an argument, go ahead and scoff at its logical fallacies. These are religious people we’re talking about, remember? Religion will always have a supernatural factor that defies human systems of logic. That’s the nature of religion.

    —Peter

  126. As a Californian who voted no on 8, I am disappointed that it appears as if it will pass. However, I think it is worth pointing out that California voted on almost the exact same proposition in 2002 a few years ago with the exception that it didn’t amend the state constitution and it passed 60/40. So we’ve made some progress, just not enough yet.

    Also, I heard on the radio today that the State Attorney General said that they will continue to recognize the 18,000 same sex marriages that have occurred since the summer this year. I have not checked to see if this is true, and it runs contrary to my reading of the proposition, however I hope it is true.

  127. KIA @ 121:

    Your point about limits on cash carried out of the country is well taken, however it is mostly irrelevant to my main point. I don’t imagine most people will try to smuggle wads of twenties to Spain (say) so they can deposit them in banks over there. Physical currency has no traceable ties aside from its present, corporeal location, and thus the populace, via governmental restrictions, has a vested interest in ensuring that it stays domestically located. I’m all for a cash-carry cap.

    I assume most people will be investing in foreign enterprises, and as such those transactions will be on the books and taxed accordingly. The money will still be traceably owned by a U.S. citizen, and thus will represent domestic wealth. However, in terms of its practical benefit as capital it will be supporting growth abroad, instead of within the States, thus sapping the strength of our economy.

    Peter Ahlstrom:

    (Sorry John, slighty off-topic, but…) Are you by any chance originally from the Dayton, OH area? And, do you have two younger sisters (among other siblings), both of first initial ‘B’? If so, then I suspect we know each other, loosely. :-)

  128. Peter@141

    Whether same-sex marriage is or is not a sin is a purely religious concept. As such while it is very important within that context it falls down on separation of church and state.

    You have no right to prevent non-believers from sinning; and removing their legal right to what you consider sinful removes their ability to reject such sin.

    If someone cannot choose not to sin, how can they choose salvation?

  129. The saying goes, “Your right to swing your fist stops at my face.”

    I would claim that the right of anyone to swing a Bible or a Book of Mormon stops at someone else’s marriage.

  130. Hmmm – and 141 indicates another crux of this discussion: The belief that homosexuality is a “lifestyle choice”.

    It isn’t.

    It’s been pretty thoroughly demonstrated that sexual orientation is determined by physical factors unrelated to social environment.

    I’ll be blunt here – the myth that homosexuality is a lifestye choice is a bare-faced lie propagated by some individuals and organisations for thier own advantage.

    There is also (currently) no “cure”.

    You can test if someone is homosexual – the US Army developed such a test to catch out draft dodgers.

    You either are or you aren’t (with various shadings of bisexuality).

    And it’s no one’s “fault”. There is nothing you can do to stop someone feeling they way they do (and to even try would be cruel in the extreme).

    Given the above therefore discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is discimination based on who someone is and bigotry of the highest order.

  131. Peter, your arguments also apply to your daughter potentially converting to Buddhism. Do you feel it would be appropriate to outlaw Buddhism?

  132. Dave Robinson @41:

    You have no right to prevent non-believers from sinning; and removing their legal right to what you consider sinful removes their ability to reject such sin.

    Let’s clarify one thing here: The Bill of Rights actually says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” ‘Separation of church and state’ was cherry-picked from the personal correspondence of Thomas Jefferson. So, the phrase is useful to think about, but does not have binding Constitutional authority. (Or, at least it should not… judicial precedent may have given it Constitutional authority, and that’s not cool in my book.)

    (For what follows, bear in mind that IANAL.) So, operating only on what’s in the First Amendment, Congress (NB: this is the national body, not state or local governments) may make no law establishing one religion over another, and may make no law prohibiting the expression or practice of any religion. By the strict text of the amendment, a state legislature could, for example, ban the practice of anything they wanted… Islam, Hinduism, Christianity… I doubt many actually would try to do so, as it would likely get heartily smacked down in any number of ways.

    Law is, effectively, codified morality. It’s a set of rules that are set out that place boundaries on the citizens, saying either what they must, or must not, do. Regardless of the foundation from which these morals come that are formalized into law, the morals are derived from somewhere. Should homosexuals be permitted to marry? Should citizens be taxed and have that wealth redistributed to other citizens? How fast should people be allowed to drive? Myriad ‘should’ questions are answered by law, and ‘should’ questions, ultimately, are backed by some sort of moral underpinning. Being a Christian, I personally believe that a humanist or naturalist moral platform is inferior to a Judeo-Christian one. Many agree with me; many others disagree. (As an aside, to my mind, one of the great challenges of a democratic-republican system for Christians is to determine the extent to which it is appropriate to try to apply a Judeo-Christian moral view onto established law.) The strength of our legal system is that it is sensitive (in theory, anyways) to the preference of the majority, under the assumption that the preference of the majority is, more often than not, more worthy of being incorporated into law.

    If someone cannot choose not to sin, how can they choose salvation?

    Your argument is specious, unless you are trying to argue that every citizen inerrantly obeys every law to which they are subject, and my personal experience (and behavior) would indicate that this argument has no basis whatsoever in fact. That a law prohibits something, in no way removes the capability of a citizen to choose to do it. The law merely provides penalties that are applied to that citizen if and when he chooses to ‘sin’ by disobeying that law. These penalties are meant to encourage citizens to hold to the principles that have, again nominally, been selected by the majority as being most worthy.

  133. Peter, your imagined concern about what your daughter may or may not do in a permissive culture does not in the slightest excuse destroying other people’s actual marriages and throwing their real lives into confusion.

    The worst part of it is that in destroying other people’s marriages, in terms of “saving your daughter,” you’ve accomplished… absolutely nothing. If your daughter wants to, she can get married to another woman in Massachusetts. Or, starting next week, in Connecticut. Unless you plan to chain her up in the backyard and tell her nothing of the world, she’ll find this out sooner or later.

    So, you know, congratulations. You’ve destroyed other people’s marriages so you can have a false sense of security about your child just in case she might turn out to be gay.

    The absolute selfishness of such an act is genuinely appalling.

  134. What I find interesting (sad, actually) is that most of these Prop 8 debates center on religion (or at least, most of the arguments against gay marriage can be traced back to it), but my religion is the reason that I am so very much in favor of gay marriage.
    I was raised by a scary conservative and a not-so-scary conservative, and they made sure I attended church and sunday school every week. And it was in a Sunday school class that I learned to be able to see both sides of an issue… even ones I disagreed with. Once I had practiced a little bit of verstehen, I no longer feared gay marriage as I once had. If it weren’t for my strong religion and my amazing Sunday school teachers, I would be a carbon copy of my parents… at least politically.

    It is my belief that if you are secure in your own beliefs, you will not feel threatened when other people are allowed to exercise their rights, even if it does make you uncomfortable.

  135. Sub-Odeon @130
    You said, “If the ban went nation-wide, I’d probably just stay in Utah and keep living the way I am living, and dare the FBI to come lock me up for it.” The implication here is that the FBI locking you up is all that you would have to fear under the postulated scenario, but the FBI wouldn’t care. The local police wouldn’t care. You and your wife would probably live your day to day lives exactly the same as you do now. Sure, you might pay a bit more in taxes, since you can no longer file jointly and you may not be able be able to enroll her on your health insurance. The real tragedy would become apparent if it were to happen one day that your wife was struck by a car and you wouldn’t allowed to visit her in the hospital, to authorize her medical care or to hold her hand as she dies. You wouldn’t allowed to arrange her funeral or even be assured of inheriting whatever property you both viewed as joint, but happened to be titled in her name.

    All that because some people, whose religion is not even one you believe in, decided that your marriage should not be valid under secular law.

  136. Peter 141: [B]y the way, Xopher, unlike what you said earlier in this thread, blacks were never forbidden church membership.

    On that point, I stand corrected. The rest of your comment, not so much.

    In addition to John’s points, your argument could be used to justify all manner of barbarism. I, for example, believe that no couple should have more than two children, and that to do so is at best genetically selfish and at worst ecologically criminal. It actually does cause me distress to see families with four, five, ten children. By your argument that would justify me (and the many others who feel as I do) mounting a campaign to take away your reproductive freedom, and if your wife became pregnant a third time, force her to have an abortion. And if she became pregnant a FOURTH time, why, she’d be a repeat offender, and she would be sterilized.

    I would actually oppose such a thing. You know why? Because I’m a patriotic American (unlike the people who promoted Prop 8), and I know that your (and your wife’s) reproductive freedom is more valuable than my getting my way on how many kids people should have. I also value YOUR religious freedom more than you value mine, and FAR more than you value your daughter’s; your religion is against abortion, and so no one of your religion should have to have one if she (only SHE) doesn’t want to. As I’ve said upthread, I would think Mormons would hold religious freedom less cheap. Guess it only counts when it’s YOUR religious freedom that’s in jeopardy.

    And I’d like to hear your answer to Marc G.’s question at 147. Do you really apply that argument to everything that could keep your daughter out of the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom? Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t women have to be married to virtuous Mormon men to get to that heaven? If your daughter was a good Mormon girl in every way except that she married a non-Mormon (or, say, a man who was raised Mormon but left the Church and was formally excommunicated), wouldn’t that keep her out of the h.d.o.t.C.K? If so, why hasn’t the CJCLDS been lobbying for laws forbidding women to remain unmarried, or even to marry anyone except Mormon men? (I mean all women, even Roman Catholics.) Is it just because they don’t think they could get anywhere with such an effort (in which case they really are truly monstrous) or because that isn’t really the key issue?

    When a professed reason for action taken in one case would apply equally to a relevantly similar case, but no comparable action is taken in that case, the professed reason is likely not the real reason. Or at any rate not the only reason.

    I would respectfully submit that your church hates gay people and wants to punish us (and as I’ve pointed out elsewhere they’ve physically tortured their own young gay men). You can hardly blame US if their hatred is returned.

  137. Brian Skinn @148 – “Separation of Church and State” may not appear explicitly in the constitution, but it’s a useful synopsis of the establishment clause and free exercise clause. It shows up in both Jefferson’s correspondence and James Madison’s correspondence, and the Supreme Court thought it was the intent and a Good Thing.

    Separation of church and state has a much firmer constitutional foundation than corporate personhood, and if original intent means anything to you, you should embrace the separation as constitutionally mandated. If you don’t, I presume you believe that gun rights are also restricted to the national guard?

    Further, does the phrase that starts “Render unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s” ring any bells?

  138. I never understood this thing about him being black and president so it should be a “visceral moment” for African Americans. The fact is he is half white, its not like he was %100 percent black to begin with, further more he was raised by his white side of the family and went to Harvard. You really can’t get anymore white than that. I would contend that BO is not black, but instead the whites should draft him a la Dave Chapelle and be done with it.

    Its as if people around the world have discounted the fact that he is HALF WHITE AND WAS RAISED BY HIS WHITE FAMILY. When the American People decide to elect a prison inmate from Rikers Island, NY, named “Tron” or “T-Bone,” then I will be impressed. But, until that day comes Barrack Obama is just another man elected president with a funny sounding name.

  139. Luckily for us, Sam, if it’s meaningful to us, you really don’t have to understand. We all take our meaning where we can get it.

  140. sub@130: As for those pushing forth the hypothetical ban, I’d have to examine what drove them, before declaring them racist. If they were doing it for reasons they considered ethical, and especially based on scripture or some other form of over-arching commandment from a higher power, and it was done dispassionately, I’d probably try to engage them in a dialogue and find out more about what made them tick. Maybe even talk them around to my way of thinking, also using scripture. If it could be done.

    Holy crap.

    If you think gay marriage has been attacked “dispassionately”, you are seriously fooling yourself. Seriously fooling yourself.

    So, you’ve got this litmus test in case someone attacks your interracial marriage. If they’re doing this, adn that, and this, and that, then maybe you won’t condemn them as racially motivated.

    Hey, guess what? You just engaged in what is called moral relativism. If you attack someone else’s marriage, it’s OK. If someone attacks your marriage, well, if it doesn’t meet your personal litmus test, it’s racist.

    So, for those living in the US, the whole point of the Constitution is so that people can operate within the principles of the Constitution and it doesn’t matter what the hell everyone else’s personal litmus test is. Because your litmus test, from a legal point of view, is hocus pocus indistinguishable from religion and indistinguishable from mob rule.

    I declare your interracial marriage to be morally wrong. The God I worship says so.

    See that? You don’t have to apply a litmus test to my moral decree because you don’t live at the mercy of my God, or even at the mercy of my daily whim. YOU HAVE RIGHTS which protect you from mob rule. from my rule. And those rights are embodied in the US constitution. ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL being primary. Separation of church and state being primary. And these rights exist even if congress and the president pass some law to try and take those rights away.

    So, while you’ve created some farce of a litmus test to decide whether my decree about the MORALITY OF YOUR INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE is “legitimate” or not, you can pretend your litmus test has some sort of moral weight while sitting safely behind the very real protection that comes from having your right to marry whoever the fck you want being protected by the US Constitution.

    Meanwhile, your litmus test gives you justification for someone else using their God to tell other people how to live. If someone attacks Gay Marriage, but if they do so in a way that passes your litmus test, you give them a pass. Right? Nice isn’t it? Fair isn’t it? You’d apply the same litmus test to someone attacking interracial marriage as gay marriage and see how they come out before denouncing their actions. So that makes it fair, right?

    Constitutional rights be damned, right? It’s no longer about equality or anything like that, it’s about your own personal litmus test. It’s no longer about “harm”, right? basically, anyone can try to legally restrict any other group, and it’s OK as long as it passes your litmus test.

    And you accuse gay marriage advocates of moral relativism?

    Dude. Check the mirror.

  141. Well, Sub-Odeon, as long as *your* marriage is now fine with your church, you think it’s somehow OK that they go of and invalidate other people’s marriages?

    As someone else pointed out, there are dissenting Catholics. You, on the other hand, don’t seem to be interested in saying that on this issue, your church was in the wrong. You’ve done a good job of explaining the reasoning, you just can’t condemn it.

    I’m sure you would have been expressive if some church somewhere had invalidated your marriage. It’s a shame you can’t rouse yourself to care about the marriages of others.

    @ 130 – If any group attempted to push forward a state or federal ammendment banning interracial marriages — and disolving existing interracial marriages — I would obviously oppose it. If such an ammendment were passed, say, in Utah, I would probably pick my family up and move us to a state that had no such ban.

    And what if it was some church that imposed that ban? What if it were your church? Would you leave the church? After all, they speak for God, right? If they told you to leave your wife, presumably, you would.

    As for those pushing forth the hypothetical ban, I’d have to examine what drove them, before declaring them racist.

    You have a deeply broken idea of what racism means, then. You think racism can only be expressed by hypothetical “evil” people who do so with malice. This is a rather convenient way of declaring that, when expressed by people you like, racist claims are not racist. They’re just differences of opinion that are understandable, and reasonable. This is different from most people, and manages to create a meaning of racism as something that’s only expressed by cartoon caricatures or psychopathic aryan nation types.

  142. Fungi @153:

    Thank you for the link to the info on Madison’s interpretation of ‘separation of church and state’ – I’ll be reading closely through it in the near future. A quick read doesn’t seem to contradict my position on the validity of religion-based morality as an underpinning of law, given enactment via proper methods. Most of the content seems to focus on a desire on Madison’s part to keep Congress’s influence away from endorsing/assisting or quashing/working against any particular sect or denomination. Even the part that describes Madison’s argument about application to states of the Constitution’s provisions doesn’t speak directly to religious-morals-derived laws… the closest bit is the “equal rights of conscience” part, which I would have to stare at for a while in order to really parse its meaning.

    …if original intent means anything to you, you should embrace the separation as constitutionally mandated. If you don’t, I presume you believe that gun rights are also restricted to the national guard?

    From About.com (admittedly a weak source, I need to find a stronger one; emphasis mine):

    Having been oppressed by a professional army, the founding fathers of the United States had no use for establishing one of their own. Instead, they decided that an armed citizenry makes the best army of all. General George Washington created regulation for the aforementioned “well-regulated militia,” which would consist of every able-bodied man in the country.

    This definition of ‘militia’ is consistent with one of those listed at m-w.com, with an etymology listed as dating from 1625. I see this as a non-starter.

    Further, does the phrase that starts “Render unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s” ring any bells?

    Of course. I even recalled the right chapter, Matthew 22 (had to look up the verse number, though). Since our democratic republic is set up to permit my input to the definition of laws, however directly or indirectly, I consider voting, public demonstration, petitioning government, and so on to be part of my responsibility to render unto our ‘Caesar’ its due. Per my prior statement, the challenge each Christian (and non-Christian, too) faces is to decide what aspects of his or her personal morality should be codified in law.

    Greg London @156:

    You may want to carefully consider the different between mob rule and majority rule (technically, the latter is perhaps better called ‘plurality rule’, but whatever). The former is rule based on threat of violence, apart from rule of law; the latter is based on preponderance of opinion. In cases where the majority/plurality holds a view different from you, the members of that majority do not intrinsically constitute a mob.

  143. sam @ 154 – When the American People decide to elect a prison inmate from Rikers Island, NY, named “Tron” or “T-Bone,” then I will be impressed. But, until that day comes Barrack Obama is just another man elected president with a funny sounding name.

    I can’t tell for sure, but are you implying that a prison inmate with a funny name is somehow representative of black people?

    Remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

    Hey Sub-Odeon, wanna argue this guy isn’t a real racist?

  144. Maybe we get a big hug from the EU – that’s important ya know – they will like us.

    Regarding Liberman – well certainly don’t want to say anything against BO – he wont like you, and find a way to shut-u-up. No free speech allowed.

    Can’t wait until i see the new national security force BO puts in place – whatever that’s about.

    We are going to get a chicken in every pot, BO is going to pay for our house payments, give us free gas for our cars…now where’s my check.

    He really attracts the smart voters.

    I’m not bitter…where’s my cood-aid.

    For real I hope I’m wrong -

  145. I feel a tiny bit sorry for people whose God requires them to deny the rights and freedoms of others.

  146. Peter K 166: I’m not bitter…where’s my cood-aid.

    Apparently you’ve been mixing it with large quantities of gin.

  147. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who forget that Christ’s most important message was “Love your neighbor as yourself,” yet still claim moral authority.

  148. Brian Skinn @160 – I’d definitely agree that the religious-derived laws is a separate issue. However, I think that’s both wrong and dangerous, but I can’t point to the founders on that one.

    US law is not founded upon Biblical morality; if you check the ten commandments, most of them don’t apply. Working on the Sabbath is legal, honoring fathers and mothers is pretty optional, and the economy is largely driven on coveting. Cotton-poly blends are fine, shrimp-eating is endorsed, and if you want to own a car/truck, you can yoke those unlike oxen all you want. The foundation for US law is English common law.

    The danger upon relying on religious morality is that religions have been used to justify some very vile things, including slavery, murder, and bookburning. Think of it this way: if there is goodness, and God is good, then we have two options.
    1) That which is Good is good because God decrees it so
    2) God does that which is inherently good

    If option 1) is the case, then things that I think of as evil can be justified because they are what God decrees. If someone would kill their child if God demanded it, I am not interested in letting that person determine laws. (There’s an interesting argument that this was a test that Abraham failed, not passed.)

    If option 2) is the case, then the moral argument can be made without a religious foundation. When there’s no secular justification for a law, there’s probably no reason to apply it outside religious adherents. Slacktivist has done a very good job at describing how (for example) Dr. King’s arguments for civil rights were religious arguments phrased in secular terms.

    But we weren’t talking about individuals using their religion as a guiding star – we were talking about religious establishments collectively putting their moral weight and financial might behind propositions that are considered sinful but without a secular justification. There are a lot of arguments against that, but one of the strongest is that mixing religion and politics corrupts both of them – which is something that both Jefferson and Madison did recognize.

  149. Brian wrote:

    (For what follows, bear in mind that IANAL.) So, operating only on what’s in the First Amendment, Congress (NB: this is the national body, not state or local governments) may make no law establishing one religion over another, and may make no law prohibiting the expression or practice of any religion. By the strict text of the amendment, a state legislature could, for example, ban the practice of anything they wanted… Islam, Hinduism, Christianity… I doubt many actually would try to do so, as it would likely get heartily smacked down in any number of ways.

    This is incorrect. The provisions of the Bill Of Rights–including the First Amendment–are applicable to the states by way of the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Furthermore, in most (if not all) state constitutions, you’ll find a freedom of conscience provision that allows state citizens to worship (or not) as they please. A state legislature wanting to enact the legislation in your hypothetical prior to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment would have had to amend their state constitution before they could pass the law. While some western states make amending their constitutions ridiculously easily (hence the topic at hand), most eastern states make such changes a little harder to come by.

  150. #169 – sorry i see i made a type-o… s/b “cool-aid” – hope you feel better soon.

    #171 – too many folks can’t get past the “yourself-myself” part. unfortunately both sides of most issues is “what’s in it for me”.

    important messages as you note only seem to popup when convenient – which is unfortunate because believe or not some of those important messages could do people alot of good.

    ok – i know nothing.

  151. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

    -Barack Obama, June 28 2006

    http://www.barackobama.com/2006/06/28/call_to_renewal_keynote_address.php

  152. Brian@160: A quick read doesn’t seem to contradict my position on the validity of religion-based morality as an underpinning of law, given enactment via proper methods.

    religion-based morality CAN be a valid underpinning of law. Doesn’t have to be the ONLY morality or the ONLY underpinning. But more importantly, NOTHING enacted in law overrides the constitutional rights, unless the thing enacted is an ammendment to that constitution.

    In cases where the majority/plurality holds a view different from you, the members of that majority do not intrinsically constitute a mob.

    Based on your religion-is-valid-underpinning-of-law idea above, you just contradicted yourself.

    “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

    The only thing that makes a democracy NOT be mob rule is constitutional rights. When the founding fathers were fighting over the wording of the constitution, several people very astutely observed that the constitution by itself was nothing more than a list of procedures of how the government operates. President is elected every four years. senate every 6. congress every 2. etc. many refused to sign it until a bill of rights were added, which spelled out restrictions on what the government could NOT do, restrictions on what laws the governmetn could NOT enact, even if enacted via “proper” methods. i.e. passes congress and the president signs it.

    Oh, that quote is from Thomas Jefferson. He called democracy without rights a mob, and I agree. What you’re doing is arguing that process overrules rights. that you’re not being part of the mob simply because you’re following the “process”. And people operating with a process with no regard to universal principles like equality or freedom, with no regard to individual rights, is nothing more than a bureaucratic mob.

  153. Mind you, I (Marc) would state that people of no faith also need to make arguments that are accessible to people of faith. Which is why you haven’t seen anyone say “your concerns about the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom are obviously baseless.” But it is not the place of a pluralistic society to enforce a parent’s desire to have their children remain in their religion. (If it were, conversion would be illegal. I don’t think any Christian would argue for that.) So denying same-sex couples the right to marry is not justified by an appeal to those religions that disapprove of homosexuality.

    (Sorry this is disjointed. I’m still thinking through this from my own relativist standpoint.)

  154. 163 @ Josh Jasperon
    I can’t tell for sure, but are you implying that a prison inmate with a funny name is somehow representative of black people?

    Remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

    Hey Sub-Odeon, wanna argue this guy isn’t a real racist?

    I can argue for myself thank you very much. I think I was being too glib, and words you write on the internet don’t translate very well as they would in person (at the very least you can back track and explain yourself better in person). What I meant to say is that the man in question is not fully black, and that it seems to me in major part that black americans are discounting the fact that he is half white and was raised by a white family. Pretty much ignoring the other ancestry and ready to jump on the ban waggon.

    I would have been more impressed had the nation elected someone who was one hundred percent black, a shade darker and not attended such a prestigious school and instead went somewhere like BMCC (which is a two yr college in NYC). Would the country really have elected that type of person? I’m not saying I know the answer, maybe they would assuming that man in question had BO’s personality and charisma. And I understand the pitt fall of playing a hypothetical game like that because such a man didn’t run for president. But I’m not going to sit here and say he is the first black president because in a way he isn’t, I mean he is damn near close and that’s probably what the celebration is all about.

    By the way I’m not black or white, I’m hispanic, and I voted for him not because he was black but because the thought of having Palin as possible president was enogh to make my scrotum go back inside my body (as well as voting for him for other ideological reasons). I am rather saddened because I do know, personally, many people in the black community who voted for him based their votes not on his merrits but based on the color of his skin, to me that’s not democracy thats race pandering.

    You can call me racist if you want (and I will admit that the jail comment was too far), but he the man is flesh and blood just like every body else.

  155. Fungi 172: (There’s an interesting argument that this was a test that Abraham failed, not passed.)

    Indeed. You get different religions depending on whether you think that was a test he passed, or one he failed. The obedience-based religion says he passed. I think the correct answer would have been to say “No, I will not kill my son,” and walk away. But I’m from a non-obedience religion.

    Peter K. 174: #169 – sorry i see i made a type-o… s/b “cool-aid” – hope you feel better soon.

    No, the typo was just the most obvious example of that whole semi-coherent rant.

  156. What I meant to say is that the man in question is not fully black, and that it seems to me in major part that black americans are discounting the fact that he is half white and was raised by a white family.

    I think I get what you are sort of fumbling toward — that a predominately white country may feel more comfortable with an identified “whiter” candidate. This, of course, highlights the implicit racism in such thinking: that majority gets to decide how black or white a person is, depending on circumstance. All the while assuming that there is only one sort of white.

    The trouble is that there is no naturally correct way to define “fully” in this case, whether it be black or white. A further problem is that the term white or black ends up being code for socio-political leanings, education and connections to comfortable white stereotypes (such as stalwart best-generation white grandmothers [may she RIP, of course]). What does a black audience mean when they say Obama is not fully black? A white audience?

    I note that in Ghana visiting African-Americans are often referred to by locals with the same word as for white folks, a literal translation of which is “white man.” How one is identified, and self-identifies, is important. But it is highly dependent on context and culture.

  157. What I meant to say is that the man in question is not fully black, and that it seems to me in major part that black americans are discounting the fact that he is half white and was raised by a white family.

    I think I get what you are sort of fumbling toward — that a predominately white country may feel more comfortable with an identified “whiter” candidate. This, of course, highlights the implicit racism in such thinking: that majority gets to decide how black or white a person is, depending on circumstance. All the while assuming that there is only one sort of white.

    The trouble is that there is no naturally correct way to define “fully” in this case, whether it be black or white. A further problem is that the term white or black ends up being code for socio-political leanings, education and connections to comfortable white stereotypes (such as stalwart best-generation white grandmothers [may she RIP, of course]). What does a black audience mean when they say Obama is not fully black? A white audience?

    I note that in Ghana visiting African-Americans are often referred to by locals with the same word as for white folks, a literal translation of which is “white man.” How one is identified, and self-identifies, is important. But it is highly dependent on context and culture.

  158. An Eric @173:

    I’m not exactly following your due process argument… if a state somehow enacted into law a ban on a religion, would not enforcing that ban in accordance with the law, intrinsically follow due process?

    As to the 14th amendment transferring applicability of the Bill of Rights to the states, I can see where “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” could be interpreted that way, but it could also be interpreted more limitedly as only referring to privileges/immunities of US citizens as opposed to non-citizens. Given that in my experience ‘immunity’ is most often used in an international context (e.g., “we can’t arrest [insert country here]‘s ambassador because he has diplomatic immunity” — and given that it better supports my argument :-D) my instinct is to prefer the more limited interpretation. It wouldn’t surprise me if the courts have accepted the broader interpretation, though.

    As re: freedom of conscience provisions – of course. What state would be foolish enough to try to ban a religion? Such a law was an extreme example; I used it only for the sake of demonstration.

    Marc @175:

    As on many points, I am in disagreement with Barack Obama. I agree that it is most persuasive, if possible, to present a pragmatic and/or utilitarian and/or universal argument for why one holds a religion-/faith-based moral stance, but I do not agree that such an argument is necessary for a person to strive to embed that stance in law. (It gets tricky in cases where someone uncritically parrots a moral view of another instead of thinking through the reasoning and coming to his or own conclusions. But, this happens with both religion-derived and non-religion-derived stances, as I see it.)

    Greg @176:

    Agree with your first graph.

    We’ve been operating under different definitions of the term ‘mob rule,’ then. Accepting your definition, I rescind my comment about mob rule v. majority rule.

    From there, I still stand by my assertion that religion-derived morality is just as valid an underpinning for law in the US as is naturalist-/humanist-/atheist-derived morality. As you say, the constitutionally-defined process then must be used to determine which moral stance is used to formulate the law.

    many refused to sign it until a bill of rights were added, which spelled out restrictions on what the government could NOT do, restrictions on what laws the governmetn could NOT enact, even if enacted via “proper” methods. i.e. passes congress and the president signs it.

    Given that the amendment process itself is spelled out in the main body of the Constitution, in Article V, and given that (according to Wik, at least) all ten of the amendments in the Bill of Rights were ratified the manner prescribed by Article V, I see the Bill of Rights as being one of the first examples of a moral position being codified into law. I fail to see how this contradicts my argument.

    And people operating with a process with no regard to universal principles like equality or freedom, with no regard to individual rights, is nothing more than a bureaucratic mob.

    How do you define ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’? How do you resolve the dispute when your definition of ‘equal’ and ‘free’ differs from that of your neighbor? Again, one must fall back to the system of selecting the predominantly held moral preference and accept how it applies (or is applied, in a judicial or arbitration context) to the particular situation. In many cases, individuals will be entirely dissatisfied with the law… I see this as something that in most cases we simply must accept: democracy means sometimes being in profound disagreement with the composition of law.

    I’ll readily grant that sometimes the majority is in favor of something that is abhorrent – slavery is the prototypical example – and in such cases extreme measures may be required. (Homosexual marriage and homosexual rights may well be one of those cases.) But, on the whole, such situations have (I think, anyways) historically been extremely scarce.

  159. A further thought, related to the idea that one best expresses love for gay people by encouraging them not to express their love for each other:

    We have a word for someone who thinks the best way to demonstrate your love for a person is to cause that person pain. The word is “abuser.” Our society rightly scorns (and, when it’s REALLY working well, punishes) the husband who beats his wife and children, no matter how many Bible verses he claims give him that authority. Denying gay couples the right to marry and saying you do so out of love for them is the moral equivalent, on a grand scale. “This hurts me more than it hurts you” is a transparent lie, and “I’m only hurting you because I love you” (or its kissing cousin, “I wouldn’t have to hurt you if you would only do what I tell you”) is even worse.

    It’s one thing to disapprove of gay love and vote for a dan on gay marriage because it squicks you out. That’s merely ignorant and intolerant. Justifying the vote as an act of love, on the other hand, is perversion. It is, in the most real sense, domestic violence, and just because one refuses to perceive the harm does not mean no harm was done.

  160. Sorry, I know I said I’d keep it shut. But I wanted to respond to this one

    The only thing tackier than “here is my last post so I can get the final word in, kthxbye” is then coming back and continuing to post…and post….because you just can’t stand to be wrong.

    You get different religions depending on whether you think that was a test he passed, or one he failed.

    Believe it or not, if you think Abraham acted wrongly, you’re still allowed to be a Jew.

  161. Brian@143: Yes, that’s me. Your name is very familiar; I definitely heard you discussed at various times by my sisters and my mom. Did we ever actually meet?

    Dave@144: My support of Prop 8 is religion-based. However, the proposition itself says nothing about religion. It codifies the traditional dictionary definition of marriage that has been used by our society for centuries and by previous non-Christian civilizations from which our society is descended. But the non-religious arguments aren’t my reason to support Prop 8, so to go into those arguments when they mean little to me would be frowned upon here.

    You are quite right that without opposition in all things, righteousness would be meaningless. 2 Nephi 2 talks all about that. But same-sex marriage is not a sin per se—homosexual sex acts are the sin. Like unwed pregnancy and childbearing are not sins—premarital sex is the sin. Homosexual and premarital sex acts are not being outlawed here. The potential for sin, and the potential for the rejection of that sin, is still very much there.

    Andy W@146: You seem to misunderstand what I was talking about. Same-sex attraction is not a choice. But unless you get raped, having sex is a choice.

    Marc G.@147: The LDS church does not let anyone under age 18 get baptized without their parents’ permission. If Buddhists are proselytizing my daughter, I would expect them to offer the same courtesy. Article of Faith 11 says: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” (There’s no such article of faith about sexuality, and it would have been unthinkable in the 1830s/40s.) There are some choices my daughter will be restrained from making herself until she reaches maturity, but that is my prerogative and duty as a parent. After that, she’s a complete free agent (with the knowledge that choices have consequences). Changing religions is something that can still be repented of later; I am of the opinion that choosing a homosexual lifestyle is more difficult to put behind you after you’ve experienced it for a while. It’s better never to make the choice in the first place. For homosexuality to be legitimized by legal marriages would send sexual messages to children during their formative years that are unproductive toward ultimately choosing a heterosexual life. Issues surrounding sex are confusing enough to kids and adolescents as they are without an additional layer of confusion added on.

    If I thought that Buddhists were seriously going to confuse my daughter during her religious-ideals-formative years, then I would not live in Buddhist areas. I choose not to raise my daughter in areas where homosexuality is widely equated with heterosexuality. When someone wants to change the place I already live into a place that equates homosexuality with heterosexuality, of course I’ll be against it.

    John@149: My concern about what my daughter may or may not do is a statistically relevant concern unless you somehow believe there is no chance a child born to good Mormon parents will later develop same-sex attraction issues. I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing? I think I’ve accomplished keeping California from being a state where homosexuality is presented by state mandate to my child during her formative years as being equated with heterosexuality. Sure, she’ll be exposed to homosexuals, and probably earlier in life than I was growing up in Fairborn, Ohio, but it won’t be state-sanctioned the way it would be in the absence of the passage of prop 8. If she chooses homosexual acts later in life, that is her choice, but I sincerely believe that is now less likely to happen (assuming she grows up and has same-sex attraction issues). I plan not to live in Connecticut or Massachusetts, and it should be no surprise to you that I support an amendment to the U.S. constitution with language similar to the amendment enacted through the passage of proposition 8.

    As for selfishness: Homosexuals saying that society as a whole must change at every level of public life to place a stamp of approval on their own relationships is—not quite the ultimate act of selfishness, but extremely selfish.

    Sarah M.@151: Sub-Odeon said he wanted to be addressed elsewhere, but I think he would agree with me that rights such as hospital visitation and inheritance are not at issue here since those are already covered under California’s civil union law. I personally am for hospital visitation and inheritance and joint property rights whether people are married or not.

    Xopher@152: People must do what they feel appropriate to defend their core beliefs about the principles of society. If your reproductive views are a core belief for you, then go ahead and try to convince others to vote your way. A constitution is the place to put core ideas about how government should interact with society.

    What people choose to do with their loved ones in their own home is not what this amendment is about. It’s about how that relationship is defined by government and how government presents the word used to define that relationship to its citizens. What especially concerned many prop 8 supporters most was how that definition would be presented to minors in their formative years.

    Do you truly value my religious freedom? Are you appalled by the recent court decisions against people who have chosen for religious reasons not to serve homosexuals in areas where they feel religious matters are essential? I’m not talking about something like refusing to serve a same-sex couple at a restaurant; I am against that sort of discrimination. But should an in-private-business Christian wedding photographer for whom the sanctity of heterosexual marriage is part of her core value system be forced to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony?

    I have no problem with churches that celebrate same-sex ceremonies. That’s their prerogative and their first amendment right. I don’t go to those churches. I have a problem with the government sanctioning it and extending the publicly and historically accepted definition of the word marriage and forcing its acceptance into all walks of public life. It’s too much of a core principle, going beyond any one religion or religion altogether, to have its change forced upon society as was done earlier this year. If a broad consensus develops over time, that’s one thing, but this is another.

    As for getting into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, agency (free will with consequences) is one of three core principles of LDS doctrine along with the atonement of Jesus Christ and the giving of bodies to God’s spirit children. Where those core principles contradict each other is where the most serious sin is possible and where the most care has to be taken. You mentioned abortion; free will there comes into conflict with the bringing of a soul into the world. We believe a choice was made when the mother had sex, with the consequence that a baby might result. And if it wasn’t a choice? If it was rape or incest? Free will was denied, and church guidelines do not mandate that the baby must be carried to term (though considering adoption is suggested, ultimately this decision is up to the family—of course, all choices are ultimately up to the individual, but choices have consequences). Abortion and homosexual sex are seen as quite similar sins. Both involve the juxtaposition of the misuse of spirit-embodying powers and of free will. Previous commission of both of those sins requires a higher level of pre-baptism interview to determine how sincerely one has repented and committed to turn from that sin. (The only other sin for which this interview is required is murder [also an area where free will and spiritual embodiment (or disembodiment) come into conflict], and for that, First Presidency approval is also required prior to baptism.)

    To get into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, a man must be sealed in the temple to his wife and a woman must be sealed in the temple to her husband. If one of them later leaves the church, that does not keep the other one from the blessings of exaltation. If my daughter marries outside the church, she cuts herself off from the highest degree (the other degrees are still pretty good; even the lowest kingdom, which you might consider “hell,” is still a way nicer place than this earth) until such time as her husband joins the church and they go to the temple to be sealed. I would discourage her from marrying a non-member, but it will ultimately be her choice, and if she marries a man their marriage can be ultimately upgraded to a sealing (even after death, through vicarious temple work). If she marries a woman instead, there’s no chance of that happening unless she gets divorced and marries a man. Her marriage to a woman would put a huge stop sign in her path to exaltation, ultimately limiting her freedom to progress, whereas marrying a man outside the church would only be a yield sign. There are many choices people can make which actually limit their freedom instead of expanding it—such as smoking or drinking or using drugs.

    I understand your respectful submission that my church hates gay people and wants to punish you. I respectfully submit that my church loves gay people and wants to give them (you) the opportunity to repent and turn from an ultimately freedom-limiting homosexual lifestyle and embrace a heterosexual lifestyle (as I mentioned above about baptismal interviews, this choice is always an option, though it would be unfair to a potential opposite-sex spouse not to disclose up front that same-sex attraction is an issue that you are dealing with; also, people who grow up in the church and later are involved in homosexual acts are likewise invited to turn from sin and experience forgiveness from Jesus Christ). As for past physical torture that’s been reported, I have only vague knowledge of it and I acknowledge that the best of intentions which the torturers thought they had do not excuse their actions.

    However, as I have said a few times before, I do not expect to convince anyone with these statements, since they are foreign to the understanding and background of most other people here. I do not expect to convince anyone, but I hope that you will have a glimpse of where I’m coming from and how I can conceive of acting as I act in regard to this issue given my philosophy and background. You may think I’m a complete nut for believing this way, but I would rather accept being thought of as a complete loon (since I can’t expect you to think otherwise without a lot more foundational understanding and experience) than live with your vision of me as someone consumed with hatred toward any of my fellow spirit children of God. If you still think I’m a hate-filled bigot, at least I’ve said what I believe will show that I am not. Ultimately my emotions (and I consider hate to be an emotion) are my own and it’s especially difficult to accurately present emotion via the internet. Your emotional reaction to what I say or do is also your business, so I can’t keep you from hating me.

    —Peter

  162. Peter Ahlstrom:

    “I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing? I think I’ve accomplished keeping California from being a state where homosexuality is presented by state mandate to my child during her formative years as being equated with heterosexuality.”

    What state law does require is that districts that offer sex education “teach respect for marriage and committed relationships.”

    Districts have taken different approaches.

    The Los Angeles Unified School District offers ninth-graders a “Life Skills” class that deals with a variety of issues, including personal identity and relationships. A district spokeswoman said marriage is not a specific part of that curriculum but could come up as part of classroom discussion.

    In Fresno, meanwhile, district policy is that teachers do not address the subject of gay marriage in the classroom; students who ask about it are told to raise the issue with their families, according to district officials.

    So, to recap, it turns out that

    a) Each district has quite a lot of flexibility in how it presents the issue of same-sex marriages, including simply saying “ask your parents,” and this could have been something you probably could have dealt with on the level of the school district;

    b) Since the law specifies “marriage and committed relationships,” unless you’re planning to outlaw gays and lesbians in the State of California from having committed relationships too, your kid will still be learning pretty much the same thing anyway.

    So, yes, in fact, you’ve accomplished nothing, save for destroying 18,000 marriages so you wouldn’t have to be slightly inconvenienced by doing a little extra proactive parenting and talking with your local school board. Well done, sir. Well done, indeed.

    Peter, I’m really sorry that you’re a bigot, and even more sorry that you’re an unrepentant bigot, and yet sorrier still that your church actively encourages you to be a bigot, because bigotry is without question a massively unchristian thing. But what I’m even more sorry for is that 36,000 innocent people had to have their lives and marriages torn apart because you just couldn’t keep your bigotry to yourself and had to inflict it on them. They didn’t do anything to deserve your hateful, shameful act.

    I don’t hate you, Peter. I do pity you.

  163. It codifies the traditional dictionary definition of marriage that has been used by our society for centuries and by previous non-Christian civilizations from which our society is descended.

    No, Peter, it actually doesn’t – setting aside your amusing juxtaposition of the rather recent invention of the dictionary with “previous non-Christian civilizations”. You apparently don’t understand how radically we’ve changed marriage in just the last few decades. Women having the same rights as men? Marital rape being a crime? Adultery perfectly legal? Wives owning property in their own name? Both men and women equally able to obtain divorce, and without having to prove the other spouse is evil? All of these are thoroughly modern developments that would have shocked our ancestors.

    Now, I’m quite sure than many Prop 8 supporters would in fact like to roll the clock back on these things. Just noting that you need not to throw terms like “traditional marriage” around sloppily, or people might assume that you yearn for the days when you had the lawful right to use force to obtain your “rights as a husband” if you felt it necessary.

  164. “But should an in-private-business Christian wedding photographer for whom the sanctity of heterosexual marriage is part of her core value system be forced to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony?”

    This is interesting… I hadn’t heard that Prop 8 was going to force people in private businesses to work at homosexual marriage ceremonies. I’m starting to wonder how badly Prop 8 was worded!
    *goes off to look it up*

  165. Are you appalled by the recent court decisions against people who have chosen for religious reasons not to serve homosexuals in areas where they feel religious matters are essential?

    Please name even one of these court decisions, Peter.

    If you’re feeling despised, it’s probably less because of your religious convictions and more because a) you’re lying and b) you’re willing to sacrifice the rights of thousands of people because you have a crazy view that doing so will insure your daughter’s grown up straight.

  166. “It codifies the traditional dictionary definition of marriage that has been used by our society for centuries and by previous non-Christian civilizations from which our society is descended.”

    Actually, same-sex marriage as a legal institution predates marriage of any type as a religious institution by at least a couple centuries. The church is the newcomer to the institution of marriage, not the state. If a church wishes to disallow same-sex marriage, that’s just fine and dandy. There is no reasonable secular argument (and in this country, a secular argument is mandatory) for the state to make a similar prohibition.

  167. mythago @191: I was discussing this on a different thread, and pointed at this NPR article: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340, which mentions a court case involving a public pavilion owned by a Methodist church in New Jersey where they were required to make it available for a civil-union ceremony on grounds that it was a public accomodation rather than a private venue (it was the sort of place normally rented out to whoever wants to use it for a concert or whatever, not a church sanctuary), and a case where a wedding photographer was sued over having a policy of refusing to photograph same-sex weddings.

    While none of these are directly related to same-sex marriage (I am reasonably sure the second was also a case of a civil union), it seems pretty clear to me that same-sex marriage is a significant foundation stone on which a lot more anti-discriminiation laws along those lines will be built.

    Personally, I see that as a good thing, but I can see how others wouldn’t.

  168. Correction to 193: I meant to say that I _was_ pointed at that NPR article. By a thoughtful woman who was arguing the other side of the issue.

  169. Actually, having reread the article — the wedding photographer case wasn’t even a civil union; it was a not-legally-binding commitment ceremony.

    Some others the article mentions: “Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its married dormitory. A Christian school has been sued for expelling two allegedly lesbian students. Catholic Charities abandoned its adoption service in Massachusetts after it was told to place children with same-sex couples. The same happened with a private company operating in California. A psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel a lesbian couple lost her case, and legal experts believe that a doctor who refused to provide IVF services to a lesbian woman is about to lose his pending case before the California Supreme Court.”

  170. As much as I want to think that those are perfectly legitimate examples one could use to effectively argue against same-sex marriage (I pride myself in being able to see both side of the issue), most just seem to be outright discrimination against people for being homosexual.
    But thanks for the link.
    As for my research, from what I could find, there was nothing anywhere that said a photographer would be legally forced to work at homosexual ceremonies. And even if there were, I don’t think they would want a homophobic photographer documenting their special day!!!

  171. @183 …As to the 14th amendment transferring applicability of the Bill of Rights to the states, I can see where “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” could be interpreted that way, but it could also be interpreted more limitedly…

    Yes, you could read it that way, but the courts have been completely consistent (at least in the past century, I don’t know about immediately post-Civil War) about reading it as was originally said: the 14th amendment caused all the constraints on Congress in the first 10 amendments to also apply to state legislatures — and state constitutions.

  172. Aside from other concerns, this is perhaps a time to be very, very grateful indeed for the system of federalism. There are fifty states– surely one can be found where you can enjoy the company of fellow citizens of like mind on the issues most important to you no matter what your views.

  173. Brooks – so, again, there is no case, anywhere, ever, where a church was forced to marry people against the tenets of its religion. The article you linked to mentions no such case.

    In the case of the Methodist church, please note that they had a super special tax exemption for the pavilion area, which they got because they were making its use open to everyone. When the definition of “everyone” was narrowed, the tax exemption was revoked. They were not forced to open the pavilion to same-sex couples; they just didn’t get to keep their government freebies if they didn’t.

    This wouldn’t be controversial at all if these churches were narrowing their public accomodations based on race. We’d all be outraged at a photographer who said “I don’t photograph interracial couples,” or a dormitory that only allowed cohabiting couples to live together if they were of the same race.

  174. @Mythago- On the other hand, society at large does seem to draw lines based on gender that it rejects based on race or other criteria.
    For example, separate black and white restrooms would draw outcry, but separate male and female ones do not.

  175. sam:

    I can’t even begin to really articulate all the things wrong with what you wrote.

    A couple points however.

    First, Obama is technically the most literal definition of African American one can find. One of his parents is an American Citizen, the other is literally from Africa. This would make him, essentially, African American.

    Second, you’re more than implying that someone who has African heritage and attended college.and/or raised by ‘white folk’ is in fact, less “black” than someone with the same (or possibly more diluted) heritage who has not attended college/and/or is a felon. Think, for a moment, what that says about how you present your view of what “black” is here…

    My little sister is 6 months pregnant with my soon to be niece. Her biological parents (she, like everyone else in my family was adopted as an infant) are French (Caucasian) and African respectively, so I guess technically she’s not “black” in your mind, though I wouldn’t try saying that to her face. Did Obama being so called “half white” ( pray tell, which half is white and which half black when you look at him? Upper? Lower? Is he parti-colored like a Harlequin?), anyway, did Obama being not a felon, not from a ‘ghetto’ and not born of two Kenyan parents prevent my sister from calling me totally excited when he won? Of course not.
    You know what she said? “My daughter is going to be born during the first black presidency of the US. She’s never going to know a time when an African American couldn’t become president.” My sister was crying.

    (Of course, she’s college educated (accounting), and grew up on a sheep farm, so what does she know about ‘true black’ anyway. Maybe her choosing to have a baby out of wedlock *gasp* will make her sufficiently ‘black’ for you)

    I guess you just illustrate, Sam, how bigotry comes in so many weird forms. Sigh.

  176. Peter @141, thank you for explaining your position. Now, let’s suppose a new contitutional amendment were passed forbidding the use of electricity.

    This law is passed with heavy Amish support, because they don’t want their children to have the temptation of existing in a world with electricity, and it would disappoint their parents to deal with their childrens’ electricity usage.

    Were that the case, would it be right for the Amish to force no electricity usage down people’s throats?

    The only thread that seperates your argument and the ‘Amish no electricity’ argument is that the Amish would never push for such a measure.

  177. John,

    Not sure if you subscribe to the WSJ, but reading their op-ed columns ususally engage both acid reflux and the bitch, please reflex every time. According to the recent WSJ pieces Bush called for unity in 2004, has passed a bunch of legislation dubbed “democratic” and has struggled to be centrist but those gosh darned politicians just wouldn’t let him. Oh yes and we should stop showing him such disrespect by naming sewage plants after him.
    Personally I agree on that one — we need to start naming landfills and prisons after him; there are a lot more of those.

  178. Peter Ahlstrom @186:

    Yes, I’m pretty sure we met at least once, at your folks’ house, when I was there visiting B & B. I regret to say that I’ve fallen out of touch with them over the last few years, since I moved to Cleveland for undergrad, and now Boston for grad school. B the younger being in Utah now certainly won’t make it easier to reconnect, but… perhaps it’s high time to make the attempt…

    Zack @197:

    From the end of my paragraph that you quote, I quote myself: “It wouldn’t surprise me if the courts have accepted the broader interpretation, though.” So, I remain unsurprised at the courts’ broader interpretation. Surprised or no, the federalist in me is deeply uncertain whether this has resulted in net good or net ill… certainly, it made sure that bans on slavery on the national level had to be respected by all states, and that’s an entirely valuable function. But it weakens the states’ ability to resist being overridden by national legislation and/or judicial decisions in less-clear-cut matters.

    mythago @199:

    I have to call a quick “BS” on you here. Back @191, you challenged Peter to cite court decisions where the judgments went against people of faith who refused perform a commercial service to the benefit of a homosexual couple. Brooks @193-195 provides such examples. You then finessed your rebuttal, implying that you’d challenged Peter to provide citations of cases where churches were forced to marry a homosexual couple. Your new point is valid, as I know of no church that has been so coerced and no evidence of such has been presented; however, it is disingenuous to imply that Peter & Brooks have not aptly responded to your original challenge.

    The situation with the special tax exemption is well noted, and seems to make good sense. However, the other examples (of which the exit of Catholic Charities in MA from the adoption arena is one that I knew of personally) still answer you well, as far as I can tell.

  179. David:

    “According to the recent WSJ pieces Bush called for unity in 2004, has passed a bunch of legislation dubbed ‘democratic’ and has struggled to be centrist but those gosh darned politicians just wouldn’t let him.”

    Yes, I got a giggle out of that.

    I’ve long known WSJ editorials come out of an alternate universe, so they don’t actually cause me pain. I just wonder what the weather is like there.

  180. Richard @204:

    Were that the case, would it be right for the Amish to force no electricity usage down people’s throats?

    Simply put, yes. If they decided the issue were important enough (and I agree it’s highly unlikely they would, which makes this a rather silly counterexample to use) and were able to achieve the necessary majorities in Congress and the States, then by the structure of our system the amendment should be passed into law. (Or, in the case of OH, for example, I guess they’d just have to have enough signatures to get it on the ballot, and then a plurality of votes to get it into the state Constitution?)

    Totally not going to happen, but if it did, and it passed through the full process, then yes, I think it would be right for it to have happened. I really wouldn’t like it, but I would choose to accept it. (And then go into abject, sucking Internet withdrawal. ;-)

  181. Brian Skinn @206 – I’m not familiar with the other stories, but the Catholic Charities one is a bad example.

    Catholic Charities was handling adoptions for the state as one of a set of outsourcing clients. If you’re taking state money for a state purpose, you have to play by the state’s rules. Remember what I said about the problems in mixing the streams?

    Several members of the board resigned – but not because they were objecting to placing children with same-sex couples, but because they objected to the Catholic hierarchy forcing Catholic Charities to get out of the adoption business in MA.

    “The course the Bishops have charted threatens the very essence of our Christian mission. For the sake of the poor we serve, we pray they will reconsider.”

    If you or your religion feels that banning gay marriage and keeping loving gay families from adopting kids is more important than serving the poor, you’ve failed at Christianity.

  182. Fungi @209:

    Indeed, that makes it very murky, when gov’t contracts out to a private entity. I’m with you, the CC case is a bad example for the particular argument in this thread, but it seems like it’s potentially an instructive case in a broader sense? At the very least, it pokes at some very tender joints in the law.

    Point to ponder… is the government the best entity for handling adoptions, rather than having the entire process take place under the aegis of local, non-profit, private organizations? I don’t know enough about the process/history to say one way or the other, I’m just throwing that out there.

    If you or your religion feels that banning gay marriage and keeping loving gay families from adopting kids is more important than serving the poor, you’ve failed at Christianity.

    If a person genuinely believes that the long-term harm to a child of being placed with same-sex adoptive parents is greater than the harm of remaining in the adoption/foster system, then I don’t see that as being inconsistent with acting in good faith (‘faith’ in multiple senses). They may, of course, be grossly mistaken in their calculus of harm, and should be open to argument from those who disagree!

  183. Peter, what specific rights are you *not* in favor of granting same sex couples, nationwide? Please be sure to provide sources for your list of rights, and an explanation why couples who have XX and XY chromosomes get them, and couples who have XX and XX or XY and XY don’t.

    Or is it just the government using the name “marriage” to refer to these contracts because somehow it might turn your daughter gay to have the option of using that word with a hypothetical lesbian lover?

    Do you realize how petty it sounds that you feel it justified to destroy real marriages just to protect your daughter form using a word in a hypothetical situation to refer to a civil union you’d be willing to grant her? And that the most important part is that the state not use that word.

    Apparently, they can do everything else, just not use that word. Separate but equal? I might go for that. When can we have civil unions that are in all ways identical to marriages in a nationwide sense? Give that to us, and we’ll try it and see if that’s enough. We’ll have the exact same thing, but the government won’t use the word “marriage”. Just as soon as I can take a CA civil union to AL and get it recognized, with the full amount of right’s you’d get from moving a heterosexual marriage, I’ll sign on for a test run.

  184. Brian@183: How do you resolve the dispute when your definition of ‘equal’ and ‘free’ differs from that of your neighbor?

    I tend to focus on defining the terms in objective measurable ways. I already pointed out the bullshit around people using “harm” to describe gay marriage. No one is harmed by gay marriage. Some people are offended, but that’s not the same as harm.

    You haven’t shown how gay marriages HARM you or anyone else in any measurable way.

    On the other hand, I cna point to all sorts of real world harm done to gay people by having legally recognized marriage denied them. all the real world effects that come from not being recognized by employee benefit plans for one. All the real world benefits that come from not having legal recognition around inheritance laws, power of attorney laws, end of life decisions, these all are manifestations of real world harm.

    WHat definition of harm are you using? Something measurable or something vacuous?

    Again, one must fall back to the system of selecting the predominantly held moral preference and accept how it applies … I’ll readily grant that sometimes the majority is in favor of something that is abhorrent

    The problem is that you’re not willing to readily grant that sometimes YOU might be in favor of something abhorrent, and that you’re not willing to admit that you might be doing that right now.

    Instead, you’re hiding behind the process. You’re saying that if it passes the process, it must be OK. Sure, sometimes bad things happen, but certainly this isn’t one of those times. The process is the key, you say, to defining what morals will be implemented in law. The process is the only thing, you say. How else can we resolve a dispute when we disagree on morals, you ask, other than to fall back to the process?

    Tell me something, when working your way through the process, is process king? Or is harm king? If you follow the process and manage to get some constitutional right banished, and you end up causing real world harm to someone because of that, how do you respond to that?

    Do you throw up your hands and say “the process is what the process is”? Or do you acknowledge that your use of the process allowed you to cause someone else real world harm?

    How do you resolve your disputes when you dont’ agree with your neighbors? Do you (A) establish a process and whatever result you can produce by that process you declare to be fair. Or (B) establish a process but make your final goal a function of causing the least harm to yourself and others, regardless of what that process might allow?

    Which do you choose? So far, you’ve been indirectly advocating for (A). If that isn’t what you stand for, then you need to clearly state as much and then start acting in accordance.

  185. If a person genuinely believes that the long-term harm to a child

    Another gaseous use of the word harm.

    And invoking “for the sake of the children” on top of it.

    the emotive pleading trying to subdue the objective is mind boggling.

  186. Greg @212 & 213:

    I unfortunately don’t have time right now to formulate a response – some stuff I have to get done today. I will respond either tonight or tomorrow night, as I’m able.

  187. Abolishing same sex marriage, on the other hand, certainly violates rights granted to same sex couples by the CA Constitution (which is why it’ll be overturned).

    Prop 8 tried to revise the CA constitution to override CA’s grants of Equal Protection, Privacy, and Due Process. Check out the legal analysis here

  188. To Sub-Odeon #123:

    With all due respect, how do you figure that the LDS church has a right to force its beliefs into law so that people who do not hold the same beliefs in an area where reasonable people differ must be bound by them?

    Isn’t that very much akin to choosing Lucifer’s plan to force everyone into believing in and following Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation rather than choosing – as LDS doctrine teaches, or did when I was in the church – Jesus’ plan that includes the free agency to follow that set of rules or not?

    It isn’t as if allowing same-sex marriages forces anyone who does not approve of them to engage in such a marriage. Nor, contrary to statements from the pro-Prop 8 side, did the California Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages force any clergy or church which does not accept them to perform such marriages. Churches and individual clergy refuse to perform marriages all the time based on all sorts of criteria, and I haven’t seen any great rush to the courtroom to make them perform the ceremonies.

    It seems to me that by forcing their beliefs into law, the LDS church is violating their own belief that their Heavenly Father chose to give his children free agency. You said, Sub-Odeon, that “We just believe we’re sticking to God’s plan…” And that is fine. You have the right to stick to any plan you believe in. But to force those who don’t believe in that plan to live their lives by it anyway in respect to issues that do not infringe on anyone else’s free agency is, as I see it, a violation of that plan.

    As I see it, the LDS church working to ban same-sex marriages because they offend God would be like the church trying to ban the sales of coffee and tea because the Word of Wisdom does not approve of their consumption. That’s fine for those who accept the Word of Wisdom, but it would be a violation of the rights of those who do not accept that God disapproves of those substances to exercise their free agency and consume them.

    This is not to put the right of people to enter into same-sex marriages on the same trivial footing with choosing what to drink, but to illustrate my belief that a choice to drink coffee or tea has about the same impact on those who choose not to drink those beverages as same-sex marriage has on those who choose not to enter them. That is to say, no effect at all.

  189. you challenged Peter to cite court decisions where the judgments went against people of faith who refused perform a commercial service to the benefit of a homosexual couple.

    Now it’s my turn to call bullshit. Peter nebulously bewailed the government picking on “people who have chosen for religious reasons not to serve homosexuals in areas where they feel religious matters are essential”. I don’t see the phrase “commercial service” in there anywhere, do you?

    What you and Peter are talking about are situations where churches have tried to have it both ways – to act in the secular business world, but claiming they don’t have to follow the rules that apply to secular businesses. None of this is in any way relevant to Proposition 8, because laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation already exist in California, and will continue to exist.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, one of the scare tactics used in the Prop 8 campaign was the lie that it would require religious institutions to perform same-sex marriages. Peter, and others, have either openly said or hinted that there are court cases where churches have been forced to do religious (not secular, business) things in violation of their beliefs, and thus precedent exists for this. I have never seen nor heard of any case where this actually happened, nor has any anti-same-sex marriage advocate ever pointed me to such a case.

  190. Peter 186:

    I’ve been sitting here trying to think what to say to you. I find I’m unable to reply to you civilly. You believe that the majority (or even a minority with money) has the right to crush the dreams of the minority and take away their rights, just for convenience. Just so you won’t have to be as involved a parent. (You have the “choice” delusion about homosexuality, of course, because if you didn’t maintain that you couldn’t be quite so self-righteous.)

    There’s nothing I can say to that. John, at 187, speaks for me, except for his last line.

    Richard 204: Yes, the Amish are civilized that way. Without reading down any further, I predict that Peter would say that if the Amish had the numbers or the money they should feel free to push such an agenda. As for me, I’m not buying Morton salt ever again.

    Brian 208: Note to self: Brian is just Peter Ahlstrom in another Skinn. And I did write the above before reading this comment.

    Fungi 209: If you or your religion feels that banning gay marriage and keeping loving gay families from adopting kids is more important than serving the poor, you’ve failed at Christianity.

    Indeed, I’ve heard many people (including some Mormons!) say that despite its name the CJCLDS isn’t really a Christian church at all. Certainly the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t think so (a friend of mine who converted from LDS to RCC had a query sent on her behalf to Rome, since they have somewhat different rules for previously-baptized people; it came back with instructions to treat her as a “virtuous heathen,” meaning Mormon baptism doesn’t count as a Christian baptism at all). Not a Christian myself, so I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing, though I do wish they’d be honest about it.

    Greg 212, 213: Something you appear (either rhetorically or actually) not to understand: Brian and Peter really DO NOT CARE AT ALL who else they hurt, as long as they get their way, and have the convenience of not having to “defend” their children against the “temptation” of homosexuality. Or perhaps I overstate the case: their tiny convenience is rated much, much higher than the real harm they’re willing to cause to gay and Lesbian people. Perhaps it’s only the GLBT population whose suffering and economic exploitation they’re indifferent to.

    Hmm. I’m uncertain which interpretation is more charitable. If they don’t care who they hurt at all as long as they get their way, they’re entirely selfish, vile monsters who don’t deserve the time of day. If they’re only indifferent to the sufferings of the LGBT community, than that by definition makes them vile, disgusting homophobes who don’t deserve the time of day.

  191. Elaine 216: Thank you. I wanted to bring up something like that, but I don’t have the background in Mormon theology to make the points you did.

  192. This entire debate about same-sex marriage infuriates me. And here is the reason why.

    I don’t care what you call it. In my opinion, it is obvious that there is a need in the modern world for a way to legally confer responsibilities and privileges equivalent to marriage to two persons who want to create that bond. Why can we not invent a civil/legal contract to address this need? One that also confers social recognition and removes any stigma associated with such a bond, regardless of the reasons the two persons have to make such a bond.

    One of the keys to making this type of civil entity work is the legal RESPONSIBILITIES it confers. Rights/privileges are always accompanied by responsibilities, although we often lose sight of that. It needs to be just as binding as marriage and, in both cases, the responsibilities need to be honored. Where children and property are concerned, both parties must have significant responsibilities that neither can just walk out on.

    There are many situations besides same-sex marriage that would be addressed by this type of legal bond.
    For example, my 32-year-old daughter is legally disabled and lives with me. She does not have a child, but if she did, we should be able to enter into this kind of bond for the protection of that child.

    An excellent example of this type of bond can be found in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover novels.

    That’s my two cents.

  193. Xopher, I think you may be misreading Peter Ahlstrom somewhat. My reading of his 141 is that he at least acknowledges an innate component of homosexuality, but his god only forbids the “act of homosexuality”. (I thought that was musical theater.)

    So, if his daughter is born with a sexual preference toward women, his god demands that she live a potentially miserable life suppressing that desire and embracing heterosexuality. This isn’t “homosexuality is a choice”, this is “homosexuality is a disease which some people must struggle against”. And to the extent that society undermines that message, he is concerned about the potential to undermine his daughter’s afterlife.

    This doesn’t end at gay marriage, though. This goes all the way through civil unions back into the closet and thence to criminalization. And as has been pointed out, if you want to keep them down on the farm, there are an infinite number of Parisian monkeys typing alternative lifestyles. Better ban them all.

    I think there’s a koan in here someplace. “If buddhism is outlawed…”

  194. There are some ways to achieve most of that, Christine. They require a lot of attorney time, and are much more expensive than the comprehensive package you get for a marriage license.

    Doesn’t affect your case, but marriage is actually a contract that binds the sexual behavior of the signatories. A married person can sue for divorce on the grounds that there’s no sex in the marriage. You can’t oblige yourself to have sex with someone in any other type of contract; I hope mythago will correct me if I’m wrong when I say that all other contracts that attempt to do so are illegal.

  195. Xopher@218: Something you appear … not to understand: Brian and Peter really DO NOT CARE AT ALL who else they hurt

    But most bigots can’t come out and say that to us or even to themselves. And so they have to disassociate themselves from the immediate and direct harm they cause. Most people, even bigots, want to think they’re good.

    So, how can someone be a bigot and convince themselves they are “good” at the same time? By erecting linguistic constructs that isolates them from the real world effects of their actions.

    The psychological term is disassociate.

    This is why “harm” and other similar plays ALWAYS get twisted by the bigots. They can’t point to any real world harm, so they shift the meaning of the word until it is vague enough that simply “being gay” suddenly is something that “harms” people even hundreds of miles away.

    This is why Brian shifted his position in 183 so that it’s no longer about whether something causes harm or not to determine whether it is moral. If there is a moral dispute between two poeple or groups, “one must fall back to the system”. And if the system just happens to produce a harmful (real world harm) result, oh well, the system is what it is.

    This is why some bigots invoke “for the sake of the children” argument. A bigot can’t simply say “please outlaw gay marriages, for my sake”. They have to disassociate themselves from their own drive. Suddenly, children become these fragile creatures who will explode at the sight of a gay man wearing a wedding band.

    What that indicates is that some bigots care enough that they’re hurting people that they need to wrap their actions up in something nice or put a righteous curtain up so they don’t have to look at it. Make gays out to be the devil incarnate. what I’ve seen here so far in terms of disassociative behavior includes:

    (1) word games with “harm”.

    (2) its just an outcome of the system to settle moral disputes. Hey, I didn’t create the system. I’m just trying to do what I think is right. You can’t hold that against me.

    (3) The children will explode. Think of the poor exploding children.

    Notice all three of these disassociate the person casting the vote to outlaw gay marriage from the real world effects of their actions.

    Some bigots really don’t care if they hurt people or not.

    But some people want to do the right thing and have a messed up notion of “right”. If they want to do right and if I can get them to see that their definition of “right” needs updating, then maybe they’ll shift their position.

    If they’re more interested in holding their definition of right, if they’re more interested in the fantasy they’ve created in their minds, the linguistic constructs that cast them as “good” people who fight “evil” and that they never cause any “harm”, then, well, I don’t know what to do.

    Not everyone wants to look at themselves in the unadulterated light of reality. Language allows people to lie to themselves to the point they don’t know they’re lying to themselves. And that can make introspection impossible.

  196. Fungi 221: So, if his daughter is born with a sexual preference toward women, his god demands that she live a potentially miserable life suppressing that desire and embracing heterosexuality.

    So he’s indifferent to the (potential) suffering of his own daughter too. OK.

    All I’ve got to say is if a god demands that some people choose to live in misery in order to get to heaven (or to the “highest level of the Celestial Kingdom”), while others have an easier road, that god is evil, and even if it exists should not be worshipped.

  197. Xopher, I wouldn’t say “indifferent”. I would say more that he balances future suffering in the afterlife ahead of suffering in this life.

    The question of “If this god is as advertised, is it worthy of worship?” is one that should get more discussion.

  198. Ya know, everybody seems to be taking this as a bigotry thing (it is but…) and misses the obvious angle that should get it kicked off the constitution.

    This is a clear case of the state mixing in religion. I mean he state dabbles in religion already more than I like but now it’s been codified.

    I mean do we really need the religious (several, mostly christian but not all) definition of marriage crammed into our state constitution. All the state should be able to say is “Hey, only two people to a marriage ok”
    and that’s about it. I’d even buck that because it contravenes at least two religions that I know of both of which are major and neither of which is Mormonism.

    But hey I’m not a lawyer or even a constitutional lawyer what do I know.

  199. Fungi 226: Xopher, I wouldn’t say “indifferent”. I would say more that he balances future suffering in the afterlife ahead of suffering in this life.

    Not even suffering, Fungi. One of the good things about LDS is that they don’t condemn other religions to endless burning pain, like some. They have three levels of heaven (and the Outer Darkness, but the number of people there is very small…like on the order of a dozen in all of human history). So it’s like pretty nice, very nice, and spectacular (as in you get to be God (if you’re male) or Mrs. God (if you’re female) – though of course wanting to be God of your own little world is only desirable if you’re a power-mad egomaniac like Joseph Smith).

    So it’s worse than you think. He thinks it’s worth causing great suffering in the here and now to slightly (since most people really are heterosexual, hello) improve his daughter’s chances of being Mrs. God in her own world, as opposed to going to a nice ordinary heaven. It’s not even that he thinks he’s saving her from Hell. Just the #3 heaven.

    You and I, btw (assuming you were not baptized a Mormon) get to go to the #2 heaven, unless some well-meaning Mormon jackhole baptizes us by proxy after our deaths (the most obnoxiously disrespectful of the CJCLDS’s actual religious practices).* It’s only because his daughter (supposing she grows up Lesbian and doesn’t decide to live in misery as the CJCLDS and he want her to) would be a Mormon who strayed from the path that she gets relegated to the #3 heaven.

    Elaine, please correct any of the above that is factually incorrect.

    As for the question of god worthy of worship, and not, you’re right, hardly anyone considers that point. Certainly the sort of people who think “Godfearing” is a compliment do not, or they’re just such spiritual cowards that they assume that OF COURSE you go along with whatever Der Führer says.

    I once wrote a long diatribe (in response to the question “what would you say to God on Judgement Day if it turns out you’re wrong and the fundies are right?”) explaining that I HOPE I would have the courage to say “I did not believe the Bible was your Word, because you sent fool, liars, and madmen to tell me it was” and “if you are the kind of God who would send people to Hell for not believing when all the evidence You provided was against it, send me there at once: I would rather be in Hell for eternity than spend one more minute in Heaven with you, o cruel and evil God.”

    Myself, I pretty much believe in more or less the same universe that the most strident atheists believe in—but I choose to regard it with an attitude of worship, and hold it to be divine. Mathematics is the language of creation, and the laws of physics are the thoughts in the mind of God.

    *I do believe I will save my dying-breath curse for anyone who would do that to me.

  200. Xopher 180 – cute, i guess you showed me – at least i’m semi-coherent – thankyou all mighty one.

  201. @ FungifromYuggoth– I think the general question of whether to worship an omnipotent yet evil diety comes down to this– assuming such a being exists, is suffering inimaginable torment for all eternity a price you’re willing to pay for taking a moral stand?

  202. Unless your thesis is that the Senate Democrats are part of the hard right, the claim that Bush governed from the hard right is ludicrous.

    USA PATRIOT Act? Support from the majority of Democratic senators. Same on the re-authorization.

    War in Afghanistan? Support from the majority of Democratic senators.

    Iraq use-of-force resolution? Support from the majority of Democratic senators.

    No Child Left Behind? Have we seen a pattern yet?

    Granted, the Medicare prescription drug benefit program had strong Democratic opposition. You are invited to explain how creating a massive new entitlement under the Medicare program is “hard right” simply because it didn’t go as far as Democrats wanted.

    Oh, hey, what about that FISA revision Senator Obama signed on to?

    Seriously, claiming Bush was “hard right” is as ludicrous as the right-wing claims that Clinton was “far left”. Reality is calling, and it’s time to pick up the phone.

  203. Cicada, my question is: who’s telling you the deity is omnipotent? It’s the unreliable divine narrator problem. The only way to differentiate propaganda from reality is to test the claims. I decline to believe in the theological no-win situation. If there’s an omnipotent deity, that belief is their fault.

    New Frontiersman, there’s a rather gaping problem in your logic. Sign-on from Democrats to hard-right policies does not magically make a proposal centrist; it makes them cowards or fools.

    I think you’ll also find that a number of the Obama supporters on this board are still upset by his buy-in to FISA. There’s an awful lot of projecting of messiahhood from the right, but I’m pretty sure that the State Department isn’t going to be filled with pictures of Obama in a year.

    At any rate, if you feel that the President using secret memos to justify the torture of people (people later determined to be innocent) is not a radical position, I don’t think we have any common reality to talk across. I can understand if you want to disavow Bush’s credentials as being on the ‘right’, but reality says he’s the end result of Republican governance. That phone call? It’s for you.

  204. Xopher #228…Sounds about right.

    The LDS church does preach three degrees of glory (which some think he got from Swedenborg or somebody) and Outer Darkness. I’ve found, though, that individual LDS will differ wildly on how difficult/easy it is to get sent to Outer Darkness. Some say only those who deny a “sure knowledge” of God and Christ will go there, while others claim that anyone who leaves the church (fair disclosure: that would include myself) will end up there.

    Getting to be a God/Goddess (that would be the principle of Eternal Progression) is also something that has been taught by the LDS church for, well, about as long as there has been an LDS church. Recently, however, the general authorities have backpedaled from that concept. Notably, the previous president/prophet of the church, Gordon Hinckley, once very spectacularly said in an interview on Larry King’s show that “I don’t know that we teach that” when asked about the long-used saying in the church that “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” I don’t know how the current president/prophet feels about it.

    And, yes, the church practices baptism for the dead, an ordinance that I personally found very creepy when I participated in it as a teenager. That practice is why the LDS are so adamant about church members doing their geneaology (which is spelled wrong, I think; it is very early in the morning); the goal is to submit as many names as possible to be baptized posthumously.

  205. New Frontiersman: Have we seen a pattern yet?

    uh, yeah. Before the election, every right winger out there was chanting the mantra that Obama was the most liberal person in the senate. Now that Obama’s won, the right are trying to claim he’s really more center or center right. Karl Rove just spewed some nonsense to that effect just yesterday.

    Why are they doing that? Probably because they’re trying to somehow save face when their man lost the election miserably. They’re trying to say that it’s OK that Obama won because he’s really center-right like us. Yeah, he’s just like us. Except he won the election, not our guy. Er, right.

    So, now you’re claiming obama is center or center right. That the whole senate is center or center right.

    And I just have to ask: Did you object to the repubs calling Obama the most liberal man in the senate when that was their mode of attack before the election? OR did you go along with it?

    Because if you went along with it, you supported it. and if you supported the accusation that Obama was the most liberal man in the senate, but now you’re supporting the idea that he’s center or center right, well, the word is hypocrite.

  206. Brian–I think Zack covered it, but to clarify: the interpretation that the 14th Amendment applies the Bill Of Rights to the states has been the law of the land for more than a century. Yes, one could read the Amendment differently, but that’s not how the SCOTUS has ever read it, which makes other interpretations alternate history or prospective new law (and in the latter case, if you were to go before the SCOTUS and argue that the previous century-plus of SCOTUS caselaw should be discarded, I suspect even Justice Scalia would laugh at you, sorry).

    (For whatever it’s worth, IAAL, if that matters. :-) )

  207. Oh, yeah, and this:

    Iraq use-of-force resolution? Support from the majority of Democratic senators.

    This is always fun to point to without any context of history. In October of 2002, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld were busy furiously baking false intelligence and feeding it to the world, including the senate.

    In September of 2002, Cheney and Scooter Libby make about 10 trips to CIA headquarters, where they personally questioned analysts. To some in the CIA, it looked like the vice president himself was determined to control the content of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). One former CIA officer tells PBS, “I was at the CIA for 24 years. The only time a Vice President came to the CIA building was for a ceremony, to cut a ribbon, to stand on the stage. But not to harangue analysts about finished intelligence.”

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/etc/script.html

    the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is sent to Congress days before lawmakers voted to authorize use of military force against Saddam. The NIE report states with “high confidence” that Iraq “has now established large-scale, redundant and concealed BW agent production capabilities.” It said “all key aspects” of Iraq’s offensive BW program “are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.”

    http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/iraq-wmd.html

    Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the neocons LIED us into a war with Iraq. They went so far as to LIE to the entire US Senate, telling them they had intelligence that they didn’t. And then hiding all the lies behind “top secret” stamps.

  208. Greg London #238–

    I think we need just a little more historical context here.

    Cheney et al. lied– sorry, LIED. But by the time they cooked the NIE and browbeat Colin Powell into supporting their WMD claims, it was transparently clear that they wanted war with Saddam Hussein, and would say or do anything to get it. They may have LIED, but anyone who’d been keeping up with current events knew that they weren’t above LYING to get what they wanted.

    The D’s didn’t support the use-of-force resolution because they were convinced by the LIES of the neocons. Rather, they remembered what happened the last time we went to war with Saddam Hussein. The Gulf War was a smash hit with the American public, Bush the Elder basked in approval ratings of around 98%, and the politicos who’d opposed it found themselves cast into the outer darkness to wail and gnash their political teeth.

    A substantial number of the D’s, including the junior senator from NY, were too craven to run that risk. The resolution they passed let them have it both ways. If the war was a success, they were on record as having supported it. And if it went poorly, or if no evidence of WMD’s was found, they could claim that the authorization was conditional, and that the were shocked– shocked!– that Bush the Lesser would abuse his discretionary powers in such a way.

    It’s true that the neocons LIED. But that in no way excuses the D’s who pretended to believe the LIES in order to protect their own political flanks.

  209. You know, I have some sympathy with the LDS, because my church is “socially active” and keeps getting told “you keep to the spiritual essences, and let us keep with the running the world.” And my church petitions its members for money to aid their arguments in public, and occasionally gets stuff done. I can’t approve of that and disapprove of the LDS doing the same thing, even if I happen to strongly disapprove of the causes it puts that money to.

    Of course, it’s the right wing in my country that keeps telling the United Church of Canada that they should “keep to taking care of their flock and stay out of politics”, because we were marrying any couples of age who wished to be married (and, in my particular church, were willing to wait a year, as it’s a popular place for a wedding); having female ministers; imploring the government to deal sanely with those who fell through the cracks in the working world, or got scammed by the big banks and their previous corrupt governments; or…

    But having said that, the LDS is wrong on this one. From 130, “My sealing in the LDS temple is what joins my wife and I — beyond state documents and laws, beyond even the boundaries of flesh and mortality. The state can take away or ban whatever it wants, and I feel secure knowing my eternal union with my spouse can’t be touched.” Well, M. and W.’s ceremony in the sanctuary of my church is what joins them – beyond state documents and laws, … If that’s the important thing, and what the state says is not going to affect you, or your compatriots, why the push to have the state refuse to recognize M. and W.’s marriage? Why does it matter?

    And from 141, the whole train of thought, but encapsulated in “If my daughter does the same thing, I won’t be perfectly OK with it because I’ll know her decision will keep her out of the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. Sure, I’ll want her to be happy, but I’d prefer her to be happy in a way that does not keep her out of the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom.”, and that in order to help ensure this, we’ll make it illegal to marry someone of the same sex. Okay, when the LDS sponsors a constitutional amendment to ban the porn industry, so your daughter doesn’t have the temptation to do extra-marital sex for cash, and gets its members to donate $2e6 for air time, or to enforce the adultery or sodomy laws (or reintroduce them – I don’t know their status in CA, just in .ca), come back and talk to me. Without that, it has nothing to do with your daughter and everything to do with “gayz iz icky and I don’t want them to have the status I do, in the Real World and not just in the LDS.”

    And to anyone who brings up the “we’ll have to teach it in school because it’s legal”, there’s lots of things that are legal and wrong, and there’s nothing that says you can’t say that. Or can Vivid Video force career counselling to teach that the porn industry is just as rewarding a job as chartered accountancy? I don’t see the Catholic or LDS schools having any problems dealing with the fact that it’s *legal* to be a priest/pastor/minister/bishop/elder and a woman – in another faith tradition, for instance.

  210. Porph: It’s true that the neocons LIED.

    Really? It’s true for you now? Was it also true for you back in October 2002? Were you howling at the republican lies to get us into war back then? Or is this a new position for you?

    Because I smell a hypocrite.

    But that in no way excuses the D’s who pretended to believe the LIES

    Lady’s and gentlemen of the jury, it’s true that my client raped Ms. Jane over there. But that in no way excuses the fact that she was dressed seductively in public.

    Hm. Even if your bullshit story were true, which crime is worse?

    and the reason it’s bullshit is because of this: it hinges on introducing into the democrat senators a fabricated intent that is meant to cause listeners to disregard the basic objective facts. It’s no different than the rape defense that projects some fabricated intent into the victims mind like “she really wanted it” to try and get people to forget the OBJECTIVE FACTS of who committed the actual crime.

    If this is how you think, please stop wasting my time.

  211. hm, that line should be italicized:

    But that in no way excuses the D’s who pretended to believe the LIES

  212. Mycroft W…can I move to Canada and marry you? You’re my hero now.

    Naw, forget it…I’m an ugly old man who as of today walks with a cane. But you are the wind beneath my wings.

    Greg…you already know I think you’re the best, right? Thanks.

  213. [Buries face in hands, sighs heavily] Yes, Greg London #241, it was true for me in October 2002. It was true for me in November 2004, when I walked precincts for the Kerrey campaign. It was true for me in 2006, when I sent a hundred bucks to a Democratic candidate in my district, and rejoiced to see the Republican hold on Congress broken. It hadn’t yet come true in November 2000, when I spent Election Day in a boiler room doing get-out-the-vote calls for the Gore campaign.

    You smell a hypocrite; I smell a raging partisan: one whose theology insists that Republicans, neocons, or whatever you want to call them, are solely responsible for the world’s woes, and who assumes that anyone who dissents from the smallest article of his faith must be just as fanatical for the other side, and deserving of the faggot and the stake.

    And the rape analogy is a pretty sorry one. Here’s a better: The neocons pulled the trigger, but the D’s who voted for the resolution drove the car. When they found themselves busted, they swore that they had no idea…

    Fabricated intent? It was clear to me, thousands of miles from D.C. and reading the local daily and a few news blogs, that Bush et al. were throwing every imaginable charge at Saddam Hussein and hoping that something would stick. They tried proving an al-Quaeda connection, they tried WMD’s, they tried atrocities against Kurds and southern Sunnis… It was very reminiscent of the runup to the Gulf War; all they lacked was another bogus nurse with a tearful account of Republican Guards yanking babies out of incubators.

    Thousands of miles from D.C., my bullshit detector was going off. For the people in the Senate, whose job it is to understand these things, it should’ve been doing likewise. Yet you claim that a hatful of veteran politicos were honestly deceived by the adminstration’s falsehoods.

    Obviously, I don’t have access to documents or recordings in which Democrats declare that they’re going to vote for the resolution despite its flimsy rationale because they’re afraid of getting into hot water if the war proves popular. But I know that the administration’s stories smelled deeply false to me, even at my distance from things; and I know that politicians who oppose popular wars get punished– see, for example, A. Lincoln, whose congressional career foundered on his opposition to the Mexican War. In view of that knowledge, I find it a lot easier to believe that a great many Senate D’s are cowardly self-serving trimmers than that they were wide-eyed innocent victims of evil neoconservative deceivers.

  214. I had a really hard time at first understanding how so many people could vote for Obama and at the same time vote Yes on 8 (and in favor of gay marriage bans in various other states). Now, I think what it demonstrates is that for most people, economic issues trump social issues. Anyone who is an economic liberal and a social conservative had the choice of voting his economic beliefs (Obama–not that McCain is any kind of economic conservative, but he did campaign as one) or his social beliefs (McCain, and especially Palin). On Prop. 8, the same voter could make a social-conservative choice without the economic baggage.

    A couple of notes on the Prop. 8 battle:

    1. I don’t have figures, but I have to believe that the No side outspent the Yes side by a considerable margin. I saw way more No ads on TV than Yes ads. I conclude that gut-level homophobia is more widespread than indicated by this vote.

    2. One of the No ads compared Prop. 8 to various instances of legal discrimination in California history, starting with the Japanese interment camps and working through various Jim Crow-type laws that used to be in force. This makes it highly ironic that the black and Hispanic vote was instrumental in passing 8.

  215. On the off chance anyone was actually waiting for my response, apologies for getting it up here a day late – this week has been ridiculous.

    Lessee, variety of responses here, which first…

    An Eric @237:

    Okeydokey, I was ignorant of that particular point of judicial precedent – thank you for making it quite clear! (And yes, actually, YBAL matters to me – I consider your explanation as being authoritative.) Insofar as the 14th Amendment applies the BoR to the states, please explain… what implication does A-XIV have on whether or not law founded on religious morals is (C/c)onstitutional if it’s properly passed via established processes?

    mythago @217:

    What you and Peter are talking about are situations where churches have tried to have it both ways – to act in the secular business world, but claiming they don’t have to follow the rules that apply to secular businesses.

    Certainly, in such cases the churches should be challenged, and held to the appropriate laws. But what I took Peter to mean, and what I intended to speak to, are cases where religious citizens, or private, for-profit businesses owned/operated by religious citizens, are sued after refusing to provide a service based on an objection of conscience. I believe that a fully private-sector entity (in most cases an individual or a business, either of which excludes most churches) should be permitted to withhold goods or services from anyone they choose, on whatever grounds – that it is not the government’s place to regulate such refusals. (If the refusal is viewed as immoral or objectionable by others, they will punish the individual or company appropriately by choosing not to do business with them.) On the other hand, I have no problem whatsoever with equal rights laws that apply to state-owned or state-operated entities. (Entities that receive state funding or state subsidies are a murky area, and I’d have to look closer at those sorts of cases in order to determine where I stand. This subtopic is much too broad for me to try to address here.)

    Greg @various:

    I have to say, I’m rather amused by your quick leap to the assumption that I must be a knee-jerk, frothing-at-the-mouth, anti-gay bigot. In actuality, I think a lot of religious conservatives get far too worked up over the whole matter. I do, though, think that heterosexual pairings should be given some sort of preferential cultural status over homosexual pairings – on the other hand, identical legal status makes good sense to me, in terms of things like visitation and inheritance rights, etc.

    (Now, anticipating what I expect to be rapidly rising blood pressure on the part of Scalzi or others at my having said that, allow me to present my refinement of the ‘zomg teh gayz can’t haev teh kidz’ argument. Consider a (very much hypothetical) research study where 500 women and 500 men between the ages of 23 and 35 are paired off, male/female, and instructed to copulate, unprotected. The number of resulting pregnancies are recorded. The experiment is then repeated with 1000 men, all paired man/man; and 1000 women, all paired woman/woman. Again, the number of resulting pregnancies are recorded. The first experiment would, I expect, yield a pregnancy rate on the order of 20-30% or so. The second and third, 0% each. (Hermaphroditism or some other biological abnormality could conceivably result in a non-zero pregnancy count for the latter two experiments – I would consider such a result an outlier.) This fundamental biological fact, to my mind, represents a valid starting point, if nothing else, for considering that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships merit distinction from one another on some level. I expect that many reading this will disagree, and I fully anticipate a smackdown of some kind from Scalzi and his Fish O’ Flayin’™.)

    You haven’t shown how gay marriages HARM you or anyone else in any measurable way.

    Granted, though such was actually never my intent. I’m not trying to convince anyone here that they should be against homosexual marriage; just that if the majority votes that it should be banned, then it should be banned. You accuse me of ‘hiding behind the process’ so that I can avoid admitting that I support something that you see as abhorrent. I would argue that having an established process is vital for peacefully deciding what the composition of the law should be when those on conflicting sides of an issue are heavily emotionally involved in its outcome – for example, when one or both sides believe that the stance of the other is ‘abhorrent’. The process we have in the U.S., at its essence, results in laws being decided by how many voices are speaking on either side of a question, regardless of their emotional volume. I far prefer it to a hypothetical system where the side wins that shouts the loudest.

    WHat definition of harm are you using? Something measurable or something vacuous?

    Are ‘measurable’ and ‘vacuous’ antonyms? Must everything of significance be measurable? Please measure for me how much you hate bigots, to three significant figures. Please describe how vacuous love is, since it cannot be measured.

    I’m being snarky here, but I’m doing so to make a point. You’re right… people’s definitions of ‘harm’ all differ to some extent or another. And, when it comes to making law based on perceptions of harm, how do we select which definition is ‘correct’? Should we just go with yours? Okay… but then it’s not democracy, is it?

    I’ll reiterate what I think I said before – every citizen in a democracy must expect to be dissatisfied at times with the outcome of the process, sometimes even quite strongly. But, at least you do get a say in the process, and if you can persuade enough fellow citizens to see things your way, the law can be changed.

    Churchill: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    —-

    John: Thank you for graciously allowing such long comments – I know I’m really wordy, but I prefer to write out my arguments in as detailed a fashion as I can.

  216. Brian 246: I believe that a fully private-sector entity (in most cases an individual or a business, either of which excludes most churches) should be permitted to withhold goods or services from anyone they choose, on whatever grounds – that it is not the government’s place to regulate such refusals.

    You may believe that, but it’s not the law. If a business provides a public accommodation (that is, something generally available to the public), it must be equally available to everyone without regard to the various protected categories. In California, that includes sexual orientation. That means you can’t have a restaurant open to the public and then say “we don’t serve your kind here” when gay people want to eat. It also means you can’t rent out your space for anything EXCEPT a gay wedding.

    If your space is available only for members of your church, you don’t have to let anyone use it for a gay wedding. But if you rent it out, it’s a public accommodation and you’re subject to the laws that govern businesses in general. You don’t get to cite “objections of conscience” for not renting it to gays, or blacks, or Jews, or any other group you hate.

    You can sit there and say how you THINK it SHOULD be, but the above (and I may have some details wrong–mythago?) is settled law.

    You’re right… people’s definitions of ‘harm’ all differ to some extent or another. And, when it comes to making law based on perceptions of harm, how do we select which definition is ‘correct’? Should we just go with yours?

    The law defines it. When the law doesn’t define it adequately, the courts decide, and that makes new law. That’s how it works in the United States of America.

    The definition of harm as “society is too permissive and that might make my daughter decide to do things that my religion says will keep her out of the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom” is just flat-out bullshit, and is virtually guaranteed to be laughed out of any court whose justices aren’t ALL appointed by Mitt Romney, or Mormonsführer Monson.

  217. Clarification: by

    It also means you can’t rent out your space for anything EXCEPT a gay wedding.

    I meant

    It also means you can’t rent out your space for practically any purpose, but refuse to rent it for a gay wedding.

    Rereading it I saw that it was ambiguous.

  218. I believe that a fully private-sector entity (in most cases an individual or a business, either of which excludes most churches) should be permitted to withhold goods or services from anyone they choose, on whatever grounds – that it is not the government’s place to regulate such refusals.

    Then Proposition 8 is irrelevant to your position. You believe that a restaurant should be able to exclude black patrons from sitting at the lunch counter, and the government should butt out. Okay, why not simply explain that, instead of fussing about the government picking on churches?

  219. This is good, I (obviously) wasn’t previously aware of these finer points of law, legal precedent, and such. Plenty to chew on!

    Xopher @247:

    You can sit there and say how you THINK it SHOULD be, but the above (and I may have some details wrong–mythago?) is settled law.

    Indeed. I wasn’t aware of the whole matter of public accommodation… a quick Googling points to USC 42.126(III) §12181(7) (I’m sure I mangled the citation format). Pardon my ignorance!

    The law defines it. When the law doesn’t define it adequately, the courts decide, and that makes new law. That’s how it works in the United States of America.

    I hope that’s not how it works in the United States of America. This process, to me, leaves out a critical feedback loop to the people, and gives far too much power to the courts. (Really, it leaves Constitutional amendment as the only final option for the people to indicate what should be law.) I would much prefer the courts be restricted to (1) making judgments in cases not addressed by current law; and (2) ruling on the (C/c)onstitutionality of current law, but from a much more limited (originalist? constructionist? I don’t know the terms) position. Essentially, I think judicial precedent is given too much weight compared to legislation. <shrug> This is probably where you tell me, “Yak on all you want about how you’d like things to be, this is how things are,” so… I guess I’ll just leave it at that.

    mythago @249:

    Oooh, I’m getting called a bigot and a racist, now! I’m on a roll!

    I’ll ignore the inflammatory specifics of your question, and answer the underlying, broader query: I hadn’t yet sufficiently generalized my opinion about (what I now know is) the whole ‘public accommodation’ thing – I was working specific-to-general. As I said, IANAL, so if there’s a standard lawyering approach to constructing arguments, I’ve never been exposed to it.

    Having thought about my view some more, though, I think Greg’s point about me trying to hide behind the process was close, but not quite accurate. The real problem in my thinking is an attempt to hide from historical reality by placing too much trust in an abstraction/idealization of the process. In theory, (ignoring public accommodation law for a moment) if a business discriminated in a fashion deemed immoral by other customers, those customers would in return boycott that business and the business would have to weight the potential… ‘punitive’, I guess… lost business because of its choice to discriminate. In reality, either most people won’t feel strongly enough about it to boycott even if they found the discrimination distasteful, and the business’s lost revenue will be negligble; or if the discriminatory company has a disproportionate market presence, the customers may not have a choice to take their business elsewhere.

    Ok. My nice, clean view of the system is all dingy with reality now. I’mma go chew on it for a while. Thanks all for the really engaging discussion!

  220. I could almost bring myself to forgive the fundies and the Mormons. For them, it’s a demonstrable real-world fact that we’re under constant scrutiny by an unimaginably powerful, unimaginably knowledgeable, and unimaginably testy being– one whose bouts of temper are characterized more by spectacular magnitude than by precise targeting. To them, a vote for Prop 8 might be justified as “I live in California– I don’t want the Big G going all Sodom and Gomorrah on it.”

    The loathsome characters are the unbelievers and the moderate religious who voted for 8. For them, it wasn’t a smiting-prevention measure; their motive was the pure and simple desire to meddle with other people’s lives.

    Meddlesomeness, I emphasize, and not hatred. I don’t think that the majority of the majority in Prop 8 hates gays, any more than I thinkthat other majorities hate smokers, or gamblers, or gun enthusiasts, or 20-year-olds who want a beer, or people who like to wear their pants at the latitude of the acetabulum. In all of these cases, I submit, the attitude of the majority could be expressed as: “Other people don’t live the way I do. They should.”

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