Meanwhile in Ohio

In 2004, Ohio voters decided to put a ban on same sex marriage into the state constitution. If this poll is correct, however, that ban might not be long for this world:

The constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman passed with 62 percent support.

But now, just days before the U.S. Supreme Court considers a pair of landmark gay-marriage cases, a new Saperstein Poll for The Dispatch shows that 54 percent back a proposed new amendment to repeal the 2004 measure and “allow two consenting adults to marry, regardless of their gender.”

Just 40 percent oppose the proposal, which also would allow religious institutions to determine who they will or won’t marry, and protect such institutions that refuse to perform a marriage.

To which I say, of course, good. As someone who is lives in Ohio, it’s embarrassing to me that this bit of bigotry is in the state constitution, and I’d be delighted to have it expunged, both for moral reasons and (somewhat more technically) because I think constitutions should generally be as uncluttered as possible. The tendency for states to allow genuinely dumbass things to be grafted into their constitutions via simple majorities in a popular vote strikes me as a bad policy in general.

It also reminds me that Ohio really is a middle America bellwether, which is to say, as goes Ohio, so goes the country. Ohio is neither on the cutting edge of social thought, nor is it a heel dragging reactionary state. It’s big and purple and right down the middle (see: the last several presidential elections). If Ohioans have come around on the subject of same-sex marriage, everything its opponents are doing from this point forward is a rear guard action, i.e., slowly backing themselves into Mississippi and hoping the Supreme Court never gets around to saying that not allowing same-sex couples to marry anywhere in the US is unconstitutional.

What’s happened in the decade in Ohio? The same thing that’s happened most everywhere else in the US: More gays, lesbians and bisexuals have come out and have become more vocal about who they are, meaning more people now know that someone they care about is something other than straight. Young people, who have far less of a problem with same-sex marriage, have grown into voting age. Old people, who have far more of a problem with it, are dying off. Same-sex marriage has been in the US for almost a decade now and the nation has not collapsed into a festering pit of licentiousness and sodomy (any more than it already was), meaning that most of the “slippery slope” rhetoric of the anti-same-sex marriage contingent is being seen as what it always was: hand-flapping gay panic.

This is not to say one cannot make a principled stance against same-sex marriage; one can. The problem today — and the problem for the future of those who are against same-sex marriage — is that for an increasing number of Americans who are straight, it’s becoming rather more difficult to parse the practical difference between that principled stance, and simple, garden-variety bigotry. More simply: If your principled stance condemns someone’s child, parent, relative or friend to a second-class existence, the chances are good that they’re not going to think much of your principled stance, or you for having it.

Ultimately, that’s what’s going to sand down opposition to same-sex marriage to a recondite nub: The fact is, almost no one likes to be seen as a bigot, and those who don’t mind being seen as bigots, no one else likes to be seen with. Ohio may or may not strike that 2004 amendment from its constitution this year, but it seems unlikely it won’t be stricken out. The Supreme Court may or may not rule that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages that are legally constituted in their respective states, but it seems unlikely that DOMA will be long for this world in any event. Ohio tells me so; I’ve learned to listen to Ohio when it speaks about these things.

163 thoughts on “Meanwhile in Ohio

  1. I live in BC, where we’ve had legal gay marriage for 10 years. I’m always dismayed when I see how slow much of the US is to provide equal rights to its citizens. Let’s hope that’s finally changing.

  2. I still remember how angry and ashamed I was when that amendment passed. Considering the current makeup of our state representatives I am not sure that there will be much actual progress in eliminating that part of our Constitution unless/until there is a very well organized movement to overturn it from outside the Statehouse. I have hope for such a thing, but I’m not sure it will be up in the next few election cycles.

  3. On Friday, a friend excitedly commented to me how good it was that Colorado had finally authorized civil unions. She seemed surprised when I shrugged. I had to explain to her that being allowed on the bus was good, but I was still having to sit in the back. My fear is that straight people here will say, “Look, it’s almost like marriage. You don’t need anything else”. Not good enough. I want the whole enchilada. My relationship has lasted 31 years. It would be nice to get married.

  4. I think the recent case of the senator who changed his mind when he found out his son is gay is a good illustration of one of the main drivers of the growing acceptance of gay marriage in the US. It’s much easier to feel that a group of people deserve less in the way of respect or acceptance or even rights when you think no one you love is in that group. Once you know, the picture changes. It’s not “gays should not be able to marry,” it’s “Frank, whom I love and care about, should not be able to marry.” The courage of gay people in coming out to those they love means greater acceptance of all gays by those same loved ones.

  5. i.e., slowly backing themselves into Mississippi

    Ouch! On the other hand, speaking as someone whose father’s family is from Alabama… Yeah, pretty much.

    Also: Good. If Ohio does strike it from the books, I hope your state’s attack of common sense spreads to your northern neighborhood, although I’m fairly confident that both “gay marriage” and “common sense” are pretty far down on the list of Michigan’s priorities.

  6. This is not to say one cannot make a principled stance against same-sex marriage; one can. The problem today — and the problem for the future of those who are against same-sex marriage — is that for an increasing number of Americans who are straight, it’s becoming rather more difficult to parse the practical difference between that principled stance, and simple, garden-variety bigotry.

    What do you mean by “principled stand”? If the result of someone’s “principled stand” results in the denial of civil or human rights to a specific group of people, what does it matter the motivation behind it? Principles or bigotry, the result is the same.

    And if the result is the same, how can opposition to civil or human rights ever be principled? Just because the opposition is according to some kind of code or philosophy doesn’t legitimize it, any more than the opposition based on fear and hatred of something they refuse to understand is legitimate.

    One can smile, and smile, and be a villain. Couching one’s opposition to granting equality under the law in civil and polite language doesn’t make it less dehumanizing in the long run.

  7. Some suggest that DOMA is more likely to go, in part due to federalism, where the statute brought in the Feds into an area traditionally reserved to the states. That’s why some suggest that the Court might uphold the Prop. 8 case (CA ban on same-gender marriage) because this is something that the states would need to work out — which is borne by the suggestion that Ohio is in the midst of a change of attidue on this. Of course, if the issue is of equal protection under the law, then the Court should strike down Prop. 8 and all similar bans, since this would involve something so basic as it would not be best for the states to address this in a piecemeal fashion. Finally, some Court watchers believe that Justice Kennedy will be the “swing” vote… and point to the fact that he wrote the majority opinion, about a decade ago, in the case of “Lawrence v. Texas,” which reversed the precedent of “Bowers v. Hardwick”, 17 years earlier, that had upheld a law that had criminalized sodomy. In “Lawrence,” Justice Kennedy seemed to have adopted the rationale of the first case where a “right to privacy” had been recognized, “Griswold v. Connecticut,” where the Court struck down a state statute criminalizing the use of contraceptives by people married to one another, roughly saying that the state had no interest in the goings-on in the “marital bedroom” (a principle extended to the unmarried, a few years later).

  8. I suspect it’ll be a while longer, just due to the process for amending that Ohio constitution (here, for reference: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/constitution.cfm?Part=16&Section=01 ) requiring a three-fifths majority in the legislature. Aside from gerrymandering giving some populations outside representation (is that much of an issue in Ohio?), it just takes a while for elected bodies to come in line with swings in public opinion.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were an attempt made, though, thus giving legislators an opportunity to be on the record for or against.

  9. Saruby, to quote the unamimous ruling in “Brown v. Board of Education,” “separate but equal is never equal.” Civil union is not marriage; indeed, marriage or nothing.

  10. Mythbri:

    “And if the result is the same, how can opposition to civil or human rights ever be principled?”

    “Principled” in this case means an adherence to a set of standards or a moral code; it does not imply that the moral code in this case cannot be seen (especially from the outside) as wrong or bigoted.

    As noted — and which you affirm — if your principles are effectively no different from simple bigotry, then people are likely to see you as a bigot, and your principles as bigoted.

  11. Has anyone actually come up with a principle anything other than “ew, that’s icky!” yet? FWIW, I sincerely hope that NOM and their ilk go down in history like all the anti-miscegenation groups did in the 1970s. They are, after all, functionally identical in every way except for the specific protected class.

  12. Genufett, “Loving v. Virginia,” ending miscegenation as grounds for preventing so-called interracial marriage, is less than a half-century ago. Change seems to come awfully slow for the disenfranchised, eh?

  13. @John Scalzi

    As noted — and which you affirm — if your principles are effectively no different from simple bigotry, then people are likely to see you as a bigot, and your principles as bigoted.

    That makes sense – I suppose I’m just wondering why make the distinction between “principled stand” and bigotry at all? A “principled stand” against equality seems like fancy bigotry.

  14. @mythbri, there are people who really believe that civil unions are ‘just as good’ or have a very poor understanding of the social and legal history of marriage, and oppose marriage equality on those grounds, rather than because they think gay men are icky.

  15. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, just last year we passed an Amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage. While other states were moving forward, we were moving backward.

    I was embarrassed to live here when I learned the amendment had passed.

  16. Scalzi: Young people, who have far less of a problem with same-sex marriage, have grown into voting age. Old people, who have far more of a problem with it, are dying off.

    I think its a fairly sad reflection of the human condition that individuals really don’t reason in their adult life. It seems that people develop a moral code through their childhood, into their teens, and then at some point, it becomes fixed, and they really, when it comes down to it, stop thinking.

    I think if we look at America’s history from its beginning, we can say that its been slowly moving to the left/liberal point of view. And it seems that the main thing that slows that transition is parents imbuing their kids with the old moral system, and kids only being able to question and challenge so much of that before they themselves become fixed in their way of thinking.

    The evolution of racism in America seems to be mostly defined as waiting for people who fought for slavery in the civil war, and some number of generations after them, to all die off. The evolution of sexism seems to be following a similar track. Older people have more “old fashioned” ways which would be called sexism if exhibited by a young person today. And as they die off, some progress is made.

    Reminds me of a sci-fi story, can’t remember the name, but scene that stood out was some character transforming and the line was something like “he remembered how to breath” or somthing. At which point, he was pretty much done ever changing ever again.

  17. Civil Rights are sadly always a push-me-pull-you issuse. The 70s saw great advances, the 80s there was a reactionary clawback, the nineties saw gains again, the post-9/11 decade saw massive clawbacks almost to the point where it was back to the 70s in some ways, now we’re expanding and moving forward again. The trick is to make sure enough gains are made so that when the clawback happens in the 2020s it can’t erase fully the gains. Even the post-9/11 decade clawback didn’t manage to wipe out all the acceptance of homosexuality, transsexuality, and the racial advancements (although they sure as hell tried) that were made. The people who oppose advancement see it from the other side though, trying to make their clawbacks enough so that the advancement has to retread the same ground and never erase all their claw backs. Its progress of a sort I suppose.

  18. @mythbri: There are people who claim that they don’t hate gays (probably a true claim), but their religion forbids gay marriage.

    Yes, there are A MILLION things wrong with this notion, from “Gee, how’s that poly-cotton blend working for you, Inconsistency Boy?” to “Not sure why your religion should get to decide what other people do, pal.” But let’s go with the people who honestly believe, because their religion tells them so, that if gay people are allowed to marry, it will bring down Armageddon because that’s how their version of a deity rolls. These people do exist, hard as that is to believe.

    That can be a “principled stance” in the way John means it here: they have a belief that they are following, prioritizing it over other things they might believe (possibly assuaging their conscience with the civil union concept).

    Yes, I think the number of such people is tiny; far more likely is that it’s plain old “ew, icky” bigotry, clothed in a “God says so” disguise (God gets used for this sort of thing rather a lot).

    What we see in the country now is an increasing number of people who see through that particular line of bullshit, and are noticing that “God tells me to behave like bigot” doesn’t actually excuse bigotry. Most religious people are in the “God’s not so interested in being an asshole” camp.

    Nonreligious people who are anti-gay-marriage are more obviously in the “ew, icky” bigotry camp, though many of them may not be introspective enough to know that’s what’s driving their actual reaction.

  19. I’m ashamed to say that while Missouri did the same thing in 2004, I expect we’re going backwards and the state will drag its heels about equality if we don’t have a Brown v. Board moment in SCOTUS. Kansas is the same way at the moment.

    At least it’s losing its effectiveness as a wedge issue for bringing out the Republican vote.

  20. Personally, i don’t mind religious groups saying that because they believe gay marriage is wrong the organization does not want to perform such a wedding. I don’t agree with their stance, but I can understand it. What I don’t want them to take from it is the idea that it extends to not recognizing any of the other benefits that marriage bestows.

    They don’t have to perform the same-sex wedding for the janitor who cleans the Church Hall, but they do have to extend spousal coverage on the benefits plan for that same janitor.

    I think too many of them are arguing as if their religion is objectively true, and thus its commandments apply to people who are not members or followers of said religion. To me, that’s the real issue; the law has to make it clear that no group’s religious beliefs get preferential treatment.

  21. @Beej: As a fellow North Carolinian I was equally appalled, if not remotely surprised. It was an especially head-scratching piece of legislation since gay marriage was already explicitly banned in NC. As I said in 2004 (I was living in Columbus, OH, at the time), this is something people are going to wind up apologizing for in the not-to-distant future.

  22. Last year, if you’d told me that the first Republican US Senator to endorse gay marriage would have come from Ohio, I’d have thought you were crazy; if you’d told me it would be someone who had been on Romney’s shortlist for VP, I would have laughed at you.

    The ground underneath this issue is changing so fast i’m getting whiplash.

  23. Scrap the whole state sponsored marriage and allow anyone to get a civil union at the town hall.

    Boom, now your religion is out of my civil contract.

  24. I agree the debate is ending, but somewhat more cynically, I think part of it also just politics. Six months ago the Republicans finally got the memo that they can’t just rely on straight white men and married white women. They need to expand the base, and a big part of that is going to be changing their image to that of a more socially liberal party. And this is a major generalization, but the gay community does have a lot of financially conservative members who would be entirely in line with the GOP’s fiscal policy if they felt more welcome as gay people.

    So, there’s that. I think the abortion controversy is going the same way, for similar reasons.

  25. Woodman:

    Ah, you’re doing the “Libertarian Dismount” here. Since you are relatively new here, may I suggest you follow that link and find out why I find comments like the one you just posted not especially helpful in the larger conversation.

  26. @michaelmlane at 2:31 pm:

    I live in BC, where we’ve had legal gay marriage for 10 years.

    One of the amazing things to me, as a Canadian, is how establishing that right has fundamentally changed things for the better for a whole range of other non-normative relationships. For example, consider the regulations for visiting hours at the birthing unit in Toronto where a relative of mine just gave birth to what may possibly be the most gorgeous baby ever. Partners, as designated by the mother, are allowed to stay with her 24 hours a day and are not considered visitors or limited to visiting hours. It is even possible to arrange to have a second support person also allowed to stay with and advocate for the mother outside of visiting hours. All designations are gender neutral and it is clear that the unit is striving to be friendly to nontraditional families.

  27. @Woodman: I’ve always felt the same way. The state grants all the legal rights and responsibilities associated with marriage to anyone who wants them. If you want to get married, find a church that will do it for you. There are a LOT of people who vehemently disagree with that position though, both for and against gay marriage types. I find it baffling, but I suppose that’s another example of a “principled stand.”

  28. “Scrap the whole state sponsored marriage and allow anyone to get a civil union at the town hall. Boom, now your religion is out of my civil contract.”

    Only works if civil union is afforded the same weight as marriage, unfortunately that’s not the case in most states. Easier to just enforce the First Amendment, where the Federal Government has no right to force a church to offer a wedding ceremony.

  29. Folks:

    See, this is why the “Liberatarian Dismount” is pernicious. The government isn’t going to get out of the marriage business, so let’s not spend any time discussing whether it should, please.

  30. @Greg — this country was started by the tea-tossing liberals (of their time.)

    Separate is not equal. Civil union is not state marriage. (It could be, but no state has made it so; that’s too easy a law to write — A civil union in this state is a marriage in this state.)

  31. There are some good arguments behind the whole “state shouldn’t be in the marriage business” idea, but they do not belong in a thread about marriage equality. Indeed, when raised in that context, it’s a MAJOR derail.

    For good or ill, the state IS in the marriage business, it has been since at least the Roman Republic, and it an’t gonna be getting out of it any time soon. Once it starts applying the law to all people equally, THEN the conversation can shift. And not one microfortnight before.

  32. The “nothing goes wrong” thing is what got David Frum to change sides, and the “wait, this isn’t principle, it’s just bigotry” thing got David Blankenhorn. Amusingly, Mr. Blankenhorn appears to be sort of gradually coming to realize all the facts that imply that it was his organization’s efforts to “strengthen” the American family that have been the strongest assault on the family. (It turns out, reducing marriage to an animal husbandry permit does not strengthen the family.)

    I was, for a long time, in the “how about the state just do civil unions and leave the word marriage alone” camp, but I’ve been convinced that this is not a viable stance. The word “marriage” is too strongly tied to how other people in your society view your relationship. What’s at issue is not just the legal reality, but also the question of: Do you get to say “husband” and expect people to acknowledge that? That matters. That’s the thing that converts marriage from a mere formalization of a relationship to a deal made with society that requires everyone else to recognize that this is a family bond.

    FWIW, I also quite liked the argument some years back about wanting the legal right to marry someone of the same sex even if you’re straight. And then… *dramatic irony happens*… it turns out my spouse is trans. So the legal right to marry someone of the same gender is suddenly relevant to me, rather unexpectedly. (As is, we’ll probably just put up with having the wrong letter on the driver’s license for the duration.)

  33. We’ve got marriage equality AND legal pot out here in Washington, John, so you Ohio guys have some catching up to do.

    Anyway, I’m fine with churches being able to pick and choose who they will and won’t marry. As noted, marriage is a state function, not a religious one. And as a state function, the only real question that needs to be asked is “Are people entitled to equal protection under the law, or not?”

    I happen to believe they are.

  34. I think part of the problem is that religious marriage has been conflated with the civil marriage that is registered with the state and allows all those wonderful benefits.

    I think the real key isn’t to get the state out of the marriage business, but to get the churches out. Marriage as a legal status has nothing to do with them so they should shut up and butt out.

  35. Marriage is not restricted to church. You don’t need to go to church to be married and being married at city hall is still “married”. Civil union is simething else entirely. It might be instructive to look at Europe, where everyone gets married at a civil (government) ceremony and then some people also have a church ceremony. But the legal marriage is authorized by the government as a civil matter. Still married.

  36. Sorry for contributing to the derail. On the main topic, as someone who’s Mothers-in-law have been a major positive contributing factor to the raising of my son, I’m glad to see not only the legislative moves, but the number of people who no longer consider it politically expedient to either oppose or simply stay quiet on same sex marriage. Nearly ten years ago when Massachusetts finally decided to be in front on a civil right, this was an issue everyone ducked. it’s an impressive shift to see unfold.

  37. Minnesota told the meddlers to eff off.
    A damned shame Ohio didn’t have the strength (or brains) to do the same.

  38. Hey, I’m wedded. I recall letting my nails grow for two weeks so I could get a manicure for it. I vowed to be buxom at bed and at board and not talk on the cell phone while driving. (She has specific requirements for my vows as did I. Shelley is supposed to be closing open cabinets and doors instead of leaving them open. Neither of us is 100% observant of our vows, but I imagine that is on par with traditional wedding vows, given the amt of adultery one can see displayed on the internets.)

    But I am not married. I am Domestically Partnered. Our state of Washington has marriage equality, but we havent taken the step of paying some money for the license and doing the ritual sacrifice. (wait, the fee is the ritual sacrifice. Must return the goat to Sam’s Club.)
    If we dont pay the fee, we get auto-converted to married in two years, no fee. Isnt that odd?

    Since we live in a community property state, we HAVE to file our federal taxes as married. but the feds dont like it. We have to pay something only slightly less than 800$ every year to get a guy to do our taxes since it is super complicated to follow our state law and explain that to the fed. So after two years of that, we are down 1600$ to be domestically partnered.

    I’d like to know that my wife as a chance at getting some of that money back in social security after I die, as my SS payment will be larger than hers. If their is SS after I die.

    All these little annoyances are just that. Nothing in the world makes me happier than my wonderful wife Shelley. I love her with all my heart. I’d like people to respect that, even if they do think we are going to hell. Respect love and dont spit on my relationship in public just because your version of god demands it. Spit on it all you want in priivate or your church, just not in public accomodations and legal benefits.

  39. I do not believe that would be possible or right to force a religion to come into the current century and make them marry people so I think that perhaps the best that can be done is that civil union should have the same rights and obligations as marriage under law.

    As other commenters have pointed out, civil union isn’t afforded the same rights as marriage in some states. I am not from the US so I was a little surprised by this.

    I agree with their position that it isn’t equal until it’s completely equal. But I think we should take the small victories and use those to press for the ultimate victory which is “equality of every person under law”. The same rights, the same privileges, the same protections and the same obligations.

  40. @Mythbri:

    What do you mean by “principled stand”? If the result of someone’s “principled stand” results in the denial of civil or human rights to a specific group of people, what does it matter the motivation behind it?

    OK, some context first. Down here in New Zealand, we’ve got marriage equality legislation working its way through through Parliament, and its second reading passed a few weeks ago. If you want to do the practical, grassroots work of garnering political and public support for a civil rights movement — and I’ve been campaigning for marriage equality for close on twenty years — being insufferably righteous doesn’t get the job done. Motivation actually matters, not least because knowing who’s at least open to persuasion (and who’s just intractably “eww, fags”) can lead to a more effective allocation of time and energy you can’t afford to waste.

  41. Forcing churches to marry people has never been proposed by law in the US. The only time I ever see anyone use the “the government will make priests marry gays at gunpoint” argument is from either the openly bigoted or the wishy-washy libertarian/”small c” conservative that is explaining supposedly valid threats. Both groups have now said it so many times that they apparently believe many others have brought it up.

  42. “Ah, you’re doing the “Libertarian Dismount” here. Since you are relatively new here, may I suggest you follow that link and find out why I find comments like the one you just posted not especially helpful in the larger conversation.”

    Been lurking here for a couple years, totally read that post and forgot about it. (Because, you know, I would never be a bad commenter, so it’s not about me… oops.)

    I do wonder how you allow a church, for example, or a Catholic hospital, to follow their religious beliefs without violating a same sex marriage. On one hand, I’m not against same sex marriage, but on the on the other I’m not against religious organizations enforcing their rules on their prospective employees, because, you know, religion. But that’s not my deal, the courts will work that one out.

    The use of gay marriage as a wedge issue is over, hopefully, Obama was hopefully the last president who was against gay marriage, and even better, it looks like it’s going states rights anyway. And guys, keep in mind, there are just as many urbanites, factory union members, and the religious left voting “liberal” that hate gay marriage more than your average Republican boogie man. Most of the race hating, gay hating people I know pull that D lever because their union boss told them to, and then they’ll turn around and flip the lever for prop 8, or DOMA, or whatever it’s called there.

  43. Genufett, while it’s true that forcing churches to marry people has never actually been on the table, it is *also* true that churches have been forced to (for example) rent their reception hall to gay couples, if they rent their reception hall to straight couples who are not being married by the church. Such requirements stem from *general anti-discrimination law* rather than same-sex marriage per se, but a lot of people are confused about this (and I think in some ways the confusion has been deliberately induced by opponents of same-sex marriage).

  44. Social acceptance of marriage equality is increasing very rapidly. I actually attribute this mostly to television. Ten years ago people in the gay rights movement talked about the “Will and Grace effect”. The show sparked a rapid increase in acceptance of gays in society. I call this one the “Modern Family effect”. Suddenly we’re not so scary. And our relationships look like everyone else’s.

  45. It might be instructive to look at Europe, where everyone gets married at a civil (government) ceremony and then some people also have a church ceremony.

    The only difference in the US is that we can allow the person performing the civil ceremony and the person performing the religious ritual to be the same person and perform both roughly at the same time for a x2 marriage combo. This is why the Libertarian Dismount is so silly; religion is already an optional part of marriage in America, and has been for a very long time.

    Similarly, churches have NEVER had to marry anyone in violation of their faith. Anti-equality groups regularly lie about this, because they understand that many people are afraid of the government forcing a church to do things against its beliefs.

  46. Fred Clark, a liberal evangelical (and a learned one) makes the point repeatedly that if you find that the tenets of your religion demand things that you personally find cruel and abhorrent, you’ve either got the wrong religion or someone’s lying to you about the tenets. (Of course, both could be true.)

    I’m kinda sorry that Intrade evaporated; I’m pretty bullish on marriage equality.

  47. mythago, I know personally that churches never have to perform marriages in conflict with their faith. As a Jew, I could not find a rabbi to conduct services for my marriage to a non-Jew. (Admittedly, I didn’t try too hard.)

  48. @Woodman at 2:20:

    I do wonder how you allow a church, for example, or a Catholic hospital, to follow their religious beliefs without violating a same sex marriage. On one hand, I’m not against same sex marriage, but on the on the other I’m not against religious organizations enforcing their rules on their prospective employees, because, you know, religion.

    Are you saying that you aren’t against a Catholic hospital from enjoining its employees from entering marriages that would not be considered valid in the Catholic church? Because, as I am sure you know, there are many non-same sex marriages that would not be allowed in the Catholic church and I don’t recall anyone making the argument that a Catholic employer should be able to stop employees from marrying someone who was divorced and had not received a declaration of nullity.

  49. @Genufett:

    Forcing churches to marry people has never been proposed by law in the US. The only time I ever see anyone use the “the government will make priests marry gays at gunpoint”

    … are fucking liars, not to put too fine a point on it. Yeah, that’s the big lie anti-marriage equality opponents using down here in Middle Earth. I found myself explaining very patiently to someone at church a couple of months back that 1) Even if I was heterosexual, I still wouldn’t be able to marry in a Catholic rite in a Catholic church because… well, my partner isn’t Catholic and has no intention of ever “going over to Rome”. (I still don’t know how my Anglican father pulled it off, but I understand written permission from the bishop was involved.) :) And even if the marriage equality bill was proposing “forcing churches to marry teh gayz” (which it isn’t by any rational plain reading), why the hell would I want ANYONE at what’s supposed to be the best day of my life who doesn’t want to be there? My wedding to the wonderful man who has blessed my life for the last 17 years is not the day I want to be making some sociopolitical statement. I’ll leave that to the fairtrade beverages and the vegetarian options at the reception. :)

  50. Woodman may have meant it differently, but I read his comment not as the “libertarian dismount”, which is basically getting government out of marriage altogether, but as the “renaming gambit”, which is basically having the government confer the benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage on any two people (or group of people?) but calling it a “civil union” instead of a “marriage”. (The renaming would be applied to all unions, including existing marriages, so every couple/group would end up on an equal footing.)

    There’s a certain appeal to the gambit for some, insofar as it makes the distinction between civil and religious unions more obvious. I personally see an important distinction between civil and religious marriage, but practically I think the renaming gambit would create more problems than it solved. (Going through and rewriting all the old laws to replace “marriage” with “civil union”, and making sure that they interoperate cleanly and equally across jurisdictions, is nontrivial; and if the people actually involved in the unions tend to call them “marriage” anyway, the verbal gymnastics of translating between everyday-English “marriage” and government-ese “civil union” would mostly just be an extra layer of bureaucratic overhead.)

  51. MobiusSamurai: “I do not believe that would be possible or right to force a religion to come into the current century and make them marry people …”

    I’m glad nobody is trying to do that. This is entirely and completely about *legal* recognition of marriages. The US government (and state governments) would be no more able to force a religion to marry same-sex partners than it would be able to force a religion to *not* marry same-sex partners.

    Marriage equality measures tend to include wording that spells this out, but that’s for psychological and political purposes. Legally, it’s redundant.

  52. @Woodman:

    FFS, I’m a Catholic and I’m really all the way over my co-religionists (including the church hierarchy) acting like they’re a cloud of special snowflakes who deserve endless deference and exemptions from civil law they find disagreeable. (Irony double down when we’re talking about institutions who are perfectly happy to put their hands out for public money, subsidies and tax breaks. Guess the sodomites aren’t so awful when they’re paying their taxes.) Pardon my Latin, but build a bridge and get the fuck over yourselves guys and dolls.

  53. @Greg I am among the elderly and it seems to me the U.S.A. has moved way right since my teens in the 50’s. I wonder what happened to all the social justice fought for when I was a young adult. It seems all about corporate profits these days and that social issues like living wages and equal rights are just minor talking points for most politicians rather than real concerns.

  54. @Theophylact, you are right, and if for some reason you had sued (say) the Orthodox Union for the right to a ‘mixed’ marriage, you would have been bounced out of court. I have continually asked members of the No Gay In My Church crowd to point me to a case where somebody actually filed such a lawsuit. I’m still waiting. Occasionally one of them will talk about a case where, say, a church that rented out a gazebo to non-members refused to rent to a gay couple and will try to pretend it’s the same thing (it isn’t).

    In fact, in California not that long ago, the Legislature succeeded on its second attempt to pass a wholly redundant bill saying that religious faiths don’t have to do religious things (like marriage ceremonies) that violate their beliefs. The opponents of these bills? Anti-equality activists. They claim it’s because civil unions gay recognition blah blah blah, but really what’s going on is that it takes away one of their biggest arguments if you can say “No, you can’t make a church do that; it’s against the law.”

    @mmy: a helpful way to clarify this issue for people is to ask “Could a religious group do X if it had a deep moral objection to interracial couples?” It’s interesting to see how people suddenly do a mental brake and try to untangle why, no, they don’t think it should be allowed for the Church of Mighty Whitey to say “we won’t pay health insurance for the black spouse of our white employees”, or “our affiliated hospital will not allow a black man to visit his white wife in the ER.”

  55. Scalzi: “‘Principled’ in this case means an adherence to a set of standards or a moral code; it does not imply that the moral code in this case cannot be seen (especially from the outside) as wrong or bigoted.

    As noted — and which you affirm — if your principles are effectively no different from simple bigotry, then people are likely to see you as a bigot, and your principles as bigoted.”

    I would add (and echoing Mythago, somewhat) that the only principled, moral stances against gay marriage that I have ever heard are all based on religious tradition. Those justifications cannot be plausibly argued in a civil government that practices freedom of religion. Though it still taking us a while to deal with that fact.

    The freedom of religion part cuts both ways, though. Civil government cannot force religious institutions to perform marriages that conflict with the requirements of marriage within that religion.

    Of course, our freedom of religion collides with other freedoms, and trolls are trolls, so there are always some who will try to game the system in the name of religious freedom on both sides. I await the first case of a gay couple who try to force their evangelical fundamentalist church to marry them, at the same time I await the case of the church that is forced to give up federal funds given for humanitarian purposes because they refuse to perform gay marriages.

  56. My sister was turned away by the Catholic church where we were both confirmed, so the idea of churches being “forced” to perform wedding ceremonies is utter nonsense. They didn’t explicitly say they wouldn’t do it because my brother-in-law is not Catholic, but they set out so much red tape as to make it functionally impossible. I expect the exact same difficulty when trying to plan my wedding to my Jewish fiancee. It seems awfully naive to think any church couldn’t pull the same shifty obstructionism with a gay couple, even assuming said church isn’t specifically exempted from any changes to the law. (And they will be exempted, I have no doubt about that.)

  57. I think it’s darkly funny that so many people say “but what about the CHURCHES”, when there are churches, right now, that would LOVE to be able to marry people of the same sex to each other legally, but are currently prevented by law from doing so. All they can do is the religious ceremony; the legal recognition of that ceremony is disallowed in their state.

    So yes, what ABOUT the churches? When are we going to allow them to have the same legal standing for their same-sex parishioners as their opposite-sex ones? Nobody is going to force a Catholic priest to marry Adam and Steve any more than we could have forced him to marry Elizabeth Taylor to her 8th (or whatever) husband. But we are preventing churches which already sanctify marriages between Adam and Steve from granting them full legal partnership.

  58. @Bruce:

    I await the first case of a gay couple who try to force their evangelical fundamentalist church to marry them

    You know what, I keep hearing this — but I’m not holding my breath waiting for Fred Phelps (flanked by lawyers with shotguns) to conduct a ‘God Hates Fags’-themed wedding. Seriously (and I’ll keep asking this until someone gives me an answer that makes any kind of sense: WHY?

  59. it looks like it’s going states rights anyway

    Considering that “state’s rights” was one of the big rationalizations for racism, including anti-miscegenation law before Loving, and anti-sodomy law before Lawrence–both of those were cases of people against states, after all–that’s not a good thing. A lot of liberals took issue with Obama’s “evolution” on it, even if they appreciate the outcome.

    And guys, keep in mind, there are just as many urbanites, factory union members, and the religious left voting “liberal” that hate gay marriage more than your average Republican boogie man.

    Yeah, no.

    Republicans currently hate gay marriage to the tune of about 3:1 (that is, about 25% support it). Assuming “urbanites” is the de facto codeword for “high melation levels,” you’d still be wrong: 38% of African Americans support gay marriage, and Latino support actually outpaces the country at a whole with 59%. So if by “more” you meant 15%-35% less, you would have been right. I couldn’t find polling on union members, but I expect it tracks the country as a whole, rather than the GOP. And as most religious left members oppose their official councils (see also the Catholic bishops vs the 90% of Catholics who use contraception) and there don’t seem to be numbers on denominations vs political ideology, it’s a little harder to get the breakdown. We do know that a majority (55%) of white mainline Protestants and almost half (48%) of Catholics support same-sex marriage, while a little more than a third (34%) of African American Protestants do. So even if we restrict your argument to the combined denomination/race factor, you’d be off by at least 10%, since presumably a portion of them would be Republican, and it doesn’t count those unaffiliated with that denomination.

    Most of the race hating, gay hating people I know pull that D lever because their union boss told them to, and then they’ll turn around and flip the lever for prop 8, or DOMA, or whatever it’s called there.

    First of all, DOMA is a federal law passed by Congress, while Prop 8 was a ballot initiative at the state level. Second, they comprise two separate cases being brought in front of SCOTUS. The fact that you didn’t know either of those tells us a lot how well-versed you are on the subject and who supports what.

    In other words, take your “evil libs do it too!” argument elsewhere, please.

  60. let’s go with the people who honestly believe, because their religion tells them so, that if gay people are allowed to marry, it will bring down Armageddon because that’s how their version of a deity rolls. These people do exist, hard as that is to believe.

    This leads to another reason behind the growing support for same-sex marriage – that states have done it and the End Times have not come to pass. There are now nine states that allow same-sex couples to marry and in none of them has society fallen. This serves as a real world counterpoint to those arguing that if we allow it Bad Things Will Come To Pass. We can refute that by saying “but look at these states… they allow it and they’re fine.” Never underestimate the power of concrete examples.

  61. Taking this argument completely out of the religious issue, I was amazed (and amused) to discover that the proponents of Prop 8 actually included in their argument that the purpose of marriage was to prevent “unregulated procreation” and that this was a reason that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Marriage, thus, is a special right granted to heterosexual couples to discourage rampant procreation. A principled argument.

  62. Unfortunately, there is often a large difference between voters and the average person polled. If this pole was just from likely voters, would have more meaning, but wouldn’t surprise me if the percentage of voters in favor of the bigotry is still well over 50%. Get out and vote when it matters, damn it!

  63. There’s a scene in “Milk” where Sean Penn, as Harvey Milk, exhorts other gays to come out of the closet. He says that the odds keep going up, as they know a gay person or as they find a gay person in their family, that they’ll support equal rights for gays.
    When Justice Powell changed his vote in the 1986 Bowers case that upheld Georgia’s Sodomy legislation, later in the day, “Powell explained to one of his law clerks at the time, “I don’t believe I’ve ever met a homosexual.” The clerk to whom he was speaking was himself a closeted gay man.”

  64. @Bruce

    You’re not going to see that lawsuit from the gay couple to force the evangelical fundamentalist church to perform their wedding.

    What you are likely to see, though; is the lawsuit from the married gay couple against the evangelical fundamentalist church’s hospital which refused to extend spousal rights to them because they don’t believe in the religious legitimacy of their civil marriage.

  65. “Never underestimate the power of concrete examples.”

    Including the fact many states with same sex marriage have comparable or lower divorce rates, and the American Academy of Pediatrician’s recent meta-analysis of more that 60 studies that found no detriment to children raised in same sex households. Couple those with the increasing numbers of people who personally know or are related to out gays and lesbians, and it just keeps getting harder for those opposed to sound credible.

  66. Genufett:

    “In other words, take your “evil libs do it too!” argument elsewhere, please.”

    I’m not sure how your response refutes the charge that liberals also have a problem with bigotry, in this case with marriage. How are you defining problem here? Tracking with or better than the country?

  67. @Other Bill: I wasn’t stating that all liberals (or Democrats. or both) are not bigots, that’s a red herring attempt at distracting from John’s point. I was responding to Woodman‘s personal anecdata and uninformed (or possibly falsified) assertion that, in his words, “there are just as many urbanites, factory union members, and the religious left voting ‘liberal’ that hate gay marriage more than your average Republican boogie man,” which as I proved, is demonstrably false.

  68. Personally, I think the government should recognize a union between any two people who want to be united and if those two people want to have their union recognized as a religious bond, they should be able to do so before any church that is willing to do so. If that’s a libertarian dismount, then so be it. It’s the only method I can see to remove religious objections from a secular problem. Without that taking place, the public conflict will always continue, regardless of court or election decisions.

    As to the poll referenced, I question whether it’s a reasonable predictor of a potential election result. When asked publicly what they think about gay marriage the poll results supporting are usually noticeably higher than the private vote that is tallied in a voting booth. The same is true for most controversial issues.

    I’d like to think that poll is an accurate assessment of public sentiment, but I think it probably requires more young people to join the voting ranks and more older people to cease voting (I’m unwilling to push them toward their graves) before it comes to pass.

  69. “If this pole was just from likely voters, would have more meaning, but wouldn’t surprise me if the percentage of voters in favor of the bigotry is still well over 50%”

    You’re semi-right, when likely voters are polled 40% are for, but the next highest group (30%) supports civil unions. only 24% say neither marriage or civil unions.

    That squishy 30% in the middle are people who most likely don’t understand what is or isn’t covered, and could be persuaded to support same sex marriage if they realized their compromise position was either off the table or substandard. Much like Mississippi voters, who are reliably Pro-Life, voted down a Personhood Amendment in their state because it was too sweeping. Given the success of same sex marriage in statewide elections in Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Minnesota, people are getting out and voting, and it’s becoming a safer bet that same sex marriage will succeed on ballots.

  70. @OtherBill:

    I’m not sure how your response refutes the charge that liberals also have a problem with bigotry, in this case with marriage.

    Dude, you’re getting perilously close to being whatever the GLBT equivalent of man-splaining is. Yeah, I do remember ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ happened on Bill Clinton’s watch, and he failed to even offer token resistance to DOMA. (Meanwhile Obama — who I’ve criticized for taking an awfully long time to come full circle on marriage equality to his position as a state senate candidate — is getting all the heat for at least trying to clean up that crap pile.)

    I’ll hold homophobic Democrats to account. But I’ll also remind you it wasn’t the Democratic Party who presented Rick Santorum — you know, the guy who thinks homosexuality is equivalent to screwing animals — as a credible nominee for the Presidency. I’ll fault Obama on many many fronts, but let’s not even try to draw a false equivalence.

  71. Cranapia: Anyone can run for president in this country, it’s up to voters to decide if the campaign is credible or not. I don’t think the Republican Party presented Rick Santorum as credible nominee for president any more than I think the Democratic Party presented David Dukes as a credible nominee for president in 1988. Each one tried (to varying degrees of success) to become credible in the eyes of the party. Santorum had greater success, but in the end few found either one worthy of that designation.

    Now, if Santorum had been the Republican Party’s actual nominee, then you’d be 100% correct.

  72. I wonder, do Catholic institutions (hospitals, charities, that sort of thing) provide spousal benefits to people who have divorced and remarried? By that I mean, marriages that are not recognized by the church?

  73. daveruddell: I wonder if they provide spousal benefits to people who were married in Hindu ceremonies. Because those ceremonies certainly aren’t sacramental in the Catholic Church, either.

  74. @OtherBill:

    Ah, thanks for the clarification. Fully grasping the conversation before the irritation center of the brain kicks in – always your friend. :)

    @Erick:

    Point granted as far as it goes. But the nature of the beast nowadays is that you don’t last as long in a presidential primary as Santorum did without a non-trivial number of people with discretionary income thinking you’re a pretty OK kind of chap. And whatever else you say against Santorum, at least he’s totally in your face and unapologetic about being a racist, misogynistic homophobic sack of crap. As they say in Texas, you dance with the one you came with. And the current iteration of the GOP really shouldn’t be — yet, still are — surprised a lot of women, minorities and GLBT people don’t want to go to a barn dance with the likes of Santorum, Todd ‘legitimate rape’ Aiken and Mitt ‘can’t tell the same lie the same way twice’ Romney.

  75. Each one tried (to varying degrees of success) to become credible in the eyes of the party. Santorum had greater success, but in the end few found either one worthy of that designation

    That’s kind of understating the point, no? Duke actually registered as “Populist Party” after the first few primaries, got less than 50k votes overall, won no states, and disagreed with large parts of the Democratic Party platform; Santorum was running as a Republican all the way through, got almost 4m votes, won 11 states, and was in line with almost the entire GOP platform (if anything, he thought it didn’t go far enough). It wasn’t about ideological credibility, he tracked with most Republicans there, it was about electoral credibility.

  76. “If your principled stance condemns someone’s child, parent, relative or friend to a second-class existence, the chances are good that they’re not going to think much of your principled stance, or you for having it.”

    Somebody jumped on this before I saw it, but I agree. If your principles result in condemning anyone to a second-class existence merely because of who they are, then those principles need to be re-examined.

  77. Long time lurker, first time poster. This one hits close to home, and I have to say that some of the latest rhetoric from the defense-of-marriage side has become particularly insidious:
    1. Claiming that gay couples already have all the benefits of married couples or can get them easily through a private legal contract.
    2. Claiming that the real reason for gay marriage is to line the pockets of trial lawyers itching to get their hands on church money that should go to charity.
    3. By extension, that gays are actually the victims of gay marriage.

    This new approach, while entirely false and horrible, at least points out one thing: that people at least don’t want to perceive themselves as villains towards gay people.

  78. @Erick:

    David Duke got 45,000 votes out of ~22 million cast in the 1988 Dem primaries, fewer than Lyndon LaRouche and “Unaffiliated.” He won no states.

    Rick Santorum got 3.8 million votes out of ~18 million cast in 2012. He finished second. He won 11 states.

    So, no, the two are *not* comparable.

  79. htom: this country was started by the tea-tossing liberals (of their time.)

    Of their time, sure. But if you compare them to people today, they were considerably to the right of where we are today.

    Granny: it seems to me the U.S.A. has moved way right since my teens in the 50′s.

    That Roosevelt put 8 justices and Truman put 4 justices in the Supreme Court, from 1933-1953 may have slanted SCOTUS further to the left than the population was ready to catch up with. And the fear-mongering of 9/11 pushed us to the right on certain issues, but I’m not sure how that compares to, say, McCarthyism. On the other hand, homosexuality was diagnosed as an illness in 1950, was removed from the DSM in the 70’s, and gay marriage is becoming legalized throughout the country. So, I’d say that’s a clear shift to reality and to the left.

  80. “In other words, take your “evil libs do it too!” argument elsewhere, please.”

    But isn’t a lot of everyone’s point the fact that those evil republicans are the ones keeping gay marriage from being legal? Doesn’t this show why it’s hard to get it passed at the state level when 62% of blacks are against it? And I didn’t mean expressly high melatonin levels when I said urbanite. Black people don’t all live in cities, and cities aren’t all black. Having lived in the lower class areas of Indianapolis I’ve found your race has a lot less to do with things like this than people think. It’s an education, religion, and income issue. I don’t use codewords. If I meant black, I’d say black.

    I can’t find anything to back up my numbers directly (Lower education and lower income do point to less support for gay marriage, but I can’t break that out by urban/suburban/rural), so it’s possible I’m totally wrong. It doesn’t fit my experience though. I’d much rather be gay in the suburbs than the poorer areas of town.

    Frankly, I think the gay rights movement in the Republican party is a great thing. And again, I’m glad it’s going away as a wedge issue. And I thank the influence of the Tea Party for breaking the stranglehold of the social conservatives on the Republican party. The less we hear from Santorum, McCain, Graham, Perry, and Crazy Eyes Bachmann, the happier I am. The more I hear from Cruz, Mia Love, Haley, and Tim Scott the better. Issues like this need to be settled ASAP, and then we can vote for people who will actually run the country instead of fighting a rear guard action against same sex marriage and abortion.

    There is nothing about the fiscal conservatism that has anything to say about gay marriage, in fact, since having two same sex parents is pretty much equal to having one of each I’m fully in support of more marriage. The couples themselves will make more money, creating more wealth, and their children will be better off and less likely to end up in a dead end situation, again creating more wealth. And they pay more taxes.

  81. Greg: Not to mention such things as interracial marriage, the rights of women to own property and have money and credit in their own name, and contraception.

  82. I think the whole “principled stance” thing is nonsense. It’s a matter of whether people bother dressing up their bigotry with so-called principle or not. If they do, that doesn’t make them less bigoted, not by one iota; it just makes them more hypocritical, more sneaky, and more evil. In other words, while it may be possible to take a real principled stand against marriage equality, no one is really doing that.

    Heard a guy on The Takeaway last week claiming that his opposition to marriage equality is based on the fact that marriage is designed to provide the optimum environment for raising children. Hockenberry didn’t ask him if he also opposes marriage between infertile or elderly people, or even between people who have no intention of raising children; in other words, he just let him get away with his lying bigotry without challenge. That sort of thing is why I hardly ever listen to The Takeaway.

    It’s astonishing to me that people even try to present such bullshit as a “principled argument” these days. It’s disgusting to me that interviewers let them get away with it.

  83. Woodman has a point in that lower socioeconomic class tends to correlate with more conservative social mores somewhat regardless of other factors such as race. An excellent examination of this and related topics is “The Irony Of Democracy” by Thomas Dye. (http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781133607250). That said, urbanites tend to be more blue and more socially progressive than more suburban and rural residents. See for example http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2012/11/what-republicans-are-really-against-population-density/3953/ for a take on this (though that article doesn’t segment people by other criteria, e.g. economic status.).

    However, let’s not lose site of the fact that as a group social conservatives tend to group on the side that we call ‘conservative’ and that, while I’m sure some liberals are leery of same-sex marriage, it’s a smaller percentage of that group than it is of conservatives. And be that as it may, it certainly feels like the view is shifting across most groups. Some have higher support than others but I’m not aware of many groups where the tide is moving against allowing same-sex marriage.

  84. But isn’t a lot of everyone’s point the fact that those evil republicans are the ones keeping gay marriage from being legal?

    Well, when every poll shows that Democrats and Independents support it in clear majorities and Republicans oppose it vehemently, I’d have to say that the point is pretty damn valid.

    Doesn’t this show why it’s hard to get it passed at the state level when 62% of blacks are against it?

    This sounds like the arguments I hear blaming black people for Prop 8, which was kind of hard considering they were 7% of the total vote for Prop 8. The hard part isn’t convincing black people, it’s convincing enough of the conservatives, which is apparently still a long way off.

    Frankly, I think the gay rights movement in the Republican party is a great thing. And again, I’m glad it’s going away as a wedge issue.

    All the evidence points to it being a wedge issue for the GOP for at least the next Presidential election, if not further. They’ll be unable to even attempt to compete at the national level until Mississippi et al jump on the bandwagon, and IIRC the prediction on that is that it’s at least a decade off. I could be wrong, but then again 46% of Mississippi Republicans still oppose or are “unsure” about interracial marriage, and that question was settled almost half a century ago.

    And I thank the influence of the Tea Party for breaking the stranglehold of the social conservatives on the Republican party.

    You’re kidding me, right? Tea Party voters track almost exactly with registered Republicans on social issues, and are more likely to be religious social conservatives than the electorate as a whole. The “government should leave gays alone” Tea Partier is a near-mythical creature.

    The less we hear from Santorum, McCain, Graham, Perry, and Crazy Eyes Bachmann, the happier I am.

    The same Michelle Bachman was the head of the official Tea Party Caucus in Congress.

    The more I hear from Cruz, Mia Love, Haley, and Tim Scott the better.

    Ted Cruz is a literal crazy person who believes in Agenda 21 and that Communists are still threatening our precious bodily fluids, and who has said that the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays is totally cool because America is being attacked by what he calls “the gay rights agenda.” Mia Love lost to a Democrat–one of the few who’s anti-gay marriage himself–in a red district in Utah (not a good sign), and has claimed DADT was a good idea and should be reinstated even after a report came out showing repeal had had no negative impact. Nikki Haley is the most competent and least crazy-eyed of your list (although she apparently has issues with backbiters in her own party), but has repeatedly stated she doesn’t believe in gay marriage. Tim Scott was also a member of the Tea Party Caucus, has said that Christians are the most persecuted minority in America, and claims that gay marriage “weakens” straight marriages.

    In other words, if you like what you hear from these people on gay marriage and other social issues, then you’re part of the problem.

    Issues like this need to be settled ASAP, and then we can vote for people who will actually run the country instead of fighting a rear guard action against same sex marriage and abortion.

    Then you’re going to have to find some new people, because none of the ones you listed seem interested in that.

  85. In other words, if you like what you hear from these people on gay marriage and other social issues, then you’re part of the problem.

    Nicely put.

  86. “Genufett, “Loving v. Virginia,” ending miscegenation as grounds for preventing so-called interracial marriage, is less than a half-century ago.”

    5-4, DOMA is over thrown and same-sex marriage is ruled constitutional, striking down all state laws and state constitutions banning same-sex marriages. Loving will be cited and equal protection. Roberts will be the swing vote. The right will go insane.

  87. In terms of political affiliation and support for same-sex marriage, this graph is illuminating:
    * Support for same-sex marriage have always been lower among Republicans than Democrats.
    * In 2001, 43% of Democrats were in favor of same-sex marriage, but only 21% of Republicans were.
    * Nowadays, support for same-sex marriage has increased to the high-50s/low-60s among Democrats, but support among Republicans is still down in the 20s.

    I really do hope that Republicans change their tune on same-sex marriage, but I don’t think it’s going to be an easy or quick transition.

  88. 5-4, DOMA is over thrown and same-sex marriage is ruled constitutional, striking down all state laws and state constitutions banning same-sex marriages.

    Don’t I wish. But given that any swing vote (more on that below) will be coming from a conservative on the court that minimizes federalism, I wouldn’t count on it. First of all, overturning DOMA (US v Windsor) is only one of the cases, and the determination there is the validity of federal gay marriage law. IIRC the best to hope for in that is that gay marriage is ruled constitutional and spousal rights (visitation, taxes, inheritance, insurance, etc) is guaranteed to all citizens. Striking down Prop 8 (Hollingsworth v Perry) is much more complicated. Even if they overturn it, they could just say it applies to one state only this one time (although it could create precedent), or they could say that no state can revoke rights previously given, and the least likely positive outcome is a blanket ban on anti-gay marriage laws. Alternately, if Kennedy and Roberts are feeling particularly asshole-y, they could just overturn the lower court decisions and reinstate the ban.

    Loving will be cited and equal protection. Roberts will be the swing vote.

    Actually, Lawrence and Romer may be more of a clue here, as they were both written by Kennedy in support of gay rights. That being said, Kennedy has been a bit…off lately, especially on Obamacare, where he ended up not only a member of the minority, but was apparently the most angry about the decision. As Chief Justice with a historical legacy in the balance, Roberts has a choice to make between Plessy v Ferguson and Brown v Board of Education, with Loving v Virginia coming in second; but he also has to decide whether he further entrenches conservatism in the Court in the hopes that 2020 brings a Republican to the WH and Ginsburg and/or Breyer gives up a spot via retirement or death. Either Roberts or Kennedy could be the swing vote, and I think there’s an almost non-existent possibility of a 6-3 decision on at least one of the cases, but I wouldn’t put any money on it.

    The right will go insane.

    “Go”? They’re already opposing it 3:1 nationally and by even larger margins in deep red states. The insane is already there, the question is who will be the first to try and stir up violent protests.

  89. And if you don’t believe me on the violent protests, remember the preacher in NC who demanded gays should be rounded up in paddocks with electrical fences after a marriage ban won by 20% in his state. Someone’s going to torch something somewhere.

  90. Kennedy originally voted the other way on Lawrence, but when he tried to write the opinion, he couldn’t make the reasoning make sense on paper. “It just doesn’t write,” he told his colleagues, and changed his vote.

  91. One of the key facets of Lawrence that has been overlooked is that marriage is, among other things, a civil contract. As a result, it does not belong in the states’ rights category but is directly addressed by the US Constitution, Article IV, Section 1: “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

    Translated from the legalese, a contract signed in one state is binding in all states – and that includes marriage contracts. Thus,if we follow the logic of Lawrence along with that of the cases that established no-fault divorces in Nevada being binding in other states, gay marriage is already legal in all fifty states.

    The folks in Congress were aware of this when they passed the DOMA in 1996; it was their attempt to do an end-run around the Constitutional requirement. But I fully expect DOMA to be ruled unconstitutional and Section 8 to be made irrelevant by the current SCOTUS. Then again, I’m an optimist.

  92. I was happy when Connecticut saw the light on this. My first deep thought on the issue was basically the “libertarian dismount/renaming gambit” – that was 10-15 years ago (I’m 36 now, and I can’t recall even thinking about the issue until the late 90s/early 2000s). I discovered that wasn’t viable (gov’t is in the marriage business, and that’s not gonna change, plus my gambit only sounded interesting to non-religious liberal-with-some-libertarian-leaning types like me, which is like 5-10% of the population maybe) and then the choice became really really easy.

    The past few years really have felt like the turn of the tide, though. It’s gone from “balanced on the edge of a knife” to “it’s all over but the crying.” [I exaggerate slightly, it's true. For those living in our more reactionary states, please don't take offense. I think the *argument* is won. But securing the Rights may take longer]

  93. Woodman: I can’t find anything to back up my numbers directly (Lower education and lower income do point to less support for gay marriage, but I can’t break that out by urban/suburban/rural), so it’s possible I’m totally wrong. It doesn’t fit my experience though. I’d much rather be gay in the suburbs than the poorer areas of town.

    I’d say that’s because rural living tends towards conservative thinking and urban living tends towards liberal thinking. The reason, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with race or income or anything about the people themselves…. and everything to do with the differences of those two physical spaces.

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/11/08/meanwhile-in-darke-county/#comment-397391

    Beyond that, your personal identification with conservative thinking has significantly clouded your judgement on this thread and rendered you unable to be objectively critical of conservative politics with regard to gay marriage.

  94. @Genufett: There is a thread somewhere months back on this site that tries to argue the same thing: “We shouldn’t do this because some batshit crazies will do something violent (either personally or on a larger scale).”

    Here’s the news, pal: that’s called terrorism. (On the personal level, it’s called “what gay people have feared – and too often put up with – for years”.) We as a nation apparently have no tolerance for terrorism these days, so that ought to be a fairly easy answer.

    Are you really arguing that the fear of a group or groups of violent bigots should determine the civil rights laws of the US? We’ve been there once or twice before – I live in a State that once had a governor elected largely by the Ku Klux Klan – and we finally realized, at home as abroad, that bowing to terrorists gets you nothing except a soul with stains on it.

    Yes, I can see that some dipshit a’la Tim McVeigh might do something horrible. Should we give that dipshit the power to determine the civil rights of a percentage of our population? (And I would remind you that McVeigh’s outrage had no effect on policy, no slowdown in civil rights – it merely earned him an armful of poison and a footnote in history reading “STUPID MURDEROUS ASSHOLE.”)

  95. What really annoyed me over the last couple of years were supposed ‘Heinlein’ Libertarians who were 100% behind Romney, and when you pointed to LGBT rights including marriage, told me that such things were ‘a distraction from the real issues’.

    Pardon, but to me Civil Rights are the real issue.

    FYI, I live in Canada. We’ve had same-sex marriage for about ten years now, and none of the crap that has been predicted by those against same-sex marriage has ever happened.

    Wayne

  96. JohnD: Am I correct in thinking you mean Hollingsworth v. Perry, rather than Lawrence v. Texas?

    Don: McVeigh wasn’t trying for a change in policy. He was getting revenge for Waco.

  97. @Scalzi – In fairness, I can’t quite see the “civil unions” bit by Woodman as a Libertarian Dismount (succeeding posts may vary.) There is an indefensible argument that in the legal sense, ANY marriage in the US is nothing more or less than a civil union. Consider the words that every minister/priest/rabbi speaks in the ceremony here: “By the powers vested in me by the State of ________, I now pronounce you etc.”

    Their LEGAL authority to solemnize a marriage does not come from their religion, it comes from the State. And that authority is the same whether it’s granted to a priest, rabbi, minister or justice of the peace (or ship’s Captain, if one wants to get esoteric.)

    (Or the First Drive-Thru Church of Elvis, if one wants to forsake taste altogether.)

    “Marriage” in the religious sense is distinct from “marriage” in the public sense – and I have no problem with that. I may shake (and hang) my head at the religions that will not accept two men or two women declaring their love and devotion for one another…but I’m more concerned with how that declaration is treated by the government(s) that have a much more direct effect on the people involved.

  98. @MRAL: “the gay community does have a lot of financially conservative members who would be entirely in line with the GOP’s fiscal policy if they felt more welcome as gay people.”
    That’s nice. I guess as long gay fiscal conservatives have got theirs, then people of colour, women, the poor, and the environment can go f*ck themslves.
    My point being that there is so much else wrong with the current right wing’s thinking, that if gay fiscal conservatives decide to switch based on a single issue, they are saying that they’re happy to throw everyone else – and the economy – under a bus.
    I hope you’re wrong.

    “So, there’s that. I think the abortion controversy is going the same way, for similar reasons.”

    Well, it’s weird that as Republicans rush to *sound* more reasonable about gays and browns (so long as they’re not, you know, *actually* black), that anti-abortion rhetoric by the right is amping up considerably by the same people – e.g. Wikipedia tells me that Sen Rob Portman “supports making it more difficult for non-parental adults to help minors bypass state abortion laws. On January 24, 2013, Portman sponsored a bill that would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion if it would circumvent a state law requiring parental involvement.” Also see the recent North Dakota fetal personhood bullsh*t and so on.
    Looks to me like Republicans are going to rely on the men telling their womenfolk how to vote, and going for more men on the basis of pretending not to sound too embarrassingly whacky to publicly affiliated with.

  99. @Xopher: I would refer you to the old proverb about seeing the forest v. the trees. And to the late poet John Reed, observing the events prior to the Russian Revolution:

    “Talk about talking,
    And think about thinking,
    And swallow each other
    Without even blinking.”

  100. Sadly, I was completely thrown out of being able to read this discussion by the reference to people with “high levels of melatonin.” What did sleep hormones ever do to you? What do they have to do with urban inhabitants?

    No doubt you actually meant melanin.

    (This message brought to you by the Rouge Angles of Satin.)

  101. And shortly after I first read that support was growing in Ohio to delete the Heterosexuals Only amendment in Ohio’s constitution… I moved to Kentucky. Where I recently read it’s still legal to FIRE an employee if you find out they’re gay.

    For various reasons, I’m likely to live in Kentucky at least until 2022. So I’ll be signing lots of petitions and writing to my reps a lot. About all sorts of things.

  102. @Greg I was actually thinking of the activism of the 60’s compared with the young people I know now who don’t care about non-personal issues and don’t even vote. But there is a different kind of activism, more effective, in introducing your same-sex partner to your family, in taking that partner to a company party, and in publicly claiming that part of oneself. I think that’s the movement “to the left” effect we’re seeing now. Much of the current political rhetoric is as wacky right as McCarthy was.

  103. Woodman, Don Hillard, et al re: the Dismount:

    Be sure to let us know when a significant majority of people already in legally-recognized marriages are willing to get behind changing them to civil unions. And, you know, good luck with that. but until then, it’s just blowing smoke while the discrimination continues.

  104. Yeah, Civil Unions are bullshit. They’re a feint to keep gays from getting the real thing.

    New Jersey has known since just after CUs took effect here that they don’t work. They’re theoretically the legal equivalent of marriage but insurance companies from other states don’t recognize them (among other problems). And our stupid shithead governor (yeah, I mean Chris Christie) vetoed the Marriage Equality bill.

    That’s why my Marriage Equality t-shirt says “We Shall Override.”

  105. This is comment # what? 100? Like being buried on page 78 of the paper. Nonetheless, my 2 kopins worth, as I think my viewpoint is both unusual and useful.

    First a historical background:

    If marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman of the same race – as it was in many states until 1967 – how do you know what race(s) two people are?

    OK, for most people, it’s obvious. But what about those cases where it isn’t? For example, one state said that someone 1/64 African-American was Black (so prohibited from marrying a White), while 1/128 was White (so prohibited from marrying a Black), in others a “single drop of African blood” meant they were Black. Someone’s race for the purposes of marriage differed from state to state, and in no case was there a rational basis for the determination..

    The late unlamented 3rd Reich classified non-Aryans as Misschlings of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc degrees in a similar way.

    The Racial Classification Board in the former Zuid Afrika took things even further. They attempted to use SCIENCE!

    “These tests included measurements of the nose, nostrils, and cheekbones, and an expert analysis of hair texture. The latter often included the ‘pencil test.’ It was thought that a white person’s hair is not so curly to hold a pencil, whereas a coloured person’s hair could. There were gradations of skin color to be measured in various places of the body including the fingernails and the eyelids; earlobes were squeezed to determine their degree of softness. (It was thought that Black person’s earlobes were softer than others.) Individuals challenging their racial classification before the board would also be asked what they had for breakfast (it was thought only blacks would eat mealie or cornmeal porridge), how they slept on a bed, and what sport they enjoyed (blacks were thought to favor soccer while coloured favored rugby).”

    Even then, between the years of 1950 and 1966 there were 267,541 individuals who could not be adequately categorized by the apartheid system of racial categorization.
    (Source : http://www.humboldt.edu/~mib1/forum/Ethics.Forum.Cannon.ppt)

    That’s it for the historical background. I think you can see how, in hindsight, pretty much everyone is forced to agree on how inhuman and irrational this all was.

    So, how does this affect the current situation.?

    If marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman – as it in many states – how do you know what sex(es) two people are?

    OK, for most people, it’s obvious. But what about those cases where it isn’t? For example:

    Littleton v. Prange (9 S.W.3d 223 (Tex. App. 1999), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 872 (2000))
    “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

    The parallels with the different definitions for “race” prior to 1967 are unmistakeable. Which sex some people are differs from state to state.

    Estimates for Transsexual persons in the US : 97,142 – 301,140 persons.
    Estimates of those with a severe Intersex condition :150,570 – 200,760 persons
    Estimate for those “technically” Intersex, with a difference from both male and female norms, even if it takes a chromosome test to detect it : 5,500,000 persons

    Although I have always identified as female, I look female, all my obvious external and much of my internal anatomy is female… I am severely Intersex. In 1985 I was medically diagnosed as a “severely androgenised male”. I looked male, mostly, at the time. In 2005, that changed, causing a dramatic re-evaluation and very much more extensive testing than a cursory external examination and hormone level test. The result: “severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant woman”.

    In the jurisdiction I was born in, change to birth certificates is impossible for Intersex people. In the jurisdiction I reside in, Intersex people are deemed, solely for the purposes of marriage, neither male nor female, so may not marry, as marriage requires one to be male or female.

    It could be worse… in one US Federal Circuit, Intersex people, being neither “Men, Women or Children” are not “natural persons”, so lack standing in most courts – Employment for example.

  106. Grail76John: that particular anecdote (the Justice Powell one) has always struck me as being one of the best examples of why coming out is *critical*.

  107. Yeah, the NJ “civil union” is bullshit – I know a lesbian couple who got it, only to discover it doesn’t cover next of kin rights when one of them got very sick. Her next of kin was her ragingly homophobic Right Wing Mother in Florida!

  108. If you’re going to do the Libertarian Dismount, you need to get off the correct side of the horse. Governments shouldn’t be deciding who’s allowed get married at all, just recording who’s registering that they’re married, so the courts can resolve any conflicts over community-or-not property or inheritance or care of minor children or whatever. If you want to get married at City Hall because it’s a pretty building, fine, they can make rules about how many people can show up and whether you can serve food there, but if you’d rather get married in a church or a park or your front porch or not have a ceremony at all, that’s not really their call.

    Meanwhile, the purpose of state constitutional amendments against gay marriage is to get right-wing voters to come out to the polls where they’ll also probably vote for Republican candidates.

  109. Are you really arguing that the fear of a group or groups of violent bigots should determine the civil rights laws of the US? We’ve been there once or twice before – I live in a State that once had a governor elected largely by the Ku Klux Klan – and we finally realized, at home as abroad, that bowing to terrorists gets you nothing except a soul with stains on it.

    Oh no, not at all. I was just pointing out that someone’s comment about people going insane was already pretty much a foregone conclusion. Violence from homophobes is nothing new, and in fact I would guess that anyone committing it in response to a SCOTUS decision would only build a deep anger against their cause. If anything, it would mean that anti-gay laws would have a harder time being passed, because they would inevitably (and somewhat correctly) be linked to anti-gay violence. After all, if the state’s saying its okay to commit social violence, some people will take that as permission to commit physical violence. Happens all the time already.

  110. On insidious ways to undermine a push for civil equality for LGBTQ people (of which marriage is just a part):

    1. Claiming that gay couples already have all the benefits of married couples or can get them easily through a private legal contract.

    Except they don’t. There is a slew of legal, financial, and personal advantages open to married opposite-sex couples that is firmly closed to same-sex couples and there is no way around it.

    Case in point, this poor woman:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16774806-whats-right-is-right-widowed-lesbian-pushes-for-equal-military-benefits?lite

    She is denied social security survivorship benefits (financial), military survivorship benefits (financial), health care for life (major financial), the assistance of the military’s support and legal network to help settle her affairs ( legal and social), the ability to inherit her late wife’s property tax-free (huge financial, especially if they owned a house). The army gave her a flag—but not the one that had draped her wife’s coffin.She was given her late wife’s wedding ring by her mother-in-law. Any wife of a man in the military killed on duty? They would have given it to her personally.

    That is what second-class status looks like.

    There is a court case in California in which the widowed wife (pre-Prop 8) of a former servicemember who died as a result of an illness from her military service is suing for survivorship benefits. There is a case in North Carolina where the wife of a servicewoman is trying to be allowed into the officers’ wives club….it’s not just ladies who lunch, it’s the support group for people going through what she is going through.

    So that argument falls flat on the face of it as well as digging deeper. As usual in the US, there is the irony of a deeply conservative social institution (military) being the leader of progressive social change in the US. I’ll take it.

  111. “Well, it’s weird that as Republicans rush to *sound* more reasonable about gays and browns (so long as they’re not, you know, *actually* black)”

    Hey, guess what? In 2010 according to the Washington Post ‘In fact, the National Journal reported that Democrats elected just six minorities to majority-white districts and states in 2010. And they actually had fewer minorities elected to such offices than Republicans did.’

    “Wikipedia tells me that Sen Rob Portman “supports making it more difficult for non-parental adults to help minors bypass state abortion laws.”
    So you think it’s good thing if a minors boyfriend takes her out of state for an abortion without her parent’s consent? My daughters can’t get a broken arm fixed beyond stabilizing the injury without the hospital checking with me, but let’s let a minor get an abortion without parental guidance. I understand the purpose of the law, obviously if Daddy Dearest is the perpetrator the last person that should be in charge is the parent, but OTOH, is a 14 year old who has gotten pregnant by a 17 or 18 year old the best judge of whether or not she should have an abortion?

    I really wonder sometimes whether people here actually know any conservatives that think these things, or just read about them and make assumptions. I am a conservative, in a conservative area, in a conservative business, and I personally know one person that fits these stereotypes.

    And as far as Haley, Scott, and the others, you know, I had never heard their stance on gay marriage before. That changes a some things for me, and I’ll have to do some digging myself if any of them hit somewhere I can vote for them.

    I think Scalzi’s point is valid, and I think it’s more valid than he thinks because the bias against gay marriage seems more a point of inertia than doctrine with the party. And from my point of view, the local Tea Party has a lot more diversity than the Democratic, or Republican machines in Anderson or Indianapolis, Indiana.

  112. “She is denied social security survivorship benefits (financial), military survivorship benefits (financial), health care for life (major financial), the assistance of the military’s support and legal network to help settle her affairs ( legal and social), the ability to inherit her late wife’s property tax-free (huge financial, especially if they owned a house). The army gave her a flag—but not the one that had draped her wife’s coffin.She was given her late wife’s wedding ring by her mother-in-law. Any wife of a man in the military killed on duty? They would have given it to her personally. ”

    The contract for the military says your spouse get x, y, and z benefits, and they should damn well give them if that’s the agreement. Same with the social contract with the military, you give the flag, and the ring damn it. That’s ass right there. If they have a legal marriage, then they should have been treated the same as any other married couple, I’m surprised it worked out that way, as far as the funeral went. I’ve done multiple military funerals and we gave the flag to whoever we were told to give it to. Of course, that assumes the spouse is given a chance to get into the funeral arrangements.

    I’ve found Social Security survivor benefits questionable in a straight marriage now that we are dealing with two income families and a more equal society. But that’s a general marriage issue, and as it stands right now the survivor should get the cash.

  113. I used to be in favour of the “scrap civil marriage and call them all civil unions” notion. Why is it bad? Because marriage law is *international*; making a whole set of new treaties about “civil unions” (and there are some theocracies that would kick up a SERIOUS stink about that I’m sure) would just be PAIN ON A STICK.

    In the UK we managed “civil partnerships” that were very, very nearly identical to marriage. None of this “civil partner denied survivor benefits” cruft. It still felt very “second class citizen”; and there were still some differences which seem very trivial *until you actually run into them*. For instance the absolutely vile situation for married trans* people who were forced to obtain an annulment of their marriage before the law recognised their gender and then subsequently could enter a new civil partnership (supposing they wished to remain with their spouse) – this was not only personally traumatic but also led to people loosing benefits that accrue over time. (I write this in the past tense because some time, real soon now, we are going to get same-sex marriage)

    And I’m so so sick of religious people complaining that they’ll be “forced” to marry gays. Well, no. No one’s forcing the local Imam to marry non Muslims to each other are they? Do you see Jews harassing Catholic priests to marry them? no, no you do not. Catholics are entirely at liberty to decide who may marry in their churches. What about the Freedom Of Religion of all the faith groups who WANT to provide same sex couples with religious weddings? In the UK the Quakers and the Liberal Jews have been actively campaigning to be allowed to do so – are they not to have freedom of religion?

  114. Hey, guess what? In 2010 according to the Washington Post ‘In fact, the National Journal reported that Democrats elected just six minorities to majority-white districts and states in 2010. And they actually had fewer minorities elected to such offices than Republicans did.’

    Probably not a topic our host wants to keep on chasing, but it doesn’t speak well of your confidence on this when you fail to use historical data and instead cherry-pick an especially popular midterm election (which already skew heavily conservative) and also fail to provide evidence of minority candidates losing primaries in all of those races. Apart from, y’know, even most of the GOP agreeing that they have a minority problem.

    I really wonder sometimes whether people here actually know any conservatives that think these things, or just read about them and make assumptions. I am a conservative, in a conservative area, in a conservative business, and I personally know one person that fits these stereotypes.

    What does knowing somebody have to do with it? A majority (63%) of Republicans think abortion should be made illegal in all or most cases, over a third of whom won’t make exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Tea Party Republicans score the highest (88%) in the former category and second-highest (33%) group in the latter.

    And from my point of view, the local Tea Party has a lot more diversity than the Democratic, or Republican machines in Anderson or Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Again, what does your point of view have to do with anything? Anecdotes are not the plural of data, and all that. Multiple polls show that Tea Party members are “more likely than Americans overall to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education.” That doesn’t really speak well to diversity at all. And on this issue in particular, they’re very anti-diversity: Tea Party members appear to be the most vehement gay marriage opponents, with 80% strongly opposed and 14% somewhat opposed.

  115. @Woodsman:

    is a 14 year old who has gotten pregnant by a 17 or 18 year old the best judge of whether or not she should have an abortion?

    The person who is actually pregnant is always the best judge of whether or not she should have an abortion, and no-one else has any say in the matter whatsoever. Period.

  116. JohnD: Am I correct in thinking you mean Hollingsworth v. Perry, rather than Lawrence v. Texas?

    Actually, I was further off than that; I meant Loving v. Virginia, though the argument would be well placed in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

    I apologize for the error; it has been a long week.

  117. Woodman: My daughters can’t get a broken arm fixed beyond stabilizing the injury without the hospital checking with me, but let’s let a minor get an abortion without parental guidance.

    Dude. How naive can you be? Seriously? How many parents do you know who would refuse care for their daughter’s broken arm?

    Woodman: the local Tea Party has a lot more diversity than the Democratic, or Republican machines

    Well, why didn’t you just say you’re friends with the Tea Party. It would have helped figure out how to respond to your posts.

    Woodman: The contract for the military says your spouse get x, y, and z benefits, and they should damn well give them if that’s the agreement.

    Oh, so you’re a libertarian on top of everything else…..

    Ugh.

    Tea Party sympathizing libertarian conservative does explain this little nugget:

    Woodman: I really wonder sometimes whether people here actually know any conservatives that think these things, or just read about them and make assumptions. I am a conservative, in a conservative area, in a conservative business, and I personally know one person that fits these stereotypes.

    Geez you guys, conservatives like that don’t exist. You’ve never even met a conservative like that. These are just stereotypes propagated by the Left. …. Oh, by the way, I know one conservative who fits this stereotype exacty. But its all lies. LIES I tell you!

  118. @Bearpaw: In my case at least, you have entirely the wrong end of the stick. In at least one of the two cases going before the Supreme Court today and tomorrow, the fact that marriage under the law is itself a civil union was part of the appellate decision overturning DOMA, and is likely to be a major component of the arguments before the Court – the point being that DOMA and the multi-tiered patchwork of civil unions and domestic partnerships it spawned are inherently unfair, unequal and unConstitutional.

    Which is why I didn’t want to see it brushed off too quickly. “Libertarian” or no, it may be the crux of me getting equal rights under the law.

  119. @Woodman – gee, I remember a time when “Libertarian” meant “preserving and protecting civil liberties for all“, not “denying the same civil liberties you’d grant to White Men to anybody Black/Female/Hispanic/Asian/Gay – while sucking up to Corporate Looters and Moochers who would rather legislate than innovate.” What you’re practicing isn’t Libertarianism, it’s Know-Nothingism.

  120. Yes, Woodman, let’s talk Indiana Republicans, shall we?

    My local (Republican) state rep used to go to my church. Nice guy, personally speaking. He was on the search committee for our new pastor, and approved the choice. And then had to leave our church, because it was not politically viable for him to attend a church with a gay pastor.

    But it’s not an issue the Republicans are attached to at all. /sarcasm

    Just like abortion restrictions are no longer a key thing – except for the new transvaginal ultrasound bill (requiring not one, but two!), and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the TRAP laws, and the gag order…I can go on for a while here.

  121. Going to have to disagree. You can’t make a principled stand against equal marriage or anything else that involves denying another person their rights.

  122. Brian DeLue @2:58:

    It seems awfully naive to think any church couldn’t pull the same shifty obstructionism with a gay couple, even assuming said church isn’t specifically exempted from any changes to the law. (And they will be exempted, I have no doubt about that.)

    No church needs to pull shifty obstructionism with a gay couple. They can just outright refuse to perform the ceremony. And more power to them. They are already exempted from any changes to laws allowing gay marriage. It’s called the First Amendment.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….

    Choosing who will be married in one’s church, meeting house, mosque, synagogue or other organization of worship is a fundamental part of freely exercising one’s religion.

    I don’t want to live in a country where the government can force a religious body to perform a marriage ceremony for any reason.

    I also don’t want to live in a country where the government can refuse to recognize a legal religious marriage ceremony performed by a religious body. Alas, the Christian ceremony my SS spouse and I celebrated, with the exact same marriage license and license fees as the OS couple who got married the day before we did, is not valid at the Federal level. Theirs is. Equal protection my ass.

    I don’t want any religious organization forced to perform a SS wedding ceremony. I’m a big proponent of the Bill of Rights. I do want the Federal government to acknowledge my legal marriage.

    Genufett @8:51

    That being said, Kennedy has been a bit…off lately, especially on Obamacare, where he ended up not only a member of the minority, but was apparently the most angry about the decision.

    That’s because it was a horrible (from a legal point of view) decision. And I speak as a supporter of Obamacare who was glad to see the decision go that way but gagged at how they got there. If it had been a ruling going against me I’d have screamed a decibel or so louder (I screamed pretty loud as it was—ugh!). I have sympathy with Kennedy and those who decry that decision on its legal grounds.

    I really hope that SCOTUS will take a good hard look at the contortions they performed on that decision and both overturn DOMA and Prop 8 and write a legally coherent decision.

    Oh, and go Ohio! Good luck to you all.

  123. Woodman: If they have a legal marriage, then they should have been treated the same as any other married couple, I’m surprised it worked out that way, as far as the funeral went.

    That’s just it. DOMA specifically prohibits treating married same-sex couples equally. That’s what makes it unConstitutional.

    naath: And I’m so so sick of religious people complaining that they’ll be “forced” to marry gays.

    Oh, they don’t really believe they will. They’re absolutely clear on what their rights are.

    It’s a deliberate lie they tell to persuade people who wouldn’t agree with them if they told the truth.

    ULTRAGOTHA: Prop 8 and DOMA are two separate cases, and two separate decisions will be written on them.

  124. @Genufett: You could have answered my question more succinctly with a simple “yes”, rather than a concern that since the Court would be committing “social violence” by granting marriage equality it would prompt some people (not you, heaven forfend!) to engage in physical violence.

    You nailed your colors to the mast pretty well with that one – though I will admit you did a good job of muffling the hammer, since I didn’t catch it this morning prior to my coffee.

    But “social violence”? Would you care to define that? Given that multiple other First World countries got around to marriage equality a decade or more ago (including Our Most Important Neighbor To The North) without spontaneously imploding (though a few of them, including OMINTTN, have suffered a slight backlash of electing rightwing twits to high office), where exactly is the “violence” in treating people equally?

  125. Don: But “social violence”? Would you care to define that?

    Genufett: if the state’s saying its okay to commit social violence, some people will take that as permission to commit physical violence.

    I take that to mean that if the government commits social violence, in the form of treating some group as second class citizens, then some people will take that as government permission to commit physical violence against those second class citizens.

    It seems to me that you two have been talking past each other for a while now. But I could be wrong.

  126. @Greg: Yes, you could, and by my lights you are. You quote directly: “[I]f the state’s saying it’s OK to commit social violence, some people will take that as permission to commit physical violence.”

    This defines marriage equality as “social violence”. If you’ve somehow managed to parse it differently, I’d love to hear your explanation.

  127. Fuck. There are times when I read too fast. And I suspect, Greg, that you suffer the same ailment.

    Go back and read the posts. Genufett is not applying the “social violence” tag to treating a group as second-class citizens: he is applying it to the legalization of same-sex marriage, and treating it as a “well, this is awful but some people WILL take things too far…” situation.

    If I’m wrong, I’m quite happy to be corrected. By him. Not by you.

  128. ULTRAGOTHA: No, my apologies for that pedantic correction, which didn’t take into account your history of intelligent commenting here. Sorry.

  129. Don: he is applying it [“social violence” tag] to the legalization of same-sex marriage

    yeah, you’re misreading it. The violence Genufett is talking about is:

    Genufett: Violence from homophobes is nothing new

    homophobes. ya know, people who would completely HATE the idea of the legalization of same sex marriage. They have a history of physical violence against gays. And the state has a history of “social violence” against gays (making same sex marriage illegal, anti-sodomy laws, having homosexuality declared a mental illness, etc)

    Don: I’m quite happy to be corrected. By him. Not by you.

    Well, since you two have been talking past one another for a while now, someone’s gotta point it out. If the truth makes you unhappy, well, can’t help you there.

  130. It’s funny. So much screaming about “gay marriage”, so much whining from “activists” (who’re really nothing but stormtrooper for political agendas and who were elected by nobody), so much media attention, even internationally.

    At the same time Feinstein wrote a crappy anti-gun bill, that will likely be introduced piece by piece anyway, law abiding citizens, millions of them, are being criminalized by the Beltway Mafia, the media and, yes, activists, and the Constitution is ignored and yet… no media attention nationally, internationally it’s the same old anti-American crap and yeah…

    Hmmm, love those priorities.

  131. Also funny, people whine about “violence from homophobes”. Oh yeah, because there are oh so many cases of it, right?

    Funny.

    No gays, you’re NOT the new blacks. You’re NOT being treated like the blacks in the 50s. You don’t have to deal with hundreds of lynchings, murder and segregation. You can ride in whatever seat you want on any bus in the US.

    Stop. The. Effing. Drama.

    If you’re not capable of having a rational discussion, then maybe you’re not mature enough to get “married”.

    Also, if gays are allowed to married, don’t allow them to divorce. It took us heteros ages to get that through. You want the same options? Go through the motions.

    Oh, btw… with islam spreading more and more, what do you think will happen to your great “gay marriage” experiment in the US?

    It’ll be like over here, in, let’s say, the Netherlands, where gays are under increasing attack from mohammedans. There’s even a term for a “game” mohammedan youths like to play in the Netherlands and Germany. It’s called “Schwulenklatschen.” Literally “gay slapping”. Yes, it means what it implies. They attack gays and beat the crap out of them, usually vastly outnumbering them.

    Oh, you mean the law has to do something about that?

    No. It’s part of mohammedan culture, accept and respect it, you racist bastard. They have a right to express their own culture, you Nazi.

    What, I’m out of line with this? Hey, whenever I bring up cold hard facts about how intolerant and fascist islam is I’m called a racist and a Nazi.

    By the same people who scream about gay marriage.

    Now how funny is that!

    As for “homphobia”, please, that’s such a pseudo-term. I’m tired of retarded activists calling people of other opinions by phobias. Phobias aren’t a joke, they can ruin people’s lives. You know, real phobias. The clinical phobias. Yeah, the real ones. Not the political combat terms thrown around by activists and “progressives” to hide their real fascist faces behind political correctness.

    I’m looking forward to the self-destruction of the west. It’s a show I wouldn’t want to miss for the world!

  132. “What you’re practicing isn’t Libertarianism, it’s Know-Nothingism.”
    Interesting in all of this how the labeling of me as a Tea Party supporting libertarian conservative has changed my stated stance of agreeing with gay marriage rights, to “Oh, you’re one of those guys”. Label and dehumanize your opponent so you don’t have to listen to what they are saying. It’s not Woodman speaking, it’s that Know-Nothing dude.

    My concerns about gay marriage, or polygamy, or whatever form of legal contract people want to enter into are where it interferes with other rights. I give a damn what people want to do in their bedrooms. And like I’ve said a couple times, the more people we get married, the better, since married people generally more stable and wealthier than poor, with their kids being better off regardless of parental gender (Cause or Coincidence? No Idea, let’s give it a shot.).

    This is a right that hasn’t been applied to a small segment of the population that is overpowering almost every other issue. Let’s catch up this 3-5% of the population with the rest of us and move on.

    “Dude. How naive can you be? Seriously? How many parents do you know who would refuse care for their daughter’s broken arm? ”

    @Greg That’s my point, the hospital won’t do anything but stabilize a life threatening condition without parental consent, but there are people who want an abortion provided without it, or Plan B.

    And for the person who said that the 14 year old is the only one who can make the decision of whether she should get an abortion. A 14 year old can’t get her ears pierced, a tattoo, drive a car, drink, or any number of things because she’s not mature enough. But you want her to make a life altering decision without parental assistance? A 14 year old can’t buy Sudafed in Indiana, but let’s give her Plan B without her parent’s or family doctor’s knowledge.

    “Geez you guys, conservatives like that don’t exist. You’ve never even met a conservative like that. These are just stereotypes propagated by the Left. …. Oh, by the way, I know one conservative who fits this stereotype exacty. But its all lies. LIES I tell you!”
    I’m not sure what you think you are adding to the conversation here. My opinion is that an awful lot of people believe that the stereotype is the rule, while the stereotype is just a portion, and a shrinking one at that. Just like the stereotype of the Welfare Queen actually exists, but not as much as some people throw it around.

  133. Woodman: That’s my point, the hospital won’t do anything but stabilize a life threatening condition without parental consent

    No. My point was you tried to compare parental consent for abortion like parental consent for a broken arm. And I asked you a simple question: How many parents would deny treatment for that broken arm?

    None.

    So, your comparison doesn’t fly. You don’t want parental consent for abortion because you think its just like parental consent for a broken arm. People who want parental consent for an abortion want it so they can say NO. That’s exactly why you want it. because you know a bunch of parents will say “NO” and stop the abortion.

    But you want her to make a life altering decision without parental assistance?

    Do you unequivocally support abortion rights for adult women? Without any restriction? without any unwanted vaginal probing? Without any obstructions? Paid for by insurance? Planned Parenthood and taxes? Just like any other medical condition?

    Woodman: I’m not sure what you think you are adding to the conversation here. My opinion is that an awful lot of people believe that the stereotype is the rule, while the stereotype is just a portion, and a shrinking one at that.

    Hello, Woodman. Allow me to introduce you to Edohiguma:

    Edohiguma: Also funny, people whine about “violence from homophobes”. Oh yeah, because there are oh so many cases of it, right? Funny. … What, I’m out of line with this? Hey, whenever I bring up cold hard facts about how intolerant and fascist islam is I’m called a racist and a Nazi. By the same people who scream about gay marriage.

    So, tell me, Woodman. Are you a warrior for facts and truth? Knocking down stereotypes wherever you see them? Or do you only do that when it helps your conservative viewpoints and agenda? Edohiguma is posting the rantings of someone who is rampantly homophobic, is rampantly islamophobic. And I haven’t heard “boo” out of you. Question: Have you ever stood up against a real life homophobe when there’s one right there in front of you? If not, then how much do your words mean if they don’t match your actions? I’m getting the distinct impression that you don’t really care about stereotypes or bigotry and are simply using them as cover to justify your conservative libertarian, tea party, point of view.

    i.e. get govenrment out of marriage, make it all contracts, and never mind the real issues that would create. And never mind that heterosexual married couples would never give up all the benefits of marriage being function regulated by the state. Gay marriage becomes your opportunity to soap box about getting government out of something, anything.

  134. Wait, are we talking about abortion in a completely unrelated thread? And one of the people in this discussion is a long time commenter who knows how I feel about derails?

  135. No gays, you’re NOT the new blacks. You’re NOT being treated like the blacks in the 50s. You don’t have to deal with hundreds of lynchings, murder and segregation

    Wrong.

    And that’s all that’s needed to deal with you.

  136. “i.e. get govenrment out of marriage, make it all contracts, and never mind the real issues that would create. And never mind that heterosexual married couples would never give up all the benefits of marriage being function regulated by the state. Gay marriage becomes your opportunity to soap box about getting government out of something, anything.”

    No. And I’ll stay on topic and just address this, despite your incorrect assumptions about me on the other topics.

    My civil union suggestion was a way to cut religion out of the state marriage business. Right now a gay couple can get married by any number of denominations in this country, in a religious ceremony. Church of God churches are accepting homosexual applicants for minister positions, think they’ll have problems presiding over a church wedding for a loving couple? Hell, a friend of mine got married by a Church of Beer priest.

    I’m not removing the government from anything, nor did I suggest it. A marriage, or civil union, is a contract. Right now the majority of the rights that gay people want involve the portion of the contract with the government. The social and relationship portion can be fulfilled with a standard marriage ceremony. Just like people who elope to Vegas sometimes have a second ceremony that becomes the actual “wedding”, or people that do destination weddings but get married officially before they leave. If you ask them their anniversary 10 years later, which one will they use? If you remove the government from that contract then everyone is screwed.

    I accepted the claim that I had preformed a Libertarian Dismount, because of instead of solving the problem we have right now I suggested something that will most likely never happen. I cut the Gordian knot with a solution that was plausible, but impractical. It would be ideal, in my mind, to have everyone equal and balanced. It would also be ideal to not force organizations to associate with people they would prefer not to, or endorse practices they don’t approve of. Allowing religious organizations, and others, the leeway to follow the law without violating their religious convictions is a possible way out but because of “civil unions” that were not equal to marriage that way is likely closed now. The term is poisoned.

    “I’m getting the distinct impression that you don’t really care about stereotypes or bigotry and are simply using them as cover to justify your conservative libertarian, tea party, point of view.”

    I don’t fit in your damn box, and you can stop trying to shove me in there. You’ve already decided what everything I say means, and how you are going to respond to it.

    You cannot legislate away bigotry. Some organizations will drop dependent coverage entirely rather than cover same sex partners, or even just increase pay and drop the entire benefit package. All the law requires is that everyone be equal before it, not that everyone be accepted and loved everywhere they go. A woman is still going to have a rough time working in oilfields, a white man is going to catch hell trying to work at a soul food restaurant, and a lesbian couple is going to have issues in a lot of places.

    I gave Edohiguma exactly the treatment he deserved, on the internet. I ignored his ravings as the speech of a depraved mind. And since he posted while I was typing I’m not sure exactly what you expected. Wait, here. Edohiguma, you fucking Nazi, stop with the islamic gay bashing hate speech! Feel better Greg? Do I pass the thought police now?

    “Question: Have you ever stood up against a real life homophobe when there’s one right there in front of you?”
    Depends on your definition of Homophobe. If you include people who don’t like the idea of homosexuals, no. Frankly, their hangups aren’t my problem and I’m not into tilting at windmills. If you are talking about people who joke about going gay beating or some crazy shit like that, or who think news stories about it are funny, yeah, I’ve thrown my weight in on that. I can’t force someone to change their opinion, and if I did it wouldn’t do any good. I can’t stop people from hating homosexuals. I can let them know that acting on that isn’t acceptable, and that I don’t agree with their thinking, and, if were to somehow come down to it, I’d stop them from acting on it.

    And again, Greg, am I a better person in your eyes now since I meet some of your opinion of what correct people think? Are you less likely to call for the registration of Tea Party members as members of hate groups now? Or does it matter at all what I actually think and do since you are already digging up the goalposts and are likely to dismiss my incoherent ramblings the same way I dismissed Edohiguma’s?

  137. Woodman –

    “You cannot legislate away bigotry.”

    No, but you sure as hell can legislate sanctions against it and especially against those whose actions promote and perpetuate it. It’s a pretty safe bet that you know that.

  138. You cannot legislate away bigotry.

    That’s an interesting proposition. And yes, legislation isn’t going to stop people and behaving like bigots but it can really curtail their ability to engage publicly in their bigoted behaviours.

    But this does, IMO, seem to be a problem with a lot of Libertarian type positions. i.e. Don’t enforce desegregation, the market should decide. Don’t have gun safety laws, they don’t work etc… the problem with all of those positions, is that we’ve a LOT of empirical evidence that actually, legislation works pretty well for curtailing a lot of poor behaviours. Sure, it doesn’t make them go away but it does seem to change things.

  139. “No, but you sure as hell can legislate sanctions against it and especially against those whose actions promote and perpetuate it. It’s a pretty safe bet that you know that.”

    I think you are saying it should be against the law to dislike someone because of who and what they are. Think about that for a second. How many people do you not like because of one reason or another. What if some day one of those reasons gets included in a law somewhere?

    Emotions and thoughts can not be crimes. Will it be ok with you 50 years from now when a law is passed to criminalize gay people calling hetero people “breeders”? Who gets to determine what the proper emotion is towards what group is?

    That’s why the ACLU protects the Westboro Church. As much as I despise their actions and beliefs, I can’t guarantee that any law that could muzzle them wouldn’t be turned on me.

    “Don’t enforce desegregation, the market should decide. Don’t have gun safety laws, they don’t work etc…”

    When there is a choice, the market does decide anyway. Really, look at the businesses in the area you live in, see many business men eating at the local biker bar? See many straights at the gay bar, or vice versa? As far as public services go, no you can’t segregate populations involuntarily, but voluntary separation, sure. You don’t want rednecks moving into your neighborhood with their cars up on blocks and overalls, buy that house at over market value out from under them. You want to try to run a restaurant in downtown Detroit with a white supremacist theme and only hire skinheads.. good luck. On the flip side, go ahead and force the little Ma and Pop breakfast joint to hire Suzie the ex tattoo test girl, see how long that lasts.

    That sort of solution only lasts as long as the thumb is held down on people. Go ahead and make your 5 year old do something, force them with threats of violence to do something and see how well that works long term without fixing the underlying problem.

    The problem with what I’m saying above is that it isn’t that clear cut. I can’t say let the market fix it and walk away any more than someone else can pass a law and make it go away. It has to be a mix, and it seems like we’ve gone towards too many laws right now.

    Desegregation /= gun safety laws. And I’m not sure what you mean by them in the first place.

  140. Really, look at the businesses in the area you live in, see many business men eating at the local biker bar? See many straights at the gay bar, or vice versa?

    See, the thing is, I live in Seattle, and the short answer to this, what I suspect was intended to clever rhetoric is yes, actually, you do.

    It has to be a mix, and it seems like we’ve gone towards too many laws right now

    Well, in that we have laws that enforce bigotry (DOMA) you have a point. As for the rest, I think we don’t have remotely enough, and those that we do have don’t get appropriately enforced.

    Your example of the 5 year old is apt. The problem is, I suspect you know who I think are being the 5 year olds who can’t have another ice cream in this discussion are.

  141. While all people should indeed be equal under the law, not all people are equal in the eyes of all groups. And the law can’t address that, and shouldn’t address that, there is even an amendment to the constitution that says it can’t.

    “Really, look at the businesses in the area you live in, see many business men eating at the local biker bar? See many straights at the gay bar, or vice versa?

    See, the thing is, I live in Seattle, and the short answer to this, what I suspect was intended to clever rhetoric is yes, actually, you do.”

    Did you get the gist of my point or do you need me to analyze your local area and find some group that doesn’t fit in somewhere? Speaker Heads and the Love Below. Boy Scouts and Drug Dealers. Miracle Whip and mayonnaise. Been through Chinatown lately? But wow, my entire argument falls apart and I disappear in a puff of smoke.

  142. Woodman –

    I think you are saying it should be against the law to dislike someone because of who and what they are.

    Well, no, I’m saying exactly what I said. Which is nothing at all like what you think I said, which makes the rest of your response a run-on non sequitir. Try again.

  143. Actually, Woodman, I must apologize; I have mischaracterized your response. When person A makes a statement, and person B makes up an entirely different statement and attacks it while claiming that person a said it, that’s a strawman, not a non sequitir. Not that it makes it any better or less dishonest.

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