This New America

I was in the airport last Friday when the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage came down, and one of the first thoughts I had on that was, “Looks like I picked the right week to go to San Francisco.” And you know what? I was right! The city was, verily, bedecked in rainbow flags and happiness. After my events at ALA on Saturday I went with friends to City Hall, where the pride celebration was in full swing, and watched people being happy, all over the place (plus occasional hippie nudity, because San Francisco). It’s very rare to be in the right place at the right time, when history is actually and genuinely happening around you. But I was, and I was delighted in the happy circumstance that put me there.

I’m even more delighted that my country is now a better place than it was at 9:59am on June 26, when a minority of states still didn’t allow gays and lesbians the simple, basic right of marrying the person whom they loved and wished to spend their life with. Those days are now gone, thankfully, despite a few pockets of resistance, which I don’t suspect will last very long. Texas, as an example, is a place where the Attorney General is telling county clerks they may defy the Supreme Court; it’s also a place where two octogenarian men, together for more than 50 years, became the first same-sex couple to wed in Dallas County. Who do you think history, and Texas, will celebrate more: The two men confirming their decades-long love to each other, or the government official symbolically standing in front of the courthouse door to oppose their right to confirm that love?

Bluntly: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is going down in history as a bigot. So will Texas’ governor and lieutenant governor. So will Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and all the other politicians (and would-be politicians) who are thumping around now, pretending not to understand what it is that the Supreme Court does, or the legitimacy of its rulings under the Constitution, and pretending that their religion makes that feigned lack of understanding all right. Dan Patrick, the Texas Lieutenant Governor, has said “I would rather be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of my faith and my beliefs.” Well, Mr. Patrick, you’re not only definitely on the wrong side of history, but you’re also on the wrong side of your professed faith. Jesus never once said “be a bigot in my name.” If you believe He did, you might want to recheck your Bible. That admonition is not there, although the admonition to love your neighbor as yourself is.

On a related topic, this Time magazine article by Rod Dreher on orthodox Christians being “exiles in our own country” struck me as a bit dramatic. Not being in step with the mainstream of American life and opinion does not make you an exile, especially when you suffer no estrangement under the law. When the mainstream of American life did not include the idea that same-sex marriage was a viable thing, which was an opinion different than mine, I was not in exile in my own country — although same-sex couples may have been, as the law estranged them from the rights they should have had under the Constitution, now affirmed by the Supreme Court. The affirmation of those rights did not and does not take away rights from anyone who believes same-sex marriage is wrong. You may still believe they’re wrong; you just can’t stop those couples from getting legally married. Unless you think it should be your right to deprive others of their rights, everything’s the same for you as it was before. And if you do believe it’s your right to deprive others of their rights, then you’re a bigot, whether you cloak it in religion or not.

I suspect that this is the thing Dreher is really worried about, whether he’s aware of it or not — that the perception of certain religious sects will change from them being depositories of rectitude to cisterns of intolerance. Well, this is a fair concern, isn’t it? Over the last twenty years in particular, nearly every American learned that someone they cared about or even loved — a family member, a friend, a co-worker or neighbor or a person they admired — was not straight, or 100% conforming to society’s ideas of gender. Over the last two decades, Americans decided it was more important to tell those people they still loved them and that they deserved the same rights as everyone else, than it was to listen to those people who said, through their words and actions, that these people we loved represented some sort of threat. Your mom is not a threat to America, if she happens to be gay or bisexual. Nor is your dad. Nor your sibling, or your best friend, or Doug from Accounting or Jillian down the street or Ellen DeGeneres. Who are you going to choose to stand with? Your sister, or some dude at a pulpit demanding we believe the bowels of Hell will empty if she marries her girlfriend? Your sister’s girlfriend is awesome! That guy is a jerk!

Which is the thing: the religious sects terrified that they will now lose their moral standing lost that standing long before, when they said, in so many words, in so many actions, that the people we love and know and know to be good, and their desire to have the same rights as everyone else, are what’s wrong with America. Dreher laments we now live in a “post-Christian” America, but he’s wrong. The Americans who are standing with their loved ones and neighbors are in fact doing exactly what Jesus asked them to do, when he said that we should love each other as we love ourselves. It’s possible, however, that we live in a post-accepting-bigotry-cloaking-itself-in-the-raiments-of-Christ America. And, you know. I can live in that America just fine.

Regardless, the America we do live in now lets anyone person marry any other person who they love. I like this America. I am glad I live in it.

123 thoughts on “This New America

  1. I love the line: Jesus didn’t say be a bigot in my name. Jesus dined with thieves and prostitutes because he believed everyone was good. It seems so un-Christ-like to deny same sex couples rights. It was a pivotal point in American history and people like Cruz Huckabee etc… are on the wrong side of history.

    I also sounds amazing to be in San Francisco to celebrate this momentous occassion.

  2. Hear hear. This decision is an important gain of freedom for some, and no loss of freedom to anyone whatsoever.

  3. It’s a good day when people lose the state’s sanction to impose their views on others who do not share them. I’m also glad that it was decided by the courts, because civil rights should never be put to the popular vote.

    As for those who complain this will be a slippery slope to ridiculous assertion of the day, it should be noted that this decision did nothing to expand the number of people who could get married. They all had the right to marry before the decision, just not necessarily to the person they loved.

    I’m glad they ruled the way they did.

  4. June 26 is my birthday. While this ruling had/has no effect on me personally, I find this to be an exceedingly wonderful birthday present.

  5. I like this America better, indeed. I’m a happier person knowing friends, colleagues and acquaintances can now more freely marry the partner of their choice.

  6. This new America is one I am proud to live in too. There are still plenty of places in the world you can go if you want to try and control who loves who.

  7. I am so damned sick of white straight Christians, the most privileged group in the most privileged country in America, claiming they’re an oppressed minority because not everybody is willing to follow their bullshit idea of what they think God wants.

  8. Oh, to have been in San Francisco this weekend! Congratulations on witnessing so much joy!

    (But FYI –
    “When the mainstream of American life did not include the idea that same-sex marriage was not a viable thing, which was an opinion different than mine, I was not in exile in my own country”

    I think you meant to omit one of those “not”s.)

  9. I happily anticipate repeating many of the things you have said in this post. Also, regarding intolerant religious sects feeling threatened or outcast, I find it supremely satisfying that they are being hoist on their own petards. It’s almost like moral superiority/bigotry is a self-defeating strategy for appealing to other people, or swaying them to your point of view. Do unto others, et cetera. What they should *really* be frightened of is the possibility of having to examine their carefully nurtured fears for logical consistency. They might even have to own up, publicly, to the idea that perhaps other humans doing human things are not really so bad after all.

  10. I would argue that this ruling makes America MORE Christian, as we are now treating more people with more love and respect.

    Here in Austin, Texas, the Travis County Clerk was pretty well prepared for the decision. There was extra staff assigned to the license department, rainbow wedding cake on hand, and judges available to waive the usual 72 hour waiting period between license issue and the wedding. And they’d perform a quick wedding for those who wanted it too. The Clerk’s office serviced everybody who was in line by 6:30pm, was specially open both Saturday and Sunday, and will be open July 4th. Sadly, the counties surrounding us were stalling last I heard, and had not issued licenses yet. 313 total licenses issued Friday, 17 issued the day before the ruling.

    Dallas and San Antonio were quick off the mark Friday, while Houston dithered until 3pm; the county Houston is in (Harris) has had a conservative lean in officeholders for some reason, despite a more moderate city. It’ll probably take a few more days for the dust to settle before we see who’s following the law and who’s a George Wallace wannabe.

  11. What Paxton, Cruz, Huckabee, et al. can’t seem to grasp is that a) the constitution mandates the separation of church and state and b) despite their most fervent wishes, Christianity is not the state religion. Nor should it be (see a.)

  12. The only tiny disagreement I have with this is your statement about “a few pockets of resistance, which I don’t suspect will last very long”. I think we might be in for a bit of ugliness here, to be honest. Not as bad as the last time someone had to enforce a Supreme Court verdict in the Deep South, which involved the 101st Airborne, but I think we may see some people take their “principled” stance fairly deep into the courts, and yes, police may get involved.

    It is settled, but that’s not the same as over.

  13. I think the Court may have made a broader decision than was necessary to settle the case before it; that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Then again (dammit, Jim) I’m a doctor, not a lawyer (and not even the kind of doctor than can do you any good).

    My thoughts on those who fought (and fight) so vigorously against gay marriage: What business is it of yours? When two consenting adults choose to get married, it in no way affects me, you, or anyone else who isn’t part of their family or circle of friends — and those of us who are so completely unaffected by that marriage have absolutely no reason to stop that marriage. If you’re a government official, you should also ask yourself what government function is served by trying to stop that marriage. (As a government official, I’m drawing a blank except for maybe “we get more tax revenue if they can’t file jointly,” and I that argument applies equally to heterosexual marriages.) In short: no harm to you, no foul to you. Mind your own business.

  14. Now, personally, me, fuzznose, I have absolutely nothing against a same sex marriage… who you choose to marry is no business of mine. But, here’s where I have the hangup….you tell me that as a catering service owner, if my religious beliefs are that same-sex marriages are wrong, and a couple comes in and wants me to cater their wedding, that I am now required to do so, despite my own personal beliefs. As Mr. Robinson stated, “It’s a good day when people lose the state’s sanction to impose their views on others who do not share them. I’m also glad that it was decided by the courts, because civil rights should never be put to the popular vote.” Who is imposing their views on whom? Isn’t the reverse just as true? I don’t believe that just because you open a public business that you are required to serve everyone. If I were the owner of that catering service, and I were of African-American (black) heritage, should I also have to cater a meeting of the local Ku Klux Klan, especially if they’re requesting a cake with burning crosses and inscribed “White Supremacy”? You tell me that the shop owners are imposing THEIR beliefs by refusing to serve same-sex couples, but should this black caterer be forced to serve the KKK? How about the guy with the horrid driving record, should the insurance company be forced to provide him a full coverage policy for his new Corvette C2? You can argue that this is apples and oranges, and I’ll say that insurance companies, bakeries, caterers, ministers, etc., all provide a service. What I see is an increasing amount of government dictating what I can and cannot do as a business owner. Outright discrimination is illegal, we all know that, but have you ever walked into a business and seen the signs “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Doesn’t sound discriminatory to me, but I guess it’s whose ox is being gored. Again, as for same-sex marriages, that’s fine with me, I don’t have a problem with it, I don’t have a problem with any official who performs that marriage. This is NOT based on religious views, thank you. This is based on what I perceive to be a government that has gotten too big, has become the overseer of peoples’ lives, and dictates what is “correct” and what is “not correct”. Sorry, but I don’t believe the Founding Fathers would have appreciated just how far into our lives the government has intruded these days. We have nine people who made a decision that affects 320 million of us, and now the government is that much further into what I consider my personal and private life.

  15. certainly a good day for those whom it is important. Certainly believe that separation of church and state is not impacted and in a way affirmed by the decision. A church can and should decide who they will or will not marry within their walls which this does not impact. There are plenty of other churches who will gladly do it in their place.

  16. The news broke just as I was headed to campus for new student orientation. When I arrived the people at the LGBTQ Alliance table hadn’t gotten the news yet, so I got to tell them.

    Amazing how good it felt to do such a small thing,

  17. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is basically giving County Clerks in Texas permission to step up and take it in the face on his behalf.

    That’s mighty white of him.

    I’ll also note that there seems to be a fair number of people on the right who don’t understand that actual real-world civil disobedience nearly always involves being willing to be arrested … or worse. They seem to think they can just fold their arms, stamp their feet, and disobey the law, and then everybody will be legally required to admit that they’re right.

  18. A small favor. When referring to mainstream Christians as orthodox Christians, please don’t capitalize orthodox. Those of us who are Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Albanian Orthodox, etc., collectively call ourselves Orthodox Christians. In reading your post it’s clear you meant to use orthodox as an adjective, not as an identifier of our particular faith. The capitalization was a tad confusing. Thanks for considering!

  19. They seem to think they can just fold their arms, stamp their feet, and disobey the law, and then everybody will be legally required to admit that they’re right.

    File that under “unexamined privilege.”

  20. Even though we don’t have our flying cars or vacations on the moon, the Supreme Court ruling really made me feel like we are living in the future. 20 years ago, my cousin told us he was gay, and we had conversations about him never being able to marry like his brothers could. Glad it has changed within our lifetime.

  21. fuzznose: The general rule has been that no matter what your beliefs are, certain kinds of discrimination are not generally allowed. I’m sure there’s people who would prefer to deny service to people of other races, or people who tell lies, or whatever else. But our rule has been that you don’t get to do that even if your religious beliefs tell you some people are bad.

    (I’m also completely missing any part of any major religion that would say it’s against the religion to sell cake to people you think are sinning.)

  22. Small correction, I think that should “orthodox Christians” as Dreher doesn’t capitalize it in his very silly text. Presumably he means “Christians who happen to agree with Rod about gays” not Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc. I think Dreher himself is part of one of those churches, so it’s confusing, but I think that’s what he means.

    Fluffynose,
    It’s funny that you use the example of a black person having to cater the KKK. The reason the law is the way it is now is that in the 60s, we decided certain sorts of businesses were public accomadations and that the government had a right to interfere in their operations to the extent that they were banned from being open only to whites because of a legitimate public interest in not allowing discrimination. People sued arguing religious freedom to segregate with citations to various biblical verses and religious authorities and the courts decided you couldn’t claim religion as a business owner as the reason for discriminating. I am not a lawyer, but that’s how I understand it.

    I think this is fine. If you want to take advantages of things like streets, police and fire protection and various public utilities paid for by the taxes of all, you need to not discriminate in the various ways we’ve chosen democratically for the law to prohibit. The idea that ones religious beliefs are being infringed upon just by doing business with someone you don’t approve of is just plain not how we’ve been running our society for at least the last 50 years. I also don’t see how it’s a workable way to do anything, given that I’ve not yet heard of cakemakers giving out detailed questionnaires to test for people like me who are not marriage in the eyes of their god, but are spending our remaining time before being sent to a fiery hell for denying god in the company of a person of the opposite sex. And if these people aren’t going to take their own claims seriously, can the rest of us?

    And, personally, I think old Jefferson especially would be horrified that we’ve made him into some sort of blind and deaf oracle to be consulted. What the founders did best was understand that they weren’t capable of creating rules for a United States that would last forever, so they allowed amendments to the constitution. And they realized that courts would be needed to interpret what the laws meant in practice, because as a pack of lawyers they knew there was room for interpretation.

  23. As a Christian, I’m seen as a heretic b/c of my views on the man-made interpretation of God’s will via the Bible and how we already pick and choose from what is considered forbidden, like cutting your beard, eating pork or shellfish, raising a hand against one’s parents and of course homosexuality just to name a few. So whenever I see quotes like “Take the Bible whole or don’t take it at all”, I feel that many are so adamant to support the underlying foundation of their narrative, without taking a close look at how their own actions are perfect examples of how we are able to accept hypocrisy and internal conflict as long as it supports our own internal narrative. Long before I read Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, I had begun to apply ‘Diax’s Rake’ to everything, and came to the conclusion that the Bible was inspired by God, but not written by his hand, and thus as a man-made product, errors and personal views were inevitable when penned by primitive cultures that relied upon first oral then later written traditions to propagate ideas and teachings.
    That being said, many just can’t accept the fact that the SCOTUS decision has forced Christians in general to be stronger Christians, simply because there is a choice now that must be made, instead of a default choice that is pre-made for the adherent. Now one can truly say, “I decided to be heterosexual” instead of it being a given.
    Like you, I feel that we are all better Americans with this momentous decision, and I’m liking this new America; and while it may be stupid to some, I feel that it’s truly closer to being ‘Our’ kind of stupid. ^___^

  24. @ fuzznose; You have the right to believe same-sex marriage is wrong. You have no right to whine about losing money because people refuse to frequent your business because of your beliefs.

  25. Re: Fuzznose– regarding the argument of “nine people” making this decision on behalf of the American people, that’s how the checks and balances work. As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in Marbury v Madison in 1803, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”

    In other words, the Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means. That has given us Obergefell, and Roe, and Heart of Atlanta Motel. It also has given us Citizens United, and Shelby County, and Bush v. Gore.

  26. My eldest and her wife were able to marry only a couple years ago in Pennsylvania, largely thanks to the delaying tactics of Santorum and other creeps like him. I am wildly happy that their marriage is now recognized in all 50 states, and their daughter–my favorite granddaughter of all of them–is legally recognized as the daughter of the two of them without further emendation.

    My favorite nephew (of 17 nephews and nieces) is gay and, while he’s nowhere near being married, he’ll be doing so in the next 5 years, I’m betting. And I’m, again, wildly happy that he will be able to marry whomever he likes and move wherever he likes and still be married.

    And for the people I know who’ve been all sniffy about this, I’ve been sharing the recipe for Mr. Scalzi’s wonderful Schadenfreude Pie.

  27. Outright discrimination is illegal, we all know that, but have you ever walked into a business and seen the signs “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

    Yes, and I am aware of times that that meant no service for African-Americans, or Jews, or Irish, or women. You comfortable with making the same sort of arguments that people defending that discrimination did?

    As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in Marbury v Madison in 1803, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”

    (puts on historian hat) Which is interesting, because that role for the Supreme Court is not explicitly in the Constitution, but was discerned by John Marshall in M v. M in 1803. It’s ironic in all sorts of ways because Marbury v. Madison is pretty thin disguised lecture written by Marshall on how government should work, and the people he’s lecturing are Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independent) and James Madison (the “father of the Constitution”). I’m pretty sure they had a good idea about how government should work.(/takes off historian hat).

  28. @fuzznose

    I am not a lawyer, but I don’t think that this Supreme Court Decision has any bearing at all on selling wedding cakes. Sadly, there is no Federal protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, or doing business in general. Some states have such protections, but those haven’t always gone along with same sex marriage laws.

    One wedding cake lawsuit in Colorado in 2013 was allowed to continue even though at that time Colorado did not allow same sex marriages, because Colorado does have protection against sexual orientation discrimination.

    So rest easy, @fuzznose, this decision really doesn’t directly impact anybody but some government officials and folks that want to get married. Bigoted bakers have not had their rights impinged upon.

  29. @fuzznose

    Look up what a protected class is, that gives the legal precedence upon which you cannot discriminate. In general, a protected class is something you are intrinsically. One cannot choose race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, etc. and therefore it’s illegal to discriminate. The black caterer could refuse to serve the KKK because they’re racists shitbags by their own actions and their own choices. Being a KKK member is not something one is intrinsically.

    Religion is also a protected class, but you can still refuse service as long as it’s not explicitly because of the religion. The Westboro Baptist Church has been refused service in many many areas, but it’s not because they’re Baptist, but because they’re racist, sexist, homophobic assholes.

  30. Fuzznose:

    Presently, in the majority of states lacking any sort of anti-discrimination protection for LBGT folks, your caterer, baker, printer, flower shop can refuse service all they want to, likely without fear of legal recrimination. Note this is separate from social/business recrimination, as in bad press and resulting loss of business. Think of this as just another manifestation of the standard saw about freedom of speech not meaning freedom of consequences.

    Meanwhile, that self-same 1st Amendment also guarantees that clergy and/or churches who do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages as doing so is against the tenets of their faith may continue to do so without legal consequence — just as a Roman Catholic priest can refuse to conduct an opposite-sex wedding between my girlfriend and myself because neither one of us is Catholic and have no interest in converting, without consequence. Here in Texas, the top 3 at the state government level have made noises about protecting the clergy from prosecution if they refuse to marry same-sex couples, but that’s just grandstanding because a document ratified in 1789 *already* *does* *that*.

    Because the 1st says that government both cannot establish a state religion (or endorse one religion over another) *and* cannot interfere in the free exercise of religion by the people.

    As it happens, the courts have held that in some cases involving services considered public accommodations, business owners cannot discriminate against customers on the basis of traits those customers have no way of controlling. “No shoes, no shirt, no service’ is no problem, but “No blacks” or “No women” (and in some states now, “No LGBT”) is considered discriminatory. A church is not generally considered a public accommodation. A service business open to the general public has been held to be, though (think restaurant or retail store).

    It comes down to behavior vs. trait, really. I can’t help being a straight, white, male. I didn’t choose any of those things about me. But if I had a crap driving record and a history of collisions and claims, an insurance company would be well within their legal rights to either refuse coverage as a bad business deal, or charge me an exorbitant premium — because my crap driving record and history of collisions and claims is a behavior that’s within my control. Similarly, if I was to request an offensive (and note that I don’t get to define what is offensive to someone else. The receiver of the message gets to define that) message on a cake that promotes a “social club” I’ve chosen to join, a club that maybe has a long history of behaving badly towards people of other races and religions, up to and including murder and arson, it’s well within the right of that cake shop owner to refuse my business as they do not wish their custom to be perceived (again, something only in control of the recipient of the message, not the author) as endorsing that organization.

    Now, we get back to Texas and the Gov, Lt. Gov, and AG making noises about letting County Clerk office personnel make their own decisions about whether they will *do their jobs* as public servants based on their individual religious beliefs. There’s almost nothing more of a public accommodation than a County Clerk Office. Its sole purpose is to serve the public — all of it. Don’t know about where you work, but if I refuse to do my job duties as outlined in my job description, contract, or employment agreement, I’m likely to be disciplined or fired. Again, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. If you take a public service job, you don’t get to choose which segment of the public you’re willing to serve, unless that segment is “all”.

  31. Regarding the apples and oranges in business discrimination: AFAIK (IANAL), the key point differentiating apples and oranges is Protected Classes. That’s the “We do not discriminate on the basis of xyz” list.

    The government has identified some specific classes and identities of people who have demonstrably gotten, as a group, the short end of the stick. The impact _on the group_ is the key point. This affects what is and isn’t classed as a hate crime. It affects the standard of legal scrutiny on whether a law or policy has a negative effect on a group.

    And relevant to this discussion, it affects whether “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” can be applied on the basis of group membership.

    The KKK is not a protected class. And you can refuse to take any cake commission that has profanity or nudity on it if you like, that’s a non-discriminatory practice. But if you refuse to make cakes that reference LGBT themes, that’s stepping on a protected class. (In states where that is a protected class; it’s an ongoing issue trying to expand that.)

    I personally find it interesting to figure out, from the perspective of someone arranging a wedding, how to handle the much more personal service of wedding photographer. Unlike cake decorator, the photographer has to interact with the group. For hours. I don’t want to get stuck with a homophobic photographer who is distracted and cringing and does a terrible job. To be clear, this is still not grounds for them to discriminate. But self-selection will be an interesting problem there, similar to the existing issue of trying to find a tolerably welcoming work environment for PoC, LGBT, etc.

  32. Note to some folks above: Dreher is actually a capital-O “Orthodox” Christian (i.e. Eastern Orthodox, or something similar). An adult convert, yes – but still Orthodox.

    He’s also a drama-queen who has been playing the Christian / Conservative victim card for years and years…

  33. fuzznose: In addition to the cogent comments of Seebs above- The license that a business owner holds, that allows them to function as a business comes with baggage. A business owner made a decision to engage with the public in order to earn a living- this decision comes with both obligations/regulations and benefits. I hear a lot about the restrictions on businesses, but no one talks about the protection/ benefits (regulation of commerce, so business can process credit card transactions etc. , regulations so competition is fair between businesses, law enforcement for safety and cases of fraud, infrastructure to get products to market and customers to your door, etc etc. . I wonder why that is? A business owner is obligated to not discriminate against individuals even if the business owner has sincerely held religious beliefs that counter that of their customers. In your example – could a baker/caterer deny service to a wedding that was between individuals of different ethnicities? What about between a Catholic and a Jew? (the answer is NO- a business owner does not have the right to deny services to anyone for any reason – even if they put up a sign) The same is true for government officials, a county clerk does not get to pick and choose which duties they are to perform based on who they thick is ‘icky’.

  34. Not American but happy for your country. Well said about the relation between religion, moral rectitude and bigotry.

  35. I’m not sure if I really believe this “it goes against my deeply held religious beliefs” argument.
    Most christians seem very adept at ignoring everything else in the bible when it suits them.

  36. Thanks for much for writing this this; I love the fact that your books often contain gay characters whose sexuality is incidental – just like this ruling it makes me feel included but I don’t need to feel special, just equal.

  37. Funnily enough… I’m part of the LGBT community and also a business owner… I have a church group who comes into my store every week and I quite often have to listen to them make really offensive remarks and jokes regarding the LGBT community. And yet, I still serve them with a smile. Why? Because I’m a business owner and I want my space to be welcome to all. It’s not that hard. Make the damn cake. Or… y’know, don’t. And find out what the consequences to your business are when you choose to discriminate like that. Your choice.

  38. fuzznose:

    I just realized why your arguments has so many flaws. You are, in fact, a cat. Maybe just stick to purring and looking cute?

  39. Here in Cincinnati was another “right place, right time in history” to be here. Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the court case that resulted in Friday’s landmark decision, is a Cincinnatian, and he came home for the Pride parade here on Saturday and was a special guest of the event. It was very moving to see him there (and he was obviously very moved). Here in Cinti, one of the most socially conservative cities in the country when I was young, as well as devastated by the riots of 2001 (among the most damaging in US history), is successfully reinventing itself in the 21st century, now one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the country, as well as recovering from decades of blight and neglect in the downtown areas.

    Anyhow, it was a great day to be here, too. :)

  40. Hey! The next time I teach “Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today,” there will be at least a couple of bits that will no longer apply. Yay!

  41. This is a good thing and finally I can feel good about the world for some reason.

  42. Great comments John. To add an exclamation point to all you said about Texas, history remembers the Central High School Nine, not the 1,000+ crowd in Little Rock that tried to block their way. Governor Fabus is not remembered kindly.

  43. Many Christians and Atheists agree that the USA is a post-Christian society. They’re both wrong.

  44. ejwilliams1066 wrote:

    I’m not sure if I really believe this “it goes against my deeply held religious beliefs” argument.

    As I rather snarkily tweeted at Paxton eariler, I’m a devout Catholic. It’s part of our religious beliefs that Protestants are heretics. Once upon a time, it was part of our tradition to torture heretics, then murder them if they didn’t recant.

    I’m pretty OK with my religious freedom to abduct, torture and execute infidels not being respected by any nation with any pretenses to civilization.

    Someone should also ask Paxton is he’s also OK with elected officials refusing to prosecute Texans for whom slavery, murder, rape, human sacrifice, female genital mutilation, temple prostitution, child abuse and heterosexual polygamy are part of their deeply held traditional religious beliefs. And if not, why?

  45. Innit interesting how bakers & florists who don’t want to sell their services for gay weddings are completely fine taking our money for the rest of the year? If they had the courage of their convictions, surely they’d institute a survey before they sold anyone cake, bread & flowers, or put up signs saying “only members of XYZ denominations allowed” (I mean, imagine selling cake to someone who is committing such Abominations of having a trimmed beard, or wearing mixed fibre clothing, let alone being divorced, having an interfaith marriage etc etc etc)

  46. Your mom is not a threat to America, if she happens to be gay or bisexual.

    No she’s not, John. Just as if my widowed, 70 year old mother finds another man mad enough to trip up the aisle with her, I may have some feels about it but the state has no right, or ability, to prevent her. Neither do I.

    She’s a competent adult.

    She’s not already married.

    I’d pity the fool who tried to coerce her into doing anything.

    Good to go, as it should be.

  47. I am glad about the change in law

    I am profoundly tired of all of the religious people insisting that their version of God is the one that needs to eb enshrined in law in this case. They believe, not only in a God, but that their God needs legal recognition and everyone else gets none. The dissenters in texas are proclaiming that they get special treatment that they were unwilling to give to people whose God told them that marriage equality was OK

    Simply out, if you want to be allowed to not marry non-het-cis couples, and you didn’t give folks who believed otherwise, you’re still trying for a theocracy, and I’m not interested in keeping your job AS A PUBLIC SERVANT OF THE STATE safe from you having to do things your religion finds icky. Your religion has no business informing the duties of public servants when it comes to helping the public you’re damn well paid for serving.

    I’m tired of them, and I’m angry at them.

  48. As noted in a previous article (and another that I posted on) I spent Friday riding around in a strange place. On one hand I was very happy to know that many of my fellow Americans had their rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness upheld by the highest court in the nation. On the other hand I was listening to the funeral of a fellow South Carolina citizen who along with 8 other members of his church had had his rights violated in the most heinous manner possible just because of the color of his skin.

    Even now I’m still torn between which to think about.. and which is causing my tears at any given moment.

  49. I did not go into town this weekend (because I don’t care for big crowds, even when they are happy people), but I watched the parade on TV. What a joyous occasion!

  50. I am very much enjoying the calls to ‘move to Canada’ coming from certain quarters. I would especially enjoy seeing the faces of those people when they arrive here, only to find that we have had equal marriage since 2005. Needless to say, the sky has not fallen. Now please pass me a slice of that delicious schadenfreude pie, Mr Scalzi.

  51. @ Digital Atheist: I had a similar sense of both great joy (People being recognized as completely human by their government! YAY!) and anger/sadness/confusion (People mourning the loss caused by hatred, bigotry, and supremacy…WTF, America?!). How do you celebrate one without ignoring or wiping out the pain of the other?

    I don’t have a good answer for you. For myself, I immediately embraced the joy, and found myself not wanting to think about the latter. (Can’t we have a moment of unbridled exhilaration? If we can, what is the cost? The trans community, the Black community, undocumented students trying to get an education?) I chose to embrace the joy as a way to celebrate and take a breath before marshaling my resources for the next fight. I don’t know if that is “right” or “fair” to the other communities I care about, but I am sure that other people are making different choices about where to put their energy. Together, hopefully we can support each other and give each other the strength to keep going for the next fight…and the next…and the next.

  52. @johntshea, I don’t much care whether the US is or ain’t a post-Christian society. What I want is for it to become a post-theocracy.

    So-called “religious exemption” laws and similar measures are really just ways of trying to put things on the books that until recently were assumed, to keep as much Christianist bias as possible in the operation of government in the US. As far as they’re concerned, it is the natural God-given role of “real Christians” to tell everyone else what they are and aren’t allowed to do.

    In 2012, most of the Republican presidential candidates in the US remarked at one or more points that God wanted them to run for president. Now, setting aside for the moment my suspicion that God must have a twisted sense of humor, this is really a watered-down version of the divine right of kings. For much of the Republican base, this is a real thing — their version of God actively *wants* Republicans in office to do God’s Will. Republican politicians like Paxton are only too happy to play to their voter base on issues like this, especially if it makes it easier for them to get away with the crap that their donor base wants them to do.

  53. @CWilliams,
    I really don’t know if there is a right or wrong on which to focus on, or maybe my response is okay because I understand the importance of both. I do know that a day or two later the scales of happiness were balanced for me by a local news story in which a local transgender teen was allowed to get a new driver license photo by SCDMV. It wasn’t a large victory as such, but it was a personal one for the young lady involved.

  54. As far as I can tell the people who claim to be Christians yet deny his teachings in general, and his second commandment to love each other in particular, appear not to possess any bibles which include any of this.

    Presumably there’s a roaring trade in Tippex there…

  55. I’m delighted for all Americans of good heart, (and somewhat chagrined that some of your bigots have said, with straight faces, that they plan to move to Australia, because the retrograde clowns in our government are likely to resist Marriage Equality for as long as they are in power). But knowing it can happen, that’s food for hope.

  56. I used to have a lot of respect for Mike Huckabee, strictly based on what he did for the Pelletier family here in Connecticut (Google “Justina Pelletier” and you’ll see what I mean), but the blather that has been spewing from his mouth is almost as bad as what Democrats spew forth when they’re catering to the important minority side of the party (you know, the donors with the seriously deep pockets).

    Catering to that particular denominator, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, only makes you look like a chump and a jerk. Man up, act like an adult, accept it for it’s for and move on with you life.

  57. I’ve worked for a hospital system for a long time.

    When I was in my twenties and thirties working in nursing my employer confounded me. My boss (and great friend) was gay. So okay an alternative lifestyle was okay if we needed their talents, but in ICU when a patient was in dire condition and had an alternative lifestyle my hospital/employer would not allow a life partner visitation. No amount of explanation would change that bias
    .
    I was proud of our hospital administration when we stopped that barbaric policy somewhere in the 90’s. I hope the SCOTUS decision changes other hospitals throughout the U.S. maybe in some places such as the bible belt. Just saying.

    My hope is this ruling also applies to other alternative life styles such as polygamy. My opinion (as unenlightened as it may), is the “state” has no right dictating any person’s life choices.

    My thoughts on personal rights… “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
    – attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  58. I too am pleased with the court’s decision, despite my being an evangelical christian. I do think Jesus would have voted with the majority had he been one of the nine. I also am pleased when a ruling by the court is in alignment with how the majority of citizens feel about the issue; and no, I am not suggesting the majority can oppress the minority. It is just seems to me to be a “good” when our laws and people are in agreement on an issue.

    As for the resistance in Texas where I live, they seem to have forgotten the higher the number of the constitutional amendment the more weight it carries when different amendments seem to conflict. The more recent amendment was enacted and ratified by a super-majority to fix all the earlier constitutional language. So due process and equal protection do, in fact, supersede the first amendment rights when they come into conflict. For a century now we have been exploring and expanding the list of inalienable rights that the two mid-nineteenth century amendments grant due process and equal protection. I do wonder which inalienable right(s) we will add to the list in the coming years. Surely the current “protected classes” list is not complete. I am dead serious on this point. Watching our constitutional understanding evolve as we citizens evolve over time is quite “fascinating” as Commander Spock would say.

  59. @fuzznose, there’s a simple solution: operate your business as a private religious organization. Offer your services only to members of certain affiliated churches, and don’t advertise to or serve the general public. You can still charge for your services and turn a profit, but the key point is that you’re making clear up front that your business ONLY caters to a specific sub-set of religiously affiliated people and activities. At that point, you’re no longer providing a public accommodation and are no longer subject to the Civil Rights Act provisions.

    As a practical example, the LDS Church operates a number of stores where church members can buy temple garments and other sacred items — if and only if they have a valid Mormon temple recommend. Scientology and affiliated businesses are allowed to sell its materials only to practicing Scientologists in good standing. Religious bookstores can require their employees to be practicing Jews or Muslims or Catholics and to follow church tenets. Church flower guilds can make and sell flower arrangements only for services within their denomination or church.

    So, you’re perfectly free to open Fuzznose’s Baptist Bakery Ministry, advertise your services in church bulletins, and state that you only serve customers who are Baptist church members in good standing for church-sanctioned, church-affiliated, and church-compliant events. What you CAN’T do is throw your doors open wide to all comers and then reject some on the basis of protected classes.

    You have to choose between your faith and serving the general public, but you’re still free to operate your business on a more limited basis as long as you make your religious affiliation very explicit up-front. If you’re otherwise willing to serve the general public, you have to accept that it includes members of the general public you don’t particularly appreciate.

  60. Nicely said. Thanks for summarizing my thoughts so well. America is still far from being a perfectunion, but now it’s a more perfect one.

  61. Fuzznose: welcome to the happy world of conscientious objection. I feel I may need to define the term, since it’s been sullied by the sort of “Christian” who apparently believes one of the commandments is “thou shalt promulgate bigotry”. A conscientious objector is someone who refuses to perform a certain action for reasons of personal belief, and freely accepts the potential negative consequences of this choice.

    For example: my maternal grandfather refused to serve in the Australian armed forces during World War 2 on religious grounds (he was Christadelphian, and they hold to the doctrine of “in the world, but not of the world”) and as a result he spent time in a prison camp in the south-west of Australia. He also didn’t vote (neither did his wife, my grandmother) and as a result, they regularly paid the fines levied by the AEC for not doing so. His brothers, who were tradesmen, refused to accept payment on credit due to these same religious beliefs, and as a result, they could lose opportunities at jobs, or potential customers.

    So, if you’re a baker, and you decide you don’t want to supply goods to people who aren’t heterosexual, you’re within your rights to do that. What you can’t do is insist on freedom from the consequences of that decision, such as loss of business, negative reviews, being considered “weird” or “a crank” by the locals, and so on. But then, as Pratchett reminds us, the ultimate freedom everyone enjoys is the freedom to take the consequences of their actions.

  62. Good time to be a divorce attorney. I have trouble believing that gay marriages will be any more successful than straight. Little advice… If you have more assets than your partner.. Dont rush to the altar without a prenup. Dont fall for if you love me you wont ask.

    Ok now that this is done…. I still dont want you lefty blood suckers spending all my money.

  63. @Gale Scalzi:
    My awakening came at the same time as my mother’s with a news report about someone who’d been stopped from seeing the person they love, JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE SAME SEX PARTNERS. Regardless of our (my then!) religion, we both thought it was horrible that the people involved were separated just because!

    As regards polyamorous relationships: as long as all partners are at age of consent and understand what is going on, go for it. Anything in the way of divorce could be handled along the lines of dissolving a corporation.

  64. One of the most bemusing things I’ve heard here in Sacramento over the weekend was a local pastor. He something along the lines of “I speak for God, and he doesn’t approve of gays getting married.” In my entire life, I’ve only met TWO Christian pastors (or reverends or whatever) not claim to be speaking for God. Both of those gentlemen said that they tried to figure out what God wants of Christians, but they didn’t know for sure.

    If anybody finds the Constitutional clause establishing the United States as a strictly Christian nation, please point it out. Thanks!

  65. @fuzznose, while I completely disagree with you, I understand that there is a validly debatable issue here. So let’s try dealing with it in a totally different light. There should be a popular movement where business establishments can post on their door a sign or symbol that proclaims that they serve and respect everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, etc., etc. Part of this campaign should be to encourage people of like mind to patronize these places. A customer’s right to spend their money in an establishment that supports their own values is far more appropriate than an establishment’s right to only serve customers that they like. So, with these signs, customers would have a choice. Those establishments that don’t post the sign would, I think, suffer greatly in their profit margin. Especially if various social agencies, and even some forward thinking churches, would throw some weight behind it. Maybe it’s a little idealistic, but it is the best sort of karma.

  66. Dear Guess,

    Do you really get off on being an asshole, or is it that you just can’t help yourself?

    pax / Ctein

  67. (oops– hit “post” by mistake, meant to concatenate. So, serial commenting. Apologies, John)

    Dear Fuzznose,

    A very long-standing principle in law is that when you run a public business, your personal beliefs, religious or otherwise do NOT override civil law. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

    A “We reserve the right to refuse…” sign is legally meaningless. Any private business serving the public is free to serve (or not serve) whomever they like– that sign confers no right they don’t already have. EXCEPT… no such business can refuse service in violation of anti-discrimination laws or the rights of legally Protected Classes… and said sign does not give them that right.

    If you think all that contradicts your Constitutional right to freedom of religion, well… you can think that, but the whole weight of US law disagrees with you. So, it might just be that you’re wrong on that point.

    It is very easy and convenient to decide that waiting for popular agreement is preferable when it is not YOUR rights that are being waited for.

    Well, too effin’ bad for you, man. Whine and moan all you want about how the game isn’t played your way. When you get a country all your own, then maybe we’ll listen.

    ~~~~~

    Dear pwiinholt,

    “… I understand that there is a validly debatable issue here.”

    Uhhh, no, there is not, not under US law. Really, really not.

    Maybe in some other country or in some theoretical and philosophical debate. But real world, legally? This is very cut and dried and long-established law.

    Of course, being law made by humans, not gods, it could be changed. But until it is, and it would be a huge change with far reaching consequences so don’t hold yer breath, there’s not any debate to be had.

    pax / Ctein

  68. Dear Fuzznose,

    Colorado has done an excellent job of assuaging your concerns. A baker was asked to bake a cake, and inscribe said cake with certain statements regarding gay people. The baker felt the statements were inappropriate but offered to bake the cake and provide the customer with all the tools and materials to create his own message. Customer declined and sued. Colorado did not uphold his suit

    So, if you are a baker who is asked to bake a wedding cake, you can bake the cake. You may object to placing the cute ceramic boys or girls on the cake, so you probably don’t have to do it. But you must bake the cake and it better be as delicious as any cake you provided for all those cute heterosexual couples.

  69. @awhitestreak:

    …was a local pastor. He [said] something along the lines of “I speak for God, and he doesn’t approve of gays getting married.”

    I am minded of the line from Ladyhawke: “Sir, the truth is, I talk to God all the time, and, no offense, but He never mentioned you.”

  70. I am not surprised that the Supreme Court ruled the way they did, I am surprised that so many conservatives (including presidential candidates) believe that the Supreme Court doesn’t have a say in who the state allows to get married, 60 years after Loving v. Virginia showed that they did. I found it interesting that something like 60% of Democrats and independents support gay marriage. Only about 30% of Republicans support gay marriage, except for the millennials, who also support gay marriage at about 60%. I guess none of the Republican presidential candidates think the millennials will matter in the primaries.

  71. Those in the group with the Huckabees and Santorums and Cruzes seem very assured that they can just ignore a SCOTUS ruling that they claim their religion tells them they can’t abide. They all generally appear to be fans of the fire-and-brimstone, Deuteronomy-and-Leviticus sort of thinking.

    I haven’t seen any of them address how they plan to reconcile their views with this bit:
    “According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left. The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying … the judge, that man shall die.” (Deut 17:11-12, English Standard Version)

  72. I’m happy for all the people in the US who can now marry. I hope this will be true in Israel soon.

    And somewhat OT @Sarah: Please do not use examples of commandments people follow to this day in a way that suggests they’re old superstitions nobody believes in any more.

  73. It’s nice to know in advance that Ted Cruz doesn’t believe in the authority of Supreme Court, just in case somebody makes a horrible clerical mistake and he’s the Democratic nominee for President instead of Hillary Clinton and there aren’t any minor parties on the ballot.

    A government clerk refusing to issue a marriage license for religious reasons is establishing his/her own religion as the official religion in that jurisdiction – the First Amendment is rather clear about forbidding that, and most jurisdictions would also have a problem with somebody at that low level making the decision.

    If a justice of the peace or somebody doesn’t want to be the minister in a wedding ceremony, that’s a lot different, because that’s not forbidding the couple to get married. It’s still a problem, because they’re not doing their job or upholding the Constitution, but the couple can go hire somebody they like better to do it, or hold their own ceremony without an officiant (as Quakers do, for instance.)

    And while I’m not claiming to speak for God here, I’ll at least invoke the Protestant assertion about the priesthood of all believers to say that any government official who’s allowing divorced people to get married or performing a civil ceremony for them, but refuses to do the same for gay couples, is rather directly opposing Christian teaching on marriage and needs to go back and read what Jesus had to say about it. (It’d probably be different for a Muslim official, since their rules about divorce are much different.)

  74. It has been amusing to me, here in the People’s Republic of Austin, to watch the wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments as the bigots point out how they are an OPPRESSED MINORITY being tormented by those mean homos.

    I’m still trying to work out how the gays are the oppressors, and the 70%+ Christians are the oppressed minority.

    I was pleased to see yesterday that the Williamson County attorney told the county clerks there that Paxton was wrong, and advised them to issue marriage licenses.Williamson County is notably conservative, so there are signs that not all of the conservatives in Texas are complete nutjobs.

  75. Beautiful – thank you. I’ve had a great time this week explaining all the rainbows to my 4 and 5 year old girls. They were confused as to why everyone’s so happy – couldn’t anyone always marry whoever they wanted? I’m glad it won’t ever be a question for them as they grow up.

  76. As far as the religious argument from the Bible, it is worth pointing out that Jesus never said anything at all regarding gay people – for or against.

    He did have something to say about whether you should be able to get a divorce, though. Funny how none of the bigots really pushes for that to be prohibited nationwide.

  77. Dear antongarou,

    In an attempt to oil the waters, Sarah simply listed four practices, two of which were encouraged by some religious affiliations and two of which were discouraged. There was no implication that the former were less reasonable than the latter. Unless you think she was suggesting that divorce and interfaith marriages were archaic superstitious practices.

    That seems unlikely.

    Please reread. It was about as matter of fact a presentation as one could give.

    pax / Ctein

  78. ” Well, Mr. Patrick, you’re not only definitely on the wrong side of history, but you’re also on the wrong side of your professed faith. Jesus never once said “be a bigot in my name.””

    Mr Patrick’s ethics are abysmal to say the least. Though it is so common it still sort of boggles my mind to see bigots stand up in public and proudly announce their bigotry as if they are deserving of respect for it.

    And referring to Christian, or other religious, sources for justification of their bigotry is not valid justification. However, referring to Christian religious sources for justification of any ethical position is not valid. As is well known the Christian Bible and other foundational sources are not consistent and it is very easy to select phrases from it in support of nearly any position, bigotry or anti-bigotry certainly, anyone could conceive of. And that includes the New Testament.

    The Jesus of the New Testament was not a uniformly nice entity. Yes, he said some nice things. He also said some things that were as nasty, ethically speaking, as it gets. Not really very surprising considering the time period that it came from. I am thankful that Christianity in many parts of the world has been moving in a liberal direction. But that is not something that follows inevitably from the content of scripture. It is something that has happened due to secular influences. Christians don’t obediently follow all of the ethical prescriptions of the Bible. To one degree or another they choose, from among the wide range of ethical prescriptions in the Bible, which ones to respect.

  79. Y’know, in the cultural context of 1st-century Judea…

    Jesus, with 12 male followers, unmarried, showing little if any interest in women, wandering around in the desert with his loyal, male disciples…

    Raises a few questions, don’t you think?

    Also humorously, if Jesus were running for President, most of the bigots crying BUT JEEBUS! today wouldn’t vote for him. Because of the whole Middle Eastern thing (“He’s brown! You can’t trust them A-Rahb sand rats!”*), the charity spiel (“You can’t make me live in Rainbow Land!”**), and the thing about loving thy neighbor.

    *Yes, I heard somebody say that unironically once.

    **From “The Campaign”, with Will Ferrel and Zach Galfinakis.

  80. We were visiting NYC from the UK when this announcement was made. What a marvellous, magical time to be here. The Pride Parade was full of joy (and a lot of politicians patting themselves on the back). Also a great week to see It Shoulda Been You on Broadway. If you haven’t heard the speech that Tyne Daly made at the end of one performance, you should. She is a legend.

  81. I am so jealous that you were in SF for Pride this year. I used to live at the edge of the Castro, and I loved how happy the entire city would be during Pride week. And the people coming in from out of town that would look kind of dazed in amazement – more than one out-of-towner would tell me that they were so amazed and awed that they could just *be themselves* out in public. The bliss-out factor this year must have been turned to to eleventy million.

  82. Lots of people were at work in the States, when I first got the happy news on 6/26. I got to send some emails, and make a post, and I watched the internet explode in HAPPY! I live in South Africa. Welcome to the Now-everyone-can-get-married club, USA.

    @pax / Ctein, re: antongarou’s comment– If one is Jewish, Sarah’s comment could come across as something of a slight. If you aren’t Jewish, sir, you may not get that. A mitzvah is a mitzvah is a mitzvah, unless one is a dissenting christian/atheist, and then certain mitzvot are often used as goads to deliberately rile the folks who insist that the Bible be taken whole or not at all. Y’see how that could be annoying, and perhaps even offensive?

    (interests of clarity: I’m not Jewish, nor am I antongarou [Hiya, dude!] but as might be guessed, I know him elsewhere)

  83. Dear N-1975,

    I’m not Jewish by any kind of identification. If the Nazis take over, they would firmly disagree.

    I think you have to work very, very hard to find Sarah’s example as any kind of a slight. Other people might use those examples as a slight. That does not make any reference to it a slight, nor is anton’s read of Sarah’s remark in any way congruent with the remark.

    I do understand why some people are sensitive about misuse. It is incumbent upon others to respect that. This was not a misuse by any stretch. It is incumbent upon the sensitive to read correctly.

    Likely there is little point in pursuing this further, so you may have the last word, should you desire it.

    (BTW, Ctein is my name; “pax” is a signoff. Not that it matters, just a minor factoid.)

    pax / Ctein

  84. I’m so far past being sick and tired of people professing that America was founded on Christian values and that we’re a Christian nation. None of that is true and never was. “Under God” was added to our pledge and “in God we trust” was added to our money by government mandate. Why does that get to be?

  85. These people think the first amendment entitles Christianity and thus, Christians to privileges not enjoyed by nones or people of other religions. Christians (not all) think they have the RIGHT to persecute people not adherent to Christianity. and when they are told they cannot, they claim THEIR rights are being violated. Why is that?

  86. I have tried and tried to understand how allowing SSM somehow negates or changes my marriage. I can’t, I just can’t. Also, as a side note, that’s some Olympic-level ‘pearl-clutching’ on the Dreher’s part. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him medal in the ‘having-the-vapors’ relay either.

  87. Similar thoughts to those expressed by Mr. Scalzi here are what caused me to leave my evangelical (in this instance, Wisconsin Synod Lutheran) church three years ago and join a different church with more expansive views towards same sex couples, in this instance an ELCA church in my area. That’s not to say same sex marriage isn’t a source of controversy for ELCA. ELCA itself is a relatively youthful synod made up of much older organizations, and since it’s creation it has splintered over the issue of the ordination of gay clergy. What I liked about ELCA when I picked one of their churches over the alternatives was not only their tolerance, but their willingness to have a very real world conversation instead of simply wishing that gay people would go away (which is essentially what Wisconsin Synod churches do). ELCA will no doubt splinter again over the issue of whether to endorse and conduct same sex marriages. While I’m fairly certain my local congregation will endorse it, I also don’t doubt that a number of my fellow congregation members will walk out the door and not come back. I, as a government official and lawyer who has presided over same sex weddings since they were legalized in my state last year, will gladly stay.

    And that’s ok. I don’t subscribe to the notion that everyone who opposes same sex marriage is a bigot. I do think that every government official, whether clerks or judges, who now has a legal responsibility to facilitate same sex weddings and who believes they are duty bound to refuse to do so because of their faith, should express that faith by resigning from their positions rather than continue to maintain their employment while refusing to perform all of the duties they have.

    I am a Christian, and I will be until the day I die (and beyond, because as a Christian, believing that is part of the deal). I am an American, and flawed though we are, I’m proud of the fact that as Americans we confront those flaws, noisy and angry though we often are in the process. I do not believe my Christianity is any more incompatible my love and pride of country than I did last week. I certainly do not believe that my country is “post-Christian”, nor do I feel exiled in my own land.

  88. @ctein so anyone who gets a prenup is an asshole? That says alot about you.

    Nothing in that post even implied Im opposed to gay marriage. I am glad this is over. I am sure there are alot of gay people who are fiscal conservatives. Now they are no longer stuck accepting higher taxes in exchange for gay rights support. You see the Bruce Jenner interview? Before he said he was a republican he looked both ways and expected people to be shocked. That was by far the best part of the interview.

    now gay fiscal conservatives can come out of the closet and support fiscal conservatives. By the way leave them the hell alone and do not harrass them when they do.

  89. You make some of the clearest points in support of the ruling I have yet read. Thanks.

  90. Your mom is not a threat to America, if she happens to be gay or bisexual. Nor is your dad. Nor your sibling, or your best friend, or Doug from Accounting or Jillian down the street or Ellen DeGeneres.

    I dunno. I have my doubts about Doug from Accounting. He’s always seemed kind of shifty to me.

  91. The idea that my friend Mollie is a threat to America because she’s bi is absurd.

    Mollie is the kindest, sweetest, all-around nicest person on the entire planet. I am more of a threat to America than she is, and I’m a pacifist!

  92. Read the Dreher article. It seemed like watching someone administer their own Rorschach test to themselves. What do you see? (Shows picture of gay couple at alter.) The gay agenda coming to turn me gay! And this? (Picture of gay person waving rainbow flag) The gay mind control overlords arresting me for bigtotted thoughts. And this? ( picture of gay couple walking down a street on their way to work). The gay agenda going after anyone who is religious!

    What he seems to be worried about most is that gays will be as terrible to them as they have been terrible to gays. What bigots did: Go into someones bedroom and pass anti sodomy laws? What bigots fear: Gays will come into my bedroom and force me to have gay sex. What bigots did: homosexuality is a mental illness that can be treated with hormones and counseling. What bigots fear: gays will try to outlaw my thoughts, my religion.

    It seems that what bigots fear the most is that gays will do to them all the same shit that bigots have been doing to gays. The darker the pocture they paint, the darker their heart must be.

    A rorscharch test, or the picture of dorian gray, all the ugly of a man reflected in his words saying how terrible his enemy is.

  93. Some of these alleged Christians need to read the Sermon on the Mount and get back to me … Their beliefs, however they think they have come do them, are about as UN-Christian as one could get.

  94. Ctein, he must get SOMETHING out of it, since it’s all he ever does here.

    Guess, no, but anyone who ends a comment with a reference to “you lefty blood suckers” is. Especially after proving himself to be an asshole for months on end prior to such a statement.

  95. On reflection, I’ve realized that the treatment fuzznose got may be instructive. While fuzznose has some fairly horrendous opinions (or seemed to), backed up with incorrect “facts,” they were treated with all gentleness by most commenters, not of whom called fuzznose anything.

    So Guess, your instant conclusion that your unpopular opinions are what led to your being called an asshole does not hold up. It’s your history here, plus your own namecalling, that led to that result.

  96. Xopher, Ctein and Greg-

    Greg can be, not always but can be, as abrupt as a dusty brick to the face but he makes good points. The comment just above this is one that I particularly enjoyed and believe appropriate to the conversation at hand. On aggregate, I admire all of your contributions even though some individual posts and comment strings are cringe worthy.

  97. Ambivalent – Greg and Guess are two different people. Are you speaking of Guess, as we were?

  98. Ah, pulling head out of a dark place. Yes, was referring to Greg.

    — nevermind. Feeling all Emily Litella here.

  99. That Texas law was not about county clerks denying a couple the right to get married. It was about denying that couple the right to sue a particular individual who would be in violation of the articles of their faith (the Bible) if they did not recuse themselves and allow another person perfectly happy to participate in the wedding to do the job.

    Christians are being sued or fired for recusing themselves from participating in an abortion if they believe it’s murder or not being the particular individual to marry a gay couple. Texas passed a law saying that now that that couple can get married, we are still protecting the religious right to pass that job of marrying them to someone else if you happen to sincerely believe you doing the job is a sin.

    I can respect and wish happiness on a ton of people who are doing things I feel are wrong. But I shouldn’t be required to participate. And a pastor shouldn’t be required to stop being a pastor because he feels due to religious reasons he can’t participate.

    This isn’t bigotry. Its sheer protection against a very litigation-happy history Christians have been undergoing for years now.

  100. “This isn’t bigotry.”

    Not doing your job because you don’t approve of the people who are asking you to do your job and using your religion as an excuse for not doing your job it is, in fact, a very precise definition of bigotry.

    If your religion does not allow you to do you job, quit the job and find something else to do. A fair number of people have done just that. I respect that more than the people who want to be bigots and keep their job despite their bigotry keeping them from doing it equally for everyone, as required under the Constitution.

  101. Megan: “And a pastor shouldn’t be required to stop being a pastor because he feels due to religious reasons he can’t participate.”

    Is this not the epitome of a straw man? Has any pastor ever been “forced” to perform a gay wedding by force of law? Is any major progressive leader calling for the weight of the state to be put on pastors to force them to perform gay weddings? I may be out of the loop and maybe this is actually a thing, but from over here, this whole “pastor forced to officiate gay wedding” has all the credibility that goes with “black UN helicopters imposing new world order”, which is to say, its absolute paranoid bullocks.

  102. Megan: Pastors can always refuse to perform a wedding. There is no jurisdiction in this country that can force a Catholic priest to marry a Lutheran to a Buddhist.
    Can you provide a single example of a pastor being successfully sued for the refusal to perform a religious wedding ceremony?
    County clerks are not performing religious rites. County clerks are issuing civil licenses from the government. If their religious feelings mean they cannot perform their job, then yes, they should quit. If I work for the building and zoning board, and it’s my firm religious belief that doctors are evil and only prayer is effective for healing, I still have to issue that building permit for a doctor’s office if they fill out all the paperwork correctly. It’s what the job entails. If you have firm religious objections against part of the job, you should not be doing it.

  103. I know I should be celebrating. But on to the next clash of ideas:

    “Not doing your job because you don’t approve of the people who are asking you to do your job and using your religion as an excuse for not doing your job it is, in fact, a very precise definition of bigotry.”

    Will this line of argument apply to the pharmacists who have used their religious beliefs to refuse to fill subscriptions? (Not a meaningful issue in a city of any size, but there are some areas where folks have only one practical source for prescription drugs, birth control, etc.)

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