Dude, I Totally Unmarried You Just Now

In his Chicago Tribune column yesterday, Eric Zorn notes this interesting bit of “logic” from the same-sex-marriage haters, explaining why all those thousands of same-sex couples who have gotten married in California over the last week aren’t really married:

The Illinois Family Institute’s blog refers to the legalization of same-sex nuptials this week in the Golden State as “the California marriage disaster.” Such recognitions “do not and cannot exist, no matter what legal document the state issues homosexual couples,” writes institute blogger Laurie Higgins. “There is an existential, ontological reality that supersedes the ill-begotten works of man.”

Translation: “They’re legally married but I’m in denial, so I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen, like that season on Dallas. La la la la la la, I can’t see you married homos.”

Well, fine. Since apparently it’s the fashion to deny marriage status to people who are legally married, simply because we don’t like them and their marriages make us twitchy, by the power vested in me by whichever existential and ontological reality conveniently lets me get away with it, I hereby declare that marriages which include any of the following never ever existed:

1. People who pretend same-sex marriages don’t exist.

2. People who drive 55 miles on hour in the far-left lane of the freeway.

3. People who prefer Pepsi to Coke.

4. The craven, toadying yes-men who told George Lucas that, no, really, the fans are gonna love Jar-Jar Binks.

5. Anyone ever involved in the production, distribution or sale of acid-washed jeans.

6. Anyone who thinks Dane Cook is funny.

7. Anyone who ever bought a Creed album.

8. Anyone who voted for Nader in 2000.

9. Or 2004. Honestly, you people just suck.

10. That guy who pushed me down once in 7th grade. Yeah, fuck you, Andy Grabowski! All your kids are bastards now!

Do these people’s marriages really not exist because I just now wished them away? Yes, exactly to the extent that the marriages of same-sex couples who got married in California no longer exist simply because a bunch of bigots prefer to pretend they don’t. Which is to say: No. Because, you see, real, legal, actual marriages don’t stop existing just because some malign jackass doesn’t want to have accept that those marriages are real, and legal, and actual.

However, unlike any marriages on my list, the real, legal and actual same-sex marriages in California are in danger of being destroyed by people who aren’t actually in them. There is no initiative on the California November ballot to “protect” marriage from already-married Creed fans or Pepsi drinkers. There will be one to “protect” marriage from already-married same-sex couples.

Which is to say: Isn’t it funny how some people are going so far out of their way to destroy marriages they say they don’t believe actually exist.

87 Comments on “Dude, I Totally Unmarried You Just Now”

  1. Dang, I guess you just invalidated my marriage since I prefer Pepsi and I’m pretty sure my wife has a Creed album floating around somewhere. If it helps any I don’t drink much soda anymore and I’m pretty sure the Creed album wasn’t paid for since she was working for a music magazine and probably got it for free.
    So, can we squeak by on that? It would really suck to not even make it one year.

  2. It’s ironic that people who say the marriages don’t exist want to actually make them not exist. If they don’t exist, then why is IFI even commenting on it? They should just close their eyes and hum or something, since they’re obviously off in their own little world.

    BTW, I own several Creed songs ;-), but am not allowed to marry my other half…. ;-(

  3. THANK GOODNESS my marriage is still valid!

    I don’t live in California, but I hope they keep same-sex marriages legal there, and that more states will GET A CLUE and legalize same-sex marriage. The more happy, committed couples out there enjoying all of the rights and privileges of marriage, the better.

    I wonder why some people put so much energy into hate?

  4. “There is an existential, ontological reality that supersedes the ill-begotten works of man.”

    Wow, what a useful phrase! It’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card for morons!

  5. How bout married couples than hold hands and walk VERY SLOWLY down the middle of the sideway, rendering it impossible to pass them and forcing everyone else to walk just as slowly as them. Those people should be de-married, too.

  6. Dude, I want you to know you just wished away a marriage you yourself performed. (I’ll leave you to guess which of the 10 applies.) And I do not want to be anywhere nearby when that existential matter/antimatter field spins up.

    So thanks a lot, jerk. Guess who’s not getting invited to the anniversary parties!

  7. I don’t think this guy understands what existentialism means. If he did he wouldn’t have said that his existential reality preceded the “ill-begotten works of man.”

    I never thought I would see the day that any religious figure (excepting say Kierkegaard) would argue from an existential position rather than an essential one. But, then again I am probably overly demanding in that I usually expect people to understand their own arguments.

  8. It’s curious how social and political conservatives will ignore the existencial ontological reality of things when it suits them ( ie swift boating, global climate change, missile defense, WMD’s in Iraq, North Korean Nuclear programs, No child left behind !, Katrina response etc.). It’s like they have the ability to manipulate the very fabric of reality within the confines of their heavily padded skulls, and somehow foist the strange putrid broth that ensues on the rest of us.

    Just for the record: I like the taste of coca-cola better, but their nasty habit of supporting the torture and killing labor union leaders in Colombia spurs me to go for pepsi every time. In case you ever wondered what the secret ingredient is that makes the red bottle oh so subtly better…its blood.

    Also, I voted for Nader in 2000 but I did my best to atone for it in 2004 by standing for eight hours in the rain outside a polling station in Akron for the democratic party. I guess I’m still a bastard though. You never do live down that first Nader vote.

  9. To Catallarch,

    “Existential Ontological Reality” = truth or perception of truth?

    vs. Essential Ontological Reality = Reality as it is in itself?

    Not sure I understand the nuances of the existential vs Essential semantics. can you explain? (extra challenge: without boreing the living crap out of everyone else?)

    John S. Does this post qualify as Nerdgassing? Nuts, I think it might. Sorry.

  10. First things first: Pepsi is the Anti-Cola. It is pure distilled evil.

    I always wonder if those opposing same-sex marriage are secretly angry that gays are taking themselves off the market? Maybe it’s jealousy.

    My own belief is that if one believes in the separation of Church and State how can one support the ban on same-sex civil marriages for religious reasons. It sounds hypocritical to me.

  11. Whew. Safe.

    And I’m pretty sure my 14-year-old will outgrow the Dane Cook thing before marrying age.

  12. C’mon Scalzi, don’t anull the marriages of ALL Nader 2000 voters. What if you lived in a red state ( like Virginia) that was a 1000 years (or apparently 8, in VA’s case) from being in play. Then your Gore votes would have drowned like a sack of kittens in the tide of Bush votes, and all your state’s electoral votes were irrevocably marked for the evil one. In that situation, your Nader vote could live on to be counted as a percentage of the popular vote, and maybe threaten the crappy stranglehold the current two party machine has on our government. It wasn’t much , but it was something even though it failed, and I shouldn’t get shoved into the anullment boat with those other asssholes over it.
    Biafra 2012!

  13. Does demonizing your political opposition raise you above them?

    Sarcasm, is all fine and dandy, and I’m not above that. In fact I’m all for it, especially in cases where the argument is illogical.

    I really do try to not demonize or denigrate my fellow citizens though.

  14. Dude, I totally love you right now.

    And if she’s going to toss out existential reality, let’s counter with phenomenological reality: the thing is the thing because we experience the thing.

  15. My own belief is that if one believes in the separation of Church and State how can one support the ban on same-sex civil marriages for religious reasons. It sounds hypocritical to me.

    Really, it’s the same paternalistic non-sense that causes some people to vote for requiring helmets and seat belts for adults.

    “We know what’s best for you, and want it made into law.”

  16. I was perfectly entertained by Dane Cook. I admit that at the time, I was on an airplane to California and desperate for anything worth watching, but, yknow, it was a watchable enough show for me to pick up on DVD. (I’m not sure I find him “funny”, per se. I find him “Interesting”. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to see him live, but I might stop if I scanned past him on TV.

    I’m reasonably agnostic on Pepsi vs. Coke, but I tend to drink Pepsi because I live in Atlanta and it annoys the locals who actually don’t have a problem with the sugar-water museum getting perfernce for real estate over the civil rights museum. Also, I’m trying to drink more diet drinks when I drink soda, and Diet Coke is vile.

    Aside from that, right on!

  17. Keith_Indy @ 19: the same paternalistic non-sense that causes some people to vote for requiring helmets and seat belts for adults.
    These are the same people who are trying to disprove evolution by keeping everyone in the gene pool.

  18. So here’s a question… Suppose a homosexual couple gets married in California, and later moves to a state that recognize same-sex unions… are they still married? I mean, are all these gay couples tying the knot now and forever exiled to California? Would getting a divorce be as simple as moving to the next state over? Really, how is that going to work?

  19. You just unmarried me. Twice.

    I knew nothing good would come of Cook and Creed, but we listened anyway and, dammit, we enjoyed it (admittedly, my wife—ex-wife—is the bigger Creed fan).

    Unless you’re telling me I didn’t. I mean, you’ve essentially undone my reality (What will I tell my son? He’s only two!) so you may as well declare that I didn’t actually like Cook and my wife didn’t like Creed.

    Would that restore my marriage? Or would it just create a paradox?

  20. Shit. I’m totally unmarried right now.

    I’ll give you a hint: I either bought a Creed album, or I drive 55 miles per hour in the left lane. Or both?

    (does Creed count if you download it for free?)

  21. Not too awfully long ago, the same crowd used the same arguments to claim that there was an existential, ontological reality that blacks and whites could not be married.

    In another sixty or seventy years, society will see the gay marriage haters in the same light as we see the interracial marriage haters today. (Some of us are already there, actually, but the rest of the country will have caught up by then.)

    Of course, then the Leviticans will have moved on to the next Existential Threat That Must Be Opposed.

  22. Keith_Indy@19:

    Except there is a rational physical health benefit in wearing seatbelts and, in most countries (i.e. those with public healthcare – so not the states) a public benefit from doing so in the form of lower healthcare costs. I’m not saying its not busybodying, but its busybodying with a defensible purpose.

    I also agree with you that one should really try not to demonise those with political views that are different from one’s own. It is, however, not just an abstract political argument where your friends, your son, your mother, or even you yourself have a marriage that could be anulled. This is an argument about real people in real marriages, not just abstract politics.

  23. I would just like to point out that buying a Creed album does not make someone a Creed fan. Not that this is a concern to me.

    Also, do both partners have to prefer Pepsi over Coke? I am in a mixed marriage (my poor wife prefers Pepsi). Does this mean our marriage doesn’t exist, or does my Coke lovin’ save it?

  24. Yeah, what is up with Dane Cook, really? Not funny people, not really even amusing.

    Could I also add to your list: People who stop at the end of merge lanes.

  25. You, sir, will have to eat your words.

    They are right now building a detector for this ontological reality that mere science has heretofore been unable to prove. They will demonstrate, through their feats of philosophical engineering, that the only marriages attested to by the very fabric of space and time will be those with issue seven generations down the line.

    Of course, they will be a little embarrassed that their ontology detector will also prove beyond any dispute that they are reprehensible douchebags, with no compassion for their fellow man. But only a little embarassed, mind you.

  26. Since you invalidated my marriage(my *former* wife owns a creed album), will you be refunding the additional tax money to me?

    Other than that? who cares?

  27. You just got to remember: religious bigotry is illogical. It doesn’t matter how much sense you actually make, or want to make, or try to make, they won’t listen, they won’t care, and they sure as heck aren’t going to change because of what you say (though I wish they would).
    That’s not to say I think you should be quiet (quite the contrary, I think you should shout these opinions at the top of your lungs), I’m just saying that religious bigots don’t care. It’s sad really. The supreme illogic of the anti-gay “movement” is staggeringly idiotic at best. Religious bigotry has yet to evolve into something intelligent. All they have is the threat of the eternal damnation of the soul, which holds no weight with me because I don’t believe in Hell. *shrugs*

  28. Keith_Indy:

    “Does demonizing your political opposition raise you above them?”

    Let’s ask the people who are suggesting that same-sex couples don’t deserve the rights they already have.

    As for me, I’m not demonizing anyone. I’m merely describing them.

  29. #2: I hope that doesn’t count on roads where the speed limit is 55, or I’m in trouble!

    …or I would be if I had a marriage to deny.

    Otherwise I’m scott free.

  30. Eddie @ 28: Except couldn’t a case be made that “there is a rational physical health benefit in” not engaging in homosexual behaviour…

    Once you open the door to “public benefits” there’s not telling where “they” will go.

    And I’ve been able to keep my cool in the hottest of debates about the 2nd Amendment, something which would effect the rights of myself, and nearly every personal friend I have. Yes, it can get emotional, but that’s exactly when people should step back and think twice about what they say.

    SMD @ 33: Most people are not religious bigots. The zealots on both sides of any issue are the extreme. The people in the middle are seldom heard. The people on either end of the spectrum tend to want it all, and are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face. You can see this on most divisive issues of our day.

  31. John, I think my brother is just trying to stay married by denying a preference for Pepsi, but he wants to know if finding some Dane Cook bits funny is enough to get him unmarried. In his defense, he only bought one Dane Cook CD and didn’t find it amusing enough to buy anything since.

  32. *enjoys her Pepsi, knowing that not even John Scalzi can unmarry someone who isn’t married in the first place. Take that!*

  33. Keith @ 36:

    Show me some rational evidence of that statement (not of a purported gay lifestyle, but of a concrete health problem associated with BEING GAY, comparable to the physical damage caused by hurtling through a windshield when you crash with no seatbelt) then we can talk.

    Also, good point re the 2nd amendment stuff. I don’t think it’s exactly the same – gun ownership is not, I hope, completely central to one’s personal identity and sense of self – but good point.

  34. Keith: I know that, but I think we can assume that when we talk about religious bigots, we’re referring to one of the extreme groups and not the middle group. I know quite a few of the middle ground folks and while I don’t agree with them on their take of gays (they don’t agree with homosexuality), they at least understand that throwing a fit over gays getting married is really a waste of time. They tend to hold on to that “love thy neighbor” mentality, which a lot of religious folks really should be embracing. Short of your neighbor being Charles Manson (or someone equally evil) I don’t see the point in outright flaming people who are different. To me, the “gay” debate/anti-gay “movement” is just another example of the same mentality that gave us racism, which still exists today, but thankfully has lost a lot of its luster. “Gay” may not be a race, if there really is such a thing as race, but the fact that people want to take away their rights as human beings is no different than targeting someone for being black, purple, blue, green, yellow, brown, or whatever. Instead of skin color, it’s sexual orientation, which is any sensible opinion is none of our bloody business in the first place. What you do in your bedroom (unless you’re raping women, molesting children, or doing something evil there), is none of my business and I don’t care.

    But that’s me.

  35. John, it really all depends upon whether you truly believe that government – or in this case, one state supreme court – defines reality or not. If the court had ruled that 1+1=3, would you seriously insist that the sum of one and one were now three and that anyone who denied this “reality” was incorrect?

    The concept of a state even licensing marriage, let alone redefining it, is a relatively recent concept in historical terms in many US states. Given that the recently “married” California couples are not, in fact, married according to most other state governments, most dictionary definitions, or Federal law, your reality-based argument appears to be rather more hyperbole than reality.

    Now, being a libertarian I don’t personally care if two or more men (women) want to call themselves married or call themselves a flock of cats. It doesn’t actually change anything and it’s not something that the state has any legitimate business messing around with on either side of the equation. I am curious, though, what your opinion about the state of reality will be should the California electorate choose to change it again this fall.

  36. @Keith #36: Except couldn’t a case be made that “there is a rational physical health benefit in” not engaging in homosexual behaviour…

    There is a rational physical health benefit in not engaging in any sex at all, straight, gay, or otherwise.

    Funnily enough, this doesn’t seem to stop people from thinking that marriage is a good thing.

  37. Vox, not purporting to speak for John, but I’d suggest the reality would be that the State would have to work out how to undo the legal effects of marriage that currently exist for many, many couples. In that those legal effects incontrivertably exist, your quibbling about the fundamental nature of marriage etc is irrelevant.

    The reality would be, essentially, that thousands of people (I assume it’ll be thousands by november) who currently enjoy rights will have them taken away. If you think that’s a good thing, all power to you, but I do think its kinda assholish.

  38. @VD #42:

    But this isn’t about math or something that has a reality independent from law. This is marriage law.

    Therefore reality is pretty much defined by the government in this case. And that reality currently is: gay marriage is legal in California.

    It’s not gay marriage is okay or not okay in other terms, or being gay is evil, or whatnot.

  39. [Uh. Not purporting to speak for John either. Just kind of starting to get less amused at certain things. And should go drink some Tension Tamer.]

  40. VD:

    “John, it really all depends upon whether you truly believe that government – or in this case, one state supreme court – defines reality or not. If the court had ruled that 1+1=3, would you seriously insist that the sum of one and one were now three and that anyone who denied this ‘reality’ was incorrect?”

    Tell you what, VD: When such a hyperbolic hypothetical case gets anywhere close to being seriously argued in any court of law anywhere in this land of ours, much less the Supreme Court of California, you let me know. Until then, I’m not going to bother with sophistry, and in the meantime, back in the real world, the reality of California state law is indeed defined by that state’s highest court.

    “Given that the recently ‘married’ California couples are not, in fact, married according to most other state governments, most dictionary definitions, or Federal law, your reality-based argument appears to be rather more hyperbole than reality.”

    Not really. Barring an overarching Federal determination regarding marriages, states are always at their discretion to recognize the marriages of other states or not. Not too long ago, if I remember correctly, the marriage of a heterosexual couple in one state was not recognized in another because the wife in this particular case was very young. Likewise, New York will recognize as valid same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

    I agree that the Federal government does not recognize the same-sex marriages in California or Massachusetts, but as the individual states do determine who qualifies as married within their borders, this is neither here nor there as to whether those marriages are real and legal within those states that recognize them.

    “I am curious, though, what your opinion about the state of reality will be should the California electorate choose to change it again this fall.”

    Quite obviously, barring any hold on the enactment of the amendment pending legal challenges, those marriages will be destroyed. It won’t change the fact, however, that they existed and were legal.

  41. global climate change

    Calling it Global Warming is soooo yesterday.

    And missile defense? Yeah, a missile can never hit another missile mid-air.

    But I’m more interested in the existential, ontological reality that does not account for works of man.

    And I can’t imagine what that looks like.

    Or what it imagines like….

  42. Cool. It looks like I’m still married. My wife will be glad to hear that.

    From the article:

    Divine opinion: It’s been warm and clear in San Francisco these last several days, no doubt flummoxing those who declared that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of expressing displeasure at a scheduled gay-pride festival in New Orleans.

    So, you’ve met my dad?

  43. To Ernesto,

    To avoid boring anyone to death and to boil stuff down to its core: An essentialist believes that meaning just exists. An existentialist believes that people create meaning.

    So for an essentialist, “Essence” (or the essential nature of a thing) precedes existence. e.g. The Platonic forms. For an existentialist, Existence must precede essence. I have no good example here that wouldn’t lead off on a huge digression, but it is worth it to note as a historical matter, existentialism has often been defined in opposition to essentialism, as existentialism is in most senses the younger theory.

    Hence it is inconsistent for the little bugger mentioned in John’s post, to claim that as an “existential matter” man’s so-called laws can’t change the meaning of marriage.

    Today’s pedantic behavior has been brought to you by over-education and a low threshold for pontificating idiots.

  44. In response to #16, did you read the top right of your computer screen?

    Taunting the Tauntable since 1998
    John Scalzi, Proprietor

    In my opinion, these fellow citizens are not denigrated demons. But they are clearly tauntable. I guess it’s how you respond to the taunt that clarifies your demon status.

  45. My marriage is safe from Scalzi. However, it is not safe from being Removed from Existance by the terrible oppression of Causality, which says J and I have to get a license, say some words, and ask each other if getting married is something we agree to. Once those trifling little steps are taken care of we’ll be safe from tim.

  46. But this isn’t about math or something that has a reality independent from law. This is marriage law.

    Yes, that’s related to the point that the law has not historically been concerned with establishing marriages, let alone defining what they are or are not. You may find defining the institution of marriage to be an appropriate area for government intervention; I simply don’t. Perhaps you will change your mind about this if the state turns around and redefines it again.

    But the dictionary definitions aren’t defined by the law, and in many places the law defines things in certain terms which simply don’t correspond well with reality. The fact that you can’t legally sell a European orange with weight labled by ounce doesn’t change what the orange weighs in ounces. The fact that you can register two men married by the state doesn’t actually make them married, except in the areas where the California Supreme writ runs for the next few months or perhaps more.

    I truly don’t care how it turns out, I just found John’s reality-based case to be a bit unreal given the actual circumstances. But, do note that marriage of any kind is not a “right”, for if it were, it wouldn’t require a special permit.

  47. @VD #53: You should probably refer to John, who has stated way more eloquently what my basic concerns with your argument are.

    I’m probably way easier to fight with though.

  48. Bleh, Vox, don’t make me cite all the human rights instruments that say that there is a right to marry (which was interpretend about 10 years ago as guaranteeing only a right for opposite sex couple to married, which isn’t surprising given the incredibly conservative countries on the UN Human Rights Committee).

    What you’re doing is saying that marriage is BY DEFINITION between a man and a woman. And that therefore you don’t have to provide any justification for that view. You’re entitled to that opinion. That doesn’t make it fact.

  49. @VD #53

    Yes, that’s related to the point that the law has not historically been concerned with establishing marriages, let alone defining what they are or are not.

    Perhaps you should better educate yourself before you make such broad statements. Courts have a long history of saying who can and cannot marry whom in this country. Until 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia it was illegal in most states for whites to marry “non-whites” and punishable with time spent in prison. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme court has had several court cases on who can’t marry who or saying what is and is not a valid marriage.

    You seem to be arguing that the “reality” is how something might be defined in the dictionary. Dictionary.com’s definiton of marriage is pretty broad, and if the Supreme Court of California says that two men can be married, then by the second and fifth definition they’d be married based on your criteria.

    Furthermore, it is not like the dictionary is the sole arbiter of what is or is not “real” or that definitions within dictionaries don’t or can’t change.

  50. VD, you may have a point about the government not defining marriage, so I propose that we let John Scalzi do it. Admittedly, this may lead to some strange rules, but maybe in his generosity he will allow people to atone for past sins and marry. For example, if you ever bought a Creed CD, you could swear that it was a youthful indiscretion and will never happen again.

  51. JD:

    One Creed CD is forgivable. Two is pushing it. And if you ever bought the Scott Stapp solo CD, well, that’s a paddlin’.

  52. John #34

    We should be thankful for those filled with bigotry and homophobia and hatred.
    If it were not for them, who would we find to mock? :-)

  53. VD spake: Yes, that’s related to the point that the law has not historically been concerned with establishing marriages, let alone defining what they are or are not.

    The Roman Law of the Twelve Tables (449 B.C.) is concerned with marriage in a few respects: defining the parameters for establishing a common-law marriage, requiring husbands to give reason when they divorce their wives, and prohibiting patricians and plebeians from marrying. When there’s property or children involved, it makes sense for the state to codify the rules.

    At any rate – let’s say you have two people who love each other pledging their eternal troth with rings, flowers, witnesses, and a license from the state, and often with their kids in tow. The guy in the corner, reading from the dictionary to prove it isn’t happening? That guy isn’t on the side of reality.

  54. Coke is nasty and disgusting and has apparently affected your higher reasoning ability.

    On those grounds I say that your attempts to invalidate my marriage for being a coke hayter are invalid on the grounds that as someone who thinks that coke (ICK) tastes good, you are obviously of diminished mental capacity, and are therefore incapable to determining the validity of my marital bliss.

    So neener neener.

    Also, I’m of the camp that believes that if marriage is being defined upon religions grounds, then the government has no right to be involved.

    So no more married status on tax returns.

  55. I suspect a talking-points connection between:

    Laurie Higgins. “There is an existential, ontological reality that supersedes the ill-begotten works of man.”


    “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

    As wikipedia says (as of now):

    Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase “proud member of the reality-based community,” was first used to suggest the commentator’s opinions are based more on observation than faith, assumption, or ideology and that others who disagree are unrealistic. The term has been defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from [their] judicious study of discernible reality.” Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the “faith-based community” as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

    The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”[1]

    Commentators who use this term generally oppose President Bush’s policies and by using this term imply that Bush’s policies are out of touch with reality. Others use the term to draw a contrast with the perceived arrogance of the Bush Administration’s unilateral policies, in accordance with the aide’s quote. Its popularity has prompted conservative commentators to use the term ironically, to accuse the left-leaning “reality-based community” of ignoring reality[2].


    1. Suskind, Ron. “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush”, The New York Times Magazine, 2004-10-17. Retrieved on 2007-05-22.

    2. Kennedy Airport Plot Stuns Reality-Based Community into Silence

  56. Random Michelle @ 63

    The religious grounds for my marriage are “It’s a legal contract, why are you pestering a priest? You need help, talk to a lawyer.”


  57. VD – we will also note that the church didn’t get into the game of creating marriages until they were well into four-digit year dating. Until then it was either the local legal system, or two people lived together and declared themselves married = they were married. So on that basis, the California courts have a longer precedent for establishing marriages than the various religions do.

    My religion says two women or two dudes are perfectly free to marry one another. So there’s that, too.

    John – what’s your view on RC lovers? Neither Coke nor Pepsi has wandered over our stoop in many, many moons.

  58. Once again, I ask permission to quote this gem of logic against the idiots. I would put it on the same gay list as before.

  59. Dude, thanks for unmarrying the slowpokes in the fast lane; serves them right.

    Andrew “Life in the fast lane”

  60. VD @#53:

    The cognitive dissonance goes away when you remember that there are a whole slew of legal clauses regarding marital status – inheritance, taxes, things like being allowed to visit your spouse in the hospital when they’re in critical condition, etc etc.

    Government absolutely should and does have a say in what circumstances define that status.

  61. VD@53: The large number of rights, obligations, priveleges, etc that are tied to the term “married” make it a matter of “equal treatment under law” to allow same sex couples to be married. I suppose your reasoning would also require that all black people you see on the streets are really escaped slaves, since slavery was not originally defined by any government and thus no government had any business interfering. I think they would see that differently, as do I.

    You are married if and only if you have a valid license from the state, and an official empowered to do so has pronounced you married in the presence of witnesses. The state license is required, the religious ceremony is not. That is that makes it the state’s business to say who can be married. That fact that you don’t personally approve has absolutely no standing in law, logic, or political discourse.

    But what is really silly, and what the Scalzi was pointing out, is that the claim to be “defending marriage” is beyond ludicrous. It is nothing at all but anti-gay bigotry masquerading as something positive. Marriage is NOT under attack; no marriage currently existing between a male and a female will be impacted in the least, and no future marriage between a male and a female will be any different in any way.

    What we really have here is rabid pseudo-christians attempting to force their doctrine into the law, which is immoral and unconstitutional. Not a single one of the religious groups expressing moral indignation that the state dares to approve something that their particular sect abhors is the state religion.

  62. JJS @ 72::

    You are married if and only if you have a valid license from the state, and an official empowered to do so has pronounced you married in the presence of witnesses.

    :Grumble: If two (or more) people want to consider themselves married, I’m not going to be the one saying, “but the law says…”. Neither am I likely to be the one saying “but you’re not really married.”
    “Existential”, ontological reality is all well and good, but the reality I’m familiar with has humans engaging in a wide variety of pair-bonding and co-parenting behaviours and does not compel one obvious definition of “marriage”.

  63. KeithIndy @ 36: I don’t know about men, but for women, lesbian sex is much healthier than heterosexual sex in that it carries no risk of pregnancy and a far lesser risk of contracting the HIV virus.

  64. What Monty said about Nader votes. Al Gore had California’s electoral votes stored in a lockbox in Nashville since three months before the election, and I was hoping to see the Green party get matching funds someday.

    You want to annul the marriages of Nader voters in Florida–well, okay then. Better yet, annul the marriages of the Supreme Court.

  65. You are married if and only if you have a valid license from the state, and an official empowered to do so has pronounced you married in the presence of witnesses.

    That would very much depend upon which state – many states (jurisdictions) legally recognize so called “common law” marriages.

  66. I love the way people are so liberal and tolerant until you vote for someone they don’t want you to vote for.

    Actually, I haven’t had the chance to vote for Nader yet; I couldn’t get my registration updated in time for 2000 (I was waayyy out in the boonies with no good car) and he wasn’t on the ballot in my state in ’04, if memory serves. But I wanted to. And resent the hell out of people who tell me I shouldn’t because it *spoils* everything. Well then, get a candidate in there who can garner a ten percent lead or better. Are y’all seriously trying to tell me we’d have to overturn the Presidential two-term limit and get ol’ Bill back in there before we can do that?

    It’s *my* vote. I’ll cast it for whomever I wish.

  67. Dana, you are of course free to make any sort of goddamned idiotic vote you would like. I would never stop you. But I feel free to point and laugh.

  68. My marriage is safe. Husband likes chocolate soy milk, and I worship at the altar of Jolt Cola. Yeah, I SAID it, what are you goin’ to DO about it? HUH? HUH?

  69. I’m far more interested in how California is going to handle the marriages that are happening now when, as it seems is going to happen, they change the law to make same-sex marriages invalid.

    Personally, I don’t have any problem with same-sex marriages, as marriage, in this sense, is just a contract like any other. I can see, however, why employers and insurance people might not get that warm, fuzzy feeling about all this, since it would directly impact their bottom-line.

    The thing that keeps coming back to me, though, is that, either way, we’re standing at a cross-roads in our nation’s history. How we jump now may have a very large effect on how the next several dozen, or even hundred, years go.
    Strange days.

  70. Network Geek – There’s actually no proof that it’ll affect anyone’s bottom line, insurance wise. Rising insurance costs are a scare tactic raised by the anti-gay crowd. With employers, the idea that they’d hire gay people to be able to deny them insurance based on not having a large family is laughable. No one does that.

  71. Woo hoo! I’m unmarried twice!
    Wait… I already was unmarried.
    Does that mean that my unmarried state was negated (ie. I’m married) and then moments later my marriage was annulled? So I’m back to being unmarried, right?

    I won’t say which two rules I violated, as I have already stated (and probably argued) them elsewhere on this site. No need to beat those poor horses.

  72. Wow. I miss a few days of Whatever and I see that I am no longer married to my wife since she has purchased a couple of Creed CDs.

    Well, she is sleeping now, so I will let her have one final night of married sleep before I have to break it to her that John Scalzi has declared our marriage null and void.

    I hope we dream well tonight.

    Thanks a lot John. You sure know how to ruin a marriage.

  73. I don’t know if a case can be made, I’m just saying, if you open the door for accepting such justification for laws, there’s not end to what sort of laws TPTB will use that justification for.

    Just like the “Commerce Clause” of the Constitution has led to the Federal government deciding guns shouldn’t be within 1000 feet of schools, since guns are sold across state lines, among other abuses. And the vaunted Supreme Court is not always the check and balance we would hope for.

    If you only recognize the abuse of power on issues you care about, then you’re missing out on a whole raft of corruption.

  74. Great column. Just want to clarify, with respect to “Network Geek’s” post, that California has for some time allowed same sex couples to register as domestic partners, and California employers and insurers largely treat such couples the same as married couples with respect to things like health insurance. I don’t remember right now if it’s a California law or just a common practice, but in fact the legalization of same-sex marriage doesn’t impose significant burdens on employers or health insurers, above what was already there.

    This tends to be one of those things, like an increase to the minimum wage or family leave, that are widely protested by corporate America, but then are actually absorbed into the routine with little actual difficulty.

    Also, what is the deal with Dane Cook? I never understood the big deal with him…

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