Why It Matters

You’ll recall about a month ago I wrote about my friend Peter Dubuque, who passed away suddenly. Today over at AmericaBlog, his husband Steve Kleinedler explains why it mattered that they were married, both in life and also in death. It’s worth the read.

106 Comments on “Why It Matters”

  1. Wow. Now that is what I call moving.

    And I’m tempted to do what I call moving in a different sense: to Massachusetts. But New Jersey may do something about marriage equality soon too, so I’ll stay put for now.

    Thanks for pointing us to that, John. Anyone who still thinks it doesn’t matter, or that having the same word doesn’t, after reading that—well, it’s hard to see the point in arguing with such a person.

  2. It is a sad thing, and a hard thing to lose someone so dear.

    I think this song is appropriate:

  3. CT apparently followed the trend and the legislature passed a bill making all civil unions into marriages and defined marriage as the union between two people, regardless of gender or sex.

  4. I’m always awed at the strength and grace of people who can turn personal grief into a way to make the world better.

  5. Moving. Very as a matter of fact.

    Having been born, bred, raised, moved away, returned, currently living, & eventually (not for a long while yet) planning to die here in Massachusetts, I can verify what he says is true.

    The sky hasn’t fallen.

    No one looks askance or makes snide comments at the introduction of a husband or wife. It is just another new person to meet.

    I am proud to say “Yes, I am a Masshole!”

  6. Thank you for sharing that with us, John. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. It’s a really moving piece, as others have observed, and exactly the kind of thing we need more of: direct and simple proof that the sky hasn’t fallen in Massachusetts and that people seeking equal marriage rights only want and deserve the things that those of us who are already able to marry the partner of our choice take for granted.

  7. I am proud to say “Yes, I am a Masshole!”

    But, but, you guys have the second highest income per capita and the 23rd highest taxes! How can you live in such a socialist nightmare?!?!?!?!

  8. An important and touching read. Thanks for sharing.

    As a an erstwhile resident of Massachusetts for two tax cycles, I can certify that gay marriage has not yet torn the fabric of Massachusetts. (We only left Mass because of the weather. Other than the hellacious snow and our subsequent heating bill, it was a state I enjoyed muchly.)

  9. Good article. However, I am still against gay marriage. I have no problems with civil unions that are legally the same as marriage. But that usually is not viewed as good enough. Oh, and before you accuse me of being anti-homosexual, my best friend at work is gay. He and his buddy cannot get married but he was the first that explained to me why it is important, like the article. He knows how I feel and really could give a rat’s ass if whether it is called marriage or civil union as long as legally it is the same.

    Flame away……

  10. Martin @ 12: Many possible comments. The most temperate, and most appropriate to this thread is: not surprising.

    Jimmy @ 11:

    You’re perfectly entitled to oppose gay marriage. I think it’s wrong and mean-spirited, but you’re perfectly entitled to think that. Also, this thread is not, I think, the place to get into flame hurling matches.

  11. I am not in the least surprised. OSC is foaming-at-the-mouth crazy about social issues (which Our Scalzi touches upon here http://whatever.scalzi.com/2008/07/30/no-fair-youre-saying-what-the-amendment-does/ – sorry, I don’t know how to hotlink on WordPress).

    NOM follows in the usual conservative trend of naming things without thinking of them (teabagging, 2m4m), in that it always makes me think of “OM NOM NOM”. Unfortunately for the NOM, their views are unpalatable.

  12. My anniversary was this week.

    Luckily, I immigrated to Canada to be with my husband. Which means that, should any of our possible children turn out to be gay, they will have equal rights. Our whole country has the right to gay marriage. The sky hasn’t fallen. Didn’t fall when they instituted universal health care, either. Or when they continued to import superior Cuban cigars.

    When Obama won, a friend asked: “So, do you think you’ll come home, now?”

    “Why?” I answered. “I already have more than what he promised you.”

    Think big. Don’t quit.

  13. JimmyJones @11: If civil unions can be the same as marriage, why do you oppose one and not the other?

    The answer, of course, is that they are not the same, and this post explains exactly why. Because Steve and Peter were married, nobody looked askance at Steve referring to his “husband”. It was just another marriage, just normal like yours and mine. If they were civil-unioned (is that even a word?), he’d barely have gotten through a day without someone saying, “but he’s not really your husband”, and wouldn’t be able to get through talking to a stranger about Peter without fearing that would happen.

    (Read this post, incidentally, for what that does to people:http://tenacious-snail.livejournal.com/616313.html. It’s not healthy.)

    Beyond all that, they can’t even be legally the same. A marriage is a marriage, and there is a massive legal body of case law that says that states are to recognize other state’s marriages and countries are to recognize other countries’ marriages, and how marriages have to be recognized, and all of that. That case law is about “marriages”, not “civil unions”, and setting them up as conveying the “same privileges” in a legislative sense isn’t going to affect the case law. In every case that comes up, the lawyers are first going to have to waste time proving that a civil union should be considered equivalent to a marriage in this or that particular detail, and sometimes they won’t be successful and a civil union will get treated differently.

    And beyond that, it is clearly bizarre that a person married in Massachusetts might not be considered married in Texas, or in England, and it’s clear what treatment they should accord for married people. But a person with a civil union — even with the idea that states are expected to recognize such things from other states, what exactly is Texas supposed to be recognizing there, if they don’t have similar civil unions? Are they suppose to apply the same rules as apply in Massachusetts, even though those are different than Texas law? Or are they supposed to be applying Texas’s marriage rules, even though those aren’t what the civil union says? Or what? And that’s between states; it’s a much more uphill battle to argue that England ought to respect a state’s civil union, when their law doesn’t even have the concept.

    And there’s the U.S. federal law issue. If states have civil unions, they’ll all be different and maybe not all be the same as marriage, and the idea that federal law (and, in particular, tax law) should treat civil unions and marriages as the same will be some remarkable new and complicated thing that will be hard to argue for and easy to say “no” to. Whereas, if states have marriages, the question is “why should the tax code treat some marriages differently?” and the argument is vastly different.

    And, even beyond that: If you separate things into “marriage” and “civil union”, you’ve still got separate-but-equal. The first thing that happens with separate-but-equal is that people start chipping away at that equality. It’s easy to say, “We’ll add this benefit for married people” without saying, “and people in civil unions”. Maybe it’s something in the law, maybe it’s a discount for joining a fitness club. You can’t effectively legislate “marriages and civil unions have to be treated alike in every possible case”; government can’t be that heavy-handed without being totalitarian.

    So, no, they can’t be equal legally. And, by pretending that they will be and arguing against same-sex “marriage”, you’re arguing for second-class status in a way that’s got significant practical effects on people’s lives.

  14. Actually, I’m going to quote from the post I referenced parenthetically there, because I think it neatly sums up the important difference between “marriage” and “civil union” (aka, “not really a marriage but conveys similar legal rights”):

    “When a woman arrives at the ER and says to the triage nurse, “My wife has been experiencing diarrhea, bloating, weight gain, abdominal tenderness and fatigue,” the response should be “Does she have a fever? Has she experienced any vaginal bleeding?” and not “What do you mean, your ‘wife’?””

    “Marriage” gives that. “Civil union” can’t. (That’s a social distinction, not a legal distinction, but the social distinctions will be shaped very strongly by the legal distinctions.)

  15. We are three in my household. WE did a commitment ceremony a couple of years ago, but before that we had several long sessions with our attorney to make sure all our t-s were crossed and i-s dotted on things like property contracts, medical power of attorney and all that kind of stuff. He’s a friend so did not charge us out the arse, but being legally married causes a lot of legal assumptions.

    (Dr. P and I are legally married, Roh came into our lives somewhere in the very early 90s and we started living together some time in 1993. When we’d been all together long enough we realized we should to something to protect our: things like medical decisions, property stuff, etc. that are assumed in a marriage by the state of the law.)

    I’m very glad these guys had it together on these issues. It has always made me very sad to hear that the family has basically thrown the life partner to the wolves when the other person passes away. It is a stupid injustice and I’m glad to hear about same sex marriage being recognized.

  16. “Any comments on Orson Scott Card joining the board of NOM?” – Nope, not really. He is entitled to his opinions just like our Mr. Scalzi entitled to be a liberal. OSC is a great author and I will continue to buy his books.

    “So, no, they can’t be equal legally. And, by pretending that they will be and arguing against same-sex “marriage”, you’re arguing for second-class status in a way that’s got significant practical effects on people’s lives.” – well if that is the case then I still am opposed to gay marriage. If the law cannot make it equal legally then that is not my problem. But the law has certainly made a adoptive parent/legal guardian the same as a biological parent so I think to say it cannot be done is a cop out.

  17. “But the law has certainly made a adoptive parent/legal guardian the same as a biological parent so I think to say it cannot be done is a cop out.”

    The legal term of art for both a biological and adopted parent, however, is “parent” — in the eyes of the law, there are not “parents” and “[separate term designating people who adopt a child and have all the same right/obligations as parents to that child],” there are simply parents.

    So by this reasoning, marriage and [separate term designating a couple having all the rights/obligations of a married couple] should have the same legal term of art; probably “marriage” is the simplest.

  18. I did not marry until I was past 40, and I was astonished at the rights immediately conferred upon us by that simple act. I say to those opposed to gay marriage: “Human rights for all human beings.”

    Thank you for this link.

  19. There was a man posting on a gay marriage thread on Fark yesterday. He explained in great detail what happened when his civil partner (his state has civil unions, not same sex marriages) died. Because he technically wasn’t the spouse, the certificate of death listed him as friend. The COD is used by all sorts of government agencies to execute the will and estate of the deceased. The man has had to pay taxes on his partner’s car TWICE, when a surviving spouse should only have paid it once. He can’t get SS payments for his spouse, because the COD says he’s a friend and not the spouse. Also, the Defense of Marriage Act basically ignores gay marriage at the federal level, so that further muddies the waters. He even had to have lawyers contact every single remaining living relative, all the way down to the grandchildren of siblings, to confirm that he should in fact inherit (and execute) his deceased partner’s estate. Last (and probably least), the hospital wouldn’t release to him his partner’s clothes until the “real” next of kin called in and said it was okay.

    He did say that he received a great deal of empathy from most people, and one person at the DMV got into an argument with her boss. Yes, at the DMV of all places. But it was still very difficult, and nothing at all like what a real spouse would have to deal with. And I say “real spouse” because in the eyes of the law he wasn’t a real spouse, he was just a friend.

    We’ll get there eventually, and the Right will have a hissyfit over it. In 30 years, our kids and grandkids will look back and wonder what we got our panties all into a bunch about. (And I wonder what THEY’LL be freaking out about.)

  20. I’m sorry, Jimmy, but you aren’t this guy’s best friend at work when you are hoping that the law continues to stay in place that hurts him and his family, when you not only believe in that law — which is your right — but insist that we all accept it as the law and treat him as unequal and inferior in all sectors of life. He is a very good friend to you, in the face of your hatred, but then, like all gay Americans, he’s had to learn to live with that hatred and get along with the people who were taught prejudicial beliefs and continue to follow them. That he is okay with your support of an unjust law, with your moral beliefs that he is not equal to you, doesn’t mean that it is okay in the world and the rest of us should just accept it.

    It doesn’t mean that other people will be satisfied with just preventing gay marriage either. This is not a flame on you; these are the facts. Every day that gays are not allowed to legally marry is another day when your friend is at greater risk for being killed, beaten, spit upon, verbally abused and discriminated against in everything from taxes to loans to jobs to medical care. Marriage is not just about marriage, it’s about legal protection and rights as well. Your friend knows this because he’s been fighting it most of his life. Ten years ago, at work, you probably wouldn’t have known that he was gay because it would be far too dangerous for him to reveal it. That he can now do so is directly the result of the efforts of thousands of courageous people who risked death, injury, jail, and the sort of stuff you perhaps have never had to go through just to be treated as human beings and not perverts, deviants and criminals.

    But I forgot, that’s not your problem.

  21. Brooks Moses: Thanks for explaining that. While I certainly knew in my gut that they were different and marriage mattered, now I can explain some of the legal reasons behind why.

    It is interesting that if you watch British television, ‘partner’ is less problematic. It’s used quite often to mean two people (of any gender) living together. So that, at least in the right context, the first thought isn’t ‘business partner’.

    But it does still lead me to think it’s a temporary condition. Whereas ‘husband’, ‘wife’, or ‘spouse’ sounds more permanent. Sometimes a word is all about the connotation and not the definition.

  22. JimmyJones is a good example of a lot of people who a) don’t understand what marriage is legally and b) based their opposition to same-sex marriage on Ew Oh Gross.

    In the law, words mean something. When a law says it applies to spouses, that does not mean it applies to best friends, roommates, or hiking buddies. When a law says that certain rights are granted to married people, it does not mean that, really, we grant those to people in civil unions, too. This is especially true because law isn’t just what’s in a statute, but in reams and reams of case law (court rulings) encrusting those statutes.

    So when people like JimmyJones argue that they don’t want to call it marriage, they’re putting their own feelings that two men kissing is g-r-o-s-s-s-s-s-s over their professed desire for those two men to have equal rights.

    And that’s true no matter how many times they insist that some of their best friends are gay.

  23. At the close of his essay, Mr. Kleinedler urged people living in a few states to write to their elected officials and express support for marriage equality. I had done that after the election last fall, and I did it again earlier this week, following Governor Paterson’s announcement of his intention to bring the matter to a vote.

    Here’s a handy link to the board of elections for New Yorkers:


    You type in your address, it gives you the names of your elected state and federal representatives with links to their Web pages. The governor and my assemblyman and senator all had e-mail forms on their sites, so contacting them couldn’t have been easier. I should do it more often!

    Governor Paterson’s page also has a link to the April 16 press conference last week (I’m not sure how long that’ll remain available there, as more recent events are added); it’s a bit long, but well worth watching for the passion with which he expresses his belief that marriage equality is a civil-rights issue.

  24. At times I have thought the appropriate compromise between those who insist that “Marriage” is a sacred word reserved for what religions declare to be a marriage is to take that argument to the logical extreme.

    Make “Marriage” something reserved specifically for churches. No such thing as Civil Marriages for anyone – heterosexual or homosexual. Civil Unions (or a new term) for both homosexual and heterosexual couples.

    Of course, the religious groups have to accept that while their religion might ban homosexual marriage, other religions will accept it. And the government will have to allow those religions to accept homosexual marriages. Because the government can’t show religious preference.

    But the religions that prohibit homosexual marriage will at least be confident that they will remain allowed to do so. As marriages will be something controlled by the Church.

    The problem is that such an overhaul of language may be too complicated to do on a state-by-state basis.

  25. “So by this reasoning, marriage and [separate term designating a couple having all the rights/obligations of a married couple] should have the same legal term of art; probably “marriage” is the simplest.”

    Or maybe better is to create a superclassification for this of which marriage and civil unions belong. Keeps both sides happy. But of course, as always, people will still whine about that.

  26. (Dammit, that Chang business was a one-off joke for the cat thread and not supposed to show up ever again.)

  27. JimmyJones, you seem to be missing the point rather spectacularly.

    Go back and actually read, and digest, and think about what all that would mean to you and/or your married friends – number 16, 17, 22, 23, and 25. Then go read Scalzi’s other essays about same-sex marriage (a more appropriate term).

    You seem to think people whining is a good enough reason to deny or take away rights from a single group of people. Giving people civil unions as a way to shut them up has been proven time and again to be less than marriage and full of problems that affect the people it is trying to protect due to being largely misunderstood and ill-defined. Separate but equal is still separate. And inherently not equal.

    If you read the story John linked to above, you would have even more evidence that it is important to establish these marriages in each state as quickly as possible. Consider that there are kids involved – would you want them to be caught up in the legal activity and frustration of a civil union when this sort of tragedy happens, or do you just not care about what anyone goes through other than yourself?

    Lastly, we have the freedom in this country to have the sort of unfortunate opinions you have, and to voice those opinions. What we don’t have is the right to abridge other’s rights just because we feel like it. While I find your opinions distasteful, I once joined the military to defend your right to have them. I didn’t do it to defend your ability to destroy other lives with your bigotry. Neither did my gay friends in the service.

  28. Thanks for that link, Mac [who is not (I am not Chang)]

    And thanks for the link to Mr. Kleinedler’s essay too, John.

    I’m sure this has been asked before, and by people much smarter and more eloquent than me: how does marriage between two men, or between two women, do anything to harm “traditional marriages”? What I saw in Mr. Kleinedler’s essay was affirming in a “hold my loved ones close and be glad they’re around” kind of way. And everyone benefits from the kind of community he’s describing, one where people can respond to anyone’s grief without first stopping to define terms like “partner”.

  29. TransDutch @27:

    As someone whose religion does not have sacramental marriage, I would not appreciate being the new second class citizen. (Along with the atheists, the people in mixed-religion marriages, and all the other people who have good reason to not want to kowtow to a religious authority for basic human dignity.)

    Also, as someone who actually knows something about history and anthropology, I would not appreciate having the ahistorical lie that marriage is intrinsically religious granted official social status.

  30. TransDutch @27: There is a big problem with this argument: As my very conservative (in the literal sense, not the modern American political sense) ex points out, “marriage” has traditionally been a social arrangement and a “legal contract, ideally defined by common law, governing legal responsibilities and rights and inheritance procedures.” It is only in more recent times and in our particular culture (starting in 1200AD for English law, and not at all in many religions) that churches have started elbowing in on it, originally purely for political reasons. There are a vast number of people in the U.S. to whom the idea of “marriage” (as a word, not just a vague concept) has a very important social meaning, and who do not belong to a church that would sanction a marriage. It would be just as wrong to take “marriage” away from the atheists and people of religions without marriage sacraments as it would to take it away from the same-sex couples. The idea that “marriage” is solely a religious thing is just as much a creation of religious propaganda machines as the idea that “family values” are, as well as being a product primarily of our own culture and invalid in many others.

    JimmyJones @28: When you can explain how to create this superclass name in the laws of all countries that a same-sex couple might travel to, and in past case law that might affect them, and in the prevailing extralegal social structure, then I’ll concede that your argument is reasonable. If you don’t do that, then you are arguing for something manifestly impossible, and saying it’s as good as something possible. You have the luxury of considering those equivalent, since it’s not your problem. Your friend, if he’s thick-skinned, in good health, not raising kids, in a position where he can push society around rather than being pushed by it; he might as well. Not everyone does.

  31. Sitting here with this window in front of me.

    Trying to write something that doesn’t include the words ‘can bite me’.

    OSC and NOM deserve each other, and I hope they rot in hell are very happy together. I will never buy or read a book by OSC, and that’s been true since I read Songmaster. (Just to be clear, I read a bunch of books and stories by him before that.) I happen to think his homophobic shitheadedness comes through in his SF (gay characters dying horribly is a favorite motif of his).

    I’m not going to address JimmyJones, lest my temper get the best of me. Thank you to those who are willing to talk to him.

  32. Xopher @35: I get around the problem of Card profiting on my reading his books by either buying them used from local used bookstores or checking them out of the library. Either way, he doesn’t get my dime from it and I can enjoy some decent storytelling.

    Yes, he’s a homophobe, but it’s interesting how so many of his books and stories have themes that directly contradict his homophobia (I’m thinking of “Speaker for the Dead” as one example).

    Frankly, I’m convinced he’s closeted and under sanction from his church because he’s so well-known. But that’s just me.

  33. Adam 36: I’ll take your word that some of his themes contradict his homophobia, but I’m not going to read Card even for free. I felt abused by the books I did read, and I’m not going back into that author-reader relationship, if you see what I’m saying.

    John 37: Indeed, the very phrase “OSC’s sexuality” makes me feel a little nauseated. And it’s not relevant to his homophobia.

  34. I keep wondering about this ‘renaming marriage’ argument. Forgive me if this is a silly question, but why don’t the churches start to use their own term? “Holy matrimony” or something of the sort would work fine to describe those married by a priest as well as married under civil law. People who have civil marriages, who have never been married in a church, could just call ourselves married as we do now. I realize that this is a problem for the ‘defense of marriage’ crowd. Can someone explain why?

  35. CJ, because their crap about renaming is just a screen for the real issue, which is that they can’t stand the idea of equal marriage because they hate gay people. Or like us if we’re tame and know our place, but not if we try to claim we’re just as good as they are, you know?

  36. Because they want to keep claiming the right to define it, even though it’s been in the public domain ever since they started putting the state in charge of the paperwork.

  37. CJ @39 – because they know that calling it ‘marriage’ also means giving people the same rights and recognition as other marrieds. There’s also a large subset of people who fetishize imagined sex differences – you know, the type who look at a same-sex couple and ask “Which one of you is the man in your relationship?” – and they absolutely cannot fathom a relationship that is not based on exaggerated and mutually opposite gender roles.

  38. [T]hey absolutely cannot fathom a relationship that is not based on exaggerated and mutually opposite gender roles

    mythago -You make a fascinating point.

    I think about internalized v. externalized behaviors quite a lot, when contemplating ethic systems: how and why they develop, change, and so on. “Internalized ” is my term for persons who don’t need much validation, reinforcement or punishment in order to behave decently, and “externalized” is my term for persons who do need those things in order to behave decently.

    To wit: Most people don’t need ever-present reminders or threats in order to refrain from stealing, assaulting, etc., others; and most people only need modest encouragement to be actively kind, generous, and benevolent to others. However, some people need to have such values constantly reinforced and validated.

    I don’t generally care what kind of ethos is involved; whether it’s religious, pagan, secular, whatever. The question is how often and how overtly it needs to be reinforced.

    Anyway, it seems to me that, historically, the most brutal cultures (those with the least internalized ethic systems and the heaviest-handed reinforcement) also tend to have the most rigidly stylized role definitions for how people should act and even appear. It’s as if they are so incapable of, well, behaving themselves without constant supervision that liberal or creative expressions of selfhood are considered dangerous, and therefore are taboo.

    (Joanna Russ made a wonderful comment about this in The Female Man, describing cultures where status and gender roles were so completely stylized you could dress a giraffe up as a warrior and people would believe it was a warrior simply because it was costumed as such.)

    Fundamentalists are defined by their terror of anything that strays outside heavily, despotically defined roles. I hadn’t previously thought to see their terror of SSM in that light (as opposed to simple bloody-minded mean-spiritedness) but now I bet that terror of individualism has something to do with it, too.

  39. Xopher-“can’t stand the idea of equal marriage because they hate gay people.”

    Come now Xopher, I certainly do not hate my gay friends. I simply disagree with gay marriage. These same friends care mostly about the legal, tax and medical standings that marriage provides. They full well know my views and because they know me they know it is not one driven from bigotry, fear and hate that people like Corby like to acuse people of who disagree. Maybe they are more “moderate” gays because they were ashamed of the behavior of the community after Prop 8 did not go their way. And Corby, we all appreciate your service and yes, it was to protect my right to have my opinions.

  40. I think what is interesting about the opinions of JimmyJones is that they honestly don’t understand why people consider what the advocate to be bigotry, and don’t really get why people simply don’t ‘respect’ a difference in opinion.

    The thing is, of course, is that this isn’t a matter of merely a difference of opinion. You don’t get to think that gay people are deserving of less than equal rights than you would for ethnic minorities, for women, etc, and think that you’re going to get ‘respect’ because you’re ‘polite’ about the denial of equal rights.

    A club isn’t less destructive because it’s wielded with kid gloves than with brass knuckles, because in the end, the club descends and the effect is the same.

    I am a ‘moderate’ lesbian (hell, most consider me an HRC poster-child, aside from my hatred of the organisation due to their transphobia – I’m not going to abandon fellow members of my community), and if a ‘friend’ of mine held the opinion that JimmyJones holds, they would be very quickly made aware that the two are incompatible.

    Either you think gays and lesbians are equal to heterosexuals, and hence deserving of equality and all that that entails, including marriage, or you don’t, in opposition to all the mountains and mountains of evidence that we are. And that latter position is bigotry, regardless of how articulate and nice the person expressing that bigotry is.

  41. There are two aspects to it, CJ. First, there is the political issue. If gays get the actual term marriage, as when they’ve managed to obtain equal rights on other points such as legal protection from discrimination, they gain political power. They change society to be more equal, and opponents believe that gays won’t stop with equal rights, but will try to exert more and more political power in the government, will attack churches that aren’t for them and force them to change their beliefs, will control what their kids are taught, etc., will exert dominance because these people also want to exert dominance over the government and society, so that’s what they expect others to do. And since gays are, Log Cabin Republicans aside, predominantly liberal in addition to being gay, that certainly isn’t something they want. That’s what NOM is attacking with their storm commercial. They’re trying to say that liberal gays will be a political threat if they have equal rights under the law, because they’ll try to take more and more power. This same argument is made about any group seeking equal civil rights — women, blacks, etc. It presents equality as a slippery slope where the right people will lose if they don’t have the upper hand.

    The second issue is the belief that gays, or specifically gay sex, are abnormal, whether they think gays chose to be that way or were born that way. Many people don’t necessarily have anything against gays as people, or dealing with them, they don’t want to hurt them directly, but they don’t want gays sharing in what they feel is their normal institution of marriage. Gay love, etc., is different, outside the box, and needs to be kept over there. It’s a defect they tolerate or just don’t want to have to deal with.

    Many opponents to gay marriage have trouble with both issues. Orson Scott Card feels that gay sex is abnormal. He believes that those who were born gay are given that cross to bear by his god, and so must resist having gay sex. Those who choose to have gay sex are sinners and are seeking political power that will destroy society. (Or so he’s said in articles.) Although not all Mormons feel this way, it’s not an unusual position for Mormons, given that they have a great deal of political power in Utah and elsewhere, and they are often very rigid about what is normal and what is not.

    But Jimmy has a gay friend at work. And not that many years ago, that would not have been the usual attitude toward a gay co-worker for someone of his beliefs. So there’s been a lot of progress on the political power issue, which is why Iowa and Vermont have legalized gay marriage. But the idea that being gay is normal and therefore gay people can share in the institution of marriage, takes longer and is likely to be more easily changed once gays have the equal right to marry under the law and live their very normal lives.

    But there will continue to be a portion of the population which teaches their children to hate and fear along both of these precepts. And our kids, particularly gay kids and the straight children of gay parents, will have to deal with kids who’ve been carefully coached in hate speech and fed bogus statistics and see gay people as both abnormal and a political/social threat. So Lawrence King, a 15-year-old gay boy was shot dead in his suburban California classroom this year. And we have this:


    But it’s a bigger picture. My daughter came to me today with an article in one of her magazines about a high school in Georgia that holds two private proms, one for white students and one for black students, even though these kids are friends at school. They do so because that’s what the kids’ parents want. My daughter, who goes to school with kids of every possible color and religion, could not understand why the parents would do this to their kids, why it was happening in 2009 in the U.S. And all I could tell her is that her generation will have to try and be better than ours.

  42. JimmyJones @11 tells us that his “best friend at work” is gay. By @44 he has multiple gay friends, all of whom, conveniently, are perfectly OK with his opinion that they don’t deserve the same rights he has? One would think that if JimmyJones’s opinion is right, it would stand on its own rather than needing to be propped up with silent, virtual gays.

  43. @JimmyJones: You may *think* your gay friends are cool with your beliefs, but don’t expect Adam to invite you when he and Steve finally get to make it legal.

  44. Coming from a country where same-sex marriage has been perfectly legal for a few years now, by what would (by American right-winger standards) be construed as outrageous judicial activism (the Canadian Supreme Court flat-out told the Canadian Parliament that the law as it stood was un-Constitutional and therefore illegal), the whole Yank marriage thing fascinates me.

    How the hell does “seperate but equal” from the 1960s not utterly destroy, upon first hearing, all “civil union” or “defense of marriage” nonsense is beyond me.

    But then, I’m merely a Canuck. And drunk whilst I write this, to boot.

  45. Wow, I was actually tempted to reply to JimmyJones’ vacuous arguments for a few seconds there. Here’s what was left of my reply after I deleted all the obscenities and intemperate language:

    JimmyJones 44: You [deleted], you and your alleged [deleted] gay friends can [deleted]. Really, go [deleted].”

    So really, I think I’d better not. I’ll leave it to people with better tempers, like mythago, CaseyL, Sarah in Chicago, KatG, Maureen, and Wirelizard to demolish his specious arguments. You are all my heroes.

    Wirelizard 49: And yet, a drunk Canadian makes more sense than some (presumably) sober Americans. Moving to Canada is looking better and better. Maybe I’ll do some serious husband-hunting in Montreal this summer.

  46. JimmyJones, I think the reason that so many of us see your statements as bigoted is that…well…they are.

    What possible harm is there that might be caused by same sex marriage that begins to justify the harm that is currently being caused to gay people by the failure to allow same sex marriage? I have yet to see a coherent argument made that addresses that, and that’s really at the core of the debate. Enormous harm is being caused to real live people, and for what? So that bigots can feel more comfortable about thenselves?

    Dude, your opinion and its implementation is hurting people. How can you possibly justify that?

  47. Jeez people. I am all for equal rights. Parent/Legal Guardian have equal rights but different legal titles. Civil Unions for gays with equal rights to marriage I am all for, gay marriage I am not nor will I ever be.

    Someone pointed out gay friend vesus many, well yes, I have 1 close gay friend at work. My other “friends” I am not as close to, rather acquaintances and they cut my hair (go figure). I do not always take what they say at face value because they might not be speaking their true feelings given the situation.

    My close gay friend is a unique deal. We first worked together 10 years ago and he was married, to a woman. He later realized he was gay etc. We know each other very well and can talk about anything.

    Xopher, question about the cursing. Would that make it more important or have more mean, lol?

    As for my friend, he holds no punches to me. If he was not okay with my opinion he would tell me. This group would not be able to handle some of the other discussion he and I have had which is a pity. He has shattered many of the stereotypes I had about the community and I have shattered some of his. It is a open and honest dialog that certainly does not exist here.

  48. Jimmy Jones:

    “I am all for equal rights.”

    Well, no. You’re apparently for “separate but equal” rights, and we know how well “separate but equal” has worked before in our history. If you were genuinely for equal rights, you would be for same-sex marriage instead of trying to prove how open-minded you are while at the same time wanting to deny same-sex couples actual marriage.

    “Parent/Legal Guardian have equal rights but different legal titles.”

    Aside from noting that you’ve conveniently changed your argument here (it used to be “parent” and “adopted parent” as your examples), in point of fact parents and legal guardians do not have equal rights, and if you don’t believe it, ask a parent who is not the legal guardian of his or her children. “Parent” refers to a biological role, whereas “legal guardian” is the legal role. Parents generally assume legal guardianship of their minor children, but that role can be (and often is) taken away; likewise, my parents are still my parents but they have not been my legal guardians for more than twenty years, nor would they be now should happen to me that required someone be my legal guardian (that responsibility would almost certainly fall to my wife).

    So, in short: You’re wrong. And you’re wrong for a second time using the parent example; you need to stop trying to make that argument. Aside from the fact you keep using it poorly, in point of fact the spousal relationship is not the same as a parental relationship, legally or otherwise, so even if your arguments to date were accurate — which they have not been — they still wouldn’t be particularly applicable.

    “It is a open and honest dialog that certainly does not exist here.”

    I think people here are pretty open and honest in their opinion that you’re at least approximating a bigot, JimmyJones, your gay friend notwithstanding. “Open and honest” does not mean “nice,” although for the record I appreciate Xopher’s choice not to fly off the handle, in part because he knows I’ll get on him about it.

  49. John, while I’m well aware you would subject me to the Hammer of Loving Correction should I call JimmyJones* what he deserves nasty names, my choice not to fly off the handle was more a matter of realizing I couldn’t usefully contribute to the conversation, and appreciating the environment you try to maintain here, than fear of reprisal. I sure hope you know that. I appreciate civil discourse enough not to participate in a conversation when I can’t be civil.

    But maybe I can, a little. I’d like to refer back to the excellent comment made by Brooks Moses at 34. Brooks points out that JimmyJones is arguing that an impossible solution should be good enough, and that therefore the objectionable (to JimmyJones) possible solution is unacceptable.

    “We are starving,” we tell him, “we need bread.”

    “It’s unacceptable for you to have bread,” he replies. “Eat cake!” Actually, it’s dramatically worse than that, because unlike Marie Antoinette, who was so isolated by privilege that she really didn’t understand that not everyone had the choice of cake when no bread was available, JimmyJones knows full well that what he’s requiring of us is impossible.

    JimmyJones says Civil Unions for gays with equal rights to marriage I am all for, gay marriage I am not nor will I ever be. He knows, because others right here in this thread have explained it, that civil unions cannot grant rights equal to marriage. Therefore what he’s saying is “do the impossible, or you cannot have your rights.” I conclude from this that if civil unions could grant the same rights as marriage, he’d oppose them. His alleged support of them, j’accuse, is because of, and contingent upon, the impossibility of their producing equality.
    *Hmm, it finally occurs to me to wonder if that’s just his real name (as I’ve assumed until now), or a deliberate reference.

  50. I doubt it’s a deliberate reference there. Maybe a deliberate reference here, however.

    And yes, I know that your general withholding is out of respect, not fear of reprisal. Which I appreciate.

  51. John sez: “should happen to me that required someone be my legal guardian (that responsibility would almost certainly fall to my wife)”

    I trust you use the phrase “almost certainly” because you’re excluding some unusual cases like if something were to happen to her simultaneously with something happening to you, not because you’re trusting that it’d just turn out that way of course because you’re married. In other words, that you really do have a health care directive, durable power of attorney, and all the other legal documents you need to ensure that Krissy would basically become your “legal guardian” should something happen to you. Right?

    Cause if not, we’re all going to troop out to Ohio and drag your ass to a lawyer.

    Pardon the threadjack.

  52. “that civil unions cannot grant rights equal to marriage.” – Really? Serious question, they are not equal? How so?

    JS – I am for equal rights. If civil unions equal marriage then I see no problem. However people like to pick and choose what is equal. Could your daughter get a scholarship from the UNCF? My initial thought is no, because she is white. Is that equal? No. Is it acceptable, of course… go figure.

    I am so glad that xopher continues to refrain himself from showing any immaturity and not lowering himself to nasty name calling. But he is fundamentally wrong in his statement that if civil unions=marriage I would be against them. Bad logic there, sorry my friend.

    Lastly, Xopher had the name reference correct! Now, wonder why I would use that name on this site? Hmmmm….

  53. “Could your daughter get a scholarship from the UNCF?”

    Actually, yes: “UNCF was founded to address inequities in the educational opportunities afforded to African Americans. UNCF believes in higher education opportunities for all Americans. UNCF-member schools do not discriminate and UNCF-administered scholarships are open to all.”

    Aside from your ignorance on that particular matter, this is yet another genuinely awful example, as the UNCF is neither a governmental organization nor a law-granting body. You’re not even comparing apples to oranges any more, you’re comparing apples to squirrels. And you look fairly dumb doing it. Really, stop.

    “I am for equal rights.”

    No you’re not, and you look like a fool each time you say that you are. To say you’re for equal rights on one hand and then to deny same-sex couples an equal right to be married on the other means clearly, obviously and without ambiguity that you are not for equal rights at all. You can feel free to engage in the sort of ridiculous doublethink that allows you to discriminate on one hand and declaim your commitment to equal rights on the other, but no one here needs to feel inclined to treat this so-called commitment with any respect.

    If you’re for equal rights, then you’re for same-sex marriage, and for calling it “marriage”. It’s really that simple.

  54. The UNCF was in regards to equal rights, or lack of equal rights that exist that no one seems to care about. Not dumb at all, rather a wider picture instead of being so narrow. A deviation to be sure, but the point is made. Besides, what one considers dumb is left to the beholder, I see dumb people all over.

    I did not know we were only considering the topic as it relates to government or law. Considering the law, then we must abide by it. If marriage is defined as between a man and a women then that is the law plain and simple. Should we change the law? Maybe so, but let people decide. They tried that in CA and it did not go their way and a fit was thrown. Should the government make that decision for us? I think not, people would agree with it when it suits their needs but we all know that at some point they would dictate something we did not agree with whether social liberal or social conservative. I wish more states would bring it up for a vote instead of deciding for everyone.
    In the end, gay marriage will happen. There will be many who rejoice, many who could care less and many who think it is the end of the world. The minority <10% who it benefits will be the most happiest. It wont be the end of the world, our gov has made unpopular or bad decisions in the past and we move along. That I do not support it is a decision I make and one that I have the freedom to express. That it enrages a few cannot be helped.

  55. JimmyJones:

    “A deviation to be sure, but the point is made.”

    Well, no, it wasn’t, since your thesis was that my daughter couldn’t get a UNCF scholarship, when in fact she can. Bad example. Move on.

    “In the end, gay marriage will happen.”

    This much we agree on, because among other things, same-sex marriages already exist here in the US.

  56. sorry let me change my point a bit. She is eligible and might get one but doubful. The majority of scholarships are for african-american, this is not equality. move along indeed.

    “Though set up to address funding inequities in education resources for African Americans, the UNCF-administered scholarships are open to all ethnicities; the great majority of recipients are still African-American. It provides scholarships to students attending its member colleges as well as going elsewhere.”

  57. JimmyJones:

    “The majority of scholarships are for african-american, this is not equality.”

    Wrong yet again. That majority of the UNCF scholarships go to African-American students does not imply the UNCF discriminates among its applicants, any more than historically black colleges discriminate against their applicants (which as noted they do not); rather it suggests that the majority of applicants for UNCF scholarships are African-American, just as the majority of applicants to historically black colleges in the US are African-American. Your inability to parse this difference does not constitute discrimination on the part of the UNCF. So once more your point fails.

    Also, your massive and continuing failure to make your point here is progressively less germane to actual topic which this thread serves, so I’m going to go ahead and say we’ve taken this little side adventure as far as it’s going to go. Let’s get back on topic.

  58. So, JimmyJones is named in honor of someone who ordered the murders of several people, including a US Congressman, and then got his entire community of followers to poison their children and then themselves. Some even say that reluctant adults were poisoned by force.

    It’s not unreasonable to conclude that JimmyJones identifies with this controlling paranoid cult leader and mass murderer. Listening further to what he says would be, though.

  59. Jimmy — numerous posts here have explained to you, in detail, with sometimes links to further information, why civil unions are not currently equal under the law to marriage and why civil unions can’t be made equal to marriage in the future. That you chose not to read those posts and then ask why the two institutions are not equal does not mean that we’re going to repeat ourselves. That you don’t care that they aren’t equal does not inspire us to do it either.

    The people in California didn’t try to change the law, they demanded that existing law be followed. They argued, successfully, that a new law outlawing gay marriage passed by vote violated California’s constitutional law and was thus invalid. The California Supreme Court agreed that the new law was in violation of the state constitution and was in fact invalid, and that the constitution made discrimination against gays regarding marriage illegal, and thus gays had, by the California constitution, the legal right to be married in California. They have had this right as long as there has been a California constitution; it’s simply been denied to them.

    Opponents then lobbied for a constitutional amendment that would reverse the language already in the California constitution, and were able to pass that amendment by vote. The legality of this amendment being added to the constitution, reversing previous language and turning legal gay marriages illegal is now being challenged in the CA Supreme Court. This isn’t a hissy fit. It’s people fighting for their lives, their marriages and their rights by people who want to take rights they already have away. People who might then decide that your friendship with your gay friend is enough to try and take some of your rights away, as they attempted in the 1970’s in California when they wanted to not only ban gays from being school teachers, but also have fired any straight teacher or school employee who knowingly and openly associated with gays. They nearly succeeded, but gays and supporters threw a hissy fit and lobbied the government and the voters to keep their rights and stop legal discrimination.

    Your arguments are very familiar. A white Southerner in the 1950’s might say that he had black friends and black acquaintances who did his lawnwork, and those black friends were okay with being forced to use separate schools and hospitals as long as they got the same services, and those black friends apologized for the militant, loud protests of other blacks to civil rights discrimination of this kind. A man at the turn of the 1900’s might say that the women in his life were okay with not having the right to vote as long as they were given other rights like inheriting property, and that they apologized for the other militant, loud women who protested for an end to discrimination and for women having the right to vote, as the federal Constitution already promised them. That you would have an open discussion with someone whom you believe should be discriminated against is great, but it only means you’ve gotten rid of some of your bigotry, not all of it.

    You haven’t ever said why you are against gay marriage, why it would be a dumb decision for the government to let gays have their legal right to the same institution. And you don’t have to say it here, because we’ve already heard all the rationales before, plus Xopher is trying very hard to be good. (Although not hard enough — drop the bullshit cult references Xopher.)

    I don’t know if your belief is an interpretation of religious dogma or a personal one, but I would ask you to consider looking very, very hard at that belief, at why you hold it, at why you consider a belief that harms others — harms a friend of yours — to be a good one, at what you have been taught by others in your life, and why you feel that hey, discrimination is no big deal, and that since there are other discriminations going on in the world, that discrimination should always be accepted, especially if you are the one who wants to discriminate. I want you to consider why you believe your friend, by realizing that he is gay, is no longer entitled to the same rights you have. You’ve already accepted that your friend will get back his civil rights eventually. I’d ask you to consider why that requires your acceptance instead of your celebration, and what sort of mark that has you leave on the world. If your objection is religious, I would ask you to consider what ministers within your faith, if not of your particular branch of it, who support gay marriage have to say about it.

    But if you don’t do this or don’t read this post, I’ll hope that your children will be able to discard the bigotry you still cling to, in the same way that my husband believes I should have the right to vote as a female citizen, same as him, and my daughter sees black people being in school with her as normal and truly equal. Bigotry is always wrong, Jimmy, even when you are among friends with whom you can express it.

  60. JimmyJones @57:
    Really? Serious question, they are not equal? How so?

    Brooks Moses answered that way up at comment 16; it’s also worth following the link he provided. Indeed, Scalzi’s article has evidence enough that civil partnership is not the same as marriage..

    Short version, if you can’t be bothered reading what everyone has so kindly set out: intra alia, civil unions:
    * vary from state to state, so no one out of state knows what they mean
    * aren’t recognized consistently, nationally or internationally
    * have no federal recognition (effects including but not limited to tax effects, on April 15 or at death)
    * don’t partake of benefits and policies outside government (hospital visitation, health insurance coverage, contracts with businesses)

    I’m sure others can add to this list, if the inability to move freely, inherit clearly, pay tax equally and know that you will be treated in the same way by the businesses you patronize is somehow not enough.

    Do you have follow-up questions? Or shall we move on to “Serious question, 2+2 doesn’t equal 5? How so?”

  61. JS – ok good, so if my companies directorys and management positions are filled by predominately white then that is no evidence at all of descrimination. Good.
    Concerning the rest of the verbage, and man do people like to type, if civil unions have issues with being equal then why not fix that? A bigot I am not but if people want to call names like on the playground then so be it.

    Like I said back at my first post, flame away and they did.

  62. JimmyJones @66:
    if civil unions have issues with being equal then why not fix that?

    Well, there are two ways to fix it.

    1. Start the long, contentious and difficult process to create a single standard form of “civil union” across the 50 states. Try to capture the rights and responsibilities inherent in a committed relationship in an agreed form. Persuade the federal government to recognize that standard form in a set of new laws (tax, immigration, etc, etc).


    2. Hook into the existing structure that deals with committed relationships.

    Proposing “civil unions” is like saying that the best way to get from New York to San Francisco is to head across the Atlantic, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean rather than flying west. It’s over-complicated, impractical, and will take longer.

    Furthermore, the experience in Utah shows that many of the very same people who oppose marriage equality will oppose civil unions. So it’s not even easier in that way.

    Turn it round: why, in rational, practical terms (not emotive ones) do you oppose gay marriage?

    Do you think that civil unions are actually equal to marriage? If so, please address the examples that state otherwise.

    Alternatively, do you think that implementing uniform civil unions across the US (leave aside the world) is going to be easier than marriage equality? If so, please give a few examples of how all 50 states have ever agreed on anything.

    Or, of course, admit that you’re just agin’ em and don’t really want to be persuaded otherwise.

  63. There are several states that have outlawed via constitution gay marriage. Just as hard to fix that as well, if not harder. National civil union language might be easier than fighting state over marriage. Then, if civil unions not equal in other ways fix that as well.

    Just to note, the worlds view on marriage is not important here. I am sure there are countries where you can marry a 11 or 12 year old, would we recognize that if they moved here? I dont have the answer to that.

  64. JimmyJones:

    “National civil union language might be easier than fighting state over marriage.”

    Probably not. Nate Silver explains. Also, given that the generally the same people who abhor same-sex marriage also abhor civil unions, it means fighting the same battle twice. Might as well just fight it once.

  65. People like JimmyJones who want same-sex couples to have everything but The M Word are really saying they don’t think much of gays. Because if you don’t mind them having all the legal rights, what’s the objection to the title? It can’t be religious, as we’re talking purely about civil marriage. The only possible reason is a deep-rooted ick factor about gays, and that’s why such people always desperately drag My Very Best Friend, Who I Love Even Though Ew He Kisses Men Gross Ew, to bolster their cred.

  66. mythago-I have plenty of creditability, none is desire or required by anyone here. Ick factors about if one think about it too much whether it is my friends partner or the guy down the street who has a 300+ pound wife. Ick is not a factor. (wow I managed to not use any one of a number of humorous descriptions of the nasty!)

  67. Heh. For which our internal mental imagers thank you.

    I think we may have run this particular conversational path to its end, unless anyone has anything else to add.

  68. The arguments from JimmyJones are specious particularly because he reveals, quite apparently, his bigotry.

    There is, of course, the point that repeatedly many people here have demolished his arguments, but he nonetheless says he will never support same-sex arguments, despite all the rationality in positive position to it. That, pretty much, is a dictionary definition of bigotry.

    But, leaving that aside, one wonders why he so vehemently clings to the term “marriage” as a child to a favourite truck in their sandbox, in opposition to all the said rational arguments? Particularly so, if, as he claims, there is no real difference between civil unions and marriage under the law? If the two really are entirely equal, why does he then hold so tightly to denial of the term ‘marriage’? For if they are truly equal, then one should not cling to one or the other?

    In that act, of course, JimmyJones reveals his bigotry. Because he knows civil unions AREN’T equal to marriage (he is not blind after all), and it is that inequality that allows him to maintain his ‘superiority’ over those of us that are queer. He wonders why ‘marriage’ is so important to us … one must then turn the question upon him, even though the answer to such is patently obvious.

    The irony is, of course, that people like JimmyJones have already lost, and they know it. This is merely their pouting and pointless thrashing against the dark.

    Oh, but in addendum I wanted to praise KatG for her wonderful and succinct description of what has happened in California and other states. We’re not changing the law; we’re arguing under its very current definition. A society cannot stand on the bases of equality and rights under the law, and then complain about the consequences of such when they are revealed in what they actually result.

  69. Sarah in Chicago:

    Noted, but this is largely stuff covered earlier in the thread, which now appears to be going around in a thematic circle, without anything new being added.

  70. John –

    My apologies, that wasn’t intended as a reply to you at #72. It had been a little bit of time since my last refresh and the time I posted #73, which makes me a bit of a twat.

    But you’re right, things are going around a tad, without anything new being added.

  71. KatG 64: I really like this comment. Want to respond to this though: Xopher is trying very hard to be good. (Although not hard enough — drop the bullshit cult references Xopher.)

    Well, at 57 JimmyJones said Xopher had the name reference correct! referring to my comment at 54 speculating on whether his commenting name might be a deliberate reference to the cult leader. So I thought he was pretty well copping to that identification. He doesn’t seem inclined to explain, however, so I’ll just have my thoughts and you can have yours and I will, in fact, drop that line of discussion. But I don’t think it was really bullshit. That is all I’ll say on the matter.

    John 74: Yes, it is going around and around, isn’t it? I suspect part of the trouble is that every time you make a new post about marriage equality (for which I thank you each time), a new bigot comes in claiming to have “close gay friends,” as if that somehow meant he couldn’t possibly be a bigot, and saying the same things and making the same tired, specious arguments. Usually they don’t ignore any points made against them quite as completely as JimmyJones has, though.

    But I digress. The point is that with all these threads it’s hard to remember what you’ve said in this thread, and what only in a previous one. All the bigots are the same, so they all blend together.

    Going around in a thematic circle…hmm, suddenly I’ve got this song (lyrics by an old friend who passed away a couple of years ago) running through my head:

    Around and around and around goes the good Earth;
    All things must change as the seasons go by.
    We are the children of the Lord and the Lady,
    Whose mystery we know, though we cannot say why.

    …whose mystery we know—in our hearts, we know why. (Not quite a bald free-association…change WILL come, and the JimmyJoneses of the world will kick and scream, but will get over themselves eventually, and if they live long enough will come to regard their earlier positions with embarrassment and incomprehension.)

  72. I have plenty of creditability

    No, you really don’t, unless you’re talking about your FICO score or something. Anyone who prefaces their views on a subject with “some of my best friends are….” is, in essence, using that (alleged) friend as a sort of conversational human shield. If your views are not bigoted, then they’re not bigoted regardless of how many gay friends you have. If your views are bigoted, than having a gay person in your life who still talks to you doesn’t negate that bigotry. This isn’t rocket science.

    As for the “I’m not okay with those marriages” argument, well. I, personally, am not OK with men who buy women half their age from developing nations to be their wives because they figure they can use her lack of citizenship to make sure she’s submissive. Nor am I OK with women who get married to lonely, socially inept men with money because it’s way easier than having a job. And I’m really not OK with those couples (we all know them) who hate each other, but just get married in order to bump up to a new level of drama.

    However, I don’t think my own not-OK-ness is any reason to deprive those folks of their fundamental right to marry. I don’t whine that the government should limit them to “civil unions” because, you know, Mythago Does Not Approve is a compelling state interest.

    For the folks at home watching, btw, I’m not really expecting to convinced JimmyJones. He doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t like them queers a-marryin’ and that’s the end of it. All I’m hoping to do is demolish the silly arguments (again) so that people who hear them in real life, from folks who aren’t necessarily idiots but who may not have thought things through all the way, can find the counterarguments helpful.

  73. Okay, Xopher, I’ll just call it off-track comments, how about that? :)

    We’re having a circular discussion because Jimmy is taking us around in circles. But it’s rather impressive that he keeps going.

    “if civil unions have issues with being equal then why not fix that?”

    With this comment, I have to change my mind about my previous post. Yes, I will first answer your question — we don’t need to fix civil unions — even if they could be fixed, which they can’t — because we don’t NEED civil unions. Gays already have the legal right to get married by the law; they’re just fighting for the government to recognize that right under the law. We don’t need to fix things so that people who want to discriminate against gays illegally can go on doing so. We need to fix it so that this country follows its own laws on civil rights, which includes gay marriage.

    So my reversal to you is I’m actually going to ask you what your rationale is — why do you feel that we should fix civil unions for you rather than allowing gays their legal right to marriage? Why do you oppose gay marriage and equality? Why do gays have to have a separate type of marriage for the exact same relationships as straight couples? Your answer won’t probably be a new one for us, and I don’t know if it will get us out of a circle, but since you cling to it so fiercely while telling us we have no right to call you a bigot for it, I figure I might as well ask what it consists of.

  74. KatG #79 –

    So my reversal to you is I’m actually going to ask you what your rationale is — why do you feel that we should fix civil unions for you rather than allowing gays their legal right to marriage?

    Yeah, that was my question too … what is so special about marriage to JimmyJones that he feels that he must cling onto civil unions, even to the point of proposing some mythical (ie nonexistant) ‘fix’ of the non-equality of civil unions? That was the core of what I was asking, as HE, and bigots like him, seem to be the ones with the big hang-up about marriage, or at least the thing that they consider marriage to be.

    Naturally, of course, we know the answer. It’s not about marriage, it’s about us queers.

  75. I went for the balance of harm version of the question back at 51 and haven’t heard anything but crickets by way of justification. Put me down for bad faith as well.

  76. That’s why I think my 200 quatloos are pretty safe. When was the last time you heard someone argue against equal marriage in good faith? People who argue in good faith respond to the points you raise against them, unless they’re just log-stupid, which I think we can rule out in JimmyJones’ case.

    I think all the people who were arguing in good faith against equal marriage have either been won over or at least decided that their opposition is not defensible. The latter may vote against us when they’re alone with the ballot question and the gods, but they’re not going to show up here and present arguments.

  77. Xopher @84:
    I think all the people who were arguing in good faith against equal marriage have either been won over or at least decided that their opposition is not defensible.

    I would disagree. I think there are people who argue against marriage equality in good faith. Their views tend to be more coherent and less ordinary than JJ’s.

    They’re often against a lot of heterosexual behaviors as well, such as premarital sex, divorce, contraception, even many behaviors within marriage (sexual and not).

    Marriage equality, to them, is just one more erosion of an indispensable building block of society. The good of the community requires, in their view, that many people make sacrifices to support the institution of marriage. Note that this includes married people themselves, who are expected to subordinate their own desires to the goal of child-rearing.

    I can’t agree with people whose vision of society requires such a rigid definition of marriage. I don’t think what I, or Xopher, or even JJ does at home, or with whom, is any of their business. But I don’t accuse them of bad faith.

  78. Marriage equality, to them, is just one more erosion of an indispensable building block of society.

    I’m with Abi on this one … while, of course, these people are wrong, given how all the social science research points in precisely the opposite direction, they are arguing from the position they strongly believe in, unlike those such as JimmyJones, for whom the entirety of the argument seems to be foot-stomping and pouting.

    Saying that there are no rational, reasoned, and reality-based reasons for opposing same-sex marriage (which is true) is not to say that there aren’t any good-faith oppositions to same-sex marriage. We need to keep this difference in mind, after all. They’re both bigotry, naturally, but the motivation behind the bigotry is something that we, as those that are supposed to be the more tolerant group, must keep in mind.

    Because, it is that difference that is the reason why we are winning this fight, and will win overall eventually.

  79. LOL – this is soooo funny. mythago, you again stoop to silly childish response, fico scores? WTF, lol
    You wrong assume that credibility is measured here, or even the internet. Is this website where you find your validation in life? How sad. You are quite correct though, I really dont give a shit about this subject other than I am against gay marriage. No stomping or pouting Sarah. Actually the whining is from everyone else, including yourself who cannot stand the fact that someone does not see things your way. This is a very typical liberal response when facing something you do not like; scream, yell and try to drown out your enemies. Libs do it at speeches, the “queers” (Sarah’s term not mine) rioted after Prop 8 and harrassed people.
    But if I was truely against the lifestyle then I could simply be sure i do not hire anyone who even remotely looks or acts gay (earlier side bar about UNCF seems to make this okay). And yes, I am in that position but who cares if you believe that either ;-)
    Mythago and others seem to not want to believe that one of my very good friends is gay, I must be making that up. If I wanted to make stuff up I guess I could have pretended I was gay and was for civil unions and was okay with not having gay marriage. I am surprised that someone has not suggested that he is not gay enough or a true gay based upon what I have said about him.
    Again, this forum and you people really are not that important to anyone other than yourselves, your families and your close circle of friends. My point being that if you think I am making a ass of myself, stupid arguments, etc… does it really matter, no.

  80. …and I’m still winning my bet, because JimmyJones has not answered any of the very specific points made against him. Instead he’s attacking a straw man or, to be more charitable than really seems warranted, actually thinks we don’t believe he has a gay friend. (Of course, the point is that having a gay friend doesn’t excuse anything or clear him of the accusation of bigotry.)

    Then he goes on the attack again, telling us we’re not important and blah blah blah. This is the subpontific lifeform reverting to type, clearly.

    Oh, and he says his credibility HERE doesn’t matter, ignoring the fact that it’s the ONLY kind that matters in this conversation, where he has none at all.

    Clearly his position against equality in marriage is based on nothing but prejudice and stubbornness, because the few pathetic arguments he’s put forth have been neatly demolished by the community here, and he hasn’t bothered attempting to refute any of our replies.

    Read his last paragraph again. “This conversation doesn’t matter,” because none of this is important. Of course, he chose to get involved in the conversation at the beginning, so it must have been important to him then. But the main point of rereading his last paragraph is to recognize it for what it is: his admission that he lost this argument, big time. You can tell he knows he’s lost because he has to convince himself that it’s unimportant.

  81. That’s true, Jimmy did not answer my question, which was why he was against gay marriage. He keeps saying that he is against gay marriage, but not why, which is why I finally asked. Which puts him way down on the list in my book, because other people who have entered these Whatever conversations opposing gay marriage, with or without gay associates who tolerate them, have at least explained their views.

    In Jimmy’s mind, we’re supposed to shut up if we disagree with him. Which is why when gays and their supporters held protests and vigils after Prop 8 was passed — which was no different from the protests and vigils held by those trying to get Prop 8 passed — he terms it a “riot” and harassment, as if the gays went about setting cars on fire, breaking store windows and looting, and beating other people up. What they did was hold protests against what they see as an unjust and illegal attempt to hijack the California constitution and prejudicially keep them from equal rights.

    If we won’t shut up, then Jimmy will damn us with being unimportant. We don’t care if we are. We will keep talking, because it’s not really about convincing Jimmy to change his mind. If his gay co-worker, who apparently Jimmy claims he’s in a position to fire — a threat his co-worker is quite aware of I’m sure, even though firing the friend for being gay would be illegal and thus Jimmy’s magnanimous tolerance means buptkus — if this friend cannot manage to change his mind about the prejudice he’s been taught, we’re probably not going to change it. I doubt sincerely that Jimmy even read the article which this blog entry was about.

    But we can help others who are listening, by letting them know that they are not alone in the world and that this sort of prejudice is wrong and not shared by all. People like this girl: http://wakingupnow.com/blog/why-we-fight

    We do it because speaking out against this sort of hatred, even in casual conversation on the Internet, is important. And because maybe we might put a little bit of doubt into people who are blindly dedicated to this prejudice about marriage and about gays.

    On another of these conversations, I did a lose my temper rant about women’s rights to a guy who was stating that marriage was about procreation. At the time, I didn’t know that this was actually the latest rhetoric of the anti-gay movement. Apparently, since marriage is a holy sacrament of love didn’t work and our religion owns marriage and its definition didn’t work, we are now being told that marriage has to be one man and one woman because it’s about reproduction, and if we let the gays have marriage too, then humans won’t legally reproduce or reproduce as a proper society or some such crap. As anti-gay activist William Murchison explains: “The human race understands marriage as a compact reinforcing social survival and protection. It has always been so. It will always be so, even if every state Supreme Court pretended to declare that what isn’t suddenly is. Life does not work in this manner.”

    If we let gays have civil unions, then marriage as the engine of female-male reproduction to protect our society will somehow survive. But if we let gays have marriage too, then the survival of human race and normal society of course ends. That’s right, gays are responsible for the eventual extinction of the human race if they have equal and not separate rights. But hey, the people who are arguing this are not bigots. They just believe really strongly that gays and gay families will destroy their families and the fabric of society with their dangerous agenda if they get gay marriage. That’s not intolerance. That’s not prejudice. That’s just trying to help the human race survive, apparently.

  82. The late commentator and asshole William F. Buckley once said “If everyone were homosexual, tomorrow there would be no one at all.” I had two responses:

    1. “If everyone were male, tomorrow there would be no one at all. Nature takes care of this ‘problem’, you idiot.”

    2. “That hasn’t been true at least since the invention of the turkey baster.”

    Of course, Buckley knew these things. He wasn’t honest, intellectually or otherwise. The current crop of shitheads has no more integrity than he had.

  83. xopher dances on the strings like a marionette….

    I have lost nothing, you assume I was trying to change anyone’s mind. I am against gay marriage, if I voted for it it would be NO. You will not get a reason. Get over it.

    ‘The late commentator and scholar William F. Buckley once said “If everyone were homosexual, tomorrow there would be no one at all.” ‘
    Very good point in deed and true at least up to the point that the baster invented. But the point is valid up to that point.

    KatG – I expect no one to agree with me. I voiced an opinion, predicted a flaming and was absolutely correct. At some point it became sport for me actually.

  84. Isn’t it funny how much energy and time some people will spend arguing about how it’s not worth their energy and time to argue, and how much name-calling and childish behavior ensues in the process of insisting that those who disagree with you are calling you names and being childish?

    William F. Buckley also famously argued in favor of legacy admissions by expressing his horror that children who graduated from prep school would be on a level playing field with children who graduated from public school, so I think that’s all we really need to know about his views on equality.

    As for marriage being about procreation, those arguments wear a little thin given that same-sex couples adopt and procreate. It really does come down to a deep-seated belief that men and women are practically different species whose only commonality is that they can interbreed, and therefore a deep discomfort at the idea of a marriage that doesn’t have one of each. (I’ve gotten some men’s-rights activists pretty angry by suggesting that since ‘fatherlessness’ is such a huge problem, surely two-father families are the solution?)

  85. It’s ironic that JimmyJones replies by denying pouting and stomping of feet via pouting and stomping of feet, characterised particularly by how he thinks he should get credit for merely having an “opinion” regardless of the reasoning for such.

    As he repeatedly says he is against same-sex marriage, but yet refuses to say why, because he knows there is no reason outside of his own bigotry. It would be funny if it weren’t so sadly predictable.

    Of course he’s not going to give us a reason. But this was guessed a long time ago. Although it is a tad amusing that he seems to continually return to the mention of his ‘friend’. Why this matters to him is curious, although also sadly patently obvious.

  86. Even more ironic is the one talking about pouting and stomping of feet does just that.

    “Of course he’s not going to give us a reason.” -glad you read that in my post, good job.

  87. Remember, the name of the game is ‘taunting the tauntable’. Feel free to continue to post the obvious, that I am not going to provide you a reason. Feel free to speculate. However, you might want to give it a rest.

    I will inform my “friend” that he does not exist. It will be a hoot.

  88. *smile*

    Got him.

    I’m now finished with this thread. Thanks for the enjoyment everyone … pretty damn easy, but for a sunday, it was nice to be able to get that reaction without much of an effort.

  89. KatG – I expect no one to agree with me. I voiced an opinion, predicted a flaming and was absolutely correct. At some point it became sport for me actually.

    That’s just being an immature jerk. It’s common behavior by folks who pout and stamp their feet.

  90. As a Catholic, Buckley should have considered that if everyone became a Catholic priest, tomorrow there would be no one at all. And no altarboy would be safe, but that’s another kettle of worms.

    The whole civil/religious thing has intrigued me for some time. Of course, if you want to go back in history, marriage is a social arrangement involving the exchange of women between families for money or kind. Consider the lovely story of Jacob and Rachel and Leah in the Bible! Those males who prattle now about the 5,000-year-old definition of marriage should consider whether they’d want to have to work for seven years before they could break their first cousin’s hymen, and then have her older sister palmed off on them instead. (Those advocates of same-sex marriage who get indignant at comparisons to polygamy should bear in mind that in it’s perfectly biblical and respectable: the Christians only gave it up, according to Augustine, to conform to pagan Roman custom. And it is fun watching Orson Scott Card [whose sexuality I shall not speculate about] squirming as he tries to explain why polygamy is wrong.) Given the traditional inequities of marriage for women, I do wince a little bit every time I hear an advocate of same-sex marriage talk about “equal rights.”

    I think that every heterosexual who calls heterosexual marriage a sacred union should immediately dissolve their civil marriages and get by on the blessings of their God. (Lotsa luck, suckers!) For what it’s worth, queers can have a sacred union legally, though they may not be able to get it in the church of their choice, for the same First Amendment reasons that make it impossible to ban same-sex religious weddings. That might be the best answer to these people: what they want to prevent is already legal!

    Heterosexuals, especially women, have been voting against marriage with their feet for a long time now. This is often sneered at by same-sex marriage advocates, who jeer about heterosexuals having “debased” or “devalued” marriage in some obscure way — as obscure as the way in which same-sex marriage will allegedly ruin marriage for heterosexuals somehow. At the very least, options like civil unions and domestic partnership should remain open for everybody, and non-marital relationships need to be valued more, not less. Which is why the current obsession with and exaltation of marriage makes me uneasy. On the one hand, advocates of same-sex marriage argue accurately enough that marriage has no essential content, it’s a social construct that can be altered and has been altered many times. On the other hand, nothing but marriage will do, because anything else isn’t the real deal, the essential thing, the true-blue consummation. Something odd is going on there.

    I should do a blog post on that article. It was disingenuous in numerous ways. For one thing: the greater visibility and of same-sex couples does not, as far as I can tell, depend on their being recognized as marriages; it happened because same-sex couples began declaring themselves as couples, demanding and fighting for consideration whether they were married or not. For another, as I wrote here, I hope that Ellen DeGeneres’s love for her wife is not the same as John McCain’s for his wives — the one he abandoned when she was disfigured in an accident, or the one he abuses and cheats on, while enjoying the use of her money. But maybe it is.

  91. (ignoring the flamewar) John, I only recently learned in a roundabout way about Peter’s death, and this was one of the first links that came up in Google. You may not remember but I was part of the ASGX crowd for a while and I knew both Steve and Peter well. I’m glad that you are calling attention to ‘why this matters’ — I know very few couples who were as good for each other as they were, and I’m glad that they got the recognition for their relationship that they wanted. Of course it matters!

  92. [Deleted because bragging about trolling is trolling. Enough out of you for this thread, JimmyJones — JS]

  93. Duncan, if marriage weren’t very important, the forces of Those Who Crawl Out From Under Rocks wouldn’t be trying so very, very hard to say “Oh, you don’t want that. What you want is this nice domestic partnership instead!”

  94. John, thank you for cutting off the troll. He’s not only been trolling us in the last few comments, but has admitted he was trolling from the beginning. Cutting him off only from this thread shows great restraint on your part. I personally hope (vainly I expect) that he’ll flounce from your whole site.

  95. I simply asked Jimmy for his reason. He was under no obligation to give it to me. As I mentioned earlier, this conversation is not really about talking to Jimmy. We were just using him as a conversation point. I also have no problem if he finds us and his gay friend to be entertainment and “sport.” Jimmy clearly, from what he has said, cares nothing about this issue because it doesn’t effect him.

    Duncan — the reason that having marriage for gays matters is that marriage confers legal and financial benefits. Straights have the option to get married, have a commitment ceremony or just live together, but gays don’t. That’s why it isn’t equal, and this inequality spills into other sectors of life — inheritance, guardianship, investments, etc.

    A friend and I were talking yesterday about the anti-gay movement, how at first they were strongly against gays having not only marriage, but any other form like civil unions. But that gave them no firm stand when it came to the law, so they went to the fall-back position of separate but equal apartheid, with gays getting civil unions only. If gays have marriage, they argue, then their kids are taught in schools that gay marriages and families are normal and must be tolerated, which they claim is against their religious rights, even though all beliefs and faiths have to be considered normal, equal and tolerated in public schools under separation of church and state. Society will accept gay marriage and be horribly changed, marriage will then be threatened as an institution, so they must have civil unions instead.

    But if we somehow made civil unions equal, available to gay or straight couples, in religious or civil ceremonies, how is this going to counter the things that they say gay marriage alone would cause? Children in public schools would be taught that there are several different kinds of marriages, that civil union families, gay or straight, are normal, equal and to be tolerated. Society would regard civil unions as normal legal martial contracts, accepting gay lifestyles as equal to straight ones. Civil unions would be the more attractive option for most couples, especially younger people, possibly leaving marriage to be the minority, fundamentalist, traditionalist option, and to decrease in number. Secularism would probably increase and religious institutions that perform civil unions for gays and straights would probably see an increase in congregants, while fundamentalist sects would likely see a decrease. Polygamists would have a stronger legal argument that they should also be given their own sort of special marriage agreement than they would if gay marriage was the legal norm.

    Anti-gay fundamentalists believe that if gays have their legal equal access to marriage, that the government will then force their churches to perform gay marriages, even though this is religious discrimination that is against the law. So the one advantage civil unions have is that they believe it would then protect them against government interference. But if they truly believe that the government could force them to perform gay marriages, what is to stop the government from forcing their churches to perform gay and straight civil unions?

    My problem is these arguments never make any sense to me. :)

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