Dagnabbit

By Phil Plait | June 17, 2008 10:36 pm

For those of you who get this blog through a feed reader or email, you may have received a post about marriage. Well, I was drafting that one up and hit the wrong button, so it got posted instead of saved to my draft list. Yikes! That post was not finished, and doesn’t express my feelings quite right. Sometimes I get into a groove of writing and get more ideas than I can write, and then one or two get left off, even after writing a great lead-in for them. Other times something sounds good in my head when I write it, then looks goofy when it’s written out, and I need to change it.

So anyway, I deleted the sapling version of the post, so forget you ever saw it. Wait a while for me to post the finished, mighty oak version.

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Comments (43)

  1. Funkopolis

    Oh good. We thought you’d changed your mind ;)

  2. tacitus

    Second one in a couple of days? I recall getting another 404 the same way the other day :-)

    Now we know what you really think about the subject mwahahahaha!!

  3. Hey, this has happened to me before too. I accidentally press something weird in my keyboard and Blogger publishes it! Luckily, my feed usually fails to pick up on these mistakes.

  4. It was not too bad even in the unfinished version. At least you didn’t send out the really unfinished, mostly illegible, half typed version.

  5. RawheaD

    All right, Phil, since you’re going to spend some more time brushing up that post, I would like to play the devil’s advocate here, and just throw a few questions in your direction that perhaps you could address in your final version. I’ve always wanted to hear how an enlightened, rational person like you would answer these questions

    First, a disclaimer: regardless of how some people may find the following offensive or how some might judge me as homophobic, I am not. I have many gay friends that I like very much; I like hanging out with gay people because they’re fun to be around; I like going to gay clubs because they all know how to party; and I truly believe gay couples should have all the benefits that married couples do.

    With that said.

    (1) You point out that homosexuality is not a “sickness.” But could you argue, as a scientist, that it is a defect, genetic or in some other way?

    Not to pass judgment there; having a genetic defect isn’t good or bad in and of itself. I probably have a few that I don’t know about myself. But as a biological organism, possessing a sexuality that actively will hider you from propagating sounds like a serious defect to me.

    For example, while I would support my son all the way if he turns out to be gay, and I would not love him a micron less for it, I strongly would prefer if he were not. If I had had a choice, let’s say, legally and technologically, to screen for and alter that genetic defect pre-birth, I would have done it.

    (2) While I do, as mentioned above, believe that gay couples should have all the benefits that married couples do, I disagree that it is strictly a “civic” thing. Marriage has been, first and foremost, a religious construct, and our monogamous marriage system specifically, a Christian one. So I do understand the sentiment of religious folk who want to see it remain a monogamous, man & woman thing. So the question is, if ALL, and I mean ALL benefits, including all the “legal and tax ramifications” people talk about were to be granted to gay couples in a civil union, why not settle for that? Why be hung up with “marriage”?

    The way I see it (and I may be flamed for this) is that gay couples somehow want to be acknowledged by the very people — i.e., the religious, conservative folk — and the very institution (i.e, Christianity) that are the strongest opponents of same sex marriage.

    Which I think is odd and probably futile. I mean, Christianity says homosexuality is bad, so gay people should just say “forget it!” with such a Christian concept as “marriage,” but for some reason, many of them are really hung up with it.

    I’ve always thought that, from a legal, tax, and other benefits’ perspective, it would be way easier for us to fight to get civil unions given the exact same status as marriages, rather than trying to persuade conservatives and state governments to accept gay marriage. So, again, why not?*

    (3) By this point, I’m sure many people would have objections regarding (2), and how marriage really isn’t a religious/Christian thing, blah blah blah.

    OK, so, here’s a question. If marriage is not a religious thing and so there can be no grounds for opposing same sex marriage from a religious/Christian morals’ POV, then how would you oppose something like, say, polygamy? I mean, why not? You see it in nature. You see it in other, non-Christian societies. Wanting multiple mates is not a sickness. So what’s wrong with it?

    *I would just like to add that, not being a Christian, I am not at all appalled or offended by same sex marriage, and I think it’s great that my state, and now California, recognizes same sex marriage; but that’s because as it stands, being a married couple is the ONLY way you can get identical merits, benefits, and obligations as married, heterosexual couples.

    If being in a civil union was identical in all but name to being married, then I have to say, I will be on the side that suggests gay people should stick with the former, and not demand the latter.

    Okay, that’s it!

  6. C

    I’m writing this as someone who’s conservative more often than not, religious not one bit, and as a friend to a lesbian couple whom I love like my sisters:

    Gay Americans are Americans. They need to have the same rights as every other American. They need to be able to marry–*and* have all of the legal and tangible benefits.

    Period.

    Phil, I’m looking forward to your post.

  7. M

    I kinda liked that post though, it was just rambly enough to make the whole issue very normal, which I thought was appropriate.

  8. peaches

    I’m glad to hear that you’ll be re-posting that Phil, I was wondering where it went. But since you’re still working on it I have the tiniest of nits to pick. You mentioned that Monday was the first day gay couples could marry in CA. While that’s technically true the ruling didn’t go into effect until 5:01 pm on Monday. A few registrar’s offices stayed open past that time to allow a select group of couples (I think 24 total) to marry but the vast majority of folks couldn’t get a license until Tuesday morning. Apologies if you knew that already, I just wanted to offer a bit of clarification. I happen to be acutely aware of such details because I work next door to the LA County Registrar/Recorder’s Office. :)

  9. Mark

    So this has been a case of premature publication? Eh, happens all the time when bloggers get over-excited. ;)

    I’d only worry if it starts to happen more often.

    (feel free to remove post if deemed inappropriate. I just can’t resist a bad pun…)

  10. RawheaD, you seem to forget that there are plenty of christian gays who want to be treated with respect by their church. This includes the possibility of marriage.

  11. Tao

    RawheaD, why should homosexuals settle for “separate but equal?”

  12. Dave W

    I guess we should ignore the disappeared “I’ve converted to Creationism” post too?

  13. RawheaD, made the following comment:

    “For example, while I would support my son all the way if he turns out to be gay, and I would not love him a micron less for it, I strongly would prefer if he were not. If I had had a choice, let’s say, legally and technologically, to screen for and alter that genetic defect pre-birth, I would have done it.”

    That is amazing – why would you screen for that genetic defect? If that genetic defect were to be found, I suppose the answer would be to abort it? The slippery slope you are on is in no way different than that of the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, who is pushing for this type of testing, so the genetic “defect” can be fixed. Why can’t people recognize that these individuals make a valued contribution to our society.

  14. then how would you oppose something like, say, polygamy? I mean, why not?

    That very issue is coming to a head in Canada for precisely the reason that the definition of marriage was watered down to allow gay marriage.

    Now people are starting to get up in arms – including gays! It seems that there ARE some definitions of marriage that they find distasteful or unworthy of recognition. Naturally, the poly community (smaller and less vociferous than the gay community, but still there) wants equal treatment… and I can’t think of a reason why they should not get it using the existing precedent, while it was easy to dismiss them before the definition of marriage was changed. In fact, the poly folks have a bigger, better argument than the gays have. Gay marriage was just not recognized in Canadian law… poly marriage is ILLEGAL, and in theory, you can be jailed for it.

    Personally, I think the state should completely get out of the marriage business. The legal side of marriage could just as easily be handled by corporate law with relatively few additions/modifications. The social side can be handled by whatever rituals and superstitions float your particular boat.

  15. Victor Bogado

    There was nothing wrong with the post, I think that gay marriages are the right way. I can’t see why this would hurt anyone, even the religious people. What people do with their own life is their problem, even if you believe in a great bearded daddy in the sky and that this dada would not let gay kids out to play and let them for an eternity in hell to think about what they had done (huuuu, they are happy what a sin!), this is still their problem.

    For that reason I think that every post counts, every word out there saying that people should do what they want with their lives. Let the gay marry, let them be happy, putting the fingers in your ears and yelling “blah blah, you’re not getting married” will not make them disappear, and you know what? Even if it is not legal to marriage, gay still get married in a sense, they just don’t get legal protection and rights.

    So I would say, please, finish up your post, and do post it. :-)

  16. Sir Eccles

    I didn’t see the mis-post. But two thoughts:

    1) I never understood the argument that somehow somebody else’s marriage can have some sort of impact on the validity of my own marriage.

    2) They let prisoners marry. Baby eating satanist prisoners can get married.

  17. 2) They let prisoners marry. Baby eating satanist prisoners can get married.

    The marriage thing is not, and has never been, about about the rituals of marriage… it’s about state recognition of the event. Traditionally, married people get cut a certain amount of slack by the government, usually in terms of preferential tax treatment, benefits and so on.

    That’s why I think the state should get out of the marriage business.

  18. BaldApe

    Marriage has been, first and foremost, a religious construct, and our monogamous marriage system specifically, a Christian one.

    In many cultures, marriage is primarily a contractual relationship.

    Marriage doesn’t threaten marriage, divorce threatens marriage.

    The drive-by chapels in Las Vegas make a mockery of marriage. Two people who love each other and want to celebrate that relationship does not in any way diminish my marriage.

  19. Randall

    I think society tends to over analyze issues. In my opinion, homosexuality is nothing more than nature’s form of birth control. Let ‘em marry each other.

  20. RawheaD: One consideration on why homosexual couples would prefer marriage over civil union – they may be Christians (likely not Catholics, though!).

  21. acj

    Well, if people want to get married, let ‘em, it’s none of my business. None of anyone’s, for that matter, except of course the people involved.
    What does worry me, however, is that you’ve been going a bit too far with your “family friendly” policy regarding language… I mean, c’mon, Phil: We’re not supposed to use the *-word on your blog, and that’s perfectly alright with me, but…
    “Dagnabbit”?
    Or is that an inside joke I just don’t get?

  22. BMcP

    Was wondering what was up since I get all my latest blog postings through the wonderful world of RSS.

  23. acj

    “the people involved”… yeah. Before I draw friendly fire: I meant the people getting married. Dagnabbit, I should read my comments before I post them.

  24. Quiet Desperation

    then how would you oppose something like, say, polygamy?

    Who says it should be opposed if it involves consenting adults?

    Ever notice how many problems would be solved in this world if folks followed one simple rule: mind your own business.

    Marriage has been, first and foremost, a religious construct

    The institution of marriage predates reliable recorded history, thusly it predates most of the religions that claim it as something holy.

  25. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Computers are hard! Especially for people who say “dagnabbit”.

    j/k

  26. Celtic_Evolution

    Didn’t Phil plainly state that his posting was erroneous and unfinished? Why are we discussing it now and not waiting for the finished post??

  27. @Celtic_Evolution:

    Because we like to argue, darnit! And now we have *two* chances to argue over the same topic! Who would pass up an opportunity like that?!?

  28. Thomas Siefert

    I guess that since this post is a bootleg, opinions expressed by BA might not be canon. :-)

  29. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Why are we discussing it now

    Because I’m compiling now. ;-)

  30. Klumchuck

    Morning all – As a aging (over 50 ) gay engineer in SoCal I have a couple of comments to make about this issue.

    1) A couple of years ago a politician remarked that if the LGTB community really wanted to be “EQUAL” then they would have to push for full equality in ALL respects. If they settled for anything less then they would be second rate citizens. I’m not at all 2nd rate. I will not settle for 2nd rate in any way. It is as if we could turn back the clock and say to colored folks that they could have ‘civil unions’ but marrige was reserved for ‘white’ folk. Oh Heck No!
    2nd Rate? Fooey & Dagnabbit!

    2) I see this morning on yahoo’s science that a study purports that male homosexuality may be coupled genetically with enhanced fecundity in females. As always I’m waiting for the next couple of studies before deciding the truth of this, but the ‘genetic’ basis for homosexuality, male or female is the killer for the fundies ‘Its a Choice’ argument.

    As is said in so many places, be patient and more will be revealed. Hopefully that will include Phil’s real post, soon!

  31. IBY

    “Why are we discussing it now and not waiting for the finished post??”

    Cause we like intelligent discussion, dagnabbit! :)

  32. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Brett, Naked Bunny, & IBY.

    Alrighty then! :)

  33. Celtic_Evolution

    oohh… forgto to add..

    dagnabbit!

  34. Celtic_Evolution

    rggh… that word is “forgot”… dagnabbit!

  35. Hmmmm. 30+ comments for a post that didn’t as yet exist. I’ll have to keep this in mind. I might be able to use this power for good someday.

  36. Celtic_Evolution

    We’re a lively bunch, Phil… I’d be willing to bet that you could make a post titled “Don’t you dare comment on this”, with the body text stating “Nothing to see here”. and you’d still get 50+ posts. Easily.

    What I don’t know is if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. :)

  37. That totally happened to me when I first started blogging. Even worse, unlike your post (which may have been a draft but still read quite nicely), mine had TKTK symbols and parentheticals like “(discuss here). It looked like some bizarre po-mo experiment in blogging. Now I have the default setting set to “save as draft.” Just in case.

    Seriously, your post might not have been everything you wanted it to be, but it could have been much, much worse. :)

  38. RawheaD

    @Pieter Kok

    No, I haven’t forgotten them, but frankly, I think “Christian gay” is an oxymoron. Like a “Yankees lovin’ Red Sox fan”. I would argue that they are being very irrational being a gay Christian, and hence any demands they make based on their irrational beliefs are also irrational.

    @Tao

    Let’s see, e.g., for the same reason that women are, obviously, separate but equal to men?

    You make it sound like the only “right” thing to do is to treat everybody “equal”. I guess you’re against women having certain privileges not allowed their male counterparts, or any kind of equal rights initiatives like affirmative action?

    To be clear, I’m not saying that’s a “bad” thing. I just expect you to be consistent.

    @Michael L

    “why would you screen for that genetic defect”

    Michael… try not to let emotion get in the way of a rational argument.

    As a firm believer of Darwinism and Dawkins, I strongly believe that, as an organism, propagating is the single most important thing for me to accomplish during my life time. All of the effort (again, strictly from a biological POV) will be wasted if my son turns out to be gay and fails to pass on my genes.

    So consider the point I made nothing but my selfish gene speaking.

    “Why can’t people recognize that these individuals make a valued contribution to our society.”

    Are you kidding me? Did you even read my post, or was that just a knee-jerk reaction?

    I have the utmost respect for anybody, gay or straight, that contribute to our society. What I’m pointing out is that, strictly from a biological POV, isn’t it unfortunate that some of these gay people who have greatly contributed to society, nevertheless could not leave offsprings inheriting their great genes who could, in their lifetime, reap the benefits of those contributions?

    @Evolving Squid

    I like your answer. I will only agree with someone who can be consistent on this point; that is, if you think granting the status of “married” to gay couples is the one and only way to treat them right, then you should also actively support polygamy and other forms of non-traditional unions.

    @Randall

    Of course. My selfish genes whisper in my ears the exact same phrase.

    @Scott G.

    Read my first response to Pieter Kok.

    @Quiet Desperation

    I’m not saying that you, personally, don’t, but I know there are many people here, elsewhere, and as Evolving Squid pointed out, even gay couples who oppose it. I merely wanted to point out that if you do, you have double standards. If you don’t, good for you.

    “The institution of marriage predates reliable recorded history”

    I”m not talking about the history of marriages, I’m talking about marriage in our (U.S.) society, which is what our laws are based on.

    @Kulmchuck

    “It is as if we could turn back the clock and say to colored folks that they could have ‘civil unions’ but marrige was reserved for ‘white’ folk”

    That is a classic example of a logical fallacy called red herring (you should check out that video Phil linked to the other day, Here be Dragons).

    You also suggest that somehow marriage is “better” than “civil union”. The whole point of my post is “why?”. If everything about those two statuses were the same save name, why would you consider one superior to the other?

    I can understand a religious conservative viewing marriage as superior, but my point is why should you, being the rational gay person, care what they think?

    Overall, I love that all of you reacted and responded in a calm, rational manner. I was right to think that this, of all places, was the right forum to post these questions ;-)

  39. Quiet_Desperation

    I’m not saying that you, personally, don’t, but I know there are many people here, elsewhere, and as Evolving Squid pointed out, even gay couples who oppose it.

    And all I said was that it is none of their business who gets marries to who (whom?).

    I”m not talking about the history of marriages, I’m talking about marriage in our (U.S.) society, which is what our laws are based on.

    I know. I was just sayin’ :-)

    It could also launch another debate over separation of church and state, and gay marriage moves us, sort of, to a more secular, contractual type of marriage, and that’s a good thing, IMHO.

  40. themadlolscientist

    Forget I ever saw what? I didn’t see anything! :-)

    Polygamy is a bad idea because [1] no man can serve two masters and [2] why would anyone want more than one mother-in-law?

    Meow. =^.^=

  41. RawheaD:
    The argument about propagating the species, is, interestingly enough, on that fundamentalists use. I seriously doubt, with only 1-10% of the population identifying themselves as homosexual, that the human race is in danger of extinction from homosexuality.

  42. RawheaD

    @Quiet_Desperation:

    OK, I think you and I are in agreement. Again, all I would ask for is that people be consistent, not pick and choose what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” based on their own personal beliefs (as opposed to rational thought).

    @themadlolscientist

    “why would anyone want more than one mother-in-law?”

    I’m actually not that versed in polygamous cultures, but I wonder if all the wives of a polygynous unit would be considered mother-in-laws, or that the actual mother of the bride/groom would be, and the rest more like aunt-in-laws?

    @Michael L

    Well, you’re talking about preservation of the species, which is an old idea. My ghost (sorry, had to throw in that reference) whispers to me that what’s important is *not* the preservation of the human race, but specifically, the preservation of my DNA. And Richard Dawkins would agree with my ghost.

    So in that sense, and if I want to be really cynical about it, my selfish gene actually would prefer that the genetic defect (if in fact that explains homosexuality) spreads to a wider proportion of the population, so long as my offsprings are not affected by it ;-)

    Also, I do think that Randall’s suggestion that

    [quote] homosexuality is nothing more than nature’s form of birth control. [/quote]

    is an interesting one, and I’ve pondered that myself (although I would have said “population control” rather than “birth control”). If that were the case, we could argue that in fact, homosexuality is quite beneficial to the human race.

    Still doesn’t change the fact that it sucks to be the other 99.99% of a gay person’s DNA, who would very much like to replicate themselves but are barred from it.

  43. Craig

    @Quiet_Desperation:

    The institution of marriage predates reliable recorded history, thusly it predates most of the religions that claim it as something holy.

    How could you possibly know this if it is not recorded in history?

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