Critical thinking about personal beliefs

By Phil Plait | October 28, 2008 10:38 am

I try to think carefully about my own feelings, my own "beliefs" if you will. I hesitate to call them that, because I associate belief with faith, with thinking something is true without evidence. But it also commonly means just things you think are true, no matter why you do.

Anyway, its important to sit back sometimes and look at something you think to be true, and examine it. Why do you think it? What’s the evidence? Have things changed since you first adopted that position?

With the election coming up, I find myself doing this more often. And then Rebecca Watson at Skepchick sent me a note about the issue of gay marriage. Proposition 8 in California goes up for vote on the 4th, and if passed will basically outlaw gay marriage in that state. Rebecca helped make a very interesting video about it, comparing gay marriage to interracial marriage. Watch the video, then read on below.

Done? OK, good. Now first, my own thoughts are that being gay is not a choice, it’s just something you are, just like being heterosexual. You don’t choose that either! So to discriminate based on orientation is silly. If you have a distaste for gay people, well, that’s your own feeling. I don’t necessarily condemn it, as long as people understand that it’s a subjective, personal thing. I loathe cucumbers, but I don’t want to amend the state Constitution to forbid others from even putting it in their salads.

The video is interesting; my first reaction to it, honestly, was the thought that bigotry against gays is different than against race. Then I thought about it some more, and I had a hard time coming up with evidence for that conjecture. How are they different? Being gay is no more a choice than being white, or Asian, or black. Many religious texts have bad things to say about gays, but then many have bad things to say about blacks (like the Book of Mormon, and the Bible see the note at the bottom of this entry). Yet our country has striven to ensure blacks have the same rights as whites — somewhat imperfectly, certainly, but we’re trying. So how is being gay different?

Even if someone were to come up with some difference — and I’m willing to listen — then the video still has impact. I would think that most people have little or no issues with interracial couples, and ones who do are an endangered species (I hope). So by changing the wording of the video a little bit, it contrasts feelings about homosexuality with feelings about race. It forces you to examine your thoughts on both. We already have far better feelings about race as a country than we did a few decades ago. Yes, a lot of ugliness in the populace is surfacing about Obama, but I still think that kind of person is in the minority. That contrasts pretty strongly with feelings about sexual orientation.

So my first reaction to the video was, I think, way off. I think now I was wrong because gayness and race aren’t that dissimilar, and even if they are, that’s not the point of the video. It’s to reveal bigotry in any of its guises, and for that it does a pretty good job.

The video itself may actually have some impact on Prop 8. Hard to say. But it’s had an impact on me, and in an interesting way. I hope that people will watch videos like that, and examine their own "beliefs". Even though it’s October, it’s always a good time for a little mental spring cleaning.

Note added later: I originally said the Bible had bad things to say about blacks. After reading the comments, and looking into this deeper, I discovered that this is a relatively recent interpretation. The Bible essentially condones slavery, and that was used to support the idea of black slavery, and the "Curse of Ham" (what I was basing my statement on) was interpreted to mean blacks. So I was wrong about the Bible saying bad things about blacks in particular. I’ll note, however, that the Old Testament, specifically Leviticus, is chock full of other horrors to our modern sense. The point is, looking to religious texts you will find plenty of examples of intolerance. The Sermon on the Mount — the best speech in the Bible — is cherry picked or ignored by people who use the Bible on which to base their own intolerance.

Comments (231)

Links to this Post

  1. California Voters to Weigh in on Gay Marriage : The Sex Tech | October 28, 2008
  1. BigBadSis

    Unfortunately, there are still people out there that believe homosexuality is a choice. What good studies can we read about that? Anyone?

  2. dre

    Down here in Atlanta, the most vehemently anti-gay demographic is, interestingly enough, the African-American religious community (followed closely by the white religious community, of course). I am constantly dismayed by the failure of that group to understand the parallels between the gay rights movement and the (black) civil rights movement. There are still pockets of white racism down here, just as there are pockets of black racism (and hispanic, and asian, and etc.), but overall, the ideals of the civil rights movement are rarely questioned or opposed. For an idea (gay rights) to be so similar to a movement (“civil” rights) so important to a community, it is amazing that so many are opposed to gay rights. Gay rights ARE civil rights.

  3. The obvious solution to the whole issue of gay marriage, plural marriage and all marriage in general is a simple one… it’s so big and obvious that people can’t see it.

    The state should not recognize marriage at all. Get the government out of marriage for good.

    That way if a man and a woman, or two men, or three women plus two men and a billy goat want to call themselves married and perform whatever rites float their particular boat to solemnize that, so be it… it’s nobody’s business but their own.

    Civilly, of course, there are currently a series of protective laws dealing with what we can call “family”… Most of those can stay, but slightly modified. To have them apply, people would simply register what amounts to a civil partnership – much like incorporating a company.

    In this way everyone can be treated equally, nobody’s religion gets tromped on or promoted unfairly.

    Of course, traditional marriage proponents probably won’t like the idea that their special privilege should be taken away… but that’s the root of the matter. One group has special privilege. And the best solution is not to give everyone else that privilege, it’s to take away the privilege.

  4. Quiet Desperation

    This is a very easy one.

    A US state constitution should not LIMIT the rights of anyone. It doesn’t even matter that it’s about gay marriage. A constitution in this country is a document that declares the limits of governmental power, not the right of the citizens. It is a list of individual rights against the State.

    Compare the US Constitution with that of the EU, a morass of technocratic social imagineering, and you’ll see what I mean.

    It doesn’t even matter if being homosexual is a choice or not. Even if it is, it’s *that* person’s choice, and no business of the government.l

  5. Yu Mi

    So what do you do when your five-year-old tells you he wants to marry his buddy because he heard that its okay to 2 men to be married?

  6. Carl Matherly

    Here’s a question I have never heard satisfactorally answered…

    If two homosexuals marry, how does that effect my marriage to my wife? People keep talking about “defending” marrage but I’ve never been able to figure out from what. How, exactly, would homosexal marriage hurt hetrosexual marriage?

  7. @Yu Mi:

    Simple. Tell him he’s too young, you’re the parent and you said he can’t, and then send him to bed without his Advocate.

    Matt A

  8. Cheyenne

    This is one of those topics that I’ll admit I feel uncomfortable with. Homosexuality is a not a choice- and gays should never be discriminated against for reasons of sexual orientation.

    Civil unions are something that I support whole-heartedly. I think it’s kind of shameful that every state doesn’t have them. But I don’t know about gay marriage. It seems to me like it’s a fairly old institution that has traditionally been between a man and woman. But again, the times, they are a’changin. I think I might need to re-think my position on this one.

  9. DGKnipfer

    Tell him he’s just not old enough yet to get married yet. He’ll have to wait till he’s 25 when he can make a rational and informed decision. Then when he’s 25 if he still wants to marry his buddy wish them the best and enjoy the wedding ceremony.

  10. Quiet Desperation

    Down here in Atlanta, the most vehemently anti-gay demographic is, interestingly enough, the African-American religious community

    That’s true here in California. Prop 8 is trending yes in the black community. I believe it is also trending yes in the Hispanic community which is strogly Catholic.

    Humanity is tribal, be it by race, ethnicity, gender, gender preference, economic status, political party, Windows, Macintosh, atheist, religious, whatever. They are only going to care about the people in their tribe. Everyone else can take a flying leap. The other tribes are demonized and excoriated regardless of the facts. The faults and crimes of fellow tribe members are ignored or excused away. There’s some imperative (evolutional, perhaps) deep in the human brain to dismantle the world into Us Versus Them. It can be overcome with effort, but it’s a level of effort most people don’t want to make.

  11. Ty

    “So what do you do when your five-year-old tells you he wants to marry his buddy because he heard that its okay to 2 men to be married?”

    I told my mother I wanted to marry my friend when we were both about four. The fact that I’m male and she’s female makes it different how?

    Five year olds do not get married in western society. So the answer is, “You’re too young.”

    If he still wants to marry his buddy when he’s 25, why shouldn’t he?

  12. Quiet Desperation

    So what do you do when your five-year-old tells you he wants to marry his buddy because he heard that its okay to 2 men to be married?

    Educate him?

  13. Doc

    I still think the discussions / arguments based on morality, religion, preference, and identity are all irrelevant because the whole issue centers on gender. In most (all?) states, there is no legal definition of “man” or “woman” (which makes laws defining marriage to be between a man and a woman somewhat problematic), and I don’t think it’s possible to craft such a definition that won’t run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are thousands of children born each year with “indeterminate gender” and I’m sure that denying them legal marriage would be infringing on their rights.

    From a philosophical viewpoint, marriage is a religious concept, and therefore should not be legislated or granted special privileges by the US government. Civil partnerships (regardless of the gender of the participants) are a legal, social, and economic contract, and therefore may be granted special privileges.

  14. Neil

    # Yu Mi Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 11:05 am

    So what do you do when your five-year-old tells you he wants to marry his buddy because he heard that its okay to 2 men to be married?

    That’s an easy one. Just tell him that it’s a decision he’ll be able to make when he’s older, and that when he gets to that age he can decide that he wants to marry a girl, decide that he wants to marry a boy, or decide that he doesn’t want to marry anyone. Then tell him that no matter what decision he makes you’ll still love him just the same.

  15. notscott

    When people bring up “traditional” marriage, I wonder what they think about plural marriage, arranged marriage, and the legality of divorce.

  16. Hunter

    I agree fully with you, Phil. I don’t see how anyone can say that gay marriage would negatively impact our society. I have seen marriage as an overwhelmingly good experience in my family and could not imagine denying it to others.

    This topic recently came up in my English Composition class and one person, Roy, said that he was against gay marriage. My teacher asked him why and we all talked about it for a while. The comparison was made to interracial marriage and by the end of the discussion Roy had changed his tone. It seemed that he had never thought about it more than “two boys kissing is gross” and I think that is surprisingly common in America. Unlike most of us who read this blog, I don’t think that the average person questions their own beliefs or opinions, no matter how quickly they may have come to a conclusion. If more people tried to empathize with those who are “different” the entire country would be a better place.

  17. AaronB

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    The people against homosexuality are against it for religious reasons. Therefore, any law against homosexuality, is unconstitutional, plain and simple.

  18. How are they different?

    The only difference I can think of is that you can hide your sexual orientation. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should have to, though.

    So what do you do when your five-year-old tells you he wants to marry his buddy

    Tell him to get back to me when he’s old enough to actually get married.

    Civil unions are something that I support whole-heartedly…. But I don’t know about gay marriage.

    You have to remember that there are two kinds of “marriage” here that some groups deliberately confuse. The first is the government-sponsored portion of the deal, the part with the legal protections. This, basically, is a civil union, but it’s called “marriage”. The other part is the religious aspect of marriage.

    The issue at hand is entirely about that secular portion of marriage, the legal-contract part of it. Nobody is requiring churches to perform or endorse homosexual marriages.

  19. Quiet Desperation

    From a philosophical viewpoint, marriage is a religious concept, and therefore should not be legislated or granted special privileges by the US government.

    For the USA’s whole history, marriage has been essentially a private contract with public implications. It is a civil right that has never been dependent on any particular religion.

  20. David D.

    BA–
    What “bad things” does the Bible say about blacks? WHat other religious texts say bad things about blacks?

  21. Yu Mi

    Obviously he knows he is too young. He says when he grows up that’s what he would want to do.

    What do you mean “educate him”?

  22. Stadred

    Tell him he’s absolutly right that he can marry his buddy when he’s grown up. Till then, it’s illegal for a non-adult to marry.

    I honestly wouldn’t worry. I wanted to marry my kindergarten teacher. My parents didn’t make a big deal about it because it wasn’t a big deal.

    Turns out I didn’t marry my kindergarten teacher. But, say I met her when I turned 20, and she was somewhere in her late 40′s, and we got married.

    No one would care.

    So, if my future son really DOES decide to marry his childhood friend once he’s of legal age, I’ll support him 100%

    Because, in an enlightened socirty-

    No one would care.

  23. Military Closet Case

    Part of the problem that ethnic minorities have with the gay rights movement is that with a little self discipline and behavior management; gays (as well as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, did I miss anybody?) can choose to fit in publicly with the less enlightened. What we do behind closed doors, or in accepting company, is our own business and can be kept personal if we choose to keep quiet about it. African-Americans will always stand out in a crowd of average ethnic diversity in America. You can’t simply choose to hide being African-American or to keep quiet about it. You’ll never hear a conversation start with, “How long have you known that you are African and when did you decide to come out of the closet?”

    This does not make the movement for equal rights for the GLBT community any less important. But it does highlight the difference between the two and should be remembered and understood by the GLBT community. We may have been repressed and marginalized, but we have never been enslaved for our skin color.

    Signed,
    20 year Vet, US Armed Forces (Ret)

  24. Kirk

    Arguments based on the tradition or antiquity of marriage are also flawed, because marriage has changed quite radically throughout humanity’s time on this planet. Many religious types claim that it’s an institution that’s 2,000 years old, an apparent allusion to the Bible. Makes you wonder if they’ve read it, if they think marriage in the Bible reflects marriage that we have today.

    They may be correct when they say marriage has a stabilizing effect on society (even when you have high rates of divorce, like we do), which is why it is a good thing to allow people to get married. We’re talking about two people who love each other who want to form that stable nexus together. There is no slippery slope to bestiality or whatever the religious types are obsessing on these days. There is no way they can make other people “catch” what they have (your kid’s safe, Yu Mi).

    It’s about being decent human beings to each other and helping to strengthen our society. Building relationships is a much better way of doing that than tearing them down.

    No on Prop 8. No on hate. Don’t legislate away civil rights. Don’t use majority power to hurt a minority. Be decent. Be American.

  25. Naked Bunny took what I was going to say. In discussing this issue, many politicians talk about the ‘sanctity’ of marriage. Sanctity isn’t something that can be legislated, it deals with someone’s belief system, typcially tied to religion.

    Allow equal treatment for all. If their religion chooses to acknowledge a civil union in a ceremony (if it doesn’t, they may want to re-think their choice of religion), let it be something separate.

  26. Quatguy

    Yu Mi

    He is 5 years old, I would not get all bent out of shape about his statement. If he is still saying he wants to marry his buddy when he is 12, then you can talk to him about it. Until then, tell him you are glad he loves his friend so much.

  27. Akheloios

    The Bible has been used, particularly the Ham, Shem and Japeth delineation of the races, to allow the slavery of ‘blacks’ and to oppose interracial marriages. That’s just off the top of my head, there’s quite a lot more when you look.

  28. Todd W.

    @Yu Mi

    If he knows he’s too young but that that is what he would want to do when he grows up, you have some options:

    * Stick with the “you’re too young” bit and leave it at that. Ideas that we have as kids often change dramatically by the time we’re old enough to make informed decisions on the matter.
    * Explain the civil aspects of marriage (rights and responsibilities granted, etc.), but leave the religious aspects out. Then leave it at that.
    * Explain the civil aspects, as well as the multiple religious aspects, keeping in mind that not every religion views it the same. “Some people believe X, others believe Y. In this house, your mother/father and I believe Z.”

    What exactly are your concerns about it? I’m not asking to be snarky, rather to offer better advice.

  29. Molly

    @ Yu Mi

    When I was little I wanted to be a princess. Now that I am older I wouldn’t touch that shallow gene pool that is any royal family with a 20 ft. pole. People change. Some of the things we want when we are young don’t look so appealing later. I think overall you should just be grateful that your son has a friend in his life that he cares so much about and sees as being part of his life for a long time. You can’t buy good friends.

    In general I think that the gay “marriage” issue would be over if all marriages were recognized by the government to be civil unions affording equal rights for all partnerships between consenting adults. Those who would like to “protect the sanctitiy of marriage” can do so…in their church. Then no church would be forced to perform or recognize same-sex marriages and yet gay couples could benefit from the legal benefits afforded to married couples. Everyone would be happy!

  30. davery

    As has been mentioned above, this issue is not about religious/social beliefs about marriage. This is about equal access to legal rights. As Evolving Squid mentions above, the government should get out of the “marriage” business all-together.

    Why is it acceptable that a legal contract can be entered by a man and a woman, but not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman? Marriage is a legal contract. To limit who is allowed to enter into a legal contract is by definition discrimination. That is why the video above is so illuminating. The language used to object to gay “marriage” is the exact same language that people used to argue against integration.

    You can have the Pope marry you, and you will not be recognized by the government as “married” until you sign a paper and file it with the local authorities.

    And Yu Mi, you’re obviously a troll and should shut up. If you have nothing but nonsense to contribute, go f yourself.

  31. Greg

    I think there’s a longstanding tradition here in the US that things move from overt to subdued. That is, rather than having overt racism we now have subtle racism that manifests mostly in trends and populations. Sure, overt racism is still around, but most of it just got pushed below the surface of consciousness.

    When it comes to homosexuality, it is something that has traditionally been “under the covers.” Now we have a movement for people who would previously have been pressured to hide their orientation to come out and be publicly acknowledged, and I believe this is what makes it a touchy issue. Gay marriage is a major step in bringing homosexuality into the open, rather than pushing it into the shadows.

    I don’t know who said it, but I think it rings true: the goal should not be “toleration,” but “acceptance.” There’s a big difference.

  32. Adam

    While the impulse and desire of homosexuality may not be a choice, acting on it is. I think this is largely where the confusing in the debate over genetics/choice comes from. You may not have a choice in which gender you are attracted to, but you do have a choice in acting on it.

    As for marriage, I think Naked Bunny with a Whip really nailed it above. There is a difference between Civil Union and Marriage. Even the ceremonies are different. I, personally, think that two people who love and are committed to each other should be given the civil protections and rights that others enjoy, but I don’t think that marriage (a religious ceremony) should be extended because it is largely contrary to those religious beliefs. I also do not think that a law banning gay marriage belongs in our constitution. That is not the place for it. This all stems from the very simple disconnect in definitions.

    I don’t think that comparing being homo/hetero sexual to skin color is really appropriate though. One is a physical characteristic that doesn’t leave you with different choices on how to act. Physical attraction to one sex or the other though leaves you with the choice of accepting it and going with it, or fighting it and going the other way (in either homo or hetero case). It’s the difference between a behavioral characteristic and a physical appearance characteristic.

  33. JackC

    For quite a long time now, I have been saying that this anti-gay marriage thing has left out a single word.

    When they say “one man, one woman” they are REALLY saying “one WHITE man, one WHITE woman”

    This gets people screaming – which was the whole point anyway.

    Oh – and I suppose they really should add “at a time…” to the end anyway. Bloody hypocrites.

    JC

  34. Dan Veteran

    Naked Bunny,

    I like your thinking. Let’s call all unions between two people “civil unions” and you are not married unless you go through a religious ceremony. Everyone that is “civil unioned” gets all the rights currently given to married couples. This should make everyone happy. LOL.

    Dan

  35. Akheloios

    What exactly is ‘wrong’ with a 5 year old thinking it’s ok to marry his best male friend?

    Little girls say they want to marry little boys and vice versa.

    You’re implying that there is something fundamentally wrong with with same sex marriage, which is starting from the prejudiced viewpoint to begin with.

    If my 5 year old son came to me and said something similar, I’d give him exactly the same cuddle and pat on the head for being uber-cute that I would if he’d said he wanted to marry a girl.

  36. Dungheap

    I see many people claiming to hold their views because homosexuality is not a choice. Even if it’s not a choice, given the current state of medical technology, it may soon be possible to chemically alter someone’s sexual orientation. If your argument is based on homosexuality being involuntary, you may someday soon lose that basis for your argument.

    The correct reason to fight bigotry is because it’s evil to deny a person any aspect of their lifestyle that does not directly harm someone else. Whether or not the lifestyle is based on a choice is immaterial.

  37. Phil, I CANNOT believe the content of your post. I mean, I know it’s your blog and all.

    Still, I must vehemently repudiate your indescribable hatred of honest family folk. How dare you? How dare you! For years, people have been living a certain way, sleeping a certain way, and eating a certain way. Now you come along and want to advocate that there’s something wrong with that. I can’t believe you Phil. What kind of sick and depraved member of society hates cucumbers?
    :-P

    Seriously though, it is a serious issue that must be addressed with levity and humanity. There are human beings who want to engage in a bizarre and inexplicably irrational constructed social agreement, and some even want to do it with members of the same sex! Hey, if it works for them, why the hell should I care? In fact, the only reason I do care is that someone’s right to do something that harms no one is being trampled on. Unfortunately our amendment here in Georgia succeeded, as has been noted above.

    I know what the anti-gay marriage movement is all about. It’s all about bigotry. There’s no other way to interpret it. I was raised to think of homosexuals as vile and disgusting, and even as I accepted those lessons something was tugging at the edge of my consciousness and wouldn’t let go. It was the realization that Gay people are People- first and foremost. Slowly but surely I gravitated away from that unsettled bigotry until it occurred to me that it served no purpose. The thing about hatred is that it doesn’t simply die, it withers away. A video like this may start that process.

  38. OwenM

    @David D, From what I have seen, the Bible does not say much about Blacks per se, but it does have some things to say about slavery and it also says something about the “mark of Cain” which some people have interpreted to be about Black people. I could look up the exact books, chapters and verses, but my schedule is a bit tight right now.

  39. Akheloios

    While the impulse and desire of homosexuality may not be a choice, acting on it is.

    So is acting on heterosexual desires. The plain fact is that they are both equally valid expressions of love. Learn to live with your knew expanded horizons, it’s a lot easier on the psyche than being called a bigot.

    I don’t think that marriage (a religious ceremony) should be extended

    Fine, then you shouldn’t get married to someone of the same sex in your church. I’m sure there are a lot of churches out there that will be fine with performing same sex marriages. Just because your church doesn’t, doesn’t mean all churches will. This again is putting your rights above others.

  40. MH

    Civil unions are NOT the equal of marriage. Marriage confers with it a host of special rights (such as hospital visitation) that civil unions do not. That is why the wishy-washy, can’t-we-all-just-get-along civil union position is not acceptable.

    It is my opinion that there EXIST certain natural rights in all humans; among these is the rights to the pursuit of happiness, which covers marriage. These rights are -wait for it! – inalienable; there is no way to remove that right from people, and that right is inherent in every person and NOT merely granted to them by an outside entity such as a government.

    It is therefore my view that gay people already have the right to marry, and that the various governments they may live under are guilty of not recognizing, respecting, or protecting their marriage rights. Every person has a right to life regardless of whether the state/federal government says they do, and the same applies to all natural rights, including the right of free marriage.

    Thus I view opponents of gay marriage as being in-kind with those who would support other restrictions on people’s natural rights: anti-abolitionists, anti-suffragists, and other bigoted things. They may hold their position with the best of intentions, they may rationalize their positions from now until doomsday, but they are still doing evil and even if they should temporarily gain power and have their bigotry made law, eventually the tide of liberty and freedom will overcome any barrier they erect.

    I don’t live in California, but any who do: please vote NO on 8!

  41. Lubeg

    Quiet Desperation said:
    [i]A US state constitution should not LIMIT the rights of anyone. It doesn’t even matter that it’s about gay marriage. A constitution in this country is a document that declares the limits of governmental power, not the right of the citizens. It is a list of individual rights against the State.[/i]

    HEAR HEAR! It is as simple as that, for me.

    I will [b]never[/b] use my Constitutionally protected [b]right[/b] to make a [b]choice[/b] in a voting booth to [b]restrict [i][u]any[/u][/i][/b] rights or priviledges of my neighbors. Including their right to exercise [b]any[/b] choice of their own.

  42. Quatguy

    Akheloios

    I don’t think anyone said it was wrong. I totally agree with you.

  43. Kirk

    Adam — Interesting, thoughtful comments. However, I think you may be setting up something of a false dichotomy between race and sexuality. While, sexuality does, of course, carry implications of specific actions that reflect that, I don’t quite agree with separating so boldly from an obvious physical characteristic as race (sometimes) is. I would say that sexuality is one of the key aspects of a human being, and even of all mammals and most other animals, really. It is as instinctive an act as eating (if not quite as necessary for survival!), so even though we can suppress it, I wouldn’t want to slip into a position of advocating for the suppression of a fundamental part of a person.

    Putting it on that level, and it starts equating more with race. I can see how people can use this line of thought to separate the two, but I would hold that it’s invalid, since it still comes down a fundamental part of a person’s make up, behavioral or not.

  44. It took a Supreme Court case, “Loving v. Virginia”, to eliminate statutory limits for interracial couples. Sadly, I believe it likely that the only way this gets settled once-and-for-all is for a similar case to appear where same-sex couples challenge a state to have the same freedoms to marry and share the social and financial benefits of marriage that hetrosexual couples have.

    Supporters of equal rights for all will not (and should not!) compromise on this issue. Those fighting this because of their religious beliefs will also not bend. Only an outside force–the courts, and specifically the highest court of the land–can break the tie, reiterate that the constitution of this country prohibits one group from arbitrarily limiting the freedom and rights of another, and clear the way for this to be put behind us forever.

    We don’t hear squabbling about interracial marriage anymore. I suspect a generation or two from now this silliness will be behind us, too. At least that’s my hope.

    – Scott

  45. kuhnigget

    @ Adam:

    “While the impulse and desire of homosexuality may not be a choice, acting on it is. … It’s the difference between a behavioral characteristic and a physical appearance characteristic.”

    Um. Yeah. Please tell me how one chooses to fall in love, or be attracted to a person, or bond with another human being?

    Adam, you’re making a common mistake – confusing sexuality with sexual intercourse.

  46. Cheyenne

    Looks like the polls are predicting the measure passing by somewhere between 4 and 8 points. That’s within the margin of error.

    So the trend on this is actually pretty clear, just 8 years ago these kind of props were sailing through- now this one (might) just eke by. I have a feeling that gay marriage and civil unions will be legal (and accepted by the community at large) in the not too distant future.

    And also, after reading some of the posts, I think I’m fully in support of gay marriage.

  47. Wendy

    A few years back, I was part of a GLBT Livejournal community. Somebody had made a post saying something along the lines of, “on April 14″ (or whatever day it was), “wear this in honour of the struggles that the African-American community has gone/is going through.” Something like that. Surprisingly enough, even the gay people in that community didn’t get it. They asked, “what does this have to do with gay issues?”

    A struggle is a struggle is a struggle! Everybody deserves to be free.

  48. MH

    Crap, forgot to close the bold tag. :(

    Deep thought of the day for ya’ll: Sexuality is not a choice, but religion sure is.

  49. kuhnigget

    BTW, what triggered Prop 8 in California was a state supreme court case in which the plaintiffs successfully documented over 1400 instances in which state law favored married couples over those whose only option was “domestic partnership.”

    Prop 8 is about granting one set of citizens one set of rights, and other set of citizens a smaller set of rights. And that’s not what the USA is supposed to be about.

  50. kuhnigget

    MH:

    Now you forgot to close the italics tag! Ha! I did that myself a while back..

  51. Craig

    What I find interesting is how the bible promotes selling your daughter into slavery, and even condones slavery in general [see Exodus 21], while condemning love between two people as part of a homosexual union. [see Leviticus, Genesis, et al.]

    The point is that marriage is a bond of love and respect with another person. Why in Haedes should it matter if that bond is not heterosexual? I’m married, and I have yet to see a single issue homosexual marriages have caused for my wife and I.

    If only those people would reverse their cranio-rectal inversions and live in the real world and get concerned about issues that really matter, the world would be a better place.

  52. Luis Plata

    My thoughts on this are:
    If two men/woman living next door to you decided to get married in secret, without anyone but themselves and the necessary authorities (priest/judge/etc) knowing about it. Would it “affect” you in any way? Would it “affect” anyone but themselves in any way whatsoever?

    The obvious answer is, of course, “no”! So worrying about whether the two men/woman living next door you are getting married or not is really nothing more than sticking you big fat nose into somebody’s business.
    This “somebody” also happens to be two consenting adults who have made a choice about what to do with their lives.

  53. Larry

    My only objection to what you’ve written is your definition of faith as “thinking something is true without evidence” That is certainly one definition of faith, but not the only one. The definition I have been told Christians are using is that faith is *trust* in something. Like, “I have faith that my chair will hold me off of the floor.” So of course belief and faith are closely related, I both believe in the existence of and have faith in my chair :-)

  54. Kirk

    Cheyenne — It’s not a positive thing if this one only just manages to eke by, though. This would be in one of the most liberal states in the country and it would be the first time that a right to marry currently in place now would be taken away. I would consider it a far more negative outcome than if voters, say, in Alabama vote overwhelmingly to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

    It would be a setback for basic rights that would extend the struggle for decades. But, the positive thing that could come out of it is in your last sentence. If people think about it rationally, many of them, like you, would see what’s right and what’s wrong.

  55. Wendy

    It’s a sad thing that this is still such a huge issue in the States. In Canada, gay marriage is legal as can be, nationwide. The law passed easily and it’s rarely questioned, or even ever discussed.

  56. Vision Engineer

    Akheloios

    You are talking about someone’s (I would call incorrect) interpretation of the bible. Someone can use any given thing to support their own agenda. It doesn’t mean that the thing they use actually supports their ends. The fact that the lineages of Ham, Shem and Japeth has been used to support racism does not mean that the bible actually teaches racism. I can twist any number of good books or documents to justify all sorts of horrible things if I tried.

    Aaron B

    You are probably right in a lot, maybe even most, of cases, but I think that is way to much of a generalization to say it is always a religious belief. There are probably many who oppose gay marriage simply out of tradition or “the way things are”, fear, or whatever.

  57. Quiet Desperation

    The Yes On 8 radio ads here claim “churches could lose their tax exemption!”

    My comment was, “Oh, good” which I doubt was the reaction for whcih the ad crafters had hoped. :-)

    During this morning’s commute, the Yes On 8 and No On 8 ads played back to back.

    This is just one reason I have 6 CD changers in both my cars. :-P

  58. Adam said:
    “While the impulse and desire of homosexuality may not be a choice, acting on it is. I think this is largely where the confusing in the debate over genetics/choice comes from. You may not have a choice in which gender you are attracted to, but you do have a choice in acting on it.”

    That statement so out of touch with reality. The same thing could be said about heterosexual couples. In my years in church, I often heard this statement, “Being homosexual may not be wrong, but acting upon the impulse is wrong, therefore a homosexual should remain celibate.”

    So, people are condemned because of who they love???

    @Yu-mi
    I don’t think that is something you should even worry about. It will be a few years before he works out his sexuality, and, if as a teenager, or a young adult, he tells you he is gay, why would you accept him any less? I do know deeply religious people, believe it or not, whose son came out to them, and, while struggling with it at first due to a lack of understanding, they now wholeheartedly accept him and his partner as they would any other member of the family.

  59. Richard Wolford

    I’ve not read the comments yet as I’m at work, so forgive me if I am regurgitating something already mentioned.

    Whether sexual orientation is genetic, choice, or something else is entirely irrelevant. It has no bearing whatsoever on the issue. The choice of a partner, regardless of the reasons for that choice, is of no consequence or concern to anyone, provided that the relationship is not causing physical harm to someone of course. The origin of homosexuality is nothing more than a red herring, a point to be argued, a strawman if you will be so generous. The bottom line is that there is an identifiable group of people who are being denied basic rights which were guaranteed to EVERYONE by those who wrote our Constitution; simple ethics are all you really need to see through this nonsense.

    What makes me sick is that the rights which people fought and died for are being trumped by fools who for some reason feel that their personal point of view should be law; I’ve never been given a reason as to why gays should be denied rights which was of any logical sense at all. The whole point of this country, at least on the surface, was to escape persecution from England. And now the persecuted are the persecutors, but there doesn’t seem to be any land left to which to run and start anew.

    If you are gay by genetics, so be it. If you are gay by choice, so be it. If you are gay just at the moment, so be it. I really don’t care, but I will never stand for any group to be victimized. If I lived in CA I would gladly vote to smash this nonsense proposition.

  60. Quiet Desperation

    Ahhhh! Italic attack!!!!

  61. As far as I see it, the only person who had it right here was Evolving Squid.

    If you’re not allowing all of your citizens to have a certain right (marriage), then you’re discriminating. And since you’re NEVER going to be able to get religious groups to change their beliefs, the only solution is to take marriage away for everyone.

    If society can’t respect its privileges, it gets them taken away. ;)

  62. Why is everyone talking in italics all of a sudden?

  63. Oh wow, I thought I was missing some joke or something. Turns out all the comments are coming in italics.

    Good going Phil, you broke the internets.

  64. Rayblast

    I think there needs to be more research done on why some people are gay. I’m not ready to compare same-sex marriage to interracial marriage. If it is natural to be gay, then why is it so hard for me to imagine to be with someone of the same sex?

    Here is a thought experiment. What would be left of the human race in 150 years if everyone turned gay and artificial reproduction, insemination and cloning were banned?

  65. Jim

    Italics deactivate!

    I think Richard Wolford is right — a lot of people get hung up on whether homosexuality is a choice or not, but it really doesn’t matter. The relevant question is whether it’s wrong, whether chosen or not, and I certainly don’t think that is the case.

  66. Another Eric S

    Reiterating David D’s question above, I’m having trouble finding any evidence of scripture that’s unkind to blacks. To Akheloios’s point, yes I understand that (groups) of people often find ways to bend canon to their own devices, but Googling ‘racism in the Bible’ is mostly turning up Old Testament ‘smite the enemies of Israel’ sorts of things and affirmations that the Bible in fact condemns racism. Just curious where this particular point came from.

  67. I fixed it. Tough one to find, weirdly.

  68. Lisa

    Chemist you really had me going for a second. Thanks for the laugh.

    As for gay marriage…why should anyone care? If people spent this much time on real issues that effect everyone, like say, education, then we might not be having this discussion. I think people who are in a committed, stable relationship (regardless of gender) are better for the entire society. I think gay partners should be able adopt as well. There are so many kids that need a home, why deprive them of an opportunity to have a family no matter how many mommies they have.

    Sounds like The Chemist and I came down a similar road on this issue. I finally asked myself is it about morality or the “ick factor?” I finally realized that morality for someone else isn’t my call and that all I was really against was the thought of same sex couples kissing. I know for you guys certain aspects of this is not icky.

    If you think that gay marriage somehow diminishes your marriage, then you take a long, hard look at your relationship. If you believe so strongly in the sanctity of marriage, how can anything make it less important to you?

    I have 5 yr old boy and he wants to drive the car, but it ain’t gonna happen until he’s older. If he, or my daughter, is gay…so what? At least no one is gonna get knocked up:)

  69. Thomas Siefert

    Frankie says: Italics Off

  70. Thomas Siefert
  71. Yu Mi,

    He’s polling your attitudes toward homosexuality and gay marriage. He’s heard opinions expressed somewhere – maybe school, maybe on TV, maybe elsewhere – and he wants to know what you think. But five year olds don’t start discussions that way. They’re smart enough to know that if you ask a question straight out, you’re as likely to get a politically correct falsehood as anything else. So he’s presenting you with a scenario instead, in order to gauge your true feelings on the matter.
    Sure, maybe he hasn’t reasoned it out quite that way, but underneath that is certainly what’s happening here. You have received some excellent advice in this thread.

  72. I think a lot of the perceived difference comes from two key things:

    1. Yes, scripture often says things that are racist, but it’s not as obvious as the instructions against homosexuality.

    2. It’s not concretely accepted that homosexuality is not a choice, because to most people it is the behavior (not the desire) that’s objectionable. Their line of reasoning is that even if you have an attraction to someone of the same sex, that doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Their argument is that we try to treat genetic disorders, and that homosexuality should be seen similarly.

    #2 is a lot harder to argue against, because if you accept the premise that homosexuality is evil, the arguments aren’t entirely unreasonable. Challenging someone’s premise on a subjective moral judgment is orders of magnitude harder than it sounds.

    Why do you think it took so long to undo the effects of slavery? We had to convince people that black people were… well, people, and not animals.

    The task of homosexual-acceptance groups is even harder; we have to convince people that homosexuality is both natural and should not be treated as a disease. To those who see that as obvious, it’s impossible to understand why anyone would feel differently, but never underestimate the power of belief.

  73. Greg

    Yes, getting away from biology and culture, there is the legal aspect. Homosexuals exist and they are citizens. When schools are faced with religion, they have to choose “all or none.” If our secular government is going to sanction marriages at all, it has to be all or none as well. Personally, I would support government abdicating from providing marriage licenses (assignment of rights would be between two individuals, probably involving a notary), and let other institutions attach the “marriage” label. Southern Baptists obviously wouldn’t marry gay couples, but Episcopalians, Secular Humanists, and others surely would. Not that it would matter – the rights are handled via the civil union. And the system would work the same between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Ultimately that’s what matters – equality.

    Adam, how would you feel if heterosexuality and homosexuality were flipped in public perception? Would you “choose” to have sex with men then, or would you still pursue women and damn the consequences? If you’re honest with yourself, you would discover that your argument holds no water.

  74. Murff

    Some one tell me the science behind being homosexual. I would think that we evolved to be able to reproduce. If you sray from that, then something would be amiss and need further study, right? I have no problems with homosexuals, I just wonder what scientific research says, isn’t that they have an extra chomosome or are missing one or something….I need to look this up!

  75. Cheyenne

    For such a seemingly contentious issue I can’t believe how civil and well reasoned everybody’s posts have been (well, so far at least).

    I do dig the comments section! Makes the article that much better. Intertoobs win!

  76. Eric

    There is a difference between race and sexuality, and it is that one doesn’t imply an act and one does.

    For instance, if I say ‘black man,’ that in no way implies what he will do. The things he might do are as wide and as varied as any other activities you can think of, from being a politician, minister, business man, scientist, engineer, programmer, athlete, criminal, janitor, etc. There is nothing about being a black man that implies the sorts of actions he takes.

    Say gay man, and that automatically implies gay sex. Now, many may disagree that gay marriage should be legislated, but until there is significant scientific proof that it is in the best interests of humanity and society at large, and children raised in gay households, you are going to continue to find a significant percentage of the population that says not permitting gay marriage is OK.

    In response to specific comments above:

    Quiet Desperation: ‘A constitution in this country is a document that declares the limits of governmental power, not the right of the citizens. ‘ Correct, and the citizens of states that have changed their state constitutions to prevent their state governments from recognizing gay marriage against their wishes.

    Doc: There is one definitive, non-subjective standard for a person’s gender, and that is what a scientist would determine from the blood of an individual with a DNA test. While that may seem discriminatory to those of ‘indeterminate gender,’ laws can be written based on what is good for 99% of individuals, and the rest can be dealt with on a case by case basis.

  77. Shane P. Brady

    Phil,

    Curious, do you know why you thought there was a difference between racism and bigotry against gays?

    In any case, I’ve asked people and discussed on my podcast with people, if one wouldn’t support banning marriage based on race, which is an arbitrary biological distinction, why would one support banning gay marriage based on sexual orientation, just another arbitrary biological distinction. The response I get from people when I put it that way, is usually one of silence.

    As for “civil unions” for gays, and “marriage” for straights, yeah, kind of sounds like “separate but equal” to me.

    On a partially related note, it’s disappointing to not have either of the two major presidential candidates in favor of gay marriage straight up.

  78. Carl Matherly

    Attempting to close tag…{/i} Did it work?

  79. Jason Heldenbrand

    Homosexuality does not upset or pervert the meaning of ‘marriage’. In essence marriage is not a union so much as between a man and a woman (as contracts both in law and religion can do the same) but rather the expression and title associated with two persons who love each other. Why that should only apply to heterosexual couples is beyond me.

    As has been stated before, there is a great deal associated with being married that has a physical value but the concept of being married is more important than the tax policy/visitation/etc. It is a sign of equality and social acceptance. Civil union has the feeling of being around the area of ‘separate but equal’. It is anything but. Unfortunately until the federal supreme court strikes a decision in this matter, I doubt we will see it end in the forseeable future.

    Homosexuality is just a scapegoat for failing marriages, sexual discomfort and other social problems. I for one feel no threat from homosexuality to my marriage, or am I afraid that their homosexual behavior will somehow corrupt me.

    My one concern however is that eventually the religious/moral nuts will take the science angle and claim that homosexuality is a genetic ‘defect’. Whether or not it is true seems rather disturbing to me personally as it leads us down the path of Gattaca.

  80. Carl Matherly

    Oops… sone beat me to it and curly braces arn’t the right type

    EPIC FAIL! for me

  81. David D.

    Unless I missed it, can anyone point out where the Bible says something bad about blacks?

  82. I’ll agree with the Squid here: “marriage” is a uselessly loaded concept. just give that back to the churches, strip it of all civil meaning, rights, priviledges etc, and replace it with a “civil contract” into which any constellation of consenting adults can enter and be entitled to those benefits that are currently handed out to a religious concept. that would also take care of the legal double standard between marriages and civil unions/domestic partnerships that currently exists.

    basically, it would do to “marriage” what has already been done to “christening”. now giving your child a legal name has nothing to do with infant-baptism anymore.

  83. Shane P. Brady

    David D,

    Whether it says it or not, the Bible was in fact used as justification to prevent interracial marriage.

  84. kuhnigget

    @ Murff:

    “Some one tell me the science behind being homosexual”

    Tell me the science behind being left -handed?

    Does it matter? Lefties used to be demonized (literally). Enlightened people got over it. Redheads used to be considered the spawn of the devil. Enlightened people got over it. Interracial couples used to be anathema. Enlightened people got over it. See the trend?

  85. Shane P. Brady

    “Redheads used to be considered the spawn of the devil.”

    We call them “Gingers” now….

  86. Todd W.

    @kuhnigget

    As I think about it, homosexuality may be an evolved means of population control to prevent overcrowding.

  87. HvP

    Black and white people always had a CHOICE about whether or not they should seek to marry each other. It just so happened that in the past those people who did choose to do so were banned from even attempting it, or were found guilty of a crime in their state.

    The arguments against interracial marriage at that time used all the SAME arguments against it that laws against same-sex marriage do today: prevent the degradation of society, protect the children, they still have the choice to marry someone legally, God said so, etc…

    Have a look at Loving v. Virginia sometime. There is absolutely NO difference in the arguments. None.

    A person can no more change their gender than they can their race.
    Race is an inborn trait and a trait that is legally protected against discrimination.
    Gender is an inborn trait and a trait that is legally protected against discrimination.

    None of the arguments in the past were sufficient to continue to deny marriage based on the quality of race.

    Loving v. Virginia found it illegal to restrict marriage based on a person’s choice of partner regardless of race.

    All arguments against same-sex marriage have so far duplicated the arguments against interracial marriage and are also inadequate to legally deny marriage based on those grounds.

    And so it should be illegal to restrict marriage based on a person’s choice of gender.

  88. David D.

    @Shane–

    I’m quoting BA directly: “Many religious texts have bad things to say about gays, but then many have bad things to say about blacks (like the Book of Mormon, and the Bible).” Is this, indeed, true?

    You say: “Whether it says it or not, the Bible was in fact used as justification to prevent interracial marriage.” The Bible, unfortunately, has been used to justify a lot of things. But then, so has, for example, The Communist Manifesto, or any of a number of other religious, political or social texts. So?

    Again–where specifically does the Bible say something bad about blacks?

  89. “As I think about it, homosexuality may be an evolved means of population control to prevent overcrowding.”

    in other words, we need more gay people. :-p

  90. Billy

    What if we could pre-select our kids to be oriented the way we want through genetic engineering, how many would choose hetro?

    (Either through abortions or in a test tube or even a fertility vaxination.)

  91. PG

    @Shane P. Brady: I think the reason why some might wish to prohibit gay marriage but not interracial marriage is homophobia. They believe that homosexuality is a “mental problem”, and they are concerned that if they are exposed to homosexuality, then they too will be “converted”. There are similarities to racism, but I don’t think people have quite the same type of “what-if-I’m-that-way-too” fear about people of other races.

  92. While the impulse and desire of homosexuality may not be a choice, acting on it is.

    You can say the same about interracial relationships.

  93. tacitus

    Wasn’t there a study just released the other day that speculated that more “feminine” men might have a selective advantage when it comes to finding a mate? If that’s the case, then a smaller community (i.e. gay men) of those whose genetics tip them just a little too far to turn that advantage into a disadvantage (in terms of propagating the species, anyway) could be well tolerated. by the species as a whole.

    Or it could just be that human sexuality is an imperfect, complex beast that works “well enough” to ensure that the species is successful as a whole, even if a minority is put at a disadvantage. There’s no reason why all genetic traits should convey an advantage, procreatively speaking.

  94. hotblack

    @David

    The Book of Mormon teaches that white = righteous and good, black = unrighteous and evil. Those blacks that accepted Jesus would be made white.

  95. tacitus

    I think the reason why some might wish to prohibit gay marriage but not interracial marriage is homophobia. They believe that homosexuality is a “mental problem”, and they are concerned that if they are exposed to homosexuality, then they too will be “converted”. There are similarities to racism, but I don’t think people have quite the same type of “what-if-I’m-that-way-too” fear about people of other races.

    I think it’s simpler than that. Racism is no longer tolerated as a societal norm, homophobia (or at least prejudice against gays) still is in many parts of the country. Arguments about nature vs nurture are simply smokescreens thrown up to give the anti-gay movement cover.

  96. Murff

    @ kuhnigget
    “Tell me the science behind being left -handed?

    Does it matter? Lefties used to be demonized (literally). Enlightened people got over it. Redheads used to be considered the spawn of the devil. Enlightened people got over it. Interracial couples used to be anathema. Enlightened people got over it. See the trend?”

    Being left handed has nothing to do with sex and propogating the species.
    Being redheaded has nothing to do with sex and propogating the species.
    Being of different color has nothing to do with sex and propogating the species.
    See a trend.

    In my comment I said I had nothing against homosexuals, i was just asking about the science of it. Please don’t try and put a negative tone on my scientific question on and “slightly” scientific blog.

  97. Murff

    @ tacitus

    Nice post :)

  98. i was just asking about the science of it

    I don’t think anything has been firmly established at this point, for example, if it is genetic, developmental, socialization, various combinations, etc. I suspect it’s very complex from a biological perspective. Sexuality isn’t something that fits into neat categories.

  99. Darth Curt

    So Gay Marriage is legal in most places now. What’s next? Legalizing Child Pornography? You’ll get a lot of people saying that they were born to have an attraction towards children. Next they’ll want to marry 6 year olds, and hey, who are we to say no to them… they were born that way. It’s discrimination. 20 years ago everyone would scoff at the idea of Gay Marriage, but here we are. Where will we be in another 20 years. And no, I’m not being tongue in cheek… I’m very quite worried about this.

  100. TheWalruss

    I’ll admit I haven’t read all the comments here yet – I got half-way through and felt I had something to say.

    This homosexual marriage thing is a strangely powerful phenomenon. Time and again, it proves to be “the” issue that gets people going. For example, I was rooming with some random dudes during an internship some years ago. One guy was really into bodybuilding – that’s just what he’d do after coming home from work, and before leaving in the morning. Not my idea of a good time, but more power to him – his protein shakes were vegetarian, so I had no beef with it (ha-ha). He was a quiet guy, didn’t say much, never had an opinion on anything.

    Then gay marriage came up during dinner, and he explodes completely “NO! THINK OF THE CHILDREN! FAGS CANNOT MARRY!”
    His argument was literally that it would hurt any children they may adopt.
    Over the next few days I showed him the statistics: children with gay parents grow up with better grades, less jail time, higher incomes, and more tolerance than “normal” kids.

    No effect on his opinion, of course. Thing is – the guy wasn’t even religious!

    How do you reach someone like that?

    Why does the concept of gay marriage get people so riled up? Why do they have such a strong opinion on it? Are that many people closet homosexuals that they crusade against homosexual marriage to prove their straightness? That doesn’t add up…

  101. TheWalruss

    @Darth Kurt:

    I have difficulty staying civil when people are all “dude, the next thing is pedophilia and child molestation, if you let the gayz loose!”, but I’ll try.

    The difference is that homosexuality is between TWO CONSENTING ADULTS. Children are not adults, and animals can’t consent. The law isn’t going to change so far as to allow children or animals into sexual relationships – the potential for abuse is too high, and everyone knows it.

    Even child molesters know they’re bad.

  102. David D.

    @hotblack:

    I never asked about the Book of Mormon. I asked:

    What “bad things” does the Bible say about blacks?

    No one, including BA, has been able to point this out.

  103. I’m very quite worried about this.

    I’m not surprised. I’d be worried too if I couldn’t discern the difference between a consenting adult and a 6-year-old.

  104. guestwork

    @Darth Curt:
    I don’t know if you’re being intentionally ridiculous or you maybe just got indoctrinate with too much religious right propaganda. This ever-occurring “what next?” or “think of the children!” is a dead argument.

    Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, has no directly implicit connection to a fetishistic trait complex such as pedophilia (or just any other, such as, say, necrophilia). Nor do homosexuality or heterosexuality seem to have the same reason or origin as such traits (in other words, unlike sexual orientation or gender identity (based on “nature”), it very much looks like you are *not* born a pedophile or necrophile or exhibitionist or or or (based on “nurture”)).
    That said: even if there was a connection, the protection of the child would take preference over anything else anyway, since obviously a child cannot possibly be “consenting” in a way that adults are.

    “Who are we to say no to them” my arse. I mean really, where do people get this sort of polemic?

  105. Spiv

    Let me follow this argument base:
    It’s a “moral” issue.
    That “moral” issue is based on religious text.
    Not all religions are against gay marriage.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    Choice, genetic, doesn’t really matter. It’s like saying a person can’t vote with blond hair, even if we can’t determine that it’s natural or dyed. Worrying about natural or dyed is missing the point: it’s denying a person’s rights.

  106. Quiet Desperation Says:
    Humanity is tribal, be it by race, ethnicity, gender, gender preference, economic status, political party, Windows, Macintosh, atheist, religious, whatever.

    Ever notice how various tribes’ terms for themselves translate to “the people”?

    # notscott Says:
    When people bring up “traditional” marriage, I wonder what they think about plural marriage, arranged marriage, and the legality of divorce.

    Traditonal marriage: arranged by parents, and the woman is ‘property’.

    JackC Says:
    Oh – and I suppose they really should add “at a time…” to the end anyway. Bloody hypocrites.

    Thus I came up with the term “serial polygamist”.

    J/P=?

  107. Wayne

    I’m fairly conservative, and yet I agree with most of you! The real problem, as several have pointed out, is that “marriage” is a religious concept that has been incorporated into our system of civil law. The word itself is just too loaded and imprecise to describe both functions. Let churches do marriage, and everyone else get civil unions (or whatever other name works) and be done with it.

  108. No one, including BA, has been able to point this out.

    Sure it was. Guess you missed it. Look up the “Curse of Ham”.

  109. TheWalruss

    Why do people insist marriage is a religious concept?

    Last I checked marriage is a secular agreement performed at the city hall, on ships at sea, and, if they so choose, at churches with ministers given explicit permission by the government.

    Has been for centuries…right?

    This whole “marriage is religious, so we can discriminate because religion is our own opinion” idea is ridiculous. Read some history books, you scuzzballs.

  110. As a multiracial person myself, I really like this doctored video. I was taught growing up that I could be anyone I wanted, hold any job I wanted, regardless of my gender or race, and they taught me to respect all individuals regardless of how they looked or disability status. My parents (one Jewish, one Chinese, all of us able-bodied and hetero) are a little surprised I’m so vehemently for gay rights, but when I point out that it’s just an extension of what they taught me about sexism, racism, ageism, and ableism, they tend to understand me a little bit better.

  111. Lewknukem

    Loving vs Virginia may have been a great day in my state for equality of race, but it took a step back Nov 7th 2006 when we banned gay marriage in an amendment to our state constitution. Apparently VA doesn’t even think separate but equal is good enough.

  112. Okay, I’ve been considering this issue for a long time, being a part of the “community”, but I have to say I never thought about this as a specifically Gay rights issue, but rather a HUMAN rights issue.

    I was always disappointed that the Gay community seems to take this fight as only its own, instead of reminding people that it is a matter of human and civil rights as a whole (and I’m generalizing here, I know).

    The problem, imho, is that we ‘tackle’ the issues of specific minorities rights instead of speaking of human rights as a whole.

    If your have a rule that states that ALL HUMANS have a right to do this and that, then *ALL* humans have that right. Be them black, white, males, females, disabled, athletic, gay, lesbians or heterosexual.

    And what happens when we find another “quirk” of humanity? another “difference” of some groups over others? Do we fight for their specific rights too, separately?

    There’s another problem, imo, with “Gay rights” vs “Human Rights”. The gay community has its own problems “picking and choosing” whose in it. Up until recently, Transgendered were not really considered a part of the Gay community (and now that they are, it’s more the “LGBT Community”). And bisexuals still suffer lots of badmouthing from all over the place. Humans aren’t cue cards you can just catalogue – there are a lot of gray areas and ‘quirks’ and oddities. If you go by specific groups, you are bound to lose some along the way.

    So.. if we fight for Gay Rights, we’re picking and choosing, again, inside small groups, who we’re giving a right that *as a citizen* (s)he already deserves.

    Humans are humans, and human rights go for ALL humans, not just the ones that were ‘picked’. Just like civil rights go for all civilians, not just the rich ones, or famous ones.

    We might actually cover a whole lot more ground and save ourselves some future trouble if we go with ‘human rights’ than we do with specific, much narrower, subjects.

  113. sophia8

    Like Kirk (and others) have said, marriage has taken many forms throughout human history. “Irregular marriages” – in which, basically, the couple just announced that they were married, with or without a ceremony – was the only form of marriage in most of Europe up until the 17thC or so. Here in Scotland such marriages were legally recognised partnerships up until 2006. (That’s how Gretna Green became so popular for marriages – it was the first Scottish town past the English border, so eloping English couples headed there.)
    Such “irregular marriages” were the norm in any human culture – if two people made it clear they were a partnership, it was accepted as such by their society. What’s the problem in that?

  114. David D.

    @Naked Bunny–

    I am aware of the Curse of Ham. Actually, the Torah does not specifically mention the racial appearance of Ham. Later Talmudic interpretations assigned race; early Christian writers also interpreted what was written in Genesis.

    So you are wrong; I didn’t “miss it.” Although interpreted differently, the Bible does NOT specifically say anything bad about blacks, unless you’ve got another reference?

  115. timplausible

    I think it’s a little dangerous to hang issues about gay rights on whether or not it is a choice. That fact should be irrelevant. Would it be ok to discriminate against gay people if it were a choice? Saying they have no choice is kind of like saying, “If someone CHOOSES to behave like this, it’s morally wrong. But since they have no choice, we can’t condemn them for it.” But the reality is, it is not immoral behavior, whether they chose it or not.

  116. Daffy

    There sure are a lot of small minded, frightened little people in the world.

  117. snoozebar

    I’ll be voting no on 8. I kicked ‘em some money too. (Y0u all should too, if you can manage it.)

    I agree with much of what has been said here. I just got married a month ago to an awesome guy. But our marriage would’ve been illegal before 1958 because he’s Asian and I’m white, and so I have a real hard time sympathizing with the anti-gay marriage folks. Bigotry is bigotry, and our marriage isn’t any different because I was “Party A” instead of “Bride” on our registration form.

    Marriage is not a religious concept, it’s a civil one. It may mean something special in your church, but that doesn’t extend beyond your church’s doors. How about this: every adult can designate another adult person for all the special rights of marriage, and you can only be the designated of one. Simple!

  118. tacitus

    Walruss: How do you reach someone like that?

    You don’t. Not all homophobes are going to reformable. That’s just a fact of life. The trick is to build up a majority of people in the US who are willing to accept homosexuality as a normal fact of life (as in places like Scandinavia and the UK) that is nothing for people to be scared of. (i.e. not catching “the gay”). Once that happens, the remaining minority of bigots are all but powerless to do anything about it.

    Walruss: Why does the concept of gay marriage get people so riled up? Why do they have such a strong opinion on it? Are that many people closet homosexuals that they crusade against homosexual marriage to prove their straightness? That doesn’t add up…

    I think it’s as simple as squeamishness over the thought of two guys being intimate with each other. I’ll be honest — the thought of my having sex with another man is quite unpleasant — that’s just the way my brain is wired. Now, I can decouple that negative reaction from my dealings with friends and colleagues, some of whom are gay. They’re friends and people I work with, not (potential) objects of desire, so their sexuality isn’t an issue in any way.

    But for others, they chose not to decouple that squeamishness from their reaction to gay people — if you look at a lot of the homophobic rants out there, they always talk about the sex act being in some way unnatural. That’s what riles them up and drives their hatred. It’s almost as if they have to keep reminding themselves as to why they hate gay people so much.

  119. tacitus

    The Bible doesn’t say anything bad about slavery, yet all Christians I know agree that it is a terrible thing. Taking your moral cues from the Bible, in particular the Old Testament, is a rather dubious way to go about it, especially given the fact that the majority of the Ten Commandments would be deemed unconstitutional if they were written into law in the US.

  120. Murff

    @ tacitus

    “… they always talk about the sex act being in some way unnatural.”
    I know it feels natural to a person who is homosexual, but in nature it is not natural becuase those to areas were not evolved to be used in that way.

    I feel the same as you, I have no problems with homosexuals, just the act is not my cup of tea…But it’s not the act that gets treated as a second class citizen, it’s the person, and that’s wrong. There’s no reason all people should not be treated equally.

  121. Murff

    to, too, two, or 2….maybe someday I’ll learn this language!! lol

  122. pcarini

    Murff:
    “I know it feels natural to a person who is homosexual, but in nature it is not natural becuase those to areas were not evolved to be used in that way.”

    Ahem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

    Don’t bring up the “not natural” argument until you have a leg to stand on, Bubba.

  123. Lawrence

    My wife and I were married in a simple civil ceremony (not at City Hall, but still by a Magistrate). There was nothing religious about it & I would have no problem with two committed adults (either M/M or F/F) enjoying the same types of rights and privileges that my wife and I enjoy as a legally married couple.

    If you take religion out of the mix (and no one has ever said churches have to marry Gay couples), what other arguments do people have against Gay Civil Unions?

  124. @Murff:

    Homosexuality exists in nature in other animals than humans.
    How can you state, then, that this isn’t a naturally evolved phenomena? If we examine the subject critically, then it seems nature has this abundantly.

    Other than that, what you’re saying is exactly why I think we should stop cataloging specific groups and start thinking of this as an “all encompassing” human rights issue.

  125. Lewknukem

    @Darth

    200 years ago, it wasn’t though deviant if a 50 year old man wanted to marry a 13 year old girl. It has been firmly established that in order to get married (among many other things) one has to be of age enough to make an informed decision. This argument is about informed adults being able do what they want to be able to do, without being discriminated against.

    That’s why you shouldn’t worry about gay marriage devolving into things like people marrying 6 year olds or the old standby of people marrying their pets, because the pets and young children are decidedly not capable of making an informed decision. Sure things get murky around boundry area’s like 16 or 17 year olds and perhaps in the future with genetic engineering of our pets but that is no reason to keep discrimination to a absolute minimum.

  126. TheWalruss

    Ugh – I’m just glad I got out of the US!

    Perfectly straight and with a wonderful fiance I stole from the US, but happy to be in a place where others can be happy as well. :)

  127. This idea that “marriage is a religious” thing is hooey. It’s not always been religiously based through history. As others have pointed out, you can get married legally without having any mystical mumbo-jumbo at all.

    But, whatever rituals that religionists can lay their hands on (c.f. Christian appropriation of pagan rituals for their own ends) to control other people, you can be sure they will and then claim them as their own and screech about how those “traditional values” are being co-opted by tehGay or tehAtheists or tehWhoever. It proves that irony is not dead. So, this issue of gay marriage is not about teh gay, or whatever — it’s about the control. They’re almost fetishistic about it sometimes.

    Gay marriages haven’t harmed my marriage one bit, and I’ve been married for three decades. I live in a Gay Marriage state and so far the kids haven’t gone gay, we don’t have more or less pr0n than usual, and as far as I can tell, the only ones getting their panties in a twist about TehGayMarriage thing are the tighty-righties. They seem awfully worried about it in the same way that UFOlogists are worried about getting their nether regions probed. Wonder why that is?

  128. David D.

    @Walruss–

    Are you in Oz? or where?

  129. I’m late to the party, and most things have been said already. I just wanted to remind you that in the movie American Beauty, the only normal couple was the gay couple. :-D

  130. A vote for Proposition 8 means that you’re against traditional, biblically described marriage. As we all know, marriage as described in the Bible is a relationship between a man and several women. In other words, polygamy. The Bible is filled with examples of great kings and holy men who had multiple wives.

    If a marriage is limited to between one man and one woman this obviously goes against Biblical principles. By extension, eliminating the right of same sex couples to marry also violates these principles because if a man marries multiple women, obviously the women involved are married to each other.

    I mailed my ballot last Monday. I’m happy to say that I voted for Biblical principles, and against Proposition 8.

  131. KC Caldwell

    If Phil is right and homosexuality is biologically driven, then we should not discriminate.

    If Phil is wrong and it is a “lifestyle choice,” then I would ask what right do we have to discriminate. Would anyone support laws outlawing non-Christian marriages, or intermarriage between Christinas and non-Christians? Religion is the ultimate “lifestyle choice.” If we can’t discriminate against a religious choice then why should we discriminate against sexual orientation? Religions institutions are not forced to perform intermarriages, and there is no reason to believe that they would be forced to perform same sex marriages.

    My solution is rather simple. Get the government out of the marriage business. Make every marriage a “domestic partnership.” Extend all the current marriage benefits to the domestic partners (taxes, insurance, visitation, etc). Then let marriages be performed in a religious setting for those that want them. I will say I think the state has an interest in promoting monogamy, and would limit a person to one “domestic partner” at a time.

  132. the Bible does NOT specifically say anything bad about blacks

    Well, don’t look at me. I’m not the one who interpreted this fairy story. Take it up with the people who insist that it does specifically claim that black-skinned people are cursed. They’ve got web sites, y’know. Took me all of 20 seconds on Google to find one.

  133. Radwaste

    Phil, you titled this “Critical Thinking About Personal Beliefs” and so far the commentary has been fun – but it’s issue-oriented, not principle-oriented. If you would, take a look at this post on the JREF Forums for one explanation of the principles and phenomena surrounding the establishment of belief.

    In the process, please keep in mind that I consider “faith” and “expectation” to be two different things, in which an expectation is produced by having actually observed a cause and its effect in similar circumstances. I can hope for something I’ve never seen happen, but I can’t expect it.
    Further, faith is an artificial extension of probability, towards certainty, without supporting evidence. Look at the issue closely, and you’ll see that faith can only exist in the absence of evidence: you do not have faith in something you are sure about because it is in front of you.
    I call this the Irony of Faith. I find faith is given a special definition by religious people to halt examination in that direction.

  134. The comparison of gay marriage to inter-racial marriage is an excellent one, and I think the problem with the USA is that a large chunk of people there aren’t even really ok with inter-racial marriages. Racial equality is a nice-to-have in the USA, but not a reality. So gay-equality is still a bit of a ways off.

  135. spurge

    Phil said

    “If you have a distaste for gay people, well, that’s your own feeling. I don’t necessarily condemn it, as long as people understand that it’s a subjective, personal thing. I loathe cucumbers, but I don’t want to amend the state Constitution to forbid others from even putting it in their salads.”

    You don’t necessarily condemn it? Do you not necessarily condemn people who have a distaste for Asians or Indians?

    It is just like hating cucumber?

    Am I the only one who has a problem with this statement?

  136. Murff

    @ pcarini

    “Don’t bring up the “not natural” argument until you have a leg to stand on, Bubba.”

    Homosexuality happens in nature, of course, but the 2 parts of the body, no matter what animal you’re talking about, were not evolved for that purpose. One is for procreation, the other is to excrete waste from the body. (I hope not to have to speak in further detail on the parts here).

    Again, my posts have not been negative, please stop trying to argue with me. I’m simply bringing up a valid point and asking for some scientific thoughts. I have been researching some today, and nothing has pointed me away from what I am stating. I have nothing against homosexuals, never have, never will. I have seen a few posters on this blog that have a biology background, hoping maybe one of them would post their thoughts. I’m just a jet engine mechanic…

  137. Murff

    The word that has popped up on several of the sites I have visited is “mutation”. I guess there are positive, negative, and indifferent mutations, of which homosexuality would be indifferent, which from what I have read would mean “not harmful to ones self or others”

    Something tells me that using the word “mutation” would only put an even more negative spin on homosexuality, because most people always equate “mutation” with “bad”. After looking up mutation, I don’t even agree fully that it’s the term that applies. (I only needed 1 credit in science and a lab for my degree…I took astronomy!! )

    oh, and my names not Bubba :)

  138. Murff, as far as I know, there is no “homosexuality gene”. It is a complex biological issue that is not well understood.

    Having said that, it is irrelevant to this discussion. The killer argument has already been made early on: denying a group of people the same rights that other people enjoy is unconstitutional in the US (or at least it should be if we take the constitution seriously). It doesn’t matter whether gays have a choice about their sexuality or not.

  139. kuhnigget

    @ murff:

    Sorry, been disconnected a while & haven’t been able to respond. My apologies if my tone seemed harsh, but then I always have a bit of a knee jerk reaction when someone starts by saying, “I have nothing against so and so…” Usually the next word is, “but…”

    As for the science, you also have to consider the fact that evolutionary pressures don’t necessarily get rid of a trait that is neither positive or negative. If x percent of a population of animals is going to be gay, so long as that x percent doesn’t hinder the group from competing with others, then natural selection won’t really care. And recall that many societies don’t have the west’s bugaboo (buggerboo?) about homosexuality prior to marriage. It’s seen as a common, if not entirely “normal” practice.

    There have also been studies, as others have mentioned above, in which the presence of a non-breeding homosexual segment of the population exerts a positive influence on the population as a whole. I don’t think anyone has yet come up with a mechanism for that influence. I doubt it has to do with population control, as nature has other pretty decent mechanisms for that.

  140. kuhnigget

    @Pieter:

    That argument will no doubt be the basis for a legal challenge against Prop 8 in California, should it pass. Can the state constitution grant rights to one segment of the population that it does not grant to another? If prop 8 passes, there will be a movement to further define marriage as being a contract between two people with no significance relative to the law or the state. Any rights currently granted to married couples will instead be granted to domestic partners, which will be a separate state that couples of hetero or homosexual orientation are eligible to become.

  141. David D.

    @Naked Bunny

    Well, don’t look at me. I’m not the one who interpreted this fairy story. Take it up with the people who insist that it does specifically claim that black-skinned people are cursed. They’ve got web sites, y’know. Took me all of 20 seconds on Google to find one.

    sigh

    My point is not about how one group or another interpreted the Bible; it’s that BA made a claim that is not based in fact–that the Bible has bad things to say about black people. No one has been able to substantiate this statement.

    Glad you know how to use Google. Cool.

  142. Murff

    @ Kuhnigget

    Thanks for the reply, good facts, I like getting some knowledge in bits like this, makes me want to research some more!. I have been to the Middle east a few times, and in some places it is not uncommon in sex for “men to be for pleasure, and women for procreation”. I know that they were very open about it in the UAE, surprisingly since they are considered to be “westernized”…bit of irony there.

    @ Peter kok
    I agree fully. My thinking was more in line with why people think it is “wrong” and maybe scientifically making it known that there is nothing at all wrong about it. I go along the lines with Phil, I don’t want to have sex with another man same as I don’t want to eat fried ocra, but I’m capable of choosing not to partake in either. Everyone should have the right to make their own choices.

  143. Zar

    Murff:

    (I’m trying to write this without crossing the line—I hope Phil doesn’t think it’s too adult!)

    A few points on your argument about “parts”…

    I assume you are talking about anal sex? First of all, homosexuals are not all male. What about lesbians? Are they more natural? They don’t do much anal sex.

    Secondly, homosexual males really aren’t as into penetrative anal sex as they’re made out to be. No, really. It’s a very common misconception.

    The clitoris was not evolved specifically for reproduction, either.

    I really think that discussing sex purely in terms of reproduction is oversimplifying things. Humans and other primates have sex for reasons besides reproduction. There are social reasons for it. Bonobos, for instance, use sex (or general sexual behavior) as a general ice-breaker, cooperation-building exercise, or just a how-do-you-do!

    As far as I know, scientists haven’t found much in terms of figuring out a physical cause of homosexuality. Really, the idea of a search for it implies there’s some kind of strict, binary, either/or switch that’s either turned on or off. Kinsey described it in terms of a sort of continuum, which I think is pretty valid.

  144. GregB

    For the religious right, homosexuality needs to be a choice because if it isn’t a choice then it can’t be a sin. What would be the logic in having God punish people for something they had no choice in? Then again, I’m trying to apply logic to religion, always a difficult task.

    But what they’re missing is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a choice or not. The real sin is in denying people equal rights. The real sin is forcing your religious beliefs on others.

    The real sin is bigotry. And that’s what Yes on 8 is all about. Bigotry

    I wrote more about it on my own blog here:
    http://www.brouelette.com/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2008/10/18#noOn8

  145. kuhnigget

    @ Murff:

    “My thinking was more in line with why people think it is “wrong” and maybe scientifically making it known that there is nothing at all wrong about it. ”

    Hm. Yah, good luck on that one. People generally don’t turn to science when defining “right and wrong.” We as a society have rules that we choose to abide by in order to live in the sort of community we want to live in. Probably the majority of times in ages past, those rules were based on religion. The U.S. constitution, thank the deists, is not.

    Ultimately, that is why the argument pro California’s Proposition 8 always comes down to religion. Proponents are using a biblical definition of right to judge an aspect of our modern society they don’t like. I find it odd but not surprising they don’t have the same aversion to clam chowder, improperly sacrificed goats, or any of the other myriad lunacies literal religious traditions present, but there you go. Nobody ever said the human animal was fundamentally logical.

  146. José

    @Murff Says:
    Some one tell me the science behind being homosexual.

    I think this expands on other replies. If not, sorry.

    Evolutionary success does not always involve passing on your own genes. Bee’s, ants, and naked mole rats are extreme examples of this. One way male homosexuality in humans could be advantages is if those same genes that make a man gay, also make his sister more fertile. She would then pass those same gay man/fertile woman genes on to her kids. It doesn’t mean it actually does works like this, but there are many other scenarios like this that could also be true. And every species on the planet shows countless examples of genetic changes that infer an advantage in one area, but are a disadvantage in others.

  147. José

    @David D.
    The bible definitely doesn’t say any thing specifically about black people. Of course there are plenty of idiot bible thumpers who twist it so that it does. Growing up, I would always get in arguments with people who insist that my existence is wrong because my parents are two different races. Actually, when I’d point to my parents, they’d usually (but not always) say something like “Oh, I didn’t mean you”. As a side note, the place I grew up was in the heart of western Pennsylvania. I’m just pointing that out because it’s been in the news lately.

    And you did ask about the book of Mormon when you asked for examples of other religions. I’m just pointing that out because I’m a jerk.

  148. David D.

    @Jose–
    You’re not a jerk. :)

    Actually, your buddy Murtha, since you grew up in W. PA, thinks you are either a redneck or a racist–maybe he thinks it’s both.

    Betcha just love that guy, huh?
    :D

  149. David

    I’ve never understood the “you can’t choose to be gay or straight, therefore discrimination is wrong” argument. The flip side to this is that if you did pick your sexual orientation, it would be OK to discriminate.

    I’m not religious, but in theory I could convert to Judiasm. Is it OK to discriminate against Jews because some people choose to be Jewish?

  150. @spurge

    No, you’re not the only one.

    Here phil let me use the same analogy made in the video to fix your statement:

    “If you have a distaste for black people, well, that’s your own feeling. I don’t necessarily condemn it, as long as people understand that it’s a subjective, personal thing. I loathe cucumbers, but I don’t want to amend the state Constitution to forbid others from even putting it in their salads.”

  151. Phil, I’m afraid that I haven’t the time to wade through all the responses to see if someone has already mentioned the Florida amendment banning gay marriage, so this might be a duplicate.

    So, Florida will have a vote on an amendment to bay gay marriage on the ballot of the November 4th Election. You can check out the “Vote No” website for the amendment here:
    http://www.votenoflorida.org/

  152. Vision Engineer

    Tacitus

    “Taking your moral cues from the Bible, in particular the Old Testament, is a rather dubious way to go about it, especially given the fact that the majority of the Ten Commandments would be deemed unconstitutional if they were written into law in the US.”

    That seems a little silly to me. So what if moral cues are in conflict with the constitution? Are you saying you shouldn’t have any morals that conflict with the constitution? Religious freedom, guaranteed by the constitution, allows people to have whatever religious moral views they happen to believe. They just can’t be encoded into law if it would violate the constitution. Just because “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy” would be unconstitutional as a law doesn’t make it bad to hold as a moral value. Looking to the constitution for moral guidance seems a little absurd. The constitution is not a source of morals, but a governmental construct to limit government power and guarantee freedom and equality under the law.

  153. kkozoriz

    Murff, my wife and I will have been married for 15 yeas this Friday. Neither of us wanted to have children. Since we are not propagating the species, is our marriage invalid? Should we have a 5 year “best before” date on the license? Have a baby before this day or it’s no longer valid?

    Murff Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Being left handed has nothing to do with sex and propogating the species.
    Being redheaded has nothing to do with sex and propogating the species.
    Being of different color has nothing to do with sex and propogating the species.
    See a trend.

  154. Andy

    Let me say this first: I support the right for all people to marry someone of the same sex. I just disagree with some of the reasons people think it should be allowed.

    I don’t see why it’s a discrimination issue. I’m straight, and I can’t marry a man, just as a gay man couldn’t marry a man. From that perspective, the rights are the same for everyone. The Prop 8 ban would apply to everyone, not just gays. If two straight guys wanted to get married, they couldn’t either!

    If you support same-sex marriage, support it because you think any two adults should be able to marry for any reason they want to. If I want to marry another straight guy, why shouldn’t I be allowed to? How can you legally prove someone is gay or not? If two lesbians want to marry, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? What does the legal status of your homosexually have anything to do with this issue?

  155. KC Caldwell

    People need to remember that the Bible is not the end of moral revelation, no matter whether you believe the Bible is myth, actually written at Mount Sinai, or devinely inspired.

    The Bible endorses polygamy, genocide, and slavery. Are these values we want to endorse in the 21st century (CE)?

  156. Kimpatsu

    I’ve been arguing that opposing gay marriage is the same as opposing interracial marriage for years. Good to see everyone else is finally catching up…

  157. It’s worth noting that, even if it turns out that homosexuality is a choice, that doesn’t at all imply that we should discriminate against people who choose it. I agree with Greta Christina on this point:

    http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2008/04/born-or-learn-1.html

    In other news, determinism does not imply nihilism.

  158. Re discrimination against queers as compared to discrimination against racial minorities: there are similarities and differences, so whether or not a particular comparison is a “good” one takes some careful thinking.

    Re similarities, Susan Pharr’s essay “The Common Elements of Oppression” is a good overview. (Available in Western Resource Center’s “Dismantling Racism Workbook” – pdf.) Basically, there are mechanisms of oppression which are commonly experienced by many different kinds of groups.

    However, there are also unique elements experienced by each group. Two important differences between queers and racial minorities are 1) most queers can’t be positively identified as such at first glance, and 2) most queers don’t experience discrimination during their childhood, nor do they experience intergenerational discrimination (i.e., queer kids don’t usually grow up in queer households, and thus don’t live experience the secondhand side-effects of discrimination against their parents). As a personal example, I’m bisexual and didn’t start experiencing discrimination until my early twenties, when I married another woman; most racial minorities don’t get a twenty-year pass like that. Similarly, the TSA, the police, the guy at the laundromat, and anyone else I interact with on the order of a few minutes at a time, all usually assume that I’m straight; most members of racial minorities don’t get that privilege.

    So: some comparisons between racial oppression and queer oppression might be fruitful, and some will definitely not be. It takes some savvy to know which might be which. But one thing to be very careful of, is that there are individuals who are both queer and people of color. They tend to experience three kinds of oppression: queer oppression, racial oppression, and an interaction between the two (which is usually somewhat unique to their particular race, gender, and variety of queerness). If you say that being gay is just like being black (which it isn’t, but just as an example), that statement dismisses the particular problems of gay black men, making it look like they are just gay or just black. I would advise to avoid doing that — it has a way of contributing to the problems they’re already experiencing.

    Coming specifically to the comparison between interracial marriage and gay marriage: there are a lot of similarities, yes. Mildred Loving (of Loving v. Virginia) thought so, and so did Coretta Scott King. But the histories of racial discrimination and queer discrimination are different enough that some people are not going to find the comparison compelling — and I can see where they’re coming from, and respect that.

    So, is this video making a good point? Maybe. But I’d rather argue for gay marriage on different grounds, if only out of respect for people of color who are already having trouble being heard accurately on their own issues.

  159. Richard

    I’m a big fan of Phil, but he did get it wrong about the Bible having bad things to say about blacks–it does not. It does, however, have bad things to say about Egyptians, Philistines, Canaanites, Babylonians, and in the New Testaments, Jews. There were also bad things done to entire populations– bad things–rape, the slaughter of the born and unborn, and outright blood-thirst.

    Bad things were also said about shellfish (as previously mentioned), and women on the “rag.” Actually, it does say a whole lot of bad things about women.

    Basically, it says a whole lot of bad things about “other” people, relative to the writers of those ancient texts which would one day be compiled, edited, and finally canonized, before being recompiled, re-edited, and re-canonized by various sects.

    So, I think that Phil owes us an apology about the Bible saying bad things about blacks.

    BTW, I live in California and I will be voting against this Proposition. The actual title alone bugs the crap out of me: “ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.
    INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT” (the all-caps were from the actual website, I didn’t want to modify it: http://www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov/title-sum/prop8-title-sum.htm ). It specifically states that it will eliminate a right for a segment of society. I have a big problem with the rights of people being taken away. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Are we willing to start killing that off for the sake of “ew, two guys kissing is so gross”?

    Does the state really need to interfere with people’s personal lives? Does the government have any right to regulate the bedroom of two consenting adults? Will Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres both have to give up their wedding gifts because of this?

    (As an aside, where does it specifically state in the Bible that lesbianism is wrong? Raise your hand if you are grossed out by the site of two women kissing.)

  160. I think I know a difference between race and sexual orientation, although it has nothing to do with human worth or civil rights. (and BTW I haven’t read the comments yet)

    Homosexuality is inborn, but its not hereditary, whereas race is. Like I said, this makes no difference in the civil rights argument, but it puts gays at a disadvantage in that their families are not the same and cannot fully know their struggles, while a racial minority at least has backup from their parents.

    Of course, that doesn’t hold 100% of the time. My children are minorities and I am white, which is why I cannot fully understand their experiences. But I try.

  161. I’m always puzzled when people bring up choice when it comes to equal rights for homosexuals. It’s not at all clear that homosexuality is a choice. But assume for a minute it is 100% choice, completely. So what? We don’t get to discriminate against people for choices they make unless they are breaking the law. You can’t refuse to hire someone, for example, because they are a parent–clearly it is extremely likely that they CHOSE to be a parent. You can’t legally discriminate against someone based on their religion, whether or not they CHOSE to convert to that religion at some point.

    It is essential to a free society that we defend people’s right to choose how they live their lives as long as they do no harm to others in the process. So even if being gay was entirely choice, the argument that it is somehow “lesser” than characteristics which are not choices is utterly fatuous.

    But then I’ve yet to see an argument against gay marriage which isn’t fatuous, and I’ve been looking for a sensible argument which doesn’t boil down to hate or fear for years. Haven’t seen one yet, and I don’t really expect to anymore.

  162. Rev. I. P. Freeley

    Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    Romans 1:26-27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

  163. FWIW, the “cucumbers” comment I made above may need clarification. Some people don’t like blacks, or gays, or whatever. That’s their personal feeling, and while I’m not saying it’s OK to feel that way, it’s a personal feeling, and may not be something they can control, or grow out of. I don’t condone it, but as long as they don’t let it get past their own skull and into the legislature then what can you do? You can only accept that they feel that way, even if you don’t agree or like it, and even if it makes you feel they are less worthy of respect.

  164. LukeL

    The only issue I take with gay marriage is that marriage in the eyes of believers is a covenant between God, Husband and Wife and is suppose to be a pure, holy, union. To add, once the state allows one form of alternative life style, you must allow all other forms. (assuming all parties involved are adults)

    Once this happens you could in theory (as in the Muslim and pseudo Mormon faith where some men have dozens of wives) a family drawing 6 figures in welfare benefits alone by the sheer number of dependents a husband has. Then you get into the issue of social security does every one of his 20 wives get a equal check? What about the disabled adult children?

    I for one do not believe you are born gay, we can control our emotions, and yes even those we are attracted to. To say we are not in control of our urges or desires is to say we are nothing but animals without any will.

  165. Jose

    Where do you stand on pickles?

  166. kuhnigget

    @sanguine:

    “2) most queers don’t experience discrimination during their childhood,”

    Why does someone who uses the expression “people of color” also use the expression, “queer,” when referring to homosexuals?

    Be that as it may…

    I don’t know who Susan Pharr is, but I question her statistics. I was harassed nonstop from the age of about 8. Less than a year ago, a young boy in southern california was shot to death by another boy because he was “queer.” School districts in New York created a special school for gay kids out of fear for their lives in the regular school system. Honestly, I don’t know what planet she’s on, but I doubt it’s Earth.

    @ reverend pisser:

    I’m sure you’re a troll, or someone who thinks they are being clever, but nonetheless: leviticus uses the same “abomination” language to talk about eating shellfish, wearing blended fabrics, and working on the sabbath. So where’s the outrage about Ivar’s Acres of Clams? Or cotton/polyester underpants? Or McDonald’s (where you probably work)? And BTW, what’s the best way to sacrifice a goat? Do you slit the throat from the left or right? And if some of the blood spills onto the ground, will Yahweh smite me?

  167. Alex, FCD

    I don’t see why it’s a discrimination issue. I’m straight, and I can’t marry a man, just as a gay man couldn’t marry a man. From that perspective, the rights are the same for everyone. The Prop 8 ban would apply to everyone, not just gays. If two straight guys wanted to get married, they couldn’t either!

    Same game as the video, friend:

    I don’t see why it’s a discrimination issue. I’m [white], and I can’t marry a [black woman], just as a[n interracial couple] couldn’t marry[...]. From that perspective, the rights are the same for everyone. The [overturning of Loving v Virginia] would apply to everyone, not just [interracial couples]. If two [persons of different races who don't happen to be in a relationship] to get married, they couldn’t either!

    It takes a very funny definition of the term ‘discrimination’ to make the first argument correct and the second one incorrect.

  168. Jose

    @LukeL
    I for one do not believe you are born gay, we can control our emotions, and yes even those we are attracted to. To say we are not in control of our urges or desires is to say we are nothing but animals without any will.

    Do you feel the urge to eat, pee, or sleep? I guarantee that man who is attracted to other men can control that urge far better than you can control those 3 urges. Even if he abstains from homosexual contact his entire life, it doesn’t mean he’s not gay.

  169. kuhnigget

    @ Lukel:

    Thank the founders, our country is not based on your religious beliefs, but on laws written by people. We the people get to choose our laws; we are not dependent upon petulant gods.

    If the majority of people decide gay marriage is acceptable, then they will support laws that recognize it. If the majority is not yet there, then those of us who are gay (and are married…in Canada) will just have to wait a while longer before we receive the same rights heterosexuals take for granted.

    And your “slippery slope” argument is tired and trite. Do you have a driver’s license? If you are granted the right to drive, why can’t a 12 year old boy drive legally? Why can’t a blind person drive? Or a monkey? You have the right, why don’t they? Because we as a society draw the line. We do this all the time. The line changes over time (interracial marriage, women voting), but its position is one that we choose. This is our society. We make the rules. We choose how we want to live. Justice is a concept we get to define.

  170. Jose asks, “Where do you stand on pickles?”

    I relish them.

  171. I respect the fact that you have a belief eventhough I disagree with it. Let me share with you what I believe to be true and hope that you will likewise respect it.
    “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
    (The Family:A Proclamation to the World)

    “God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years. There is no justification to redefine what marriage is. Such is not our right, and those who try will find themselves answerable to God.”
    (Gordon B. Hinckley)

    “Pressure is put upon legislatures to legalize unnatural conduct. They can never make right that which is forbidden in the laws of God.

    “Sometimes we are asked why we do not recognize this conduct as a diverse and acceptable lifestyle. This we cannot do. We did not make the laws; they were made in heaven “before the foundation of the world”. We are servants only.”

    This is what I believe and this is in large part why I will vote YES on Prop 8.

    http://yes-on-prop8.blogspot.com/

  172. For all you people who cite that marriage is a religious holy union, try telling that to all the straight couples who get married at a court house by a Judge or to all those drunken straight people who get “hitched” in two dollar ram shackle “fast-food” marriages in Las Vegas. Give me a frakin’ break with all the religious crapola. If you wanna have a religious ceremony then go right head, thats your choice, but that has nothing to do with a State sanctioned legally recognized marriage that offers benefits and protections.

    There was a time when black people were not “allowed” to get married, although they did it anyway (look up “jumping the broom”), and inter-racial couples were not “allowed” to get married. And every nasty religious dogmatic and insane reason were thrown up to prevent those unions, they all passed. And so gay people not being “allowed” to get married” will pass too as did the others.

  173. Mark Hansen

    kuhnigget, AFAIK the Rev. was responding to Richard (3 posts above the Rev.’s post), pointing out where in the Bible lesbianism is wrong. Perhaps he should have pointed that out at the start of his post. I don’t think he actually was trolling.

  174. Vision Engineer

    I am not versed in all the intricacies of the Bible, but one should be careful in interpreting what it says. For one thing, it is often important to look at the original hebrew or greek text. A lot can get lost in translation, ex. “day” in Genesis which in the origianl Hebrew could have many meanings including “a long period of time”. Another thing is the cultural context. I don’t know every reference to slavery, but when one is told “obey your master”, some might take that as condoning slavery. However, I really think it is akin to “love your ememies”. BTW, slavery in that culture often consisted of people selling themselves to a master in order to pay off a debt. There was one day out of the year when all slaves were set free. I would imagine your value as a slave was pretty low shortly before that date! There may be other cases of slavery discussed in the Bible, but I am not a Bible scholar and am not very qualified to comment on them. If references are made to conquering and enslaving other people, it could simply be God commanding his wrath upon his enemies, which really is His domain. And anyone that used that to justify American slavery was, I believe, seriously misguided.

  175. Pat

    The real argument, one which inevitably is shot down because of its inherent ability to elicit the reaction of “Oh, that’s not good” is that marriage and sex are not for pleasure. You marry to make children. Ergo, any marriage that doesn’t produce children is not ordained by God.

    All together now: “Oh, that’s not good.”

    Nowadays, we immediately consider infertile couples, either from misfortune or advanced age; and according to this prime edict any geriatric shenanigans are verboten. Invoking this, the real reason for the prohibition against homosexual unions in the Bible, brings to light just how medieval this prohibition is.

    Apparently, the mother Church considers that everyone should be forced into their same misery and hatred of sexuality.

    Imagine: sex and marriage for love! The nerve!

    In this wise it is different than interracial prohibitions which are tribally based and designed to keep down an underclass. Instead, it is motivated by the same mindset that creates the Creation Museum. A fear based in dread that maybe the Word isn’t as inerrant as it might be believed, or worse that sin and pleasure are not synonymous and years have been wasted on ones knees for the wrong reasons.

  176. Phil said “You can only accept that they feel that way, even if you don’t agree or like it, and even if it makes you feel they are less worthy of respect.”
    Damn straight. This issue reared its ugly head in a another thread not long ago and someone tried to draw analogies between the gay lifestyle and paedophilia and other obnoxious things. Unfortunately I can’t read any of this persons comments now without thinking of his truly abhorrent beliefs.

    I don’t think marriage is a purely religious institution in any of the western democracies? I went to my brother’s wedding in Germany last year and the marriage was purely civil procedure. If you want to have a religious ceremony too you can do that afterwards.

    Someone mentioned earlier if we allow gay marriage what is stopping to straight guys getting married? Why would they but if they did why not? I have no particular problem with that.

    As far as I can tell there is not one single argument put forward against gay marriage that does not have some basis in religion. Defining marriage in religious terms probably goes against the religious establishment clause in any of our constitutions – US, Australian, etc. For that reason a ban is wrong (putting aside all the equality, moral or ethical arguments).

    AlexT. You forgot one. “Render unto Caesar…”

  177. Another argument we hear a lot of is the promiscuity angle. As if the ability to get jiggy wid it more often is a bad thing. I’m thinking that this is the “argument from jealousy”.

  178. kuhnigget

    @ Mark:
    Thanks. I spotted the connection after posting.

    @AlexT:
    Thanks for sharing. I respect your “beliefs” so long as you don’t try to pass them off as universal laws to which the laws of the U.S. must conform. See post above regarding who writes our laws.

    @Shane:
    The proponents of California’s prop 8 try to use every argument except the religious one, even though they are all fairly transparent and specious. I might actually respect them if they had the guts to be honest about their opposition to gay marriage…but they are not. And I do not.

    Nonetheless, I would be surprised if the measure did not pass. I just don’t think people in this state have evolved that far.

  179. pcarini

    AlexT Said:
    I respect the fact that you have a belief eventhough I disagree with it. Let me share with you what I believe to be true and hope that you will likewise respect it.

    {…snipped Mormon stuff…}

    This is what I believe and this is in large part why I will vote YES on Prop 8.

    http://yes-on-prop8.blogspot.com/

    Alex, I respect your belief up until the point where you start forcing its tenants upon people who don’t share it. What makes you think that your beliefs should be written into state law, especially when that law will bring loss and harm to many people – most of whom you don’t even know?

    What if the situation was somehow inverted? What if California had, say, an orthodox Muslim population. Should they be able to make it illegal for your mother, sister, or wife to go outside without covering her head? Or without wearing a full burka? The difference between this hypothetical situation and your Prop 8 is quantitative only, in principle they’re the same — a religious group (mis)using the state constitution as a tool to control the behavior of people who don’t follow their teachings.

    Beliefs are to be given consideration, in my opinion, but that becomes null and void as soon as they affect the liberty or well-being of a non-consenting party. If you choose to share them, share them through friendship, discussion, or service; but don’t share them through the threat of violence or imprisonment. A law is exactly that, coercion backed by the threat of violence, so please vote with an understanding of the responsibility you bear.

  180. LukeL

    The slippery slope argument can work as you cannot define marriage by just two people. Many faiths allow for multiple marriages and by law then we cannot discriminate against that as it prohibits their free exercise of religious expression.

    Also Kuhugget you assume I am religious even though I never said I was in my post. I merely make the argument that the state should not be involved in these kinds of matters as religion will seep into it and as a nation we cannot approve of one faith over another. That is unless we define marriage as a pure business contract in which assets and parental rights are even split amongst those involved.

    The other issues I take offense to is now it seems the terms husband and wife are considered offensive as they are not gender neutral. Also some churches have already been sued for refusing to conduct a gay marriage ceremony, and have been threatened with having their tax exempt status taken away as they have now ventured into making political stands on issue which violates federal law. What do we do in these cases?

    This is why marriage should not even be an issue for this country and not something written into state or federal law.

  181. pcarini

    Vision Engineer said: I am not versed in all the intricacies of the Bible, but one should be careful in interpreting what it says. For one thing, it is often important to look at the original hebrew or greek text. A lot can get lost in translation, ex. “day” in Genesis which in the origianl Hebrew could have many meanings including “a long period of time”. Another thing is the cultural context. I don’t know every reference to slavery, but when one is told “obey your master”, some might take that as condoning slavery. …

    It’s truly a shame then that the ministers who used the bible as justification for slavery didn’t take a long, contemplative break, study the Hebrew and Greek texts, and search for reasons why they were only metaphorical in their support of slavery. It’s also a shame that the ministers today who are using it to further their hate-mongering don’t study it for possible mistranslations. Unfortunately the bible the apologist reads is not the same bible the bigot reads and, even more unfortunately, the bigoted interpretation usually requires less in the way of logistical and linguistic gymnastics to arrive at.

  182. LukeL,

    You’re confusing two parallel but different definitions of marriage. One is the secular state controlled legal contract marriage and the other is the religious church marriage. No one cares what you do in a church. No one is stopping your free exercise of religious expression. One wife or husband or ten. Whatever. What fair minded people are after is legal recognition by the state of the civil union, or marriage, of two people. Bigamy is illegal after all.

  183. Lawrence

    Marriage is a contract, really a civil union recognized by the State. If you go ahead & get married in a church, without a marriage license, you’re still not officially “married.”

    People should not let their own religious beliefs be used as a means to deny “civil” rights to a legitimate segment of our population. And I mean legitimate to throw out all of the questions about bigamy, etc – which are illegal.

    It will only be a matter of time before these rights are recognized, much in the same process as equal rights for women & minorities (definitely still a work in progress). People should take more time to look at themselves, their own relationships, and work on them, instead of trying to decide what other people should and should not be doing.

    In this day and age, when we have so much other stuff to worry about – it amazes me how easily people can be distracted by issues such as this, which at the end of the day have no effect on their lives – whereas war, failing economies, etc, directly hit their bottom lines.

  184. The Yorkshire Sceptic

    If the homophobic bigots can cherrypick the Bible to support their views, then so can everyone else.

    Try I Samuel Ch 18 – “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David [...] Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”

    And then try II Samuel Ch 1 – “Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

    Now I could be wrong here, but isn’t marriage a covenant? And the second one doesn’t sound strictly heterosexual to me…

    When it comes to man’s inhumanity to man:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hJgDw6Fk2g

    Watch it and weep.

  185. No one has been able to substantiate this statement.

    *shrugs* Religious scholars throughout the centuries have substantiated the claim. You’re free to disagree with them, of course, with your naive, out-of-context reading of a translation, but that holds as much weight with me as the Answers in Genesis people “debunking” evolutionary biology.

  186. AlexT demonstrates how he’s using his personal religious beliefs to discriminate against people. Thanks, Alex, but we already knew that Prop 8 is institutionalized Christian bigotry.

    God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years.

    Wow, you really believe such whopping lies? I’m curious who you are planning to sell your daughter to once she reaches the age of 12. Wouldn’t want to break that Biblical tradition.

  187. Also some churches have already been sued for refusing to conduct a gay marriage ceremony

    Cite? Anybody can pretty much sue anybody else in the US. Doesn’t mean you’ll win, or that your lawsuit will even reach trial.

    and have been threatened with having their tax exempt status taken away as they have now ventured into making political stands on issue which violates federal law. What do we do in these cases?

    Take away their tax-exempt status if they’re violating the law, of course. Refusing to perform homosexual marriages is not a violation of the law, but promoting Prop 8 is.

    Funny how you think the government should get out of issuing marriage licenses, but seem quite concerned about churches keeping their special tax privileges.

  188. Ben

    Phil; I’m surprised that you’d bother wasting the emotional energy of ‘loathing’ on a cucumber…

    My wife is a fan of reason and an extremely philosophical being and as a result I dealt with my position on many such issues long ago. Personally homosexulaity is not for me, but of course it must be societally allowed, as the video says anything else is simple discrimination.

    Nearly all of what one thinks derives from ones beliefs. I can understand the un-willingness for the non-relegious to use the term ‘belief’ because of the religious association, but I think that allowing the word to relate to oneself removes barriers of communication. I accepted the subjective status of many of my ‘scientific’ views fourteen years ago. Ulimately you have to accpet that you believe that the table you’re sitting at is there, or that the sun will come up tomorrow, but there is no evidence of these apparent ‘facts’, not in the strictest sense of the word. You might point to the physical sciences as proof of both physical matter and it’s properties such as inertia but if I was playing devils advocate I would say that these are merely a complex societal underpinning to your belief system, and I’d be right. It’s an old argument, but nevertheless it’s very important in general, and very important to our society right now. The old sayings are true; Theism and Atheism, for instance, are not entirely opposed as they are different sides of the same coin, making unsupportable statements about the absolute nature of the universe. The true opposite to each is agnosticism. I think perhaps this will be viewed as old fashioned…

    The trouble is you end up finding it very difficult to work up the energy to loath cucumbers. I just let ‘em be.

  189. One is for procreation, the other is to excrete waste from the body.

    *chuckles* I don’t know about you, but I use my penis for both procreation and excreting. In fact, I use it for the latter function vastly more often.

  190. Vision Engineer

    pcarini: “the bigoted interpretation usually requires less in the way of logistical and linguistic gymnastics to arrive at.”

    I don’t think it is logistical and linguistic gymnastics. I would compare it to making a judgement based on all the known data as opposed to a small subset of data. In science, basing your conclusions on a small subset of data often gets you a similar result: incorrect conclusions.

  191. kuhnigget

    @ LukeL:

    “The slippery slope argument can work as you cannot define marriage by just two people. Many faiths allow for multiple marriages and by law then we cannot discriminate against that as it prohibits their free exercise of religious expression.”

    Totally not following the “logic” on that one. Huhhh? I think you’ve just made an argument against faith-based law. Far out!

    “The other issues I take offense to is now it seems the terms husband and wife are considered offensive as they are not gender neutral. Also some churches have already been sued for refusing to conduct a gay marriage ceremony, and have been threatened with having their tax exempt status taken away as they have now ventured into making political stands on issue which violates federal law. What do we do in these cases?”

    As someone noted above, please cite cases. I don’t believe any such legal action has actually happened, yet this straw man argument has been repeated ad nauseum. It’s basically a rehash of the old “poor oppressed white man” b.s. Just because you extend rights to others, doesn’t mean you take away rights from the original group that monopolized them.

    “This is why marriage should not even be an issue for this country and not something written into state or federal law.

    But it is already, unfortunately. The case presented before the California Supreme Court, the one that triggered Prop 8, found over 1400 hundred instances of the laws favoring married couples over domestic partners or single people. That’s 1400 instances of one class of people getting preferential treatment under the law. That’s not supposed to happen in our society.

    So I agree with you, in a sense. Marriage should not be a legal contract. People who want the legal benefits of “marriage” should be domestic partners. If they want to further that with a marriage ceremony – religious or otherwise – then fine by me. The trouble is, our law currently does not work that way. “Marriage” is the basis for over 1400 rights not given to “unmarried” people. Until that changes, the definition of marriage must change.

  192. Badger3k

    If the Sermon on the Mount is the best the bible has to offer, then that’s not a whole lot. Try: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Sermon_on_the_mount for a start on analyses of it.

    Re: being gay – I like stopping people in their tracks when I ask the inevitably heterosexual guy when he stopped being attracted to men and chose to be atracted to women, and if he was still attracted to men sometimes. They usually sputter off incoherently or else pause and think. The latter group is the more reasonable one, naturally.

  193. GregV

    kuhnigget, well said. Ironically, the right-wing reaction to gay marriage will ultimately shine a light on the shadiness of the existing system, and probably have the opposite effect of what they want. Fun! I hope the country can pull it together and get this resolved within my lifetime.

  194. Bo Babbyo

    Another widely overlooked passage in the Bible relating to homosexuality and similar issues appears in the 8th chapter of Acts — the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. This story is significant because Hebrew law specifically excluded eunuchs from “the assembly of the Lord,” [Deuteronomy 23:1 No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD.] but Philip encounters a eunuch reading scripture and soon welcomes him as a follower of Jesus.

    Anyway, the real question at this point is, what HASN’T scripture been used to justify and/or condemn? So far I’ve come up with Kosher grape soda and felt-tip pens. I’ll let you know if research yields further results.

  195. First time commenter, but have loved this blog for some time. You do great work. On this particular post, I agree completely. However, I think there is an even bigger issue at stake. I totally agree that being gay is not a choice. A gay member in my extended family once told me that if there was a medical treatment he could have had while much younger to not be gay, he would, with the knowledge he has now, taken it. Not because being gay is a sin or anything, but because of all the hardship it caused him while growing up. It was clearly not his choice. That is certainly a strong reason to move our country towards abandoning bigotry and intolerance towards gay people.

    As a certain political leader might say, that is the world as it is. What about the world as it should be? In the world as it should be, should it matter that being gay is a choice or not? I suggest it should not. Another person being gay, whether by choice or not, affects me not in the least. It hurts no one, and that person needs to be allowed to maximize his or her own level of happiness as they see fit (in general, as with anything, providing the rights of others are not infringed upon, of course). Phil’s decision to not have cucumbers on his salad is a choice that simply does not affect anyone else except Phil (maybe cucumber farmers, but I don’t think Phil’s decision is going to drive them out of business).

    A commenter mused earlier upon how gay marriage would affect heterosexual marriages. Being in Southern California which has allowed gay marriage for a short time now, I would say that yes, after the courts allowed same sex marriage, I made a choice to become gay, leave my lovely wife and went to find some guy to marry. If you believe that… In reality, as you could probably guess, my marriage is fine and has not been in any way affected. That whole argument about destroying the institution of marriage is simply baloney.

  196. Carl Matherly

    @ Bo Babbyo

    “Anyway, the real question at this point is, what HASN’T scripture been used to justify and/or condemn? So far I’ve come up with Kosher grape soda and felt-tip pens. I’ll let you know if research yields further results.”

    Um… if its Kosher grape soda doesn’t that mean a Rabbi has made sure that the soda follows all of the scripturely (I think I made up a word- or at least a spelling) requred rules?

    You got me on felt-tip pens though

  197. Crazy

    The point is that it is recreational sex not procreational sex and as such is a sin of glutony and excess by anyones book so it should not be promoted just because because some people abuse the institution we should not allow it to be further abused. Personally, I like to sit around and watch TV but it should not be singled out that I have a right to do so or promoted by the government.

    Next BraveNewWorlders will start wanting the words bride and groom or husband and wife to be against the law.

    Animals stealing from each other is also a part of nature but it doesn’t make it right. That arguement is invalid.

    Case closed.

  198. Taylor

    Actually Phil,

    I think most people think Job’s Speeches are the best part of the bible.

  199. Muzz

    Greetings.
    There’s a lot of people saying that marriage is a symbol of a bond and commitment between two people, a ceremony and celebration of love and other such stuff.
    It’d be nice, but that’s not really true. It’s a familial-legal construct all about the combining and securing in succession of people’s wealth & property and the production of offspring. That’s what it is for and that’s pretty much what most cultures the world over see it as to this day. The other stuff is really a very distant second, despite how much emotion and sincerity and fun there can be on the day.
    It is quite hilariously ironic that the religious fluff about the expression of love used to dress it up kinda gave birth to romanticism and modern notions of romance and so end up being the very ideals being used to undermine (as traditionalists see it) the institution. But while basic homophobia and other such things are probably at the root of things like proposition 8, or at least its public support, there are some really deeply ingrained legal and cultural aspects which complicate things. It really seems to be, to my untrained and cursorily read eye, very difficult to just leave it as a matter of “Eh, let people who want to tie the knot do so. Who cares who or what gender they are”. It’s going to take a while to unpack all that history so these sorts of propositions and strange new structures for sequestering off of ‘gay marriage’ into civil unions and what not are likely to keep coming back.

  200. kuhnigget

    @ Crazy:

    Uh, yeah. Case closed.

    Go back to your bridge, troll.

  201. pcarini

    Crazy said:
    The point is that it is recreational sex not procreational sex and as such is a sin of glutony and excess by anyones book …

    You’ve got a fairly limited definition of “anyone” there. I expect that that a substantial majority of people (at least in first-world countries) don’t consider sex to be a “sin of glutony [sic] and excess”, and if they did, what business is it of theirs what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?

    Furthermore, where do you draw the line between “recreational” and “procreational” sex? If a heterosexual couple aren’t trying to have a child, but don’t use birth control, which is that? How about a couple that is trying to have a child, if they enjoy themselves while they’re at it, is that a “sin of gluttony”?

    … so it should not be promoted just because because some people abuse the institution we should not allow it to be further abused. Personally, I like to sit around and watch TV but it should not be singled out that I have a right to do so or promoted by the government.

    Sex doesn’t need to be promoted in any way for people to engage in it. It’s sort of a built-in drive, and rather hard to affect by persuasion or dissuasion. What we’re talking about here is granting a privilege to one group of people, and denying it to others, based on who they choose to sleep with. You are indeed right that it’s not the government’s job to single out the people to whom it gives rights and privileges. If it grants them to some, it must grant them to all, without discrimination.

  202. pcarini

    Oh, and:
    Crazy said: “Animals stealing from each other is also a part of nature but it doesn’t make it right. That arguement [sic] is invalid.

    The list I linked about homosexuality in animals wasn’t to just its “rightness” in humans, I was addressing claims that homosexuality was somehow unnatural.

    Case closed, as you said.

  203. pcarini

    Gah! The above post should say “wasn’t to justify its ‘rightness’ in humans”.

    Vision Engineer Says:
    pcarini: “the bigoted interpretation usually requires less in the way of logistical and linguistic gymnastics to arrive at.”

    I don’t think it is logistical and linguistic gymnastics. I would compare it to making a judgement based on all the known data as opposed to a small subset of data. In science, basing your conclusions on a small subset of data often gets you a similar result: incorrect conclusions.

    Indeed. The Bible has more than one verse that mentions slavery, it has several which deal with how a master should treat his slaves, how Christian slaves should treat their masters, and who the ownership of slaves should be transferred to in certain estate transactions. These verses (see most of Ex. 21-23, though there are others elsewhere) cast a fair amount of doubt on your “indentured servitude” interpretation… are they all mistranslated from the original Hebrew or Greek?

    p.s. Bah, I was tired last night, and my quote above should say “logical” instead of “logistical”.

  204. Daffy

    It is absurdly easy to disprove the idea the homosexuality is a “choice.”

    How old were you when you [i]chose[/i] to be heterosexual?

  205. MH

    It should be noted that sexuality isn’t a binary option, choosing between “homo” and “hetero”, and that the biggest proponents of Prop8 ALSO oppose virtually all sexual expression. In their minds, even hetero-married couples ‘ought’ only to have sex for procreation, and even then better not enjoy it too much. Whatever your kink is, it offends them, they hate it, and they would make it illegal if they could.

    Don’t stand with such people. Lie down with dogs, the company you keep, etc.

    Although for the record I’m pretty sure ginger kids -are- the spawn of the devil.

  206. Bo Babbyo

    Yeah the whole Kosher grape soda thing is non-controversial only insomuch as people worried about things being or not being Kosher would be the only ones to have any opinions yea or nay, and none of them have spoken up.

    I suppose there could theoretically be controversies on the matter, but folks who keep Kosher households apparently have better things to do with their time. I welcome an education on the matter, should I be in need of such.

    But your are speaking to a brick wall where the felt-tip pens are concerned. On this I am unmoved and unmoveable. It is true, the earth hears me. Grr grr.

  207. DGKnipfer

    @ Crazy,

    My wife can’t have children any more. Does that mean we can’t have sex?

    @ MH,

    I’d get mad about the ginger comment, but as I am the spawn of the devil…

  208. Todd W.

    @Crazy

    Two quotes come to mind:

    “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” and “Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Is not God the final arbiter? Where is it written that mere humans are to pass judgment on people? If someone wishes to sin, then that is between them and God, no?

  209. Homosexuals – Sodomites – are an abomination unto the Eternal Lord God.

    They are despicable and disgusting sinners rebelling against the Holy Lord Almighty. The Almighty Lord carried out His verdict on them with the destruction by fire of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah and with the destruction in modern times of New Orleans by flood. Yes this was Divine Punishment for toleration of such Depraved Vice! Whether the PC Socialist mob like it or not that’s the Plain Truth.

    The Punishment for Sin is Eternal Death. Sodomy is among the Worst of Sins.

    This isn’t a matter of personal opinion by is the Eternal Word of The Father and the Redeemer, Jesus Christ who can even forgive Sodomites their Foul Sins & turn them towards the Lord curing them of their Depraved Lusts.

    Repent and Sin no more!

    Racially speaking, black skin is a mutation and a sign of our Fallen World’s Decay since the moment when Adam and Eve were Created in God’s Own image. Evolution depsite what the evolutionists claim is a backwards process creating nothing new but causing the Original Kinds Created by the Almighty Creator God of the Holy Bible to degenerate over time – thus Man produced apes and chimpanzess and was NOT produced by them! Similarly White Caucasion people have devolved through mutation into the Black and Yellow and other coloured skin races. Saying this is, of course, incedibly un-PC and will no doubt get me into trouble with the Socialists here. It also happens to be the plain Truth.

    A final thought and question before you vote for true Americans who wish the best for their country – and, again, this is NOT racist but only fact:

    Can anyone here name a single country *currently* being run by a Black-skinned man that is doing well and not falling into Chaos, Crime and Misery? (Nelson Mandela? An exception and not a man who was really as good as his worshippers claim. South Africa is falling into Crime and Chaos as I write. Besides he’s NOT current.) Zimbabwe perhaps? Or the Congo? Or Sudan? Or any other Tinpot Dictatorship in a resource rich but utterly corrupt and violent land in what was once called the Dark Heart of Africa? You can’t – because there isn’t one.

    NO nation is today run well by a Black Man – and that is the simple, stark TRUTH! Consider that and consider who is really better to run our Great Land of America:

    John McCain – a true and proven all-American Hero and Patriot

    Or

    Barack HUSSSEIN ObAMA, a half-Kenyan, Indonesian raised, Muslim named and following *hater* of America whose “Church” was not a real Church at all but only a treasonous anti-American political black-power movement that cursed all real Americans.

    Are we really silly enough to vote for BHO? Are we really taken in by this agent of the Prince of Lies? I pray we are not! Look at their Churches and pastors and what they really believe in their souls.

    McCain & Sara Palin – love America and will give everything for it!

    Hussein Obama detests America,and hates the Almighty Lord and Christ Jesus. America is now a Christian Land a falling into sin – I pray the Lord opens our eyes in time that we fall not into Temptation and for the Deceiver’s Lies but follow instead the hard and narrow path that is the Lord’s!

  210. Saddam HUSSEIN

    OsAMA Bin Laden

    B*a-rack HUSSEIN ObAMA

    Think about what the very name of this agent of the Prince of Evil and Lies is telling us. Pray he is NOT elected.

    It seems quite possible to me that BHO is a candidate for being the prophesied Anti-Christ .. & he has already Fooled millions incl. the ever-so-smug unbelieving master of this blogsite. We are indeed living in the End Times when the Eternal Lord God has even appointed Terror over us as Punishment for our Sins.

  211. Joker

    Uh .. Nice parody Fidel. ;-)

    Umm .. it is parody isn’t it?
    (So hard to tell these days :-( )

    BTW. I’m guessing the ‘Fidel’ in your moniker here is from Fidel Castro, y’know that Cuban guy? Yeah? ;-)

  212. shane

    Geeze Fidelus, you’ve crossed the line from being a run-of-the-mill loon to a full fledged homophobic racist, probably misogynist and anti-semitic, hate-monger.
    Frankly you’re despicable.
    I suggest you take it elsewhere.

  213. Joker

    Oh & Fidel – your ever so true Church – now that wouldn’t happen to be that Westboro mob by any chance would it? ;-)

    Sure are some nutters online – not that I’m not one of them but sheesh! ;-) :-(

  214. Daffy

    It would be nice if Fidel was a parody—and he may be—but that is EXACTLY how many of these Republican extremists think. Doubt me? Go out and listen to them.

  215. kuhnigget

    Best to just not feed the troll.

  216. Daffy

    Btw, wearing garments made of 2 fabrics is also a mortal sin (it’s in Leviticus—look it up)…say a cotton/polyester blend. And is punishable by stoning.

    I’ll betcha a lot of these Christian hysterics are wearing blended fabrics.

    So maybe whatever the Bible says about homosexuality can be ignored as well.

  217. MH

    Muzz says:
    It really seems to be, to my untrained and cursorily read eye, very difficult to just leave it as a matter of “Eh, let people who want to tie the knot do so. Who cares who or what gender they are”.

    Actually, no, it’s quite easy. Give it a try and see just how easy it is!

    Crazy says:
    The point is that it is recreational sex not procreational sex and as such is a sin of glutony and excess by anyones book so it should not be promoted just because because some people abuse the institution we should not allow it to be further abused. Personally, I like to sit around and watch TV but it should not be singled out that I have a right to do so or promoted by the government.

    1. Except that you DO have that right, and it IS in the constitution: the ninth amendment affirms the existence of rights not spelled out in the Constitution itself. Just because a right isn’t in the Constitution doesn’t mean you don’t have it. You have a right to watch TV, so long as it doesn’t conflict with the rights of others; you have a right to marry whomever you want. As do gay people, and indeed, ALL people.

    2. As pointed out, sex is not gluttony, but furthermore, so what if it was? You can’t justify legislation based on (your personal idea of) (Christian) sin.

    Gay marriage only threatens traditional marriage to the extent that traditional marriage is/was used as something to lord over gay people – “You can’t get married, neener neener!” Now homobigots will have to find some other way to feel good about their marriage instead of reassuring themselves, “Well, my marriage may be loveless and my sex life boring or nonexistant, but at least I’m not gay!”

  218. Todd W.

    @Fidelus Astronautica

    Hmm…where to begin. I guess I’ll just go in order:

    They are despicable and disgusting sinners rebelling against the Holy Lord Almighty. The Almighty Lord carried out His verdict on them with the destruction by fire of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah and with the destruction in modern times of New Orleans by flood. Yes this was Divine Punishment for toleration of such Depraved Vice!

    Do you have specific evidence to support your claims? If so, please share. However, taking a logical look at it, New Orleans seems a rather bad place to choose if God wanted to clearly point out his dislike of tolerance for gays. Wouldn’t San Francisco or Provincetown, MA make a better target? Or, for overall depravity, Las Vegas? Good to know that lesbians get a clean pass, though, as they aren’t sodomites.

    Racially speaking, black skin is a mutation and a sign of our Fallen World’s Decay since the moment when Adam and Eve were Created in God’s Own image. Evolution depsite what the evolutionists claim is a backwards process creating nothing new but causing the Original Kinds Created by the Almighty Creator God of the Holy Bible to degenerate over time – thus Man produced apes and chimpanzess and was NOT produced by them! Similarly White Caucasion people have devolved through mutation into the Black and Yellow and other coloured skin races.

    Again, evidence to support your claim? If I recall correctly, non-human primates predate both modern humans and apes/chimpanzees. So, your speculation that chimpanzees are descended from humans requires some considerable, strong evidence.

    On skin color, I assume again you have some evidence to back up your claim? If whites came first, then apparently humans originated in northern Europe (the Caucasus region, according to you), and not in the Middle East at all. At any rate, it’s good to see that at least you believe in evolution, if not necessarily in the order that physical evidence suggests.

    Hussein Obama detests America,and hates the Almighty Lord and Christ Jesus.

    Please give concrete examples of Sen. Obama’s hatred of America. What specific acts has he performed that indicate such a hatred? Similarly, what specific acts has he performed that indicate a hatred of God? Please do not point to the people he has associated with, because then you would have to denounce Jesus himself.

    Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin themselves have averred that Sen. Obama is a patriot and loves the U.S., that he is a Christian. Perhaps you should discuss your views with them.

    Although you say that you are not being racist, your comments certainly smack of “whites are better than blacks”, which, my friend, is racism. I’ll leave you with a quote, in addition to the two I mentioned in a previous post:

    “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[c]‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

    (Matthew 5:21)

  219. For the lead up to the election we in Australia have a new half-hour radio show bringing us coverage of your election. So far it has been hilarious. The two guys involved were responsible for “Canadian” motorcade stunt (osama bin laden in the limo) that got through all the security at the APEC conference in Sydney attended by Bush, Putin and all the Asia Pacific leaders. Click my name to see that video
    Anyway, today they were playing recordings of your conservative radio shock jocks. Apparently the two most popular in the States. OMG, the hate. I really can’t believe the stuff they spout – Obama smoked crack while a young man… um… did stuff to him. Bill Ayers actually ghost wrote Obama’s “autobiography”. No wonder Mr and Mrs Joe Average from Iowa are scared and will vote McCain.

    Our radio show is hilarious and is worth a listen. Four episodes in so far and it is being podcast. You can find it here…
    http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/racerace/

    I really highly recommend it to you all. Americans especially might gain some insight into what some of us overseas think. Oh, and it is funny.

  220. MH

    “No wonder Mr and Mrs Joe Average from Iowa are scared and will vote McCain.”

    Actually Iowa is a guaranteed lock for Obama. So he’s got that going for him.

  221. MH,

    Damn those mid-west states. Just when you think you can stereotype them all…. :-)

  222. Todd W.

    Hey, now. I’m from a midwest state (though transplanted eastward to MA).

  223. DGKnipfer

    @ Fidel Astro

    Ethiopia is doing quite well under President Girma Wolde-Giorgis. That took me all of 30 seconds to confirm.

    Angola is also doing well under President José Eduardo dos Santos.

    Nearly a dozen sub-Sahara countries are doing quite well. That just doesn’t make the news. Progress just isn’t sensational enough for the news.

  224. pcarini

    @Fidelus Astronautica: Preach it brother! It is your duty to god and country to gather all of your friends and acquaintances and PRAY for the proper outcome on election day. Whatever you do, don’t go vote, as that would prove that you have no faith….

  225. kuhnigget
  226. Since so many religious right-wingers want to live in the Dark Ages, I say us science-minded folks should hurry up and build a time machine and shove them back there.

    Oh, and I have to say it: Rebecca is hot. :P

  227. Darth Robo

    I find it very ironic that Fidelus should tell us what’s right and what’s wrong, when his OWN BOOK promotes slavery and incest – among many other things.

    I wonder if he goes around murdering (sorry – executing in the name of the Lord) anyone he believes to be a witch?

  228. @ kuhniggit

    1.) Because I myself am queer, and because I generally prefer the term queer over LGBTQIA.

    2.) Susanne Pharr wasn’t offering statistics, but a description of common mechanisms of oppression, and how they’re experienced by diverse groups.

    3.) I’m sorry that you were targeted so early. However, your experience notwithstanding, many queers’ first experience of discrimination is in their teens, not in their childhood — the New York public school you mentioned is, in fact, a high school. And even though eight years old is solidly within childhood, many children of color experience racial discrimination earlier than that. Are you familiar with the study about pre-school aged children being asked to choose a doll for themselves, and black children expressing a clear preference for white dolls over black dolls, because they’re “prettier”?

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