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June 05, 2006

Synchronicity, of a Sort

Today is the 25th anniversary of the identification of a mysterious syndrome attacking gay men, which would in time be called AIDS. President George Bush is marking the day by calling for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would bar same-sex marriage, despite the fact that there are currently thousands of U.S. citizens who are in legal same-sex marriages.

I am ashamed that the president of my country wants to use the Constitution of the United States to break up the lawful marriages of thousands of my co-citizens. But I'm not at all surprised at his timing. The depth of his contempt for the Constitution, and of his pandering to bigots, requires no less of him than this.

There are parallels, I think, between this George and another: George Wallace. The latter George famously stood in a schoolhouse door in 1963 to show he stood with those who believed in segregation now and forever. Later, when he was asked why he indulged in racist politics, Wallace said, "You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor." Yet in his later political career, Wallace recanted his racist views, reached out to those to whom he had earlier expressed hate, and worked to make amends. Was this recantation personal or merely political? It's not for me to say, but even if it were the latter it was still the right thing to do.

By declaring his desire to take away rights that people already have, George Bush is standing in his own schoolhouse door, condoning bigotry to satisfy his own particular group of floor stompers. One may hope in the fullness of time he will do as Wallace did and attempt to make amends. I would be willing to forgive him, to the extent that he is doing me wrong by his position. But there are others whom he is wronging more, and from whom he will need forgiveness more.

Posted by john at June 5, 2006 02:47 PM

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Comments

Jon Marcus | June 5, 2006 02:59 PM

Hey, I'm all for pointing out Bush's myriad flaws. And I think his pandering to the Dobsonite wingnuts is pretty damn slimy.

But I believe (correct me if I'm mistaken) that he's actually done a fairly decent job on AIDS funding.

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 03:11 PM

I think the funding has been good; my understanding is that some of it, at least, comes with some strings attached (i.e., teaching abstinence, etc) which one may or may not see as useful. I'm not commenting on AIDS funding as much as the timing of his announcement for a renewed push against same-sex marriage. Here in the US, AIDS is/was a disease that disproportionately struck the gay community.

John H | June 5, 2006 03:22 PM

I think part of the reason for Wallace's change of heart came from being confined to a wheelchair. I believe he was sincere - that it wasn't just political, although it certainly helped revive his political career.

I doubt Bush will ever have the same kind of epiphany - his arrogance and ignorance are too deeply ingrained...

John H | June 5, 2006 03:37 PM

The scandal in AIDS funding is this - the Bushies have demanded that equal dollars be spent on each of the three strategies for combating AIDS in the third world: teaching abstinence, teaching monogamy and condom distribution. Basically, they're spending twice as much money preaching morality as they are for condoms.

Not exactly what I would call a decent job...

Bearpaw | June 5, 2006 03:39 PM

Bush -- as with many things -- promises more than he ever intends to deliver. So it is with AIDS funding.

And yes, most of what funding actually happens comes with some strings that make things worse in the long run. Multiple studies in multiple contexts have shown that "abstinence-only" approaches results in more disease transmission (and more unwanted pregnancies).

Daka | June 5, 2006 03:46 PM

I respect your views and opinon or even the fact that you will take the opportunity to Bush bash even if you didn't see any good in what he is trying to accomplish. But would you help me understand where the choice of freedom (ability to marry the same sex) ends? What about those that want to legally marry three or four people? Is that hurting anybody? How about someone who is truely in love with their pet? If your local school teacher feels its right to have a legal marriage and intimate relations with his/her dog would that be ok too? They may want to share those views with your children and heck they may want to try it. My guess is you will draw the line some place too like everyone else does (probably at the law that says all guys in the neighbor should share their wives with each other). Maybe we should lower the marriage age also so kids can get in on it (if they are mentally and physically ready of course) Who draws the line on that? Who's right and who is wrong John? Bush might not be like George Wallace at all, he might actually be smarter than that because he's looking at the larger picture while others are being more self centered and screaming its all about them and its their right.

Jim Winter | June 5, 2006 03:48 PM

I can't see an elderly George W. Bush recanting his stance. Twenty years from now, he'll still be standing in the schoolhouse door while all the kids inside are sending their kids to schools in the suburbs.

John H | June 5, 2006 03:57 PM

Daka: Nothing in the US Constitution bans polygamy, underage marriage or bestiality. What is it specifically about gay marriage that requires the federal government to get involved in restricting it?

JC | June 5, 2006 04:08 PM

Why, oh, why is the first response to the same-sex marriage always some sort of specious "slippery slope" argument that seeks to tie the notion of same-sex marriage to all sorts of things completely unrelated to it?

A reason why same-sex marriage ought to be legal (and is in the state of Massachusetts) is because laws which prevent same-sex marriage discriminate on the basis of gender. That is, if we are to treat both genders equally, we can not arbitrarily decide that it is ok for a person to marry a member of one gender but not the other.

In order to invoke the "slippery slope" argument, one really should explain how this working out of existing anti sex discrimination law inevitably leads to any of the other scenarios that Daka has argued should also be legal. (My contention is that it does not. So there is no line to draw.)

If Daka truly feels that those other relationships ought also to be considered legal marriages, he will have to argue them separately from same sex marriage since the arguments in favor of same sex marriage do not apply to those other relationships.

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 04:19 PM

Daka:

"Bush might not be like George Wallace at all, he might actually be smarter"

I doubt that.

The same-sex marriage as slippery slope argument is null as far as I'm concerned. Same-sex marriage has been available for years in the Netherlands, and yet as far as I know no one there has made a serious suggestion that it has opened the door to polygamy or man-beast marriages. Likewise with same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, which have been available for two years now without a single person showing up demanding to marry his or her pet or a three-year-old.

Alternately, I have yet to see anyone make a serious argument that legalized polygamy leads to same-sex marriage, so one wonders why there's an assumption that the converse would be true.

The beast-human marriage concern, incidentally, is beyond stupid. Marriage is a legal contract and no animal is competent to enter such. This scenario is useful largely to determine which people are rationally discussing the issue, and which people have their heads entirely up their asses on the subject.

tommyspoon | June 5, 2006 04:27 PM

Daka, I'll make you a proposition: If you can tell me just ONE way that same-sex marriage harms my heterosexual marriage, and one that doesn't involve quotations from ANY religious text, I'll join you on your side of this debate.

tommyspoon | June 5, 2006 04:28 PM

Daka, I'll make you a proposition: If you can tell me just ONE way that same-sex marriage harms my heterosexual marriage, and one that doesn't involve quotations from ANY religious text, I'll join you on your side of this debate.

kevin r. | June 5, 2006 04:29 PM

The thing is, Bush hasn't really been that enthusiastic about the gay marraige stuff. I don't think he really cares. Plus, I'm sure he knows it'd never get passed anyway, even if he did care to make a real push for it.

Which in some ways is just as bad, since bringing it up like this is just blatant pandering to those who do care about such things. I would think those he's trying to pander to would eventually realise that he's not really going to do anything, and would stop letting themselves be pandered to, but...

I think polygamous marriage is just as valid as gay marriage -- I don't see a principle that would let you be for one and not the other. Personally, I'm "for" both of them -- if all involved are consenting adults, do whatever you want. Frankly, I don't think the government should be involved in any sort of marriage.

The bestiality thing is pretty stupid though.

Dan | June 5, 2006 04:43 PM

I wrote about this too John. It pisses me off that this dim-witted ninny is trying to turn the Constitution into a dating manual by dictating who we should or should not be attracted to, and with whom we should or should not want to spend the rest of our lives.

Daka:
As for what "good" he's trying to accomplish, I don't see it. How can you consider it good to restrict the rights of honest, tax-paying American citizens based solely on the of what gender their parter is?

Moreover, your argument is a complete slippery slope in that you forget the fact that marriage requires legal consent, and unless your dog can sign its name, you'll never get it.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Bush's plan to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage is that any such amendment would contradict the already existing 14th Amendment. The case of Loving vs. Virginia eliminated the ban on inter-racial marriage, and though some may consider that irrelevant, I think if you look at it in terms of discrimination, you'll see that it does, in fact, apply quite nicely.

Now, before you bring up pedophiles marrying children, let me tell you that pedophilia is a crime in which there is a minor victim unable to give legal consent.

Right now, the two major arguments against gay marriage are based upon either personal "ick" factor, or Religious principles. And the fallout from amending the Constitution based upon either of those reasons would be utterly devestating for this country in terms of 1st Amendment freedoms.

Finally, the best advice I can give you is to say that if you are against gay-marriage, then perhaps you shouldn't marry someone of the same gender as yourself.

Sorry for the long rant, John.

CoolBlue | June 5, 2006 05:00 PM

John H

Nothing in the US Constitution bans polygamy, underage marriage or bestiality.

There is also no right to marriage in the Constitution.

JC

A reason why same-sex marriage ought to be legal (and is in the state of Massachusetts) is because laws which prevent same-sex marriage discriminate on the basis of gender. That is, if we are to treat both genders equally, we can not arbitrarily decide that it is ok for a person to marry a member of one gender but not the other.

That is a very suspect argument, though I agree it is the position the Mass Supreme Court took.

But there is, in reality, no "equal-protection" violation when banning same-sex marriage because "equal-protection" applies to individuals, not groups. As a result, no (fe)male can marry another (fe)male in states where this is banned.

Thankfully, the voters of Massachusetts voiced (voted) their approval of Gay Marriages partially relieving the Mass Supreme Court Justices of their awful twisting of the law to effect a desired outcome.

kevin r.

The thing is, Bush hasn't really been that enthusiastic about the gay marraige stuff. I don't think he really cares. Plus, I'm sure he knows it'd never get passed anyway, even if he did care to make a real push for it.

This is exactly right. Both the debate in the Senate and the "pep rally" Bush held today is political pandering, pure and simple. Republicans are starting early to make sure the Social Conservatives actually come out to vote.

Greg | June 5, 2006 05:01 PM

In a way, I'm hoping the FMA does pass...if only to be killed as the states refuse to ratify. Unless the vote is exceedingly close, perhaps it may shut down future talk of banning marriage.

I may be sh!tting sunshine, but perhaps all this hullabaloo is a good thing. 25 years ago, you couldn't mention homosexuality in polite company. Today, we're increasingly cool with it -- enough so that the uptight feel threatened.

Lars | June 5, 2006 05:04 PM


Daka:

I'd like to know, why is gay marriage so easily interchangable with polygamy, bestiality, and pedophelia in your mind? Homosexuality changes the dynamic of marriage not one bit -- it's still a loving union between two people. Can't you see how that differs from a union between four people, or one person and a horse? If you don't, tell me, and I can draw out the differences for you cleanly and plainly.

John H | June 5, 2006 05:16 PM

Greg:

Unfortunately there are enough state legislatures that have said they would ratify such an amendment. But it has no chance in the Senate, so the point is moot.

CoolBlue:

You are correct, which proves my point: this is just another case of the federal government overstepping its Costitutional bounds.

CoolBlue | June 5, 2006 05:22 PM

John H

You are correct, which proves my point: this is just another case of the federal government overstepping its Costitutional bounds.

Well, it doesn't prove your point unless I am the gold standard for correctness in all things political (in which case, disagreeing with me automatically makes you wrong [Hear that John?]).

But it does make us in agreement on this subject.

Which should probably scare the shit out of you.

Daka | June 5, 2006 05:44 PM

I apologize for sounding like I was trying to get anybody on my side. I am not a writer and (as John has already said) it appears that all I have accomplished is to show that I fall in the category of people with their heads up their ass. I'm only trying to present some thoughts that bothered me.



I'm more worried its a long process that degrades over many generations rather then in the case of two years. I don't think you will find evidence short term that it is hurting anybody. How long did it take people to find evidence that smoking was hurting anybody?



I'm only asking where does it stop (and I used bad analogies). Did you know that there is no evidence that first person shooters have anything to do with people killing other people? Although I heard the kids that shot up Columbine had the whole school mapped out in a first person shooter and practiced with it first? There have been lawsuits generated over similar cases. But some wonder if there is something we are missing with this thinking. Yes, in case you wonder I've played them, many, even helped develop them. But when we have to design the game to shoot an innocent unarmed person begging for mercy to get a max volience rating something with that bothers me. (yes you strive for that rating because they sell better)



Marriage is not always between two competent people. Marriages in some countries are arranged by the legal guardian (owner?) of the person getting married. There was even a 60 minutes show (I believe) that uncovered a group of people that were marring their kids off at crazy ages. So if there really is a clear definition on this so we can keep the nut cases from coming forward and giving concent for their pets to marry people that want them great or do you look the other way and say they aren't hurting anybody so leave them alone? Is that the new standard? Or better yet if we can't prove short term that it hurts anybody then its ok? I worried but that thought process wherever its used.



There are many things I dislike about Bush too. Killing the ability for small business to ban together to get health insurance, allowing large corporations to use pention money for capital equipment, killing stem cell research etc. But my list is much larger when it comes to the Kerry's, Clinton's, and Kennedy's of the world.



There is good and bad everywhere, we all have to navigate through it best we can and hope we don't make decisions that we look back on and regret (i.e. George Wallace). If do, oh well, *shrugs* fix it and go on right?

Sorry about having my head up my ass, but just had some thoughts as "Beyond Stupid" as they might have been. I don't want to be a target for those more articulate then I that is for sure :(



Thank you for letting me post my thoughts though.



Anonymous | June 5, 2006 06:11 PM

"I'd like to know, why is gay marriage so easily interchangable with polygamy, bestiality, and pedophelia in your mind? "


Hi Lars, I was viewing it I guess on a discussion (legal one at that) of who or what we are allowed to marry in the eyes of society or government. It scares me to think that people that practice polygamy or bestiality feel they are deeply in love, and loved in return just as well.

Just recently my wife and I saw an interview with a man in the U.S. and his three wives here in the U.S. (they interviewed two of them in the dark because it was illegal). They all loved each other very much and want have polygamy legal now that gay marriage is in some states.

As far as the comments about bestiality or polygamy being illegal I have to laugh. That is exactly what we are discussing, what should be legal and what shouldn't in the case of marriage right?

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 06:18 PM

Daka:

"Marriage is not always between two competent people. Marriages in some countries are arranged by the legal guardian (owner?) of the person getting married."

You're going to have to back that up that assertion, Daka. Also, more to the point, you're going to have to show that this has any relevance here in the United States. Unless you can show that any state in the Union allow any person to be married without their consent or allows people who are not judged competent to give their consent to get married, what they do elsewhere is not on point to what we do here.

"How long did it take people to find evidence that smoking was hurting anybody?"

Unless you're seriously trying to suggest that same-sex marriage should be identified and treated as a disease, this is a ridiculous comparison, as marriage is a legal state, whereas smoking is a physical act. If you want to suggest that same-sex marriage is a disease, you'll need to provide me some epidemiology to convince me. So far as I know, no marriage anywhere at any time has ever been considered a disease.

Clearly if you're worried about the long-term side effects of same-sex marriage, the scientifically prudent thing to do is conduct a long-term study on its benefits and effects, which would require a study group, possibly, as you suggest, across several generations. Pushing for an Amendment to the Consitution to bar such a thing, thereby dissolving the thousands of same-sex marriages that already exist in the US, would naturally not provide scientifically useful results.

Daka, the problem is that whatever your concerns, thousands of American citizens are already legally married to members of the same sex. If this marriage amendment passes, the United States renders null and void these legal marriages. That is an outrageous legal and moral violation, and establishes these people as second-class citizens. This is not a nebulous concern about what might happen -- it will happen. Because same-sex marriage already legally exists here in the United States. Period, end of sentence.

Daka, here's a simple question for you: You have two people standing before you, as married as the day is long, in a loving, committed and monogamous relationship. Are you willing to tell these two legally married people and that you'd support a constitutional amendment to render their marriage null and void? Because, very simply, when George Bush says he supports an Amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, that's exactly what he's doing: Saying that some marriages shouldn't exist.

Christie Keith | June 5, 2006 06:48 PM

If your local school teacher feels its right to have a legal marriage and intimate relations with his/her dog would that be ok too?

The fact that you think two people of the same sex loving each other has something to do with screwing a dog, says a whole hell of a lot more about you than it does about me. And I know, I'm breaking John's suggestions rules about not being nasty, but W ruined my day this morning and it's not getting better.

Tired of being a second class citizen. That's all.

Kero aka Kevin | June 5, 2006 06:54 PM

Why is polyagmy being thrown into the same boat with bestiality and furnituraility (the desire to marry one's ottoman) when this argument comes up?


I sort of lean toward the "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" school of marriage; there are way more than one way to skin a cat. As long as everyone involved is of legal age and competant to make the decision why are limiting marriage to two people?


Is it because of the religous grounding of marriage as an institution? The idea of marriage as a way to preserve capital in a family is something that strikes a cord with me. I suppose there are ways to abuse it, but name one institution that isn't being abused by someone?


Anyway, back to the original question, why is polygamy considered bad?

Dan | June 5, 2006 07:28 PM

Hmm.. I really don't know why polygamy is bad, per se? Consider the following Fabio "I can't believe iss not budder" hypothetical:

Fabio has 10 wives. He's then capable of having ten children a year with these wives. After a decade, the planet would be overrun with one-hundred tiny Fabio and Fabiettes.

Yes. These are the sorts of things that keep me up at night.

Daka | June 5, 2006 07:45 PM

John I apologize for turning this into a long discussion but will try to answer you as best as I can.


When you tell me they have been doing this in the Netherlands for years with no ill-effect that brings other countries into it. This is why I brought up what some other countries are doing with marriage as well.


When I see people interviewed in the U.S. that practice polygamy and want it legalized because gay marriage has been in some places, it says that this thought process is spreading. Yes, John much like a disease mutating along the way into a new form each time. Marriage has meant the union of a man and women for a very long time. There is no doubt in mind that gay marriage changes the definition of it into something slightly different. Just because some states pushed it through doesn't mean we don't look at it and go hey wait a freak'n minute, thats going to redefine all kinds of things and open the door to a lot of uglyness. Just because a few states pushed it through on their books doesn't mean it is over, period, end of sentence. I am sorry but I wish it was that simple.


Seriously please somebody tell me why it matters what you marry or who you marry or how many you marry once you have redefined the word marriage. I know I'm going to get told there is no legal definition for the word marriage or that the one we have does not mention gender (although we all know it was implied for centurys) so now that someone (Bush) is trying to preserve or protect that he is going to be the bad guy?


Gays are not second class citizens just because they can't redefine the word marriage. I am sorry you feel they would be or they would think that way. Just like nobody should be second class (or feel they are) because of race, religion or gender. They still have freedom of choice as to who they want to live with and how. If things are not equal in the rights of married people and a gay couple then fix them but don't fix them the wrong way. I am worried about the thinking process John. I'm worried we are trying to defend the gays with the word marriage and opening up a can of worms for other things.


I'm thinking when they gave high school kids and grade school kids condums because well they are going to have sex any way so lets keep them from getting pregnant or giving needles to drug addicts to stop the spread of aids how this is masking the bigger problems. Its the wrong mindset, the parents need to spend more time raising their children and teaching them and we need to be getting people off the drugs and stopping distribution of it to solve the real problem. It's a mindset thing. So by masking the problem it was the easy fix and we didn't piss off a lot of people and now it encourages more sex with young people and the drug users are happy? Yeah that made me feel good about my tax dollars in Massachusetts.


I'm sorry but I really want people to be happy and love is better than hate any day and companionship is a very wonderful thing no matter if its a spouse, friend, or pet. But this whole thought process of trying to change the definitions points in a direction that I feel is dangerous. I don't know if it will migrate, maybe not, but we get a step closer to letting it spread into something else.


In answer to your question John I don't know what I would tell that married gay couple. I wouldn't want to be in the position because I am sure they love each other very much. I have gay friends and I live in Massachusetts (and God help us all if you people vote in Kerry next term) I have a front row seat here remember. I don't have all the answers, I won't pretend to either, I am more concerned with the trends and believe that a discussion like this is much better then isolated, closed minded, my-way-is-right thinking.


It's for too many reasons to mention here (and I wish I could express myself better) I just think Bush is doing the right thing in this case. He's trying to protect the true meaning of a very important tradition and its definition (eeks I feel knives being sharpened to throw at me already). I don't think he is trying to hurt gays deliberately.

Kero aka Kevin | June 5, 2006 07:46 PM

I can see where that would be a problem but if the NBA has taught us anything it's that Fabio doesn't have to have 10 wives to generate a prodigious amount of offspring.

John H | June 5, 2006 07:52 PM

I have nothing against polygamy and polyamory (the polygamists version of shacking up). The people involved are aware of the nature of their relationship and have apparently accepted that - who am I to judge.

As for adults marrying children, how about the 37-year-old woman who legally married her 15-year-old lover? She got pregnant by him and was able to marry him under Georgia law without his legal guardian's consent. The law they used had been on the books since the 1960's, so I don't think we can blame this one on gay marriage...

Kero aka Kevin | June 5, 2006 07:57 PM

Daka:


Why shouldn't any amount of people who want to get married get married? I think your definition of marriage is too narrow and misses the point. You are focused on the one man one woman and not the other important part; that they love each other. If 3 people love each other why shouldn't they be allowed to form a union to support and nurture each other? Why does the number bother you? Why does the gender?


I understand that you miss the 50's when morality started at home and was strictly enforced through public mores. However, the times have changed and people are no longer forced to follow strictly Christian rules when they live their life. It would be great if you could tell a 13 year old that having sex is a special wonderful thing meant only for grownups who are married and not have that 13 year old go home and watch people having sex on TV as often as they can. The truth is that telling kids to be abstinant doesn't work when it is the only sex-ed offered. It is absurd to think that teenagers only think about sex if a condom is present. Teenagers think about sex any time they see something curved or something straight.


John H | June 5, 2006 08:11 PM

Daka:

You make the argument that polygamists want the law to recognize their marriages since it now recognizes gay marriage. You somehow interpret this as some kind of disease spreading across our country.

Yet polygamy predates the Bible. By your logic, polygamists have just as much right to define marriage as you do.

When you stop trying to defend a definition that is out of date and start looking at the actual issue you might start to see why denying same-sex marriage is just the religious right's way of discriminating against people they don't like.

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 08:30 PM

Daka:

"Gays are not second class citizens just because they can't redefine the word marriage."

You're just not getting it, Daka. Gays didn't redefine the word marriage. In the case of Massachusetts, the state supreme court decided the definition of marriage there was unconstitutionally discriminatory. Unless you have inside knowledge on the sexuality of the members of that court -- unless you can show that the members of the court who voted for allowing same-sex couples to marry are all totally gay -- you can't lay this on gays and lesbians.

Moreover, you're continuing to operate on the assumption that marriage in the US means only men and women. This isn't true, nor has it been true since May 17, 2004. You shouldn't be asking why gays and lesbians get to change the definition of marriage, because the definition of marriage already includes same-sex couples. If anyone's trying to change the definition of marriage, it's religious conservatives.

And you're wrong that gays and lesbians would not be second-class citizens if the definition of marriage were changed to be only between a man and a woman. If the anti-same-sex amendment were to pass, my entirely legal marriage would not be affected, but the entirely legal marriage of a same sex couple would. Their rights would be restricted. If the words "second class citizens" have any meaning at all, they mean that rights some members of society have are denied to others.

"I don't think he is trying to hurt gays deliberately."

I see. Tell me, do you think the people in same-sex marriages wouldn't be hurt when their marriages are declared null and void? Do you think they wouldn't be hurt that their president is saying their marriage has no right to exist? Do you think it won't hurt when the legal rights and protections they have as a married couple are stripped away and two people who were legally married are now considered legal strangers to each other, with no more rights in their relationship than two people passing on the street? Because I have to tell you, if someone did that to my marriage, it would hurt me a lot.

If you don't think Bush means to hurt gays and lesbians, then what you're really saying is that the man is a either a moron or a sociopath. Because he knows several thousand gays and lesbians are already legally married to members of their own sex -- and if he doesn't think saying he thinks their marriages shouldn't exist isn't hurtful, there's something wrong with the wiring in his head.

You say you don't know what you would do, but that you think that Bush is doing the right thing. Since what he is doing is proposing to sever the legal marriages of thousands of American citizens, what you are saying is that you think severing these marriages is the right thing to do. You want these marriages to end. Because these marriages are not theoretical. They exist, and will continue to exist, and more of them would happen right up until the theoretical second when the 37th state ratified this odious, hateful, bigoted, cruel, monstrous amendment into the Constitution of the United States.

Like it or not, Daka, when you support President Bush in this Amendment, you are saying to that couple that their marriage shouldn't exist. You are the one who is saying you have the right to change the definition of marriage, because the definition of marriage already includes same-sex couples, and you want to change it to something that doesn't. You are saying that you have a right to tell them they should not have a right that they currently enjoy. You are saying that they should have fewer rights than the rest of us.

Emily | June 5, 2006 08:47 PM

I'll never see polygamy legalized in my lifetime because of the nightmare of insurance and inheritance and the related laws.

What I -would- like to see in my lifetime is people thinking, when this particular slippery slope argument comes up, about how (a) not all polygamy is one-man-many-women and that (b) making a union legal protects the two people in it even more than it validates them, and that's really important.

But I'm biased.

tommyspoon | June 5, 2006 09:23 PM

Daka, I'm truly sorry that you can't see your bigotry for what it is. I'm sure that you are well-meaning and kind, but that doesn't change the fact that you are willing to enshrine a form of discrminiation into our beloved Constitution. And that is something I will not tolerate.

So I guess you can call me bigoted, too. Bigoted against bigotry.

P.S. I'm still waiting for you to take me up on my challenge. Don't feel bad if you can't come up with anything. To date, no one has.

Byron | June 5, 2006 09:26 PM

I'm more worried its a long process that degrades over many generations rather then in the case of two years. I don't think you will find evidence short term that it is hurting anybody. How long did it take people to find evidence that smoking was hurting anybody? I'm only asking where does it stop (and I used bad analogies). 

So what if being married hurts people? We tried the whole "saving the fools from themselves" thing with the whole Prohibition debacle. Stupid idea then, stupid idea now. In any case dollars-to-donuts you find that gay marriage is about the same as any other marriage.

I agree with Emily that we won't see polygamy because it would drive the IRS nuts.

Did you know that there is no evidence that first person shooters have anything to do with people killing other people?
Yes? And your point is?
Although I heard the kids that shot up Columbine had the whole school mapped out in a first person shooter and practiced with it first?
Actually, I think that was an episode of Numb3rs.Again even if they did, point being? They could have also "recreated" the school with a "map." Maybe some D&D style markers. Crap! Someone! Call the press! D&D will kill our children!
There have been lawsuits generated over similar cases.
And judges keep throwing them out. When the lawyer in question gets particularly annoying the judge occasionally revokes his temporary license in whichever state he's pissed off this time. Comedy gold.
(yes you strive for that rating because they sell better)

No. They strive for "T," not "MA." Much in the same way the movie industry strives for PG-13.
Marriage is not always between two competent people.... [rambling cut]

And defining marriage to be between a man and a woman addresses this how exactly? Oh, wait. It doesn't.

mythago | June 5, 2006 11:57 PM

the parents need to spend more time raising their children and teaching them

Some of us parents are teaching our children that gay people are also people, that it doesn't matter if the happy couple getting married are both girls, and that some traditions are not worth preserving. Be careful what you wish for.

Christopher Davis | June 6, 2006 12:07 AM

Daka: for many years, marriage meant one man and one woman of the same race. In the case of Loving v. Virginia, the original trial judge said, in his opinion: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

darren | June 6, 2006 02:07 AM

Daka:
"I have gay friends"
Isn't it interesting how bigots always have their gay, black, asian, mexican, etc. friends and that somehow is supposed to ease my mind that their fear and hatred are rational?

"(and God help us all if you people vote in Kerry next term)"

Why Daka, whatever do you mean?

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little | June 6, 2006 10:42 AM

If things are not equal in the rights of married people and a gay couple then fix them but don't fix them the wrong way.

What the bleeding hell does this mean?

What other way can you envision "fixing" the problem of unequal rights except by restoring equal rights?

Daka, I don't think even you know what the hell you're saying.

Tripp | June 6, 2006 12:35 PM

Daka,

You've mentioned a couple times how you are inarticulate and cannot make your points very well.

Personally I think you have articulated your feelings very well. You are afraid. You are worried. You can't quite put your finger on the reasons but you definitely have fear.

My God, man, buck up! The religious right is pumping you full of fear so that you'll vote for them, that's all. They like to see you scared.

Well try to grow a spine for once and set your fears aside. For John's sake I won't get too snarky but I don't think the fact that you are worried and scared is a good reason to discriminate. Sheesh.

Daka | June 6, 2006 12:45 PM

John I didn't get a chance to respond to your last comments yesterday. I was actually in Borders Books in San Jose, CA. looking for your book "Old Man's War". Which is what brought me to your site in the first place lol. But here is what I struggle with ...


Some people here think I am attacking gays and blaming everything on them from polygamy, bestiality, to pedophilia. It's not an argument about gays as it is an argument about marriage to me. A lot of what I have said has been twisted and I am sorry that's my own fault for not being able to express or write as well as some of you can. (I actually do have gay friends, we disagree on these issues). I’m not so insecure in life that I need to make up things to try and convince people of my way of thinking nor do I need to blame others for it.


Many of my friends (gay included) camp in Province Town Mass on Cape Cod every year and go in town every Sat night and have pizza with our kids. The town is the most open expression of gay life style with a very high population of gay relationships. We explain that to our kids and eat and shop in the same places where their affection is open expressed (sometimes too much lol). That is a lifestyle they choose and are free to choose and when our children ask about it we explain them they are very much in love and choose to be with that person.


I don’t feel gays should look at themselves as second rate citizens. Remember how the media tried to help fight racial hate by telling people they should embrace their differences? There is nothing wrong with equal rights and if a same-sex couple doesn't have them then a union and institution has to be setup that represents that no? You say it is already there? But it has to take on a new meaning. As some people in this forum agree that won’t just mean same-sex, it should include polygamy as well. (My point exactly)


You said I missed the point, yet I don't see that marriage is already legal across this country. I see that it got pushed through in one state (a very democratic state) and doesn't represent the views of a ton of states (listed in USA Today this week) that have 60-70% of the population that feel as I do on the subject. Then on top of that this court pushed it through based on discrimination? We can apply discrimination to all kinds of things that are not an appropriate use of the term. Also they sort of found a verbal loop hole because the definition didn't precisely spell out man and women (though everyone for centuries knew it meant it). I've seen criminals get off in courts because their lawyers forced the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. Those laws are just not that perfect. That is exactly why a lot of other states are saying hey wait a minute here.


“Moreover, you're continuing to operate on the assumption that marriage in the US means only men and women. This isn't true, nor has it been true since May 17, 2004.”


Since May 17, 2004 ? That's when it started to “not” mean between a man and women? It has meant a man and women for centuries John and one state has attempted to change it for the whole country on May 17, 2004 with all those that are for it screaming that is the way it is now. That’s a redefinition as even you show here. It's not the way it is now and for the majority of people in this country it has not been redefined for the country just because of one Massachusetts court.


So what I would tell that couple standing in front of me? I would tell them they jumped the gun that is what I would tell them, and sometimes when people jump the gun they get hurt. I will tell them to stop looking at themselves like second rate citizens and get to work and define something that represents the union between two same sex partners and scream for equal rights. Embrace differences and push for something that represents you rather than trying to mold something else into what you want it to be. When women screamed for equal rights they didn't try to have the world redefine them into men did they? You are doing the gay community and they are doing themselves wrong with this approach.


I've been called a lot of names in your forum and a lot of what I said has been twisted in ways I haven't meant as well as you assuming I was "Beyond Stupid" at the start of all this (well my guess is you still might lol). That doesn't bother me, I don't listen to people full of hate or sarcasm. I am more thankful that we have been able to discuss this openly. Despite being derailed several times due to lack of provable data, I still see this as a mindset problem and a redefinition. I've learned a few things from everyone here and really appreciate that we have had this discussion. It needs discussion and resolution for everybody.


Thank you
Daka


Now I gotta find a store that has your books while I am still out here in CA.

John Scalzi | June 6, 2006 01:19 PM

Daka:

"So what I would tell that couple standing in front of me? I would tell them they jumped the gun that is what I would tell them, and sometimes when people jump the gun they get hurt."

Well, but the problem is, they didn't jump the gun. A state ruled that they could get married, and so they did. You can't jump a gun when the shot's already been fired. If this couple had been one of those in San Francisco who got a liscence before there was a legal foundation in that state for their marriage, I would be inclined to agree with you about the gun-jumping thing. However, in Massachusetts, all the legal niceties were done, and there was no legal bar to their getting married.

So when you say to them that they "jumped the gun," what you'd be saying is, basically, "I'm not ready for you to be married." And I'm sure their response would be (although probably more nicely put than this): "So what?" Why should your comfort level keep them from doing something they are legally allowed to do?

"It's not the way it is now and for the majority of people in this country it has not been redefined for the country just because of one Massachusetts court. "

I've disposed of this elsewhere. Fact: Any American may now be married to someone of their own sex. Yes, they'd have to move to Massachusetts to do it. But the question is not whether it is impractical, the question is whether it is possible. So, like it or not, the definition of marriage for all Americans now includes the same-sex option. It's simply a matter of what one needs to do in order to accomplish it.

"This one Massachusetts court," as you so apparently dismissively put it, is the highest court of law in the commonwealth -- it has the right and obligation to adjucate the law there. It ruled the commonwealth was violating the rights of its citizens and asked the legislature to remedy that. That's how our system of government works. If you want to amend the Constitution to keep the courts, both state and federal, from doing the jobs, you are of course more than welcome to try.

"I don’t feel gays should look at themselves as second rate citizens."

Well, of course, I am heartened to hear that. I do hope you'll back the spirit of your words by recognizing that same-sex couples (who are, one suspects, almost entirely composed of gay and lesbian individuals) are married, have a right to be married and should have a right for their marriages not to be dissolved because some people aren't ready for them to be married.

"Now I gotta find a store that has your books while I am still out here in CA."

Hopefully you'll find them! If not, I'll have a bone to pick with the distributors.

daka | June 6, 2006 01:35 PM

“You've mentioned a couple times how you are inarticulate and cannot make your points very well.”


Hey Tripp. No, no that’s not the case when I have one poor guy thinking I am comparing him to a dog and everyone else thinking I hate gays because I voice my opinion on one issue that is against them. I need to do a lot better.


“My God, man, buck up! The religious right is pumping you full of fear so that you'll vote for them, that’s all. They like to see you scared”


I agree that religious people try to scare people into various beliefs. Really I don’t buy it and I don’t believe in what people do to other people in the name of religion. I actually don’t believe in religions themselves.


If I came across scared that’s just my inability to write. I’m concerned, worried a bit that the core issues are not as straight forward as people would like to make them here. I’ve seen a lot of people base their belief on “that’s good for me so I am for it’ and miss out on the bigger picture. I’m the type that will take proof and data over a verbal nonsense any day. I’m obviously coming across as being biased through my statements so I need to work on that I guess. (Opens door for those that want to come back and just say – “or just face that fact that you are”?) *laughs*


Trust me when I tell you I have a spine and thanks for the assurance that I’m at least getting my concerns out. I am way more worried about how much of John’s blog space I am taking up with these long responses which is why I have not answered so many people. I can see John is emotional about this issue, as are many people. That’s ok everybody from what I have seen are making some valid points. Nobody from what I have seen so far is totally right, including me.


What started me off was John trying to compare this with George Wallace and discrimination. It’s not the same or gays wouldn’t be able to live in the same neighborhoods or go to the same schools or join the army. It’s an equal rights issue for sure, and one state has started down the wrong road to resolve it, but that doesn’t mean the whole country sees it that way. Some are open minded about what is really happening here and some are not. Some think it is done, over, period, end of sentence. Some focus so hard on the closed doors behind them they don’t see the better opportunities in front of them.


I am a business man Tripp, and have done extremely well at it. The best resolutions in my experience are not one-sided, involve input from everyone and keep emotions and name calling out it. The ones that can't do that are the ones that are scared. My backbone is just fine. Hehe

dichroic | June 6, 2006 01:47 PM

The slippery slope argument doesn't work for me because that bright line is so simple and easy to draw. Consenting adults ought to be able to legalize their relationships. That means that you don't have to worry about children and dogs even if same-sex and multi-person marriage is legalized. It also means some of the liberal polyamorists would be able to legalize their marriage while a conservative fundamentalist in one of the renegade Mormon communities on the AZ-UT border wouldn't, if the latter were trying to take a wife not of legal age to consent, which could make for interesting voting demographics.

Tripp | June 6, 2006 02:22 PM

daka,

Some are open minded about what is really happening here and some are not.

You've hinted at this a couple times. What do you think is really happening here?

Amanda | June 6, 2006 03:44 PM

Daka: "What started me off was John trying to compare this with George Wallace and discrimination. It’s not the same or gays wouldn’t be able to live in the same neighborhoods or go to the same schools or join the army."

What, you think gays are allowed to join the army in the U.S.? Only if they pretend to be straight.

Just think, if the American military hadn't kicked out ten thousand servicemembers for not being heterosexual since "don't ask, don't tell" came into effect in 1993, they might not be having such manpower issues now. (And that's not counting however many people don't join the military in the first place because of this policy. *I* wouldn't join an organization in which I was so explicitly unwelcome.)

tommyspoon | June 6, 2006 03:48 PM

Daka said: "I’m the type that will take proof and data over a verbal nonsense any day."

What kind of proof are you looking for? You say that you are not religious. If that is the case, then why are you opposed to same-sex marriage? Your opposition is truly puzzling to me.

Don | June 6, 2006 03:53 PM

Aside from my personal beliefs, I'd like to see us support gay marriage just to save the money. Too much time and effort is spent on inheritance, insurance and power of attorney issues for gay couples both in legal fees and court time. And, of course, litigation in pursuit of it.

Let any two competent individuals who want to marry do it. It's not my damned problem what their motivation is but it's increasingly my problem when they can't do it.

Therese Norén | June 6, 2006 04:33 PM

same-sex couples (who are, one suspects, almost entirely composed of gay and lesbian individuals)

Don't give us bisexuals the invisibility treatment.

While the Netherlands hasn't legalised polygamous marriage, there was the case of a triad getting a civil union. Great for them!

John Scalzi | June 6, 2006 04:48 PM

Therese Noren:

"Don't give us bisexuals the invisibility treatment."

Perish the thought!


Josh Jasper | June 8, 2006 12:05 AM

Ah. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone brought up the pedophilia comparison, and then at the same time insisted that they didn't really hate gay people.

As one of the people you just tarred with that comparison, I can say for a fact that (a) it hurts a EVERY GODDAMN DAY IF MY LIFE TO KNOW THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU KEEP MAKING THAT COMPARISON. (b) this issue is a very real form of blood libel that is used throughout the world against myself and my community (c) it's remarkable how much it's tolerated, but if someone came in here ranting about how Jews killed and ate Christian babies, they'd be (rightly) treated like unspeakable scum.

There are few things that enrage me more than this issue, and how it's tolerated. I hope none of you straight people ever have to go through life knowing that it's politically acceptable to call you a pedophile because of which adult you love. It's not only sheer hell, but it's an incitement to physically violent bigotry, which I have personally been subjected to.

No one who spreads the blood libel against Jewish people ever gets away with claiming to not really hate Jews. I don't believe anyone who spreads the gay/pedophile comparison is worth treating any different than someone who spreads the blood libel rumor. As someone who's been subjected to both the blood libel and the gay/pedophile comparison, I can say that there really *is* no difference. Those comparisons have the same effect.

Jon H | June 9, 2006 10:47 PM


My only concern about polygamy is where it occurs in weird, closed, cult-like subcultures where the particpants may be under pressure from family to participate, may be punished for refusing, and may be underage.

But if, say, a guy in New York meets a woman who grew up in Florida and a guy who grew up in Seattle, and they're all adults, and they decide they want to be together, I find it hard to quibble.

For practical reasons, it might behoove the state to insist that such people present a detailed pre-nup before granting the marriage license, so that taxpayer money and resources aren't wasted later on trying to figure out how to divide their parental custody and assets should there be a divorce or death.

Jon H | June 9, 2006 10:56 PM

Daka writes: "It has meant a man and women for centuries John and one state has attempted to change it for the whole country on May 17, 2004 with all those that are for it screaming that is the way it is now. "

And before the Loving case, for most of America, marriage meant a man and a woman of the same race.

Was anyone harmed when that unjust definition was changed by the court? How?

Jon h | June 9, 2006 11:12 PM

CoolBlue writes: "But there is, in reality, no "equal-protection" violation when banning same-sex marriage because "equal-protection" applies to individuals, not groups. As a result, no (fe)male can marry another (fe)male in states where this is banned."

That logic can be used easily to justify any number of nasty laws. "A white person can marry anyone he or she wants, as long as it's a white person of the opposite sex." "A person with an inheritable genetic defect may not marry a person with the same inheritable genetic defect" (where the defect could vary from some actual disorder, to "being short" or "low intelligence").

Alternately, instead of barring interracial marriage, such laws could be used to enforce interracial marriage, in an effort to dilute a given ethnic minority in the population until it disappears.

Once you're writing arbitrary laws controlling who may marry whom, you're on a slippery slope to eugenics.

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