CA Proposition 8 decision due today UPDATE: Prop 8 overturned

UPDATE: Prop 8 was overturned. Read more here (WSJ) and here (LA Times).

However one feels about it, the decision will be a big news event and an indicator ofย how constitutional amendments nationwide will fare under challenge.

This is going to the Supremes no matter what and that will be when the lady with girth sings.

I will update the post when the decision is handed down.

CNN has a brief explanation of what happens next.

Here is the ruling.

3,045 thoughts on “CA Proposition 8 decision due today UPDATE: Prop 8 overturned”

  1. Yeah, ain’t that a ‘kick in the head’?! And it’s absolutely amazing how much other joy is out there!

  2. Would ‘marriage equality’ impact them towards zero tolerance or would it work the other way.

    I wish I could recall where I saw it, but a year or so ago I read an article by a gay guy discussing how marriage impacted his life. He said that it surprised him in the way in which it impacted his views on monogamy.

    Prior to marriage he and his guy were mostly monogamous but (if I recall correctly) occasionally one or both would have outside sex. But after making vows he and his husband found themselves newly jealous. They didn’t want anyone else touching their man and decided that marriage meant no outside play.

    I don’t know if this is usual, common, or an exception, but I’m not surprised that the expectations and commitments and responsibilities of marriage change a person. We’ve seen it forever in straights, so I would not be surprised to see it in gays as well.

  3. And yet the law does exist…and yet Christians were admonished to avoid all manner of sin…and yet Christ paid the price for our sins…for our transgressions of the law. To the woman caught in adultery He said ‘Go and sin no more’.

  4. Eddy,

    Debbie did not say that they had never seen or heard of it but simply that there was on word for it. So she wasn’t saying that it was an ‘unknown concept’ as you suggest but rather that it was one that there wasn’t a quick ‘buzzword’ for. And this is quite understandable.

    There were plenty of words in Greek which discuss same-sex behavior and same-sex love. Remember we’re talking about what the Victorians referred to as “the vice of the Greeks”.

    I have no idea why Paul did not use the common current language if he wished to condemn either same-sex behavior or same-sex love, but it wasn’t due to any lack of words.

  5. Isn’t this the start of graciousness to one another? Each person’s spiritual journey, and relationship with Our Lord, is uniquely just that … each person’s.

    Exactly, Teresa. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Debbie,

    Yes, Teresa uses the terms interchangeably. I should have been clearer in noting that I wasn’t necessarily speaking of Teresa’s usage.

    I was just trying to inform you of the usage that my community has.

  7. Debbie,

    But now that he has revealed his 10-year same-sex relationship, I think there is a valid case for his decision to be vacated.

    No, I don’t think that is a valid case.

    That one might be impacted by a case – as a class of people – is not cause for invalidation. Or we should call for the recusal of all of the justices that are heterosexually married, lest they seek to protect their marriage from the harm of same-sex marriage.

    And we’ll leave the decision to the two heterosexual single women on the court, Kagen and Sotomayor? Would you support that? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. CNN has just released a poll, CNN Gay marriage poll, showing a majority (51%) of americans now support gay marriage. However, this percentage doesn’t appear to include 18-34 year-olds which would probably bump that 51 a few points higher. No indication why that age group was excluded.

    It certainly fits the trend of increasing support for gay marriage over the years.

  9. Blakeslee,

    I’m not much interested in your continued untruthful accusations, accompanied by bizarre, paranoid insinuations, and implied blame about totally unrelated people.

    If you want to apologize for the slurs and the attacks, I’ll listen. If you pledge to stop the campaign of personal villification, I’m all ears.

    Timothy

  10. It’s almost as if they treat ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ as synonymous.

    I think in many respects they are. “Found a family” and “reproduce” are not.

  11. God is a kill joy when it comes to 21st century Western sex.

    David,

    Just make sure that your depraved 21st century Western sex is confined to the West and not extended across the Atlantic ocean to Africans who do not want it.

  12. Article 16.

    •(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    •(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

    •(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    There is no mention on children or reproduction in this Article. To “marry” is to “found a family” — whether that family includes biological offspring, adopted or foster children, nieces and nephews, or no children at all. Kids may enrich a marriage or family, but they do not define one. Earlier in this thread, you asked: “What is marriage?”

    What does this mean? It’s as if ‘marriage’ were some abstract concept and not a very real thing — a contract between two people.We are speaking here, after all, of civil arrangements, not religious sacraments. Some people marry in churches or synagougues; others are married by justices of the peace or by judges at City Hall. Under civil law, though certinly not in the eyes of people of religious faiths, these marriages are all equally valid., all equally ‘equivalent’. Moral equivalence does not into into the matter; the point of civil rights legislations is not to make statements about what sort of social arrangements are or aren’t morally equivalent to one another — that isn’t the province of the law — but to guarantee equal rights under law.” — Bruce Bawer

  13. Several of us who comment (or read) here are not just focussed on the homosexual issue, we have a greater concern for general issues of morality…for the marriage crisis (I suppose ‘divorce crisis’ might be an interchangeable term). For this reason, we often look at issues with an eye towards how they might help or hinder efforts to stabilize those areas.

    I think that we can only guess… but that these guesses do have some bases.

    It appears to me, based on what I’ve read, that part of the disdain for marriage has existed a many areas, a few of which include:

    * marriage isn’t cool, it’s old-fashioned and square

    * marriage is a paternalistic trap that demeans women

    * marriage is bourgeois and not fair to everyone, especially gays

    * marriage just isn’t worth the effort

    * who cares about the kids, do what makes you happy

    Personally, I think that the debate over gay marriage – and the acceptance of gay marriage – have actually helped heterosexual marriages in these particular areas.

    With gay folk fighting desperately for the right to marry, it has undoubtedly increased its hipness quotient. If gay folk want it so very badly, well then it must have value, right?

    And part of the debate – the part argued most vehemently in court has been the good of the kids. With both sides arguing that they are as good or better, this has, I believe, reawakened to some extent a questioning of good parenting or at least reminded parents of the value of two parents.

    Also, amusingly, a great many dedicated feminists who had been suspicious of the institution have now given it a second look and, in many instances, a second chance. Among a whole demographic (more liberal Americans) marriage is no longer dismissed out of hand as paternalistic and archaic.

    And finally, some who – out of solidarity with their gay friends – had refused to marry as long as it was exclusive and hostile to gays now are taking the plunge along with their gay friends in a handful of states.

    Finally, I think that anti-gay-marriage folk have one tremendous flaw in their arguments: they must either be terribly cruel, or they must themselves demean marriage. (I’d love to take credit for this idea, but it’s Jonathan Rauch’s)

    Gay couples need certain protections. And other than a few truly hateful people, most Christians just aren’t cruel enough to slam the hospital door or deny inheritance or fight health insurance. Christians are, on the whole, good and kind people and these just don’t feel like very good and kind positions.

    Some folks suggest a secondary, separate, institution that has limited rights (and few responsibilities), sort of a “marriage lite”. But the problem is that this opens up the couple-status options. No longer is it married or single, but now there is an in-between option. And quite a few European countries have discovered that marriage lite is quite popular… with straights. They see it kinda like a trial marriage before or instead of real marriage.

    But if we have just one option, one golden standard to which everyone is expected to strive, then I think this increases the image and status of that option.

    Now these are my opinions and I’m not declaring that marriage equality will solve the marriage problem. But I am entirely honest when I say that it will not hurt and I very much think that it will help at least to some extent.

    And if we do look at those countries that have instituted full marriage, though it is often recent and certainly not fully conclusive, the one thing we’ve seen is that marriage rates did not increase – and in some countries actually stopped or slowed their freefall – nor did divorce rates increase. This may well be to other factors, but I think it should give some ease to those who are genuinely fearful about same-sex marriages devaluing opposite sex marriage.

  14. Even if this means or implies children, it is says that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” It doesn’t say that they have an obligation to marry or to reproduce.

    It doesn’t imply that their marriage is any less valid or any less a human right if they cannot have kids or choose to remain childless. In fact, this article asserts that men and women of full age cannot be denied the right to marrry and to form a family (with kids) if that is their choice.

  15. Eddy# ~ Aug 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Good questions, all of them.

    I understand that liberal Christian denominations try to apply the same rules, assumptions, and requirements on gay members as on straight, but they often have more lax rules in general.

    As the more conservative Christian church denominations delve into this matter deeper in the future, I think they will have to address exactly the issues you bring up. And, to an extent, the discussion has already begun.

    I think that the folks at gaychristian.net have been talking about sexual responsibility and what it means for quite a while now.

    Personally, I think that the gay community would greatly benefit from voices which are consistent and equitable in their call for a Christian sexual ethic.

  16. So, is the coupling of two people ‘the fundamental group unit of society’ or are they speaking to the expectation that the two become a family of more than two?

  17. Let me rephrase it then. I am looking forward to seeing what happens when legal Marriage Equality is achieved. I think the benefits to everyone will outweigh the deficits. Personally, based on my personal and professional experience, I think the best relationships — gay and straight — are ones that avoid fornication and adultery — both of which I view as violations of the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” standard. I think both things cheapen sex and love.

    Personally, I think sex and relationships are both harmed by fornication and adultery and that the “married and monogamous” model is best for everyone involved — emotionally, physically and spiritually. Fewer health problems and fewer broken hearts. If I asked to advise gay or straight couples about which model seems to be most beneficial, I would. share my opinion that sex is best in a committed, consensual, monogamous, married context. In terms of looking forward, I predict that full Marriage Equality will be good for LGBT people in every regard — and better for society in general.

  18. Michael just posted a comment about human rights on another thread and it prompted me to read the International Bill of Rights where this struck me in light of some of our discussions here on the Proposition 8 thread:

    Article 16.

    •(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    •(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

    •(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    It almost seems like, even here, the suggestion or hope of propagation is inherent to the basic understanding of marriage. It begins by talking about the right to marry and adds ‘and to found a family’ and then it concludes that ‘the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’ It’s almost as if they treat ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ as synonymous. It will be interesting to see if ‘marriage equality’ or ‘gay marriage’ alters the language of this Bill of Rights…if the definitions become more clear or the distinctions more recognizable.

  19. Timothy–

    Thank you for your thoughtful responses. Throughout this discussion, I had these questions–not quite gelled–rolling around in my brain. Everytime someone said ‘there will be no impact’; I recoiled.

    I’m wondering now if scholars have only focussed on ‘effeminate’ and ‘homosexuals’ from 1 Corinthians 6 or if they applied their scholarship to ‘fornicators’ and ‘adulterers’ as well.

    I think of that in light of:

    I think that the folks at gaychristian.net have been talking about sexual responsibility and what it means for quite a while now.

    Personally, I think that the gay community would greatly benefit from voices which are consistent and equitable in their call for a Christian sexual ethic.

    I would hope that the consistent and equitable voices don’t just present a ‘consensus by committee’ but that they consider the Bible itself as a principle voice. If studies have been done on the complete or full meanings of ‘fornicators’ and ‘adulterers’, that would be, IMHO, a significant contribution to the larger conversation.

    I KNOW that I am responding largely in response to my impression that experimentation is generally disdained among straights (with even liberals suggesting that you don’t ‘use someone’ just to gain experience) while it actually seems to be encouraged among gays. (Ironically, a bit of sexism seems to factor in. A guy experimenting with a woman implies that he’s ‘using her’ and that she is a victim; a guy experimenting with another guy is viewed as a dalliance between equals…no real sense of one or the other ‘being used’ or being a victim. It’s one observation but 1) not sure that it’s accurate and 2) don’t think it explains it all.)

  20. I predict that full Marriage Equality will be good for LGBT people in every regard — and better for society in general.

    I agree.

  21. I agree. Very good questions!

    It’s those other words: fornicators and adulterers. How will ‘marriage equality’ impact our understanding of these words?

    Only time will tell. I have always understood “fornication” to mean prior to marriage and “adultery” to mean betraying the marital vow to have sex with someone else. I would tend to apply the same meaning to same-sex marriage — although I realize that others might differ on these boundaries.

    Without ‘experimentation’, how would a gay person know prior to committment/marriage that they are committing to the right person?

    Indeed! How would a straight person know? Many straights suggest that they should live together prior to marriage or experiment to find out. Some wait until marriage. Over 30 years of practice, I counseled many straight couples who found out only after being married that they were completely sexually mismatched in terms of libido, preffered sexual practices, who “initiates”, frequency, etc. Some found these differences to be irreconcilable.

    I realize that there are many gay couples who do not practice ‘open marriage’ but I was surprised that a number of my gay friends had a tolerance for it. Would ‘marriage equality’ impact them towards zero tolerance or would it work the other way.

    Of course, the same thing could be said of straight couples. And the have had a considerable “headstart” in terms of social, poltical and religious support for their unions. I would imagine that legal marriagee would have a stabilizaing effect for many same-sex individuals.

    I have counseled many couples — gay and straight — and find that they have essentially the same issues in their “marriages”: Problems with communication and conflict resolution, gender expectations, parenting, the role of inlaws, differences in religious values, sexual problems (mainly loss of desire by one or both parties),conflicts over money, division of labor, etc. I am sure that once marriage equality is the norm, that differences in same-sex and opposite sex marriages will become apparent — as will many similarities. As I said, only time will tell.

  22. I would hope that the consistent and equitable voices don’t just present a ‘consensus by committee’ but that they consider the Bible itself as a principle voice.

    I’m sorry. I wasn’t quite clear what I meant.

    I don’t mean to suggest that all voices agree, but rather that I hope that they would be (eventually) consistent and equitable within their own position.

    In other words, I think that for a long time gays have heard a message from conservative Christianity that wasn’t relevant or applicable. It was either “ewww, icky, nasty, abomination” or “no sex ever ever ever ever no exceptions”.

    But these were not what they heard being addressed towards heterosexuals. What they heard was more along the lines of: “not before marriage, not outside marriage.” This message does, I believe, result in a message of sexual responsibility which if it doesn’t entirely dictate sexual expression in most cases, does at least provide encouragement, expectation, and a push towards social stability.

    Setting aside for a moment whatever one believes about sex and sin, it is my opinion that giving the same message: “not before (same-sex) marriage, not outside marriage” to gay people would also provide encouragement, expectation, and a push towards social stability.

    Let’s be real. Very few heterosexual kids these days meet that goal and I doubt many gay ones will either.

    But I think that providing reasonable and attainable goals can diminish promiscuity and encourage sexual responsibility, while providing no goals or goals that are unreasonable or inequitable simply result in a lack of any boundaries at all. If everything at all is evil-evil-evil, then depravity is no worse than monogamy.

    Which is why I think that the gay community would greatly benefit from conservative Christian voices which are consistent and equitable in their call for a conservative Christian sexual ethic (i.e. fidelity within a Christian same-sex marriage). No it would not influence everyone, but it would push the entire community towards greater responsibility.

  23. I realize that I may be reading into it a bit but I submit that adding the word ‘orientation’ to the understanding might be a similar transgression. It clearly says ‘due to race, nationality or religion’ with no mention of orientation. I’ll need to see when it was drafted and if the concept of orientation existed at that time.

    In any event, to my earlier musing:

    It will be interesting to see if ‘marriage equality’ or ‘gay marriage’ alters the language of this Bill of Rights…if the definitions become more clear or the distinctions more recognizable.

    I’d like to add ‘or extending the language to include orientation’.

  24. Just make sure that your depraved 21st century Western sex is confined to the West and not extended across the Atlantic ocean to Africans who do not want it.

    What a silly statement! As if homosexuality was non-existent in Africa or is something that could be “exported” from one continent to another– like oil. Homosexuality has always existed in Africa — and everywhere human beings have settled — and it will continue to exist even if you succeed in forcing it back into the closet.

  25. Michael–

    I appreciate your thoughtful response as well but I think it goes more towards how ‘gay marriage’ might impact gays rather than ‘what impact would/could gay marriage have on the church’? While I recognize both as valid trains of thought, they are different trains.

    Several of us who comment (or read) here are not just focussed on the homosexual issue, we have a greater concern for general issues of morality…for the marriage crisis (I suppose ‘divorce crisis’ might be an interchangeable term). For this reason, we often look at issues with an eye towards how they might help or hinder efforts to stabilize those areas. Anyway, I can already assure you that there’s a general disdain for the ‘only time will tell’ approach. Taking that approach in the past has been deemed ineffective by many. Many have moved to a ‘looking forward…considering possible implications…and addressing them with foresight rather than trying to remedy them with hindsight’ approach. I’m not suggesting that one approach supercedes the other or that one is superior…just that I feel I’m speaking on behalf of those who lean towards the latter approach.

  26. This morning some implications of same-sex marriage (marriage equality) on the church came to mind. And, who knows, perhaps it’s a good thing.

    Much of the discussion has naturally focussed on ‘equal rights’ but little has been said about ‘equal responsibility’. First, if we accept the scholars reports that the term ‘eunuch’ was inclusive to the point that it included homosexuals, then we need to look again at 1 Corinthians 6:9. Naturally, it would first lead us to the words typically translated ‘effeminate’ and ‘homosexuals’ (previous translated in the KJV as ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’). This notion of ‘eunuchs’ including some who are born to be homosexuals compels us to rethink these words. But that’s a rethinking that has existed for some time. Even some 30 plus years ago, there were those who suggested that ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’ applied to those born straight who turned to homosexual behavior. (Hence, perversion: they turned against their natural use.

    But that’s not the point of impact on the church that occurred to me. It’s those other words: fornicators and adulterers. How will ‘marriage equality’ impact our understanding of these words? Traditionally, the generic definitions were ‘sex outside of marriage’ and ‘married person having sex with someone other than their spouse’. It would seem that we either need to move beyond these generic understandings and get to the essence of what these words mean OR begin applying them to homosexuals too. Let’s imagine that you have a straight lad and a gay lad both in the Sunday School class and you’re spending a week or two on sexual morality. Traditionally, church morality has been ‘save yourself for marriage’; even those with a more liberal view suggest ‘no sex outside of a committed relationship’. Would we now apply this moral guidance equally to both the straight and the gay? Perhaps my view has been jaded but it seems that gays are often encouraged to ‘experiment’ a bit to discover what it is they really like. While it doesn’t apply to all gays, some do have a distinct preference for certain roles and/or behaviors. (Various terms have been used: top/bottom, active/passive, giver/receiver, dominate/submissive. There are valid issues and exceptions to all of these…none properly defines or categorizes unique individuals AND there are many who simply have no preference.) Without ‘experimentation’, how would a gay person know prior to committment/marriage that they are committing to the right person. (And if neither partner experiments, what happens when they both discover that they prefer the same role and both have an aversion to the other role?) Would this consideration justify experimentation for the gay youth? If so, what implications would it have on the church’s traditional message to it’s straight youth?

    Setting aside the issue of experimentation, let’s move onto adults. While I do have a number of gay friends who are in committed relationships, the majority are not. Out of this majority, there are only a few who I’d term as ‘promiscuous’ or ‘sluts’; the remainder might go for months or even years without a ‘hook up’. For the straight single Christian, even such occasional hook-ups would be considered ‘fornication’; will ‘gay marriage’ have the result of placing this same standard of sexual responsibility on the gay single Christian? If not, how will it impact the message the church gives to the straight single?

    On to adultery. I can’t think of any church or denomination that condones ‘open marriage’ or ‘swinging’. I realize that there are many gay couples who do not practice ‘open marriage’ but I was surprised that a number of my gay friends had a tolerance for it. Would ‘marriage equality’ impact them towards zero tolerance or would it work the other way.

    An easy and dismissive way to respond to what I’ve written is to say ‘stop preaching morality and major on the LOVE of Christ’. Easily said but the role of the church is also to instruct and to lead; the role of the pastor is to shepherd…to guide the flock along the right path, to steer them away from a wrong or dangerous path and to rescue those who have fallen or who are in peril. The discussion and teaching of ‘right’, ‘wrong’, ‘danger’ and ‘peril’ are responsibilities of the church.

    It might take a while but, depending on which way the impact plays out, gay marriage/marriage equality could be a good thing, A basic life lesson still taught in the schools is that ‘rights come with responsibilities’.

  27. …the one thing we’ve seen is that marriage rates did not decrease – and in some countries actually stopped or slowed their freefall …

  28. Mary,

    No Jayhuck – I know what you’re saying – you’ve been saying it for years. The idea that the brain of men and women is different is a fairly new. That is why medical research now recognizes the difference gender plays in the treatment of patients.

    You are absolutely wrong on this point. The idea that the brains of women and men is different is well over a century old.

    What do you mean medical research recognizes the difference gender plays in the treatment of patients?

  29. It’s a bit similar to the proposed legislation by some southern legislator (I’ve forgotten the details) who wanted to make it a criminal offense (with jail time) for any pastor to conduct a same-sex wedding.

    That one didn’t go very far, but it didn’t get the outrage that it deserved either.

  30. Ken,

    But it does apply to religious marriages that are performed for military personnel, at least on navy bases, but it is still religious in nature – or am I wrong about this?

  31. @ Timothy : I think your main point above is absolutely key – the dangers of conflating power politics with a particular ‘brand’ of religion are huge.

  32. So, it seems in the final analysis, au contraire to Throbert’s statement below, the majority vote/opinion will decide yeah or nay for same-sex marriage. Either we see a slim majority by popular vote, 51%, or a slim majority in SCOTUS … 5/4 … this ends up being majority rule. No matter how SCOTUS opinions read, ultimately it’s majority vote.

    Another question I would put to Teresa and Debbie: If you believe that the Church teaches correctly about homosexuality being against Natural Law, why do you feel the need to back this up by appealing to “the majority” or “society”?

    I mean, the majority of people around the world don’t agree that Jesus was the Son of God and came to save mankind from sin.

    So if you believe that the majority of humanity is in error on this rather central question, what business do you have quoting the majority’s opinion on homosexuality?

    The same business others have here on this blog who use polls to show that now the “majority” is on their side. The same business that elections decide issues … by majority. The same business that parties try to stack SCOTUS so that majorities follow their views.

    It is interesting to see, however, that we homosexuals are not a monolith … just like every other group.

  33. Debbie Thurman# ~ May 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    “The sperm-bank baby phenomenon for lesbians is problematic, any way you cut it.”

    Only when those lesbians aren’t allowed to marry and 2nd parent adoptions aren’t allowed. However, in the case where marriage is allowed, the legal situation is no different than a straight married couple that uses a sperm bank (ex. when the husband is infertile).

    And for lesbian couples that aren’t married, that case is no different than an unmarried straight couple using a sperm bank.

    The only situation that is unique to lesbian couples would be if one partner donated the egg while the other partner had the fertilized egg implanted and carried it to term.

    “Especially for women, who most folks here acknowledge are more sexually fluid than men, same-sex unions with children can be a can of worms.”

    Why would it be any different than an opposite-sex union with children? The sexual fluidity in women isn’t only in one direction.

  34. I do not support civil unions (duh!).

    Woo-Hoo a direct answer!!

    I believe the question you have your shorts in a knot over is, do I believe the government is restricting the religious freedom of chaplains by mandating that they follow federal law? No, I don’t.

    And another direct answer.

    And, as I expected, you believe that the federal government can pass laws which restrict the religious freedoms of others.

    Nothing surprising there.

  35. ken,

    yes it would be a financial increase – perhaps – on couples (though some denominations are so aggrieved by the injustice that they have often volunteered their services), and I think that unfair and based on anti-gay bigotry. (I mean it really is extremely spiteful)

    But the greater threat to our republic is the attack on religious freedoms. I think that the mainline denominations need to wake up to the fact that this really has little to do with gay people and a whole lot to do with whose religion gets to order the others around.

  36. Richard–

    I’m not happy observing this farce of a conversaton either but can you explain why you only directed your comment to Debbie? This thread has tolerated numerous detours including a detour or two back to the actual topic–with many players participating in the detours. And THIS topic is Prop 8. Can you elaborate on your comment. Lots of caps and bold…suggests strong feelings. They just didn’t come through clearly.

  37. Timothy Kincaid# ~ May 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    “Yesterday, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which would bar Defense Department employees from conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies. It passed 38-23.”

    As I understand it, it would do more than bar chaplains from performing marriages, It would also bar the use of base facilities, ex. the officers or enlisted clubs, from being used for same-sex ceremonies as well, and that would financially effect gay service members since having to rent civilian halls would cost significantly more.

  38. ken,

    Are you seriously arguing that chaplains perform civil marriages? I don’t think that is very likely. What function would they serve?

    I’m finding it difficult to follow your logic and fear that you are simply stretching in order to keep to your initial assertion. I hope not.

    So let’s go back to the beginning.

    A chaplain is a religious role. Chaplains are preachers. Their work is, by definition, religious. The functions that a chaplain provides are religious functions.

    Having a chaplain officiate is, by definition, having a religious wedding in precisely the same way that having a Catholic priest or Reform rabbi or United Methodist Church minister officiate makes it a religious wedding.

    Religion + wedding = religious wedding.

    In fact, to be a chaplain you have to be a Catholic priest or Reform rabbi or United Methodist Church or ordained by some denomination and your service as a chaplain is entirely dependent on your good standing in that faith. if you church defrocks you, you can’t be a chaplain. Because what chaplains do is religion.

    You can have a civil marriage either with or without a religious component (in five states). And you can have a religious marriage without civil recognition everywhere.

    But you can’t have a civil marriage without a religious component if you include a preacher and have it blessed. That’s what makes it a religious ceremony.

    Telling a chaplain “you cannot officiate at same-sex weddings” is, by definition, restricting a religious task, whether or not there is a wedding license.

  39. Debbie

    Let’s set aside ‘religious ideology’ for moment. Do you not think that is socially useful to have some form of ‘gay marriage’ for those who, for whatever reason, genuinely believe that this is the best thing for them? (It might interest you to know that it appears that the leader of Catholic Church in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, thinks that there is a place for civil unions in UK civil law, presumably on grounds of ‘practicality’. After all, both individuals and society can often benefit from people ‘pairing up’ in ways that are genuinely mutually supportive; such ‘pairings up’ can, and, I believe, often are, conducive to the ‘common good’.)

  40. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Civil unions and outright marriage for gays are both already here (Delaware is the latest state). Richard asked if I thought it would be “socially useful” (practical was my word) for us to have same-sex civil unions. Of course it would be, whether I support the idea or not. Society will overrule me.

    What part of that was unclear to you, Timothy? I do not support civil unions (duh!). Society will to the extent that my objections won’t matter. And I will have to be “cool” with that, won’t I? Life will go on.

    I believe the question you have your shorts in a knot over is, do I believe the government is restricting the religious freedom of chaplains by mandating that they follow federal law? No, I don’t. You used the word sacrament, as if the government has some sort of ecclesiastical authority. It doesn’t. Chaplains take an oath and they know they are federal employees when they sign up. Will they be able to sue a conscientious objector kind of defense, either way here? Maybe. Don’t know.

    Are you also asking if a chaplain can use his ordination as a minister to marry a same-sex couple off of a military reservation, if his denomination supports that? I don’t know. He/she is a federal employee, and would have to abide by federal law and military regulations. I don’t know how that pertains to private, off-duty ministerial affairs. My answer is the government does not have the authority to restrict basic religious freedoms for a chaplain. It does have the authority to set regulations and enforce the law.

  41. Debbie

    PLEASE STOP. It’s UGANDA, not Prop 8! Leave it for now. PLEASE!

  42. It’s about PRIORITIES, Eddy.

    I’m sure you, Debbie, Teresa and Timothy understand. (No need to reply!)

  43. Timothy Kincaid# ~ May 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    “The federal government is prohibited from expanding or limiting religious functions”

    And what are you basing your claim that the government is doing this on, Timothy?

    “(and chaplains perform religious functions) ”

    they also perform a secular function, which is solemnizing civil marriage (generally concurrent with a religious marriage). Nor are military chaplains the ONLY military personal who can sign CIVIL marriage certificates. And I suspect this amendment would apply to ALL military (and civilian federal employees) on military bases (and perhaps other federal land) who are allowed to solemnize CIVIL marriage.

    “unless you have language that shows that this is limited to chaplains being barred from performing civil marriages (and unlikely notion) please don’t accuse me of being as unethical as anti-gay activists. ”

    Or perhaps since YOU made the initial claim, you should provide the language of the amendment showing it applies to religious marriages. and if you don’t want to be accused of being as unethical as anti-gay activists, then don’t use their tactics (i.e. claiming legislation about civil marriage applies to religious marriages).

    “I don’t intentionally lie”

    many anti-gay activists aren’t lying either, they actually believe what they say.

  44. Timothy Kincaid# ~ May 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    “But the greater threat to our republic is the attack on religious freedoms. I think that the mainline denominations need to wake up to the fact that this really has little to do with gay people and a whole lot to do with whose religion gets to order the others around.”

    I disagree and I think you are making too much of the situation.

    1st of all, I don’t think this amendment applies to RELIGIOUS marriages, only CIVIL marriages. Remember, this legislation is only re-enforcing DOMA (which doesn’t apply to religious marriages, just civil ones). I still haven’t been able to read the exact wording of the amendment, do you have a link to it?

    2nd, even if it was as bad as you claim, this would hardly be the 1st time some congressman put forth an unconstitutional piece of legislation in order to score political points.

  45. Some scholars believe that when Jesus spoke of eunuchs it was inclusive of same-sex attracted people.

    Jesus was speaking to the understanding of his followers, not to civil law; that would be consistent with his entire ministry. And this is even more startling when we consider that in Israel at the time of his ministry, religious law was intertwined with civil law.

    It is amazing how everybody has become an expert on Jesus and Christianity, even elements of the predominantly agnostic/atheistic Euro-American gay propagandist lobby are acting as if they are devout christian theologians out to show that Christ approved of sexual deviance. Even the world famous christian theologian, The Most Reverend Elton John declared that Jesus Christ was a compassionate practitioner of sexual deviance !!!

    I am very happy that this gay marriage thing in the Northern Hemisphere is unfolding before our horrified African eyes because it indicates that any move to decriminalize deviant sex will not end with the gay sex practitioners discreetly going about their business in private as implied by our pro-gay puppet commentators whenever they appeal to us to eschew our deep-seated antipathy towards western-style sexual depravity. We know that the same gay forces behind the court annulment of “Proposition 8” will be pulling the puppet strings of their Kampala-based local proxies in the unlikely event of a decriminalization in order to mobilize them to go outside the privacy of their bedrooms and demand unreasonably that the Ugandan people should publicly acknowledge and dignify their abhorrent sexual behaviour by——–

    [1] allowing them to dress half naked or in clownish/outlandish clothing and parade the streets of Kampala as their Euro-American puppet masters do in San Francisco or New York City or Amsterdam or London.

    [2] establishing a useless, sterile, self-defeating institution called “same-sex marriage” (gosh, I always laugh whenever I write that absurd string of words )

    [3] allowing them to adopt another person’s orphaned kid since their hedonistic dangerous lifestyle is compulsorily sterile and childless, unless unorthodox means are used to procure a biological child.

  46. Maazi,

    This particular element of the “predominantly agnostic/atheistic Euro-American gay propagandist lobby” probably knows a bit more about christian theology than you suspect. But as for having puppet strings…. gee, we only can wish.

  47. The judge found that how marriage has been tradtionally defined by religious groups or cultures over the centuries is not a compelling reason for the state to deny equal rights.

    “Tradition alone, however, cannot form a rational basis for a law. The ‘ancient lineage’ of a classification does not make it rational. Rather, the state must have an interest apart from the tradition itself.” — Vaughn Walker.

    “The tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples does not further any state interest. Rather, the evidence shows that Proposition 8 harms the state’s interest in equality, because it mandates that men and women be treated differently based on antiquated and discredited notions of gender.”

  48. Even if most cultures have defined “marriage” heterosexually, not every culture and time has done so. Regardless, as the Judge has ruled in this case, tradition alone “cannot form a rational basis for law.” — “the state must have an interest apart from the tradition itself.”

  49. So your argument is mainly Biblical? In a culture with tremendous spiritual and cultural diversity, is that a proper basis for civil law? Are you saying that people who don’t “observe that order ” (the way you believe that order is and ought to be) should not have equal civil rights? Why not?

  50. Ann

    I don’t need to hear anything further from you, Ann.

    Your mantra about untruths and mis-representations is false, contrived, and pathetic and now it’s getting stale. You delusional hope that if you keep repeating it I’ll eventually agree with you is simply not going to happen.

    So save your time. Really.

  51. No, there have been quite a few studies showing that there are biological factors to attraction. Simply because you aren’t aware of them doesn’t mean they don’t exist or are “just opinions.”

    Ken,

    I know there have been studies that infer this, however, I do not know how substantial or credible or conslusive they are.

  52. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 11, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Then cite a case were the court ruled something was a violation of the Declaration of Independence rather than the Constitution Debbie.

  53. Women died of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and were plagued with all sorts of unhealthy physical and emotional changes long before the accredited AMA and FDA said anything.

    Ahem — medically speaking, what are two things that lesbians and Roman Catholic nuns tend to have in common?

    (1) They’re LESS likely than “women in general” to have ever been on the Pill;

    (2) They’re MORE likely than “women in general” to develop breast cancer.

    That’s right — lesbians, as a group, and RC nuns, as a group, have elevated rates of breast cancer — which cannot be the fault of the Pill, since lesbians and nuns tend not to use the Pill.

    But what risk factor for breast cancer do lesbians and nuns tend to have in common, statistically, that sets them apart from women in general?

    Never getting pregnant, having babies and breastfeeding them.

  54. Ken,

    Au contraire to ‘modern’ notions, I happen to act (or, at least, try to) on spiritual principles; those being derived from Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Cut-to-the chase, Ken, I’m a Catholic. Now, after you’ve stopped gasping and before you start pitying me for being deceived, old-fashioned, in need of some ‘real’ counseling while ensconced in a rubber room; allow me another moment to really turn your head.

    There is no such thing as “non-violent” crime or “non-violent” wrong behavior. There are spiritual principles at work in our universe, just as there are physical laws. What I do in public and in secret affects you, Ken, and vice-versa. If I sit down to watch some porn, I’ve not only injured myself but you, Ken. I don’t walk away from that experience unaffected, but wounded. And, as we are social creatures, that woundedness affects everyone.

    So, when you or I demand our “civil rights” to marry someone of the same-sex, we strike a mortal blow to society. ‘Ab’normality (perverse, deviant) has no rights. (Please, understand, Ken, I’m not saying you as a person are perverse or deviant). I am speaking from a Aristotelian/Scholastic point of view. A view which happens to be little understood today.

    When I speak of abnormal behavior, I’m not strictly speaking of uncommon behavior. Abnormal behavior is behavior that is physically and morally dangerous to ourselves and others. The results of that behavior don’t necessarily demonstrate immediately in society, as they often do individually. The results of the 1930 Lambeth Conference in which the Anglicans approved artificial birth control, the first major Christian denomination to do so, didn’t manifest their widening social destructive consequences until the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision: the decision that allowed abortion nationwide. However, concomitant with artificial birth control came the destructive consequences to women who used the Pill, which became available in the early ’60’s. Women died of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and were plagued with all sorts of unhealthy physical and emotional changes long before the accredited AMA and FDA said anything.

    The fuller consequences of artificial birth control will not be experienced until we as a society permit euthanasia, which seems quite likely to happen in the not-too-distant future.

    Your kindness to me, Ken, should not permit you to lie to me, or support me in my bad behavior. You are not being truly kind and good to me to tell me it’s OK to have an abortion, if I happen to be pregnant and in difficult circumstances. Your kindness to me should not permit you to say it’s OK for me to watch porn, even though some judicial body (SCOTUS) happens to think ‘porn’ falls under free speech, etc. Your kindness to me should not support me if I’m messing around with another woman, under the pretext of it’s OK, you’re entitled to be happy, etc. (At least, that’s how I see it).

    Same-sex sexual behavior is unnatural, abnormal and has destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences individually and socially. It’s not just me that thinks that, Ken. Confusing the digestive system for the reproductive system (at whatever end) is not healthy, no matter how we want to dress that up.

    Have homosexuals been discriminated against, and treated poorly. Of course. No argument from me on that issue. However, so have many other persons been discriminated against, treated badly, been harmed. That is no excuse for me to expect ‘rights’ that are not mine, nor to upset the social fabric to accommodate my unhealthy interests.

    At the end of the day, Ken, you and I are world’s apart in our views. I don’t see race as being nearly the same discriminatory thing you do. If I’m white, I’m white morning, noon, and night … and, nothing I can do will change that … no behavior of mine changes my skin color. Skin color is not abnormal.

    If I’m homosexual, which I am, I may never have my sexual orientation change; but, I surely can change my behavior. I can surely adapt my behavior to social constructs that support healthy views; no matter, how pained, lonely and isolated I may feel at times. When I can no longer differentiate the good and from the bad, the true from the false, the beautiful from the ugly; I have no vision except my blind attempts at satisfying abnormal and unnatural impulses.

    Ken, what I’ve just written is not an attempt to be demeaning, condescending, or discourteous to you. If it sounds that way, I apologize. It is simply an attempt to share the other side with you, which I’m sure you may be familiar with … or not.

  55. And if [the “infiltration” of Sharia law] has occurred is it any different from Jewish peoples in New York being able to submit their civil (not criminal) matters to their own courts?

    To the extent that there’s a difference, the difference might be that Jewish women (even in the “Ultra-Orthodox” community) are relatively well educated — or at least, educated enough to know that US civil law supersedes Jewish religious law and protects their right to NOT be bound by the decisions of the religious court. But in contrast, immigrant Muslim women (read: “disobedient Muslim wives”) might be less educated about what their rights are under US civil law, making them more vulnerable to abuse by Muslim religious courts that might encourage them to sign their rights away.

    And for “disobedient wives”, one might possibly substitute “homosexuals” or “apostates and other dissidents from the religious law”.

    But in any case, the probable worst-case outcome of legitimizing these “Sharia courts” is NOT that non-Muslims as a whole would be subject to Sharia, but rather that certain disadvantaged Muslims would be bullied by their community into submitting to Sharia law, and prevented from seeking the protections of U.S. civil law.

    P.S. I don’t mean to say that Orthodox Jewish women are never abused by husbands who claim a religious right to do so. Nor do I mean to say the plight of immigrant Muslim women is uniquely awful — I’m aware of cases among immigrant Hmong (a minority group from Vietnam) where Hmong-American women suffered needlessly because they weren’t aware of the extent to which US law protected them from abusive men. My main point is that “creeping Sharia” in the US is primarily a danger to Muslim-Americans who don’t want to be bound by Sharia.

  56. I’ve not given much thought to this condition relative to marriage. I don’t even know enough about it to weigh in intelligently on that. And I still wonder why you thought it needed to be brought up in this discussion.

    I just wanted to know if you had an opinion on it — based on your understanding of the Bible and God’s will. I know the condition is rare, but it still raises important moral /Biblical questions — should they be allowed to marry? If gender-ambiguous people could, why not same sex couples?

    The question wasn’t whether or not such a person would “seek medical treatment and try to live as normal a life as is possible.” Like you, I would assume that they most likely would — if they had the resources. But, people in other cultures might not have access to such sophisticated medical care. And perhaps not everyone would choose to undergo such treatment. Some might choose to leave their bodies as they are — and still want to get married.

    I brought it up because of your unwavering insistence that the Bible clearly allowed marriage only to opposite sex partners. BUt the Bible does not seem to speak to this situation, so how does one decide what is “moral” in this case? I wondered if you had given any thought as to whether or not gender-ambiguous people (like the one in the article) should be allowed to marry.

    I accept that you haven’t given it enought thought to “weigh in on the question intelligently.” Fair enough. You have answered the question. I have given this question a lot of thought over the years and concluded that civil marriage should not be limited to those of clearly opposite gender. Of course, I base this on a different understanding of the Bible and of its application to civil law than you hold.

  57. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” Act 8:36-37

    Suppose the eunuch had asked, “See, here is a church and a minister. What hinders me from being married?” I wonder if Phillip would have used The eunuch’s condition as a reason to deny the request? If they could be baptized, is there any reason to suppose that they should have been denied other sacraments of the church?

  58. Maazi-

    Just in case ‘birthers’ doesn’t translate cross-culturally: the ‘birthers’ are those who challenge Obama’s presidency based on the possibility that he was born on foreign soil. One particular thread (Berg v Obama) started here on this website on November 11, 2008 and has had 2, 664 comments. Everytime it appears that it has finally run its course, there will be another flurry of new posts.

    Eddy,

    I read the online edition of the New York Times and Washington Post fairly regularly, so I am well aware of the Birthers and the “Obama-Was-Born-In-Kenya” conspiracy theory. In fact, one of the birthers—a Mr. Jerome Corsi—- went to Kenya to promote his book on the conspiracy theory, but the government down there arrested and deported him for “operating without a valid work-permit”.

  59. David,

    One can also be concerned with the reaction of those who sought to discredit religious institutions for participating in Prop 8; and for missing that minority status for GLBT is still an issue for other minorities: African Americans in particular.

    One should be far more concerned with how some, maybe most, of these supposed “religious” institutions sought to participate in furthering prop 8. Using lies and playing on people’s fears are hardly honorable ways to go about this. They discredited themselves by their own actions.

  60. David Blakeslee# ~ Jun 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    “This judge has articulated very well for me why Walker’s minority status does not disqualify him.”

    An interesting comment given your initial opinion about Walker. What changed your position on him?

  61. Personally, I dislike the general dismissive atttitude towards gay families. Why does my marriage (recognized by both my church and my state) negatively affect hetero marriages? Why do heteros feel negative about marriage because people like me are married? That makes no sense to me.

    My kids deserve to have married parents. My husband and I deserve to have the protections and resonsibilities of marriage. We contribute to this culture and our family does not deserve to be used as the scapegoat for those who disrespect their own marriages and families.

  62. ken,

    I am still finding it difficult to find the exact language. Here is how Akin describes it:

    “Under federal law and this amendment, U.S. military bases may not be used to solemnize same-sex unions, nor may military chaplains perform these unions in the course of their official duties.”

    So it would appear that as long as they are not performing official duties, they can do what they want. Off site. Out of uniform. NOT AS A CHAPLAIN.

    In other words, sure Corp. Jones can say the words “do you take..” but he CANNOT say the words “what God has joined together” because those words are the duties of a chaplain, not of some guy off the street.

    The chaplain’s restriction is to his practice of religion.

  63. Still worried about the state of marriage…and whether in seeking to protect this minority group (already protected through civil unions), will have a negative effect on the culture’s general value of marriage as a sacred institution.

    That is a valid worry and concern.

    Interestingly, I worry a bit the other direction. It is my perception – and while I am not authoritative on this, I do try and follow it – that marriage has actually fared better in places where gay couples have become not only allowed but expected to participate.

    I think France erred this week. Parliament voted down a gay marriage provision. That is particularly concerning because in France young heterosexual couples have been entering PACS instead of marriage – they aren’t as “serious” and don’t have the same obligations. It really would behoove them to consider encouraging marriage instead of having multiple options (and maybe fix whatever is seen as too burdensome in marriage before it dies altogether).

    But it is not unreasonable for folks to worry that allowing gay people to marry will cause marriage to lose it’s sacredness.

    Of course, they have an obligation to inspect those worries. To have “worries” that are never questioned or inspected isn’t really worry – it’s just prejudice. Yet real worries are valid and those who have such concerns should indeed be keeping a close eye on Spain and Canada and New Hampshire, etc., to see if marriage has lost its value or, perhaps, increased in stature.

    And I’m glad that Perry v. Schwarzenegger put that question to the experts. It resolved the issue – for me anyway – and the testimony should be considered. But I can understand that it may not be enough for others and that they still have a ways to go before they are convinced.

    Which is why I kinda prefer the federalist approach that we’ve taken over the past decade. We can compare Massachusetts to Alabama and Vermont to Louisiana.

  64. No. Gay couples in ALL states can have religious same-sex weddings. The government just doesn’t recognize those marriages in most states. No amount of DOMA laws or constitutional amendments can prevent gay or lesbian couples from holding weddings in churches or at our homes or at the park or wherever.

  65. David Blakeslee# ~ Jun 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

    “This is a different position than I was in 4 years ago.”

    My question was about your stance, on Walker, about 10 months ago not 4 years.

    ex. your very 1st post on this thread:

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 4, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    “An odd decision…forgone, once you knew who was overseeing the case.”

    you then followed up with several posts suggesting (and linking to other articles that did the same) Walker’s decision was biased because he was gay.

  66. Timothy Kincaid# ~ May 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    “Having a chaplain officiate is, by definition, having a religious wedding in precisely the same way that having a Catholic priest or Reform rabbi or United Methodist Church minister officiate makes it a religious wedding.”

    What you are missing Timothy is that clergy are also allowed to officiate civil marriages, mostly as a matter of convenience. Here’s how a civil marriage works. A couple files for a marriage license. then in front of a government representative they swear to be each others “lawfully wedded husband/wife” (or just spouse, the exact wording can vary from state to state), and each sign the marriage license, along with the government representative who acts as witness that the couple has sworn to whatever specific oaths the state requires. Now, these government representatives can be judges, justices of the peace, county clerks, military base/ship commanders, ambassadors and clergy. Many times the state required oaths are simply incorporated into the religious ceremony and it is just a matter of quickly signing the paper work while the guests file out of the church/temple/synagogue.

    so telling clergy they can’t officiate a same-sex wedding is saying they can’t administer the STATE oaths and sign the marriage license.

    I have seen nothing about the Akin amendment that indicates it restricts religious ceremonies or even that restricts clergy from officiating same-sex CIVIL marriage outside of their official military duties (i.e. off base on their own time). And until you can actually show me that language of the amendment that says it applies to religious ceremonies, I will consider your claims to be as accurate as those that claim state laws allowing same-sex marriages apply to religious ceremonies.

  67. Ken,

    It is important in this debate, I think, to not talk like an expert in a field you do not know. :). Opinions are just that…especially legal ones by non-legal participants.

    I have been trying to acknowledge minority status for GLBT based not upon irrevocable identifiers such as gender or skin color or national origin. To date, those are hard to find.

    To me it is more like minority status based upon religious identification. Sensations and beliefs united in an identification and a community. It is imperfect, but it works for me.

    It fits with many facts and it has the added benefit that I need not agree with the identification as a “fact” in order to support someone’s right to see themselves and the world that way.

    Latter Day Saints and Fundamentalist Christians are at odds, but equally protected under the law. Both have fundamental sensations about themselves and the order of the universe and are applying established beliefs and facts as well as personal beliefs and facts to form an identity and build a supportive community.

    This is a different position than I was in 4 years ago.

    Gay marriage is a very difficult nexus for those of us who believe elevating marriage is good for the culture and protection of the weak and the vulnerable is the duty of good government; add to this the concern that a court undermine unilaterally, the will of the people and the acknowledgment by anyone of a political mind that California Government is incredibly DYSFUNCTIONAL.

    One can also be concerned with the reaction of those who sought to discredit religious institutions for participating in Prop 8; and for missing that minority status for GLBT is still an issue for other minorities: African Americans in particular.

    As the case develops, facts and precedents are well articulated and I become better informed, when people don’t call me names, I worry less about how I are perceived and I can learn.

    Still worried about the state of marriage…and whether in seeking to protect this minority group (already protected through civil unions), will have a negative effect on the culture’s general value of marriage as a sacred institution.

  68. Or I suppose he could dissect his ministerial license from his employment and perform marriage as, say, a UCC minister. Out of uniform.

    But I think it irrefutable that restricting what a minister can do is best described as a troubling restriction on religious freedom. So it is with bafflement that I read Tony Perkins describe this limitation of a chaplains abilities and freedoms this way:

    I applaud Rep. Todd Akin for his efforts to ensure that the military is not used to advance the liberal social agenda of the Obama administration. Rep. Akin is advancing an amendment that protects religious freedom while reinforcing federal law that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, for which he deserves our thanks.

    And please do not tell me that Tony Perkins actually believes what he said.

  69. Still worried about the state of marriage…and whether in seeking to protect this minority group (already protected through civil unions), will have a negative effect on the culture’s general value of marriage as a sacred institution.

    Hi, David Blakeslee. About your statement above, I’m wondering if the culture has any longer “a general value of marriage as a sacred institution”. From my perspective, and I know I sound like a broken record on this, but the value of marriage came apart with the acceptation of artificial birth control (at the Lambeth Conference in 1930). From that point on, the most intimate act between a married man and woman, whose primary purpose was the “openness to life”, became sterile (if artificial birth control was used), occurring in the early 60’s. The use of artificial control became almost de rigueur for many married couples: condoms, birth control pills, IUD’s, inserted hormonal rods, diaphragms, vasectomy, tubal ligation, etc.

    Following that, came the natural progression for legalized abortion, to follow thru on sterility for the ‘mistakes’ of the generative process. Cut-to-the-chase, sexual pleasure without the consequences of children, was seen as OK by many, if not most. Whether the churches speak out against this, the average church-goer has opted for some form of artificial birth control. So, the married sexual act became pretty much a ‘homosexual’ act in two ways: sexual pleasure was paramount, sterility a goal. Although the ‘parts’ still fit together in a natural way (although oral and anal sex is far more common now), the act itself, using artificial birth control, became ‘intrinsically disordered’: the exact same condemnation stated of homosexual acts. This similitude of most str8 sexual activity to homosexual activity has been talked about by many theologians.

    How then can a str8 society that is essentially partaking of homosexual behavior not eventually move to marriage being OK for gay couples? Why shouldn’t it? I think, at least I do, that somehow we live in a make-believe world of yesteryear, where “marriage was a sacred institution”, and everything is peaches and cream, a world seen thru rose-colored glasses. Ain’t so. Furthermore, it’s not us homosexuals that are to blame for where we’re at. We’re rather late to the party. If you str8 folks can have your cake and eat it too, and call it right; why not us?

  70. I believe Timothy is doing what anti-gay marriage opponents do, taking a proposed law about civil marriage and claiming it applies to religious marriages.

    The kicker, for me anyway, is that in most states, you can have a religious same-sex marriage blessing. In most of those same states, you cannot have a legally recognized secular same-sex marriage.

  71. ken,

    As best I can tell (I’ve had trouble finding the exact language of the amendment), this would ban chaplains (and indeed, all military personnel) from conducting same-sex weddings of any sort. As it is chaplains they are targeting, I am assuming that they had religious weddings in mind.

    Yes, I agree that this legislation is discussed in the context of defending DOMA. So is virtually every other matter which even slightly impacts same-sex couples, even if the language is clear that it is not same-sex married couples. (And, indeed, I’ve heard language from legislators about DOMA when the issue wasn’t even about couples, just plain ol anti-gay bigotry).

    HERE’S THE ISSUE

    The federal government is prohibited from expanding or limiting religious functions (and chaplains perform religious functions) that are sectarian in nature and which advance certain faiths but not others. That is the very essence of the First Amendment.

    I can’t think up a similar violation that would not have riots in the streets… perhaps tax code?

    So… unless you have language that shows that this is limited to chaplains being barred from performing civil marriages (and unlikely notion) please don’t accuse me of being as unethical as anti-gay activists. I don’t intentionally lie or distort. Unlike anti-gays, my religious beliefs don’t encourage me to lie for “moral” reasons.

  72. My take is that ‘the people’–the same ones that make ‘reality TV’ thrive–rule! God bless ’em!

  73. David,

    (already protected through civil unions)

    If we’re talking about California yes, but this is not true for most gay people in most places. As long as the rights and privileges are the same, then I don’t mind the state calling these marriages civil unions, but that’s just me. Unfortunately, civil unions, at least those in most other places, don’t confer the same rights and benefits on this minority group as marriage would.

  74. This judge has articulated very well for me why Walker’s minority status does not disqualify him.

    “We all have an equal stake in a case that challenges the constitutionality of a restriction on a fundamental right,” Ware wrote. “The single characteristic that Judge Walker shares with the plaintiffs, albeit one that might not have been shared with the majority of Californians, gave him no greater interest in a proper decision on the merits than would exist for any other judge or citizen.”

    Found here: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GAY_MARRIAGE_TRIAL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-06-14-03-07-03

  75. Jon,

    Exactly! And NO amount of DOMA laws can prevent us from calling our unions marriages! Because that is precisely what they are, despite what the state may recognize.

  76. David,

    Regardless of where we fall on any particular issue, this is such a profound and powerful statement that I want to post a larger segment of it:

    [I]t is inconsistent with the general principles of constitutional adjudication to presume that a member of a minority group reaps a greater benefit from application of the substantive protections of our Constitution than would a member of the majority. The fact that this is a case challenging a law on equal protection and due process grounds being prosecuted by members of a minority group does not mean that members of the minority group have a greater interest in equal protection and due process than the rest of society. In our society, a variety of citizens of different backgrounds coexist because we have constitutionally bound ourselves to protect the fundamental rights of one another from being violated by unlawful treatment. Thus, we all have an equal stake in a case that challenges the constitutionality of a restriction on a fundamental right. One of the duties placed on the shoulders of federal judges is the obligation to review the law to determine when unequal treatment violates our Constitution and when it does not. To the extent that a law is adjudged violative, enjoining enforcement of that law is a public good that benefits all in our society equally. Although this case was filed by same-sex couples seeking to end a California constitutional restriction on their right to marry, all Californians have an equal interest in the outcome of the case. The single characteristic that Judge Walker shares with the Plaintiffs, albeit one that might not have been shared with the majority of Californians, gave him no greater interest in a proper decision on the merits than would exist for any other judge or citizen.

    Your interest in equal protection and due process is the exact same as mine, or Mildred Loving’s, or Oliver L. Brown’s, or that of the poorest immigrant or any Rockefeller or Kennedy. I love that.

  77. Debbie Thurman# ~ Aug 17, 2010 at 8:03 am

    “When someone can answer the question, “How is a man equal to a woman and vice versa (how are the two interchangeable)?” … then you will have redefined rational.”

    In marriage men and women are equal under the law. Differences in how the spouses where treated (based on the sex of the spouse) have been eliminated.

    I suspect I’m taller than Michael and probably have a greater reach than he does. So should laws be written to favor me rather than him because I have a longer reach than he does?

    Everyone (regardless of their sex) has different attributes and abilities. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that laws should be written to favor some people over others. Such laws must have a rational reason for favoring some people over others. Ex. since the country benefits from greater levels of education, laws giving tax benefits to those achieving a higher level of education would be rational. However, giving tax benefits to people who have longer arms is not. Just as denying the benefits of marriage to gays was shown not to be rational in the Prop. 8 trial.

  78. Timothy Kincaid# ~ Aug 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    “And the Ninth is demanding that they prove their standing in their September 17 filing.

    If they don’t have standing, then this ruling will apply only to California and Proposition 8 and not have precedent outside the Ninth Circuit.”

    There is a possibility I hadn’t thought of. The higher courts could choose to avoid this case by ruling they don’t have standing to appeal. However, Walker’s ruling could easily be applied to the other states in the district, so for those opposed to gay marriage, this ruling would be more than just writing off CA but all of the 9th district (of which I believe all the other states in the 9th have passed some anti-gay-marriage law).

    It will be interesting to see what happens if the appeal is dropped (either by the defense or court ruling).

  79. Debbie: I do not want to get into a debate over Scripture. I am not “proof-texting. You asked how a man be equal to a woman? In terms of how God loves us, we are equal. That’s all I was trying to say by citing the Scripture — yes, I meant Gal. 3: 28.

    You are certain that I would not accept as rational or reasonable your answers to the questions I raised above. Try me. Give me your strongest argument against same-sex marriage.

    Apart from your Biblical stance against gay marriage, what compelling civil reason can you present that I should not have the rights I mentioned above?

    Why should I have to pay more for health insurance because my partner’s benefit package only honors straight couples? Why should I have to spend more money on attorneys and legal papers to insure rights of inheritance and the power to make medical decisions in the event that I am incapacitated? Why should I have to spend more on wills and powers of attorney?

    Why should Social Security and Life Insurance benefits not be the same? Why should I not be able to refinance my home as a couple — using his credit history and my equity? Why should we pay more in taxes to subsidize other peoples’ kids?

    Why should heterosexual couples have superior rights and benefits?

  80. Why GOP reaction is muted as judge affirms gay marriage rights

    ?Just a few years ago, a court ruling that overturned a state’s gay-marriage ban would have stirred stronger objections than those that arose from the political right this week after a federal judge invalidated California’s voter-approved Proposition 8…

    But beating that drum now may risk being seen as so 2004. Instead, Republican leaders today are focused intently on the economy – and on blaming Democratic policies for its still-sluggish state – as they try to rally independents, libertarians, and “tea party” adherents around conservative economic ideals in advance of midterm elections.

    In 2004, Republicans introduced 11 measures against same-sex marriage in various states, as part of a strategy to attract conservative voters to the polls at a time when President George W. Bush was running for reelection. President Bush himself railed against activist judges and backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    But the gay marriage issue, after years in the culture-wars limelight, may be losing its luster as a hot-button political wedge, writes Peter Dreier on the Huffington Post website. He points to polls showing that a majority of Americans have gay or lesbian friends.” — Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.csmonitor.com%2FUSA%2FPolitics%2F2010%2F0807%2FWhy-GOP-reaction-is-muted-as-judge-affirms-gay-marriage-rights%3Fsms_ss%3Dfacebook&h=f46ae

    For the times they are a changin’. ๐Ÿ™‚

  81. Not sure how this verse can be interpreted to address gender equality…

    Galatians 3:8

    The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”

  82. He meant Galations 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” A very poor attempt at proof-texting to make a point. Paul is speaking of the inheritance of God’s chosen people, through the covenant with Abraham — that the covenant came even before the Law.

  83. I have never thought that the appeal to what “marriage has always been” is very convincing. I don’t know many women who would want to go to “what marriage has always been” more than 150 years ago. Go back further and it gets downright wacky.

    I know that no one wants Biblical marriage. All that stuff about impregnating your sister-in-law and having to marry the guy who rapes you may have been great for that culture but I’m awfully glad we’ve decided to let those traditions melt away.

  84. the institution of marriage has been deliberately defined as an opposite-sex union by virtually every society throughout history

    Did anyone notice that word ‘virtually’? The truth is that opponents to the decision cannot say ‘has been defined as an opposite-sex union by every society throughout history’. The word ‘virtually’ is a red flag…there either ARE or HAVE BEEN exceptions. The use of the word ‘virtually’ also means that the opponents know this.

  85. Timothy — And that’s what the Judge concluded, based on the evidence presented in the trial:

    .”Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples.” — Judge Walker

    He also found that the Plaintifs were not seeking a new right or a new definition of marriage:

    Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiff’s objective as “the right to same sex marriage” would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite sex couples across the state enjoy — namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.” — Vaughn Walker, lines 9-14, page 114 of 136

  86. Eddy

    Lots of murkiness. Do we emphasize ‘man’ to the exclusion of two women? Do we dig culturally and find any clues?

    There are, as you say, more than one possible translation. For me, I look to the totality of the gospel message to see it I get any clues.

    Those who see the gospel through the lens of rules and legality will find Leviticus as a confirmation of the sinfulness of behaviors. If you think the Bible is about behavior, then you’re going to find anything in it to be about behavior.

    Others see the Bible as being about justice and mercy. And anything in it will be viewed through that lens. Others who see it as a call to know God will use that lens. Those who see it as a collection of wisdom will use that lens.

    And I know that we have somehow been able to apply eternal biblical truth to issues of slavery, male dominance, racial inequality, demons, and a whole host of issues which simply had no ambiguity and still survived. The faith will survive this challenge as well.

  87. The Greek translation of these Leviticus passages condemns a man (arseno) lying with (koitai) another man (arseno)

    Which is why Paul used “arsenokoitaiarseno”.

    Oh. Wait. He didn’t.

  88. The divorced lesbians they are talking about are lesbians who married MEN, had kids then later divorced.

    “Before that, they just shacked up and broke up. Same effect on the kids, no?”

    Do you believe if they were married would they have been more or less likely to break up? (btw, what is your source for the claim that “separating is a high likelihood for lesbian couples”? And do you mean they have a higher breakup rate than straight couples?

    Yes, I did read the statement.

    Ken, many gay families are a mix of previously married men and women who divorce and find a gay partner/spouse, bringing the kids along for the ride. Lesbians who “marry” or otherwise partner up have a notorious high separation or divorce rate, and they are more likely to have one partner artificially inseminated so they can pose as parents of their own children. None of it is healthy family, in my opinion and in the opinions of many social scientists.

  89. And secondly, no one really believes that the motivation is “stable families”. That simply isn’t true. It just isn’t.

    And here’s how I know… If it were proven to you without a matter of doubt that legally recognized same-sex marriage would positively impact stable families, you would still oppose it due to your religious views.

    Do you realize what a non sequitur that statement is, Timothy? How would a Christian who knows Christ and respects the Scriptures (that’s not a “religious view,” it is a way of living) ever conceive of seeing same-sex marriage as positively impacting the institution of marriage? At best, they might see it as not negatively impacting it, but merely being a footnote in history.

    This is a fascinating argument.

    You start with the premise that the Bible is infallible inextricably tied to the premise that your understanding of the Bible is correct. This “way of living” (as you put it) cares nothing about empirical evidence, it dismisses as impossible or illogical (a non sequitur) even the consideration of anything which contradicts your premises.

    Or, as might be said in Blazing Saddles:

    Facts? We don’t need no stinkin’ facts!

  90. You start with the premise that the Bible is infallible inextricably tied to the premise that your understanding of the Bible is correct.

    How do you deduce that, sir? Knowing Christ. Can you do that empirically? Can you respect Scripture, even where you have doubts about it? That’s where I start and end.

    It seems to me that you are arguing that the constitution protects the passing of laws based on religious belief.

    Well, you surmise incorrectly. How do you make the leaps of logic that you do, Timothy? How do we get from a person having a constitutionally protected religious belief to projecting that belief onto others? You hear and see what you want to, regardless of the stinkin’ facts. It’s that infernal chip on your shoulder.

  91. I’m sure it’d be nice if those gay and lesbian couples in California had just graciously sat back and said “oh well” when their marital rights eliminated by popular vote.

    Jon, I think a lot of those who voted for, supported, and funded Proposition 8 assumed that we would graciously sit back and say, “oh well”. After all, we didn’t do anything anywhere else. The general assumption – oh, heck, part of the Prop 8 campaign – was that gay people didn’t really want marriage anyway, and “we can agree to disagree on this matter.”

    But we gay Californians did not agree to disagree. That’s saved for things like ice cream flavors and papal infallibility. When it comes to institutionalized inferiority, we will not agree that discrimination is just as valid as equality.

    The gay community collectively said, “this is not acceptable. Not to us. Not anymore.”

    A cultural shift happened on November 8, 2011. I did not even see how important that day was… but I should have. I should have noticed that protests were not limited to California. There were protests over my state’s initiative in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL and Nashville, TN and Fargo, ND and Stillwater, OK and Sault Ste Marie, MI and Moscow, ID and in dozens of places around the country, some of which I’d never heard of. There were protests in London and Paris and Amsterdam and around the globe. Like the June 26, 1969 Stonewall Riots, this was an event bigger than it seemed.

    And, for the first time, some very decent people realized that their votes on the legal status of gay couples actually hurt people. That gay folk really do want equality. That the things they told themselves about “real gays, not those activists” were simply not true; “my hairdresser Jim” was no more content with an unjust system than “my maid Irene” was in 1962.

    And that is, I believe, why we have seen acceleration in the change in views since that time. Sometimes people – good people – really do have to be convinced that you care before they will begin to care.

  92. Proposition 8 is a pretty good example.

    The Kincaid two-step. Dodged the real question.

    As they say in the South, Debbie, well bless your heart

    Only Southerners get to say that. You’re not qualified.

  93. Timothy has not yet attributed his statement about public opinion shifting on the issue…

    I’m sorry. I though that was obvious to anyone who has the slightest interest in the subject. I know that it’s been referenced many many times at this site.

    But perhaps one of the better illustrations on the shifting public opinion can be seen at Nate Silvers New York Times feature. Silver applies regression smoothing techniques to polling data and finds that the shift from majority opposes to majority supports has already occurred.

  94. What, then, do we call this kind of fallout?

    Well, let’s see.

    We have an individual who gave a significant sum of money, attended rallies, spoke to the press, and lent his name and reputation to an effort to take away existing marriage rights from a group of people.

    And we have members of that group saying, “I don’t want to be represented by this person. His name and reputation are linked to an effort to deny me civil equality.”

  95. How do we get from a person having a constitutionally protected religious belief to projecting that belief onto others?

    Proposition 8 is a pretty good example.

    You hear and see what you want to, regardless of the stinkin’ facts. It’s that infernal chip on your shoulder.

    As they say in the South, Debbie, well bless your heart

  96. Ya know something, Debbie, being in my community has qualified me so say all sorts of things. Colorful phrases are part of my culture.

    But I’m not going to let you goad me into saying anything that will let you put on your poor mistreated martyr hat. I’m just gunna smile… as a good Southern Lady, I’m sure you know the smile. You, after all, are qualified.

  97. carole,

    Yes, one can surf the internet for stories about Gays Behaving Badly. It certainly happens. And this is one of the more objectionable.

  98. Perhaps

    What a great word. It leaves open the possibility there is always more to discover.

  99. Lynn David–

    Thank you. You illustrated my point better than I could…the Greeks had several words for different types of homosexual behavior and, by your account, did not have a unique word for a man loving a man…but shared the word aphrodisia. So, the words already in use did not speak simply and plainly to the notion that a man is not to lie with a man as with a woman and Paul needed to coin one that conveyed the essence of that wordy phrase. And, it seems that that understanding wasn’t seriously questioned for 1900 years give or take a few.

  100. Debbie Thurman…. This is for whomever of posterity may come behind us here and read this tiresome chain of contention:

    Paul had to form a new word for homosexual behavior because there was no Greek word for such an unnatural concept in the ancient lexicon, nor was it a concept that most God-fearing Jews wanted to imagine.

    Now you’re a mind reader? I thought that was an affront to your god?

    The Greeks had a name for the most common form of same-sex relationships between males in Greece was “paiderastia” meaning “boy love.” There were terms which described the older lover, the erastes, courts a boy, the eromenos. In ancient Greece, there never was a word to describe homosexual practices in general. They were instead simply part of aphrodisia, love, which included men and women alike.

    It was considered shameful when a man with a beard remained the passive partner (pathikos) and it was even worse when a man allowed himself to be penetrated by another grown-up man. The Greeks even had a pejorative expression for these people, whom were called kinaidoi. They were the targets of ridicule by the other citizens, especially comedy writers. For example, Aristophanes (c.445-c.380) shows them dressed like women, with a bra, a wig and a gown, and calls them euryprôktoi, “wide arses”.

    So why shouldn’t Paul use any of those terms?

    Since Paul was usually concerned with idol worship and the practices associated with that which included the long-time middle eastern practice of the kadesh – the holy ones – male and female prostitutes (as in Romans 1). It’s just as reasonable that Paul was speaking of this practice.

  101. Perhaps Paul didn’t want to get caught up in the Greek (and other) cultural distinctions (I think specifically of the man/boy love and of raping conquered enemies)…so he coined a word that left off those cultural trappings and said “Look, for a man to bed sexually with a man” is wrong…and left all the various reasons, excuses and justifications out of it.

    Perhaps.

    Who knows? I don’t. But I think that it’s pretty evident that “Paul’s clear words” were anything but clear.

    To me, that ambiguity may be inspired by God. Perhaps the Holy Spirit led Paul to use terms that may have been adequate for that time but allowed for a future understanding that was just too far outside of the Jewish culture or what would be socially acceptable.

    One of the things that I marvel about in Scripture is that often the language is such that those who first heard it had one understanding. But as time, experience, and science have changed culture, the language was broad enough to allow for a new understanding.

    Surely it required the inspiration of God so that Scripture was not so rigid, so inflexible, that our faith did not die out at the discovery of a globe or the industrial revolution or the identification of germs or atoms or DNA.

  102. When you miss the actual reasoning behind the lesbian makeovers, it’s so easy to ridicule it. The women had issues of dissassociation with their gender that led them to reject cultural aspects of femininity and, at times, to actually cultivate a masculine look. (We can rant all we want to about how we shouldn’t be responsive to either the whims or the norms of culture but the reality is that we are immersed in it. And, if we plan to relate in and to our culture, it helps not to stick out like a sore thumb.)

    Men and football had some similar motivations. However, many men did find it interesting but shunned it for ‘unhealthy reasons’…fear of failure, a sense of rejection, feelings of incompetence. I daresay that ‘men and football’ never approached the level of ‘women and makeovers’ but largely because there were other effective ways to confront those fears and feelings.

    Do you have even one example of an individual who was kicked out of a church based on effeminate appearance or behavior alone?

    Randy’s saying that he is ‘effeminate’ is only saying that by today’s cultural norms some of his mannerisms are deemed ‘effeminate’ and that he’s not overly concerned about it because he is able to discern between culture’s voice and God’s voice. (You could put Christ Himself in a redneck bar and a fair portion of the crowd would judge Him to be effeminate.)

  103. Timothy–

    Perhaps Paul didn’t want to get caught up in the Greek (and other) cultural distinctions (I think specifically of the man/boy love and of raping conquered enemies)…so he coined a word that left off those cultural trappings and said “Look, for a man to bed sexually with a man” is wrong…and left all the various reasons, excuses and justifications out of it.

  104. In just the past five posts or so, I think we have proven that these passages are not as self-evidently clear as Debbie insists they are. Even the reference she used, who claims their meaning is “self-evident”, then admits they are “neologisms” that “are correctly understood in our contemporary context when they are applied.”

    Context, Meaning, History. Tradition. Interpretation. Application. Personal opinion. No reader of Scripture can be free of these things. We cannot “know”, for sure, what Paul meant. All we can do is “strongly believe”. What he may have meant by “malakoi” seems to have several possible meanings, as does “aresenokoitai”. There is no monolithic unanimity of opinion among scholars or true believers in Jesus on the meaning and application of these verses in particular — or of the Bible as a whole.

    Personally, I think Paul was referring to something very specific that his readers saw everyday — particular practices of his day, temple prostitution, pederasty. But that’s just my humbly offered, though educated opinion. Other well-educated and sincere Christians disagree. Faithful congregations and denominations disagree. This is nothing new.

    This has always been true of the Christian Church — from the very outset, there were disagreements on the meaning and interpretation of Scripture. It had even been so since before Christ. It’s human nature. No person ought to claim perfect knowledge of it. We owe each other the Christian charity to disagree and still consider each other followers of Christ.

    Exodus likes to insist that homosexuality, is, at its roots a confusion about “true masculinity” and “true femininiry”. They even used to host make-overs to teach lesbians how to apply false nails, do their make-up and tease their hair. All to make them look and feel more “feminine”. Gay men were encouraged to play footbal. They didn’t seem to stop to think how such images were deeply rooted in cultural sterotypes, not the Bible.

    Recenly, Randy Thomas openly bragged about how he was not ashamed of his own “effeminacy” — and yet there are those Christians who would argue that “effeminacy” is clearly condemned by Paul and if not repented of will result in not inheriting the Kingdom of God. For some of the things Randy is now proud of, Christians in times past might have kicked him out of the church — citing solid Biblical reasons for doing so.

    My point is, that these passages — and many other passages in the Bible — are not “self-evidently clear”. They require study, prayer, research and discussion, reliance on the Holy Spirit for guidance — and just a bit of Christian tolerance and patience for those believers who may see them differently. The only thing that is “self-evidently clear” is that the Bible is not — not because it is not divinely inspired — but because people are people.

  105. Timothy,

    Sigh. The battle armor is heavy and exacts a toll. Body and mind have to rest now and then. Life is short.

    The title (“Christians mock gays at shocking Easter service”) was intriguing and appeared either as a link on my homepage among the listed stories in the news or on the site Hot Air, don’t remember which. Was surprised when the actual story was the opposite, not surprised by the antics of the crowd as I live near the City. Commonplace there.

    While I have your ear, a trivial point-you mentioned opera isn’t big among gays on the West Coast. I haven’t attented a performance in NYC since the late 1990s, but we usually attend a performance every couple of years, sometimes more often, depending on the choices, and there seem to be many gay men in attendance and at the symphony as well. Can’t speak about the LA ,Seattle, nor Vancouver scenes, however.

  106. Debbie

    So I asked twice and twice you have danced around and tried to talk your way out of giving an answer. Well, I know what it means when you do that. And, yeah, so does everyone else, Debbie. No one is fooled.

    You don’t want to answer the question, Debbie, because you don’t think it would serve your agenda to be on record about what you really believe.

    So it’s time for a new question.

    To what extent do you hate religious freedom – other, of course, than your own, Debbie?

    Do you want to padlock the doors of UCC churches? Or are you just content with laws that ban their chaplains from practicing their faith?

  107. I’m not sure where that place will be for civil unions in the USA. Most states that have outlawed gays from legally marrying through constitutional amendments have also banned the state from allowing civil unions and domestic partnerships as well. Plus, I can’t see the religious right allowing civil unions to stand unmolested. They haven’t in the past. Examples, they continue to attack Washington State’s marriage-lite domestic partnership law. Michigan’s legislature is trying to financially penalize state universities that offer domestic partnership benefits to gay and unmarried employees’ partners. And NOM and the Catholic Church and all of those other anti-gay marriage groups fight civil unions when they come up before state legislatures just as strongly as they fight against marriage equality. They use the same exact arguments: pastors will get arrested for speaking out against gays; kids will be taught graphic gay sex lessons in kindergarten, etc.

    Heck, you yourself Debbie have stated that the repeal of DADT is a step towards legalizing marriage equality. And yet civil unions – which actually address the spirit of marriage – don’t?

    Regardless, I agree that there’s a practical purpose for civil unions. But legal marriage already exists and it doesn’t make sense to me to replace it with a marriage-lite solution. Marriage for gay couples has been legal in Iowa for over two years and Massachusetts for 5 or 6 or 7 years. I’ve seen none of the boogey-man scenarios playing out. Creating a secondary quasi-marital status just promotes a weakening of marriage itself. IMHO.

  108. Teresa, states are not in opposing positions on the definition of marriage in traditional family courts. Marriage is marriage is marriage in every state for a man and a woman. Whether or not sperm-bank babies are born to more straight women (married to men or single), it remains the only way for lesbian couples to have children “of their own.” In time, as you say, we may have a federal law to cover same-sex marriage. We don’t now, and children are being impacted. Of course, single mothers of sperm-bank children don’t have a partner to argue over custody with.

    (And Jon, I realize your kids are just fine. We’re not talking about you.)

  109. The Miller-Jenkins case illustrates one of the biggest concerns people have over same-sex civil unions or marriage, and that is the welfare of children. Here, we’ve had the first-ever state to affirm civil unions for gays pitted against a traditional marriage state (but I mentioned a poll the other day that shows that may be changing for Virginia). An innocent child (with rights and wishes of her own, though still a minor) has been caught in the middle.

    Jon,

    This, of course, is completely bogus.

    Debbie and the others at Jerry Falwell Jr.’s church like to pretend that this fight was state v. state. It supports their contention that no one should be allowed to have civil unions anywhere because it infringes on the rights of someone somewhere to keep gay people treated inferior. Yeah, it’s a pretty disgusting argument.

    In reality, a local Virginia judge tried to do something contrary to federal law and impose him views on a Vermont court. It went all the way up to the Virginia Supreme Court (yeah, the traditional marriage state) where they said, “No, we put long standing tradition of recognizing venue ahead of anti-gay bigotry.”

    So there was no state v. state conflict. It was just a judge who thought that his values override those of other states.

  110. Teresa,

    I’ll take this a bit out of order for ease of answering:

    I believe you’ve stated that SCOTUS has already ruled that gays are a “class”, and, as such, cannot be discriminated against. Right?

    Partly. In Romer v. Evans, SCOTUS said that Colorado could not set up homosexuals as a class of people upon which to impose restrictions (this was, I believe, the initiation of the SCOTUS recognition that gay people exist as such). In Lawrence v. Texas it went a step further. While Justice Kennedy approached the issue from an individual’s right to privacy, Justice O’Connor’s concurrence was based on equal protections of a class of people.

    The legal evolution since that time has been towards viewing gay people as a class of people.

    Not to get too technical, but there is a test which the court uses to determine the extent to which a class of people can be segregated for disparate treatment.

    1. Are they a unique class of people based on a shared immutable trait? For example race would qualify while bowlers would not. (This does not speak to the outliers – people who could reasonably “change their race” like Lena Horn or Michael Jackson – but to the group as a whole)

    The evidence seems to support sexual orientation as an immutable trait observed within the demographic.

    2. Have they been subjected to discrimination? This is pretty much not in question.

    3. Are they politically powerless?

    This is not a question about political allies, but rather about the group’s ability to assert power absent popular goodwill. It’s pretty evident that gay folk can’t even get a Democratic controlled Senate to support non-discrimination policies, much less marriage equality.

    Meeting this test would put gay people into a category that would require “heightened scrutiny” of any laws that set them apart for disparate treatment.

    So, a group that says allowing same-sex marriage destroys ‘marriage’ as a concept is burdened with proving that assertion. Is this right?

    Sort of… if gay people are a “protected class” (i.e. heightened scrutiny applies) then any arguments that the anti-gay-marriage group would bring would have to show a very compelling state interest.

    And, yes, they would need to prove their assertions.

    But If gay people are not a protected class then the group would only have to meet a reasonableness test (that is, if a reasonable person could believe that allowing same-sex marriage destroys ‘marriage’ as a concept, then it can be banned.

    A reasonableness case assumes that the law is legal unless shown otherwise; a heightened scrutiny case assumes it is not unless shown otherwise.

    So if a community believes that strip clubs lead to increased crime – a reasonable person could believe that, so strip clubs could be banned. But if a community believes that Asian strip clubs lead to increased crime, then the courts will assume that it is unconstitutional and will really need some convincing to find otherwise.

    In Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the court found that heightened scrutiny was the standard. However it also found that Proposition 8 could not even stand up to a reasonableness test because – other than establishing a religious view – the supporters did not (and presumably could not) present any arguments that would leave a reasonable person agreeing with their assertions.

    When the Department of Defense prepared to defend DOMA, they applied the test to the situation and found that heightened scrutiny was the only level they could see. And they simply had no arguments that could withstand heightened scrutiny.

    They had no argument to make, so they informed the House that they could not defend the law.

    So, majority voting will not ultimately settle this issue, much like what happened for abortion.

    Yes. Like abortion, Jews owning property, mixed-race marriage, black children attending the same schools as whites, and many other issues, majority voting will not settle the issue.

    The burden of proof (of harm, I guess) now lies at the feet of the opponents of same-sex marriage. I think that’s what you’re saying, Timothy.

    Yes. That’s what I’m saying.

  111. Whatever… Just keep your church friends away from my boys. I’d hate for them to end up in Argentina.

    That was uncalled for. Way off the mark. You may also keep your wild speculations to yourself.

  112. From a prior comment of mine:

    Following is a peek into The Nature of Law; and, how a view, Legal Positivism, has basically taken the tact that whatever is the prevailing ‘majority’, social fact, constitutes Law; as opposed to the view that a foundational, moral structure should guide legal decisions.

    First, there is the sheer intellectual interest in understanding such a complex social phenomenon which is, after all, one of the most intricate aspects of human culture. Law, however, is also a normative social practice: it purports to guide human behavior, giving rise to reasons for action. An attempt to explain this normative, reason-giving aspect of law is one of the main challenges of general jurisprudence. These two sources of interest in the nature of law are closely linked. Law is not the only normative domain in our culture; morality, religion, social conventions, etiquette, and so on, also guide human conduct in many ways which are similar to law. Therefore, part of what is involved in the understanding of the nature of law consists in an explanation of how law differs from these similar normative domains, how it interacts with them, and whether its intelligibility depends on such other normative orders, like morality or social conventions.

    Thus, elucidating the conditions of legal validity and explaining the normativity of law form the two main subjects of any general theory about the nature of law. In the course of the last few centuries, two main rival philosophical traditions have emerged, providing different answers to these questions. The older one, dating back to late mediaeval Christian scholarship, is called the natural law tradition. Since the early 19th century, Natural Law theories have been fiercely challenged by the legal positivism tradition promulgated by such scholars as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. The philosophical origins of Legal Positivism are much earlier, though, probably in the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. The main controversy between these two traditions concerns the conditions of legal validity. Basically, Legal Positivism asserts, and Natural Law denies, that the conditions of legal validity are purely a matter of social facts. In contrast to Positivism, Natural Law claims that the conditions of legal validity are not exhausted by social facts; the moral content of the putative norms also bears on their legal validity. As the famous dictum of Saint Augustine has it: ‘lex iniusta non est lex’ (unjust law is not law).

    Both quotes taken from The Nature of Law Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

    Knowing that I’m enamored of Natural Law, why can’t a legal argument be drawn from the Traditional Moral Norms of society for a case against same-sex marriage? This has nothing whatsoever, necessarily, to do with religious belliefs; but, rather, social mores that have never waxed or waned in social acceptation of homosexuality … not withstanding the attempts to appeal to Greek, or late Roman civilizations.

  113. (And Jon, I realize your kids are just fine. We’re not talking about you.)

    Whatever… Just keep your church friends away from my boys. I’d hate for them to end up in Argentina.

  114. The sperm-bank baby phenomenon for lesbians is problematic, any way you cut it. Especially for women, who most folks here acknowledge are more sexually fluid than men, same-sex unions with children can be a can of worms. And barring a federal same-sex marriage law, states will continue to square off against each other in the courts when these unions go sour. How far are we from everybody being cool with this? Any crystal balls out there?

    Although everyone here knows I’m opposed to same-sex marriage, some of what you’ve stated, Debbie, seems to impact str8’s more significantly. I have no statistics in hand, but I’d bet most sperm-bank babies are for str8 women … many of those single mothers.

    Sexual fluidity among women can and does occur; but, again, without statistics in hand, only anecdotal observation, it seems many str8 women (usually older) are transitioning to being lesbian. A real study should be done on this, as we may gain some real insights about women and where they register on the gay/str8 scale.

    Do states now square off against each other when str8 marriages go sour? I have no idea, but I would think in time the same laws that apply for str8’s with children, divorce, etc., would apply equally to same-sex marriages/divorce with or without children.

    I may behoove some here to visit the Straight Spouse Network website, and listen to the horror stories of str8 spouses and what their homosexual partners have done, with and without children.

    I guess I don’t see how same-sex marriage, children or not, will be handled any differently than str8 stuff. I see a difference in my own moral understanding; but, not in the America of today.

    Any thoughts?

  115. Teresa,

    I may behoove some here to visit the Straight Spouse Network website, and listen to the horror stories of str8 spouses and what their homosexual partners have done, with and without children.

    I’m pretty familiar with the SSN. And yeah some of the spouses have done some pretty crappy things (that’s the story you hear about pretty much any ex-spouses). And some of the spouses tried hard but it just didn’t work (which is the other thing you year about ex-spouses). Just people.

    SSN provides a great service to people who really have no where else to turn. Most folk just have no idea what to say when your spouse comes out. They do yeoman’s work.

    About a third of SSN folk break up immediately, about a third try to keep it going for a while and eventually break up, and about a third stay married in some form or fashion (but not often in the traditional marriage paradigm).

    But the one thing that I find interesting about the SSN is that they are committed to gay rights, especially marriage rights. As Amity Pierce Buxton says, “If they could marry each other then they wouldn’t marry us and screw up our lives.”

  116. Carole,

    You know something…. if the armor is heavy, then put it down. You don’t have to wage war, you know. You really don’t

    Let’s wage peace instead.

    I hope you get a chance to get to the opera. While it’s not my thing, I can appreciate the passion of the style.

  117. Timothy, I was referencing our specific discussion, in which you leaped to the conclusion that my saying the Constitution protects freedom of religious thought/beliefs really meant I was projecting my own beliefs onto you or others.

    The rest of your snarkiness I’ll ignore. Time to get onto other things anyway.

    Richard, there will be a practical place for civil unions. We are approaching that time.

  118. The Kincaid two-step. Dodged the real question.

    My oh my. Goodness gracious, how very uncouth of me.

    So let’s look back on the conversation and see where it was that I started dancing, though I’m not entire sure that I’m qualified to do a two-step. (you don’t mind if I reference a show tune, though, do ya?).

    Timothy: Evidence showed that the only purpose for anti-gay marriage amendments was the impact they would have on gay couples. They are designed solely to make gay couples legally inferior to heterosexual couples.

    The motivations are either personal animus of some sort (including tradition-based prejudice) or a desire to impose religious beliefs by means of law on those who do not hold such beliefs.

    Debbie: Or a deeply held anthropological and religious belief that marriage is intended only for a man and a woman. In this country, such beliefs are sacrosanct and constitutionally protected.

    Timothy: The US Constitution specifically prohibits the establishment of religious beliefs as sacrosanct.

    Debbie: Who said anything about the establishment of …? I was referring to the protection of religious freedom and thought. Rather obvious, I thought.

    Timothy: It seems to me that you are arguing that the constitution protects the passing of laws based on religious belief.

    Debbie: How do we get from a person having a constitutionally protected religious belief to projecting that belief onto others?

    Timothy: Proposition 8 is a pretty good example.

    Debbie: The Kincaid two-step. Dodged the real question.

    Now it seems that here I thought I was talking about the constitutionality of anti-gay marriage amendments, but it turns out that I really was dancing around the rather obvious real question.

    That makes me… smile

  119. Regarding imposing religious views on the constitution as “sacrosanct”…it seems to me to be impossible not to do.

    From some of the Ten Commandments

    To mild commandments, modified “do not be drunk with wine…” (laws forbidding pubilc drunkenness).

    I think this argument about Imposing Religious Beliefs is simplistic and frankly dishonest: What those in the GLBT community are doing is arranging Morals in a hierarchy, and placing Individual rights for Authenticity and Safety and Fairness above public demands for sexual morality.

    It is all morals…that is why they assail those who disagree with them from the Moral Argument against prejudice.

    See CS Lewis: The Abolition of Man.

    Regarding the above video, If this happens yearly it is on a level of Contempt similar to Fred Phelps.

  120. Debbie,

    At whatever point it was that you decided that we were no longer talking within the context of anti-gay marriage amendments but were instead talking about your own personal religious beliefs, you forgot to inform me.

    Richard, there will be a practical place for civil unions. We are approaching that time.

    No, that time has passed. Now marriage is on its way.

    The time for marriage is approaching and approaching quickly. I project that marriage equality will be present in every state in the country (and every country in the Americas) within a decade.

  121. Men and women truly are different creatures. The brain is different in hundreds of ways thus the body is different and so are the ways we think, feel, look etc…. There are huge variations of course between men and huge variations between women – but for the most part – you really can lump men with men and women with women.

    There are more differences between myself and a man than between Debbie and I as separate individuals.

    perhaps not…

    The idea that the brain of men and women is different is a fairly new. That is why medical research now recognizes the difference gender plays in the treatment of patients.

    Mary,

    Are you aware that the brains of gay men function in some ways like the brains of heterosexual women? For example, research shows that the way that gay men register spacial orientation on average is more similar to that of women (landmark based) than men (directional).

    As you noted above, there are variations, but on the whole the way that brains function between the sexes does not seem to hold true when sexual orientation comes into play.

  122. The US Constitution specifically prohibits the establishment of religious beliefs as sacrosanct.

    Who said anything about the establishment of …? I was referring to the protection of religious freedom and thought. Rather obvious, I thought.

  123. 2: because you continue to speak in generalizations about ‘straights’ that ignore the many, many straights who don’t fit your generalizations.

    Eddy, I’m simply trying to speak about how attractions to the opposite gender are healthy, wholesome, and good. That is all. Attractions to the same gender are consider, by the Church, as “intrinsically disordered”. I’m not being a victim here. I’m not talking about how many str8 people have problems; or, how many gay people don’t. I’m not talking about difficulties with that. Nothing along those lines.

    Just the plain simple fact, that sexual attractions to the opposite gender is according The Natural Law … it’s right, good, true, beautiful. Sexual attractions to the same gender are deviant; against the Natural Law.

    I think, Eddy, you may be reading way too much into what I’m saying. I don’t care how many str8 people are troubled, etc. … or, how many gay people are or aren’t.

    The plain, simple, long-held social, religious view is that sexual attractions to the opposite gender is what God intended … sexual attractions to the same gender are deviant, “intrinsically disordered” because they go against The Natural Law … the complementarity of male/female.

    I’m not personalizing this to myself, Eddy. Simply laying out the Church’s view. I’m not seeing in this, myself as a victim.

    I don’t think the above will make this any clearer. But, I’ve tried.

  124. Debbie,

    Don’t forget it also protects the majority from the tyranny of the minority. That was not much of a concern way back when. Today, it is.

    I don’t know what that means. Do you mean that minorities are tyrannically overpowering the majority and forcing them to treat them equally? Did you mean something else?

    But if someone is denying the due process and equal access of any majority members, then I’m right there with you in Constitutional protections for them.

    “Truths” that are “self-evident” — written into the Declaration of Independence. Discernment of truth is not universal, and what used to be more self-evident (that we are endowed by our Creator with certain rights rather than by man) is not today.

    The Declaration of Independence is not our governing document of law. It just isn’t. But this does allow me a brief segue…

    Pennsylvania former Senator Santorum was talking on the Fox debate about why he thinks gay people have no rights. He said something similar. It seemed contradictory, until I listened more closely.

    So I’m finally understanding that in some circles in the country, the focus isn’t on the rights but on who granted them. And because it’s the Creator, this means God. And thus, because God is granting rights, he would never grant rights that are in disagreement with his values. So thus, when the Creator endowed rights, he didn’t endow them to gay people or gay couples.

    Is this what you meant?

    Correction: No credible evidence was presented. That was not the hearing to end all hearings on the matter.

    Yes. You are right. No credible evidence has been presented so far.

    Or a deeply held anthropological and religious belief that marriage is intended only for a man and a woman.

    Yes, as I said, “a desire to impose religious beliefs by means of law on those who do not hold such beliefs.”

    In this country, such beliefs are sacrosanct and constitutionally protected.

    The US Constitution specifically prohibits the establishment of religious beliefs as sacrosanct.

    Moreover, the state has a vested interest in stable families, and in what it sees as constituting the best model, its prior failures in this regard notwithstanding.

    Almost.

    If, indeed, it could show a state interest that created stable families, that might justify intentional discrimination against a class of citizens. But “what it sees” is not a standard that allows for intentional discrimination – especially that based in malice.

    And secondly, no one really believes that the motivation is “stable families”. That simply isn’t true. It just isn’t.

    And here’s how I know… If it were proven to you without a matter of doubt that legally recognized same-sex marriage would positively impact stable families, you would still oppose it due to your religious views.

    This proposition was a purely religious endeavor. Yes, not every voter was religious, but virtually every dollar, ever yard sign, every volunteer, and every other support was due to religious belief.

  125. Clarification: I have six brothers. The evangelicallly married one and the Catholic one are two different people.

  126. Teaching other “moral” values is the role of the family and the church — not the state

    Cannot even begin to count the number of posters, school “rules”, community actions that are endorsed on public school grounds. One school district even has a pledge said every morning on how to be a helpful citizen – that is in addition to the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

  127. Then we should toughen up laws on who can reproduce. Make having babies out of wedlock illegal. Require that non-married couples use contraception under state supervision. Pass some laws on which straight couples can procreate based on things like age, maturity, economic status and psychological well-being. Make divorce tougher.

    Or, better, work within the church and community organizations to strengthen education, support and resources provided for married couples and families. I do think we should make it harder for couples to marry. Comprehensive premarital counseling ought to be a prerequisite. Welfare needs to overhauled and no-fault divorce out to be done away with.

  128. Yes, I do mean that a major concern is that the definition is being changed.

    No, that’s a major talking point.

  129. Michael,

    What makes sense is between the individual and God. Most of everything else is no one else’s call.

  130. There is also a thing called the Constitution (the real one), which prohibits such goings-on as theocracy.

    Yes. And that was precisely the logic of Judge Walker.

    Judicial activism, i.e., finding nonexistent rationale for certain politically correct stances in the Constitution, is a greater threat than theocracy in this country.

    Well, it often is the same thing.

    For example, when an activist judge sees the language of the US Constitution to include the rights of “any person” and that judge decides to exclude some people from the definition of “any person” because of his own religious convictions or the religious convictions of others, then he is engaging in both theocracy and judicial activism.

    It’s God, Himself, who’s the threat to oligarchy, isn’t it?

    I think that the only time that God, Himself, weighed in on civil governmental structure, he preferred judges, but he anointed a king anyway.

  131. Marriage is the state recognition and approval of a couple’s choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one another and to form a household based on their own feelings about one another and to join in an economic partnership and support one another and any dependents.

    Yeah, that sounds about right. I’m not overly concerned about whether there is only one penis or two.

  132. And as I said earlier, if it said ‘romantic feelings’ rather than just ‘feelings’, I’d consider it a reasonably complete definition as well. And, it would cover those implausible but possible exceptions I presented that you chose to mock simply because you perceive me to be ‘the other side’.

  133. Really? They’ve just succeeded, so far, in changing a state’s constitutional amendment. No impact on those who voted for it, as was their right?

    No, Debbie, no impact on “those who voted for it”.

    Their life doesn’t change one iota… other than the extent to which they can coerce the life of others – which is a “right” they never really had.

    No impact on public education?

    And no impact on public education. None. Zero.

    No conscientious objection allowed?

    No one is forcing anyone into a same-sex marriage so this doesn’t even make sense.

  134. … it also ought to be commonsense knowledge that marriage is an institution, a primary purpose of which is to beget children in the best of all possible environments.

    It isn’t. That is one person’s – yours – view of what marriage means in the USA circa 2010. Historically, marriage has been about property and inheritance. Children add to the husband’s store and guarantee his old age.

    Stephen, what else do children grow up to do? Run entire countries, from top to bottom. Strong marriages that produce disciplined, educated and morally astute adults are state-sanctioned and accorded certain benefits because they are in the best interests of the state and its future maintenance.

  135. If you’re going to repeatedly bring up the Bible you really must try to understand it. The sin of Onan is not masturbation.

    Sigh. I know. I mentioned him in relation to birth control. He refused to impregnate Tamar and disobeyed God.

    But this is futile. You all have your minds made up and seem content to rehearse yesterday’s news as if it has some bearing on today’s. The only thing I would ask is that you to try to remember that these matters have a vital bearing on the lives of many of your compatriots. Don’t’ be surprised if we seem inpatient when the same misinformation gets repeated over and over and over.

    I’ll speak for myself as I don’t know who “you all” are. Is “yesterday’s news” a reference to history, perchance? If it is, I’ll refer to an earlier comment of mine in this thread wherein I quoted from C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” on The Historical View and how it is used to lull the ignorant into hell. Otherwise, you may want to tell us what you mean by the phrase.

    We all have the same impatience toward misinformation. And these matters have a vital bearing on us all.

  136. No, it’s a major concern.

    And I’ve got no patience left for your arrogance.

  137. Debbie,

    I appreciate the viewpoints you shared, however, we’ve had no disputes over marriages where the couple has either chosen to remain childless or where biologically they couldn’t reproduce. Are you suggesting that where there is no family, there is no marriage? Or perhaps that the married couple IS a family? If the latter is the case, what would rule out a gay couple?

    I assumed we all were astute enough to understand that marriages were marriages, regardless of whether or not they produced children. This is a point we ought to be able to dispense with. That said, it also ought to be commonsense knowledge that marriage is an institution, a primary purpose of which is to beget children in the best of all possible environments. Children ought not to be brought forth outside of marriage, but childless marriages are marriages, nonetheless.

  138. Because gay people are entitlement whiners instead of victims, and because gay people have all the rights of straight people, and because it’s tax time, I’ll share a bit of something I wrote up:

    For same-sex couples, the confusion starts with Box One, filing status. What is the filing status of a same-sex legally married couple?

    Well, that depends. There simply isn’t a clear answer.

    Due to DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government currently takes the position that same-sex couples are roommates – legal strangers – who share residency but not lives. Theoretically, one might expect to see rental income or gift tax or other such items on returns, though, to their credit, the IRS does not apply such rigidity to either gay or straight cohabiting couples.

    So the final answer (so far) is that you file as single – the highest income tax bracket – or as head-of-household if you qualify. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you report your income as though you were single.

    Because the IRS, while not recognizing your marriage, may recognize your legal right to your spouse’s income. And that depends on where you live.

    If your state has community property laws, then you have a claim on half of the income of your heterosexual spouse. But some states have also applied community property laws to same-sex relationships, whether called marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. In California, for example, one half of a same-sex couple has a legal claim on half of her partner’s income whether she is in a domestic partnership or got married in the 2008 window.

    And the IRS is now taking the position that if you have a claim on it, you need to report it. So in California, for example, each half of the partnership would claim half of the partnership’s community property income (being careful to exclude income that does not fall into this category) and prepare income tax returns as “Single” to report their share. In Massachusetts, not a community property state, the same couple would segregate their income and prepare “Single” income tax returns reflecting only their own income.

    All of which is thrown out the window for state return preparation. Each state defines who is or who is not married and requires those couples which they recognize as married to file as “Married”. Some, like California, require that domestic partnerships or civil unions prepare “Married” returns.

    But that isn’t the extent of it. Most states don’t duplicate the entire return calculation process but instead start with the federal numbers and make adjustments. So while you cannot file a joint federal return, in order for the state to have a starting point, you must prepare a joint federal return so as to come up with the numbers you would report were you allowed to do so.

    Thus, depending on where you live, your income tax return for the state could be filed with a different status than your federal income tax return, your state return could be based on a federal return which will never be filed, and your federal return may or may not recognize a portion of your income as jointly earned though reported as though single.

    But of course that fake victim requirement is not nearly so difficult as the real victim situation of where one has to sit on a bus.

    Unless, of course, we aren’t assigning “real” and “pretending” based on whether we thing the group is deserving of discrimination.

  139. Beg parden, but the burden of a compelling reason is on the tiny minority that is trying to turn the world upside down.

    Only if you hate the principles of freedom and equality. Freedom lovers believe that you must justify each restriction. Autocrats, theists, tyrants, and other totalitarians believe that each freedom must be justified.

  140. I want others to treat me with true love, which means telling me the truth I need to hear, even when I don’t like it. Christ commanded that I first love God (i.e., know Him and obey all His commandments) and then that I love my neighbor as myself. That is what I seek to do. I may mess up, but opposing same-sex marriage is not one of those occasions.

    No. This is just the way that some branches of Christianity get around Jesus.

    “True Love” is not some special “love that looks to everyone around it like discrimination, cruelty, and animus but really is love because I say so.” And loving him as yourself really doesn’t mean “the way I want to be treated now” but instead “the way I’d want to be treated if I were in his sinful condition and needed to be made miserable so that I would learn that sin doesn’t pay.”

    Jesus didn’t say “love your neighbor as yourself if you were like your neighbor.” Nor did he call us to “tell the truth they need to hear.” He never called his followers to mistreat others. There would be no need for such a commandment; self-righteousness already leads us in that direction. Jesus didn’t need to say “Take rights from the sinners. Hate their sin.” We already do that on our own.

    Jesus instead gave a very difficult commandment (one which Throbert noted above was previously given by Hilel). To love God and love your neighbor. In the way he said it, it appears that Jesus believed that you love God through loving your neighbor.

    Your religious tradition teaches the opposite. First you have to “obey all His commandments” and then after that we’ll get around to that neighbor thing. But loving the neighbor gets to turn into hating his sin and “telling him the truth he needs to hear” conveniently justifying doing exactly what you already want to do.

    Hey, it just as if Jesus had never mentioned the Good Samaritan (and even without the truth he needed to hear) or that Corinthians 13 were snipped right out. Because justifying your desire to live in direct opposition to Jesus’ commandments has you making all sorts of logical leaps.

    Debbie, you’re lying to yourself. And, of course, it’s obvious why you have to do so.

    Because if you ever really stopped, if you ever said to yourself, “how do I want to be treated and am I treating gay people that way” you would not like the answer you would have to give.

    And I’m sorry if you are offended. Truly. I don’t want to hurt you.

  141. This is the lie that you tell yourself in order to bolster your own need to simultaneously think of yourself as a good person and also treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated.

    It is the lie that lets you tell yourself that you are a Christian while doing the opposite of what Christ commanded.

    You are the self-deceived one here, Timothy. I am not a “good person.” I am cursed with the same dual nature you have (spirit and flesh). I want others to treat me with true love, which means telling me the truth I need to hear, even when I don’t like it. Christ commanded that I first love God (i.e., know Him and obey all His commandments) and then that I love my neighbor as myself. That is what I seek to do. I may mess up, but opposing same-sex marriage is not one of those occasions.

  142. To be denied same-sex marriage is not to be devalued as a human being.

    This is the lie that you tell yourself in order to bolster your own need to simultaneously think of yourself as a good person and also treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated.

    It is the lie that lets you tell yourself that you are a Christian while doing the opposite of what Christ commanded.

  143. Where can I get one of those extra-wide paintbrushes? You know, the ones that paint in such broad strokes?

    ๐Ÿ˜€

  144. Only if you hate the principles of freedom and equality. Freedom lovers believe that you must justify each restriction. Autocrats, theists, tyrants, and other totalitarians believe that each freedom must be justified.

    Wow. You do find creative ways to subvert logic. Freedom is a writ-large, overarching, God-given principle that cannot be put in your little gay idea box. You have the same freedoms I have, Timothy. What you want is a special entitlement. Because you want it. And you are willing to hold your breath and turn blue until you get it.

  145. It is irrefutable that the direction of ones attractions is at least partly based in biology,

    Um, not sure about this. To my knowledge, there is no substantial, credible, definitive, scientific, medical or psychological conclusion that verifies your statement. Until there is one, there will continue to be just opinions.

    is unchosen

    As to this point, I, and most people agree. Many things that attach themselves to us, are unchosen.

    is – for the overwhelming percentage of such persions – immutable,

    Not too sure about this either – perhaps for some, but to others there are degrees and dimensions that are not all immutable

    and is likely set either at birth or in the early years of life. For linguistic shorthand in this one instance, and recognizing the caveats, we could say “born with”.

    You might or might not be right about this. There are too many differing opinions from too many different people, including those who are are gay, to say with any kind of certainty what the genesis of homosexual orientation is. A less discerning mind might believe the statenment you made, however, many would not.

    So, in essence, your position is:

    I do not see a comparison between the color of skin one is born with, and ultimately discriminated against, to those who are attracted to their same gender which one is born with, and ultimately discriminated against.

    This is not an uncommon position.

    Timothy,

    I never said this and it is not my position. You are saying something that is untrue. I really wish you could understand how this kind of tactic reflects poorly on you and your credibility. You are interjecting your hypothosis into a paragraph using some of your words and some of mine and saying that it is my position and not an uncommon one. This is not telling the truth. People notice and once again your credibility is in jeopardy. Just be cool – practice integrity, say what is true and don’t try to make something true or believable when it just isn’t.

  146. I never said this and it is not my position. You are saying something that is untrue. I really wish you could understand how this kind of tactic reflects poorly on you and your credibility. You are interjecting your hypothosis into a paragraph using some of your words and some of mine and saying that it is my position and not an uncommon one. This is not telling the truth. People notice and once again your credibility is in jeopardy. Just be cool – practice integrity, say what is true and don’t try to make something true or believable when it just isn’t.

    Ann,

    I’ve been trying valiantly to get you to explain what you mean by why some folks – African-Americans – are real victims but gay folk are not.

    You may think that is strains my credibility to point this out to you. But I think by this point it’s pretty clear to everyone that in your mind gay folks are “sense of entitlement that has nothing to do with being a true victim.”

    Oh, you can say that “regardless of their orientation” or change the subject to Pakistani women, but the truth is clear. Your real reason for disparaging those fake victims is because you need to portray “the individual who feels discriminated against because they cannot currently marry someone of the same gender” as not a “true victim.”

    It has nothing to do with what they are experiencing, it has to do with how you view your beliefs.

    I can respect an honest assessment that might say “I oppose same-sex marriage for reason XY and Z but I do recognize that it is burdensome on gay people to be denied equality.”

    You are choosing instead to diminish the inequality and act as though those who are suffering “have a sense of entitlement that has nothing to do with being a true victim.” Because if they aren’t real victims, then you don’t have to consider that as part of the equation.

  147. I got my negatives backwards:

    And loving him as yourself really does mean “the way I want to be treated now” not “the way I’d want to be treated if I were in his sinful condition and needed to be made miserable so that I would learn that sin doesn’t pay.”

  148. You still don’t get it Debbie? There doesn’t need to be a clear OR compelling reason FOR same-sex marriage, there needs to be a clear AND compelling reason AGAINST it.

    Beg parden, but the burden of a compelling reason is on the tiny minority that is trying to turn the world upside down.

    Because you can’t give any reasonable arguments (unsubstantiated claims about the downfall of civilization aren’t reasonable) how gay marriage would in any way harm straight marriage.

    Again, the burden of compelling arguments of how same-sex marriage would improve society is on those pushing for it. Do I go up to another person and say, “I am going to burn your house down. Now give me a compelling reason why I shouldn’t do it.”? Even if I think I have a dang good reason, I am likely going to be hauled off to jail. Consequences.

    “We have people wanting “equal access” to both genders, as if the Constitution could somehow rearrange their chromosomes.”

    No clue what you are talking about here.

    Never heard of transgender people?

  149. Where can I get one of those extra-wide paintbrushes? You know, the ones that paint in such broad strokes?

  150. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    “Do you think what is happening in other countries cannot happen here? ”

    With regards to islamic fascism, no it can’t happen here. And I suspect your fears about the US becoming an islamic nation ruled by sharia law stem from watching too much Glenn Beck and other such fear-mongers.

    “And still no clear and compelling reason other than “we want it, we’re hurt” is offered for same-sex marriage. ”

    You still don’t get it Debbie? There doesn’t need to be a clear OR compelling reason FOR same-sex marriage, there needs to be a clear AND compelling reason AGAINST it.

    “but not for me to defend heterosexual marriage for the greater common good? Why? ”

    Because you can’t give any reasonable arguments (unsubstantiated claims about the downfall of civilization aren’t reasonable) how gay marriage would in any way harm straight marriage.

    “We have people wanting “equal access” to both genders, as if the Constitution could somehow rearrange their chromosomes.”

    No clue what you are talking about here.

  151. Regarding “Individualism” as a right … If there is one overarching theme that Oswald Chambers continually hammered home in his messages, it was the problem of individualism, i.e., maintaining one’s right to self over against submission to Christ. It effects us all, men and women, gay or straight. Think of the war over that one word — submission — within marriages. It is frequently viewed as a mutual thing, but many Christians (including women) hold that God intended for men to be the head to whom their wives can submit when they submit themselves to God’s authority. Vertical alignment. Of course, each of us is to be submitted to God first. None of us in really in charge, though we imagine we are.

  152. I also find it interesting to go back to the Genesis 3 curse: “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you” (Gen. 316). Is this where it all began?

  153. Jayhuck,

    All you have are correlations! The same type of correlation can be made about industrialization. You have NO data to show that” toxic” home environments are better than stable single-parent home environments.

    I din’t think you understand the use of correlations as a scientific research tool. Groups are matched for age, socioeconomic status and so forth and then compared. Since we can never control all variables, we cannot assert causes, only scientific correlations.

    The Theory of Industrialization breaking down the family, is constructed on a macro level where hardly any matching of variables can be made…it is not even scientically correlative. It is a reasonable and plausible theory.

    I have not asserted that “toxic homes” are better than single parent homes. If you read carefully, you will see that this is your distortion.

  154. I want to bring back dial telephones and letter writing and the test pattern and the national anthem at sign-off time.

    I have a rotary phone in my kitchen. It tok my 10-year-old WAY too long to figure out how to use it. Depending on your POV, it’s both a curse and a blessing. I no longer can participate in phone polls that require answers by touch-tone responses. OTOH, it makes it difficult to call the cable company or the phone company when there are problems and they insist on touch-tone responses.

    I don’t write leters as much as I should, but I still send cards regularly to my grandmother.

  155. and detailing his shortcomings… I don’t think you extolled his shortcomings, for the record ๐Ÿ˜‰

  156. I have been holding my tongue to allow David and Timothy to address this sticking point between them. I only wish to add that I have never seen David vilify anyone here or lash out unjustly. He has, understandably, expressed strong opinions about the issues at times. We all have. He has called out individuals on both sides of the aisle when their actions merited it. Someone has to do it.

    Timothy, I also believe when you have chosen the high road, as David pointed out, it has moved the conversation forward in a meaningful way. I have appreciated that, too.

    I think we all need to just take a deep breath before saying anything we may later regret. I have failed to follow my own advice on occasion, to my sorrow. Words can wound deeply. It is indeed hard to oppose an idea without appearing to be attacking the purveyor of it. But we are adults and we can discern the difference.

  157. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

    “But gays are forever saying traditional marriages cannot be harmed by same-sex marriage, therefore, it follows that there could be no benefit to straight couples by upholding Prop 8.”

    But there is significant harm to gays who wish to marry by upholding prop 8. Which is why it should be struck down. However, my point was that for proponents of Prop. 8 to argue that only a straight person could be unbiased in his ruling, is to argue that there is no need for prop. 8 in the 1st place.

  158. Dear Timothy,

    I am writing this a third time, once due to our e-mails not connecting, just now because a crash in my word processor.

    I think if you look closely you can see the difference in the two comments

    The first is directed at an individual (Timothy) who has a public identity and a political advocacy position. In that regard, he is tempted by such a role to distort the position of his opponents, use polarizing language and assail the motivations and “true agenda” of his opponents. He does this not with political figures alone or public policy advocates, he does it to people commenting on this blog. Other public figures with similar needs control the debate through the use of polarizing and provocative terms to achieve the political outcome they desire. Bahati and Sempa are the two I cited, Fisher and Lively are others. If not careful, these people devolve into simple propagandists.

    See Gollum, “My Precious.”

    The second comment has as to do with “Christians” generally, an amorphous group we agree, who are smeared by political activists using the darkest most corrupt examples of “Christian” politics: Sempa, Bahati, and Fisher. Oh, lets not forget Fred Phelps. This is a tool of the propagandist as well and should be rightly confronted.

    One is a group who have members of diverse political persuasions, the other is an individual, who has created a public identity and a clear public policy goal and engages in specific, well proven, tactics in order to accomplish that goal.

  159. Timothy,

    you may want to double check the “contact me” e-mail link through BTB, that is how I sent the original e-mail.

  160. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

    “There is effrontery, but unconstitutional harm is a rebuttable presumption. ”

    I didn’t say “unconstitutional harm.” I said gays were harmed by laws banning marriage. What is unconstitutional is that the government has no justification in denying gays the right of marriage. And “status quo” has NEVER been a valid reason for discrimination.

    “But how can anyone argue that Walker had nothing to gain from the outcome?”

    what did Walker have to gain that would prevent him from being able to render an unbiased opinion?

    “The law of averages says most court cases will be judged by heterosexuals. We have to accept that, bias or not.”

    This matter has nothing to do with the law of averages. It has to do with you (and others) claiming Walker is biased simply because he is gay. And none of you have been able to point to anything in his rulings (either during the trial or in his declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional) that indicates any bias.

  161. But let’s be careful not to romanticize.

    I want to bring back dial telephones and letter writing and the test pattern and the national anthem at sign-off time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  162. David Blakeslee,

    Instead of penning the paragraphs of prose extolling Timothy’s virtues and shortcomings, have you tried just apologizing? I you have then *I* am sorry, but it sure seems an easier thing to do.

  163. Please forgive the alliteration. I could not help myself this morning ๐Ÿ™‚

  164. The word “gay” has connotations of community and self-acceptance.

    The word “gay” also has connotations of being fussy, uncool, and generally tiresome to have around.

  165. I think you’ve stated the heart of the matter with this sentence. It’s all about being just as worthwhile as anyone else, regardless of what we are. It’s about being treated with dignity and respect; as we should treat others. The Golden Rule, after all … to and for each one of us: no-holds barred, no excuses, no if-and-or-buts, no exceptions.

    Teresa,

    I often think/wish people would start out realizing that if they are interacting with or observing another person, they we are automatically on equal terms with that individual because we are both human beings. Going from there, one can then start the distinguishing process – I am a girl and you are a girl, I like sushi and you do not (hypothetical), I love the Dodgers and Lakers and you like ballet (hypothetical), etc. Often, I think we start in the reverse – we pick out the things that are small and, through a process of elimination, eventually the other person does not meet our qualifications of being equal as a human being. If, conversly, there are enough of those things to qualify that individual to be a person equal to us as a human being, then, well, they are accepted as such. Distinguishing charactersitics that make one unique does not equate to them being unequal.

  166. You are ever ready to leap up and strike out at someone for causing you to feel inferior.

    If that’s what I did, Debbie, I apologize. “Leap up and strike out at people” is not at all kind, gracious, loving.

    Teresa, could you have an overly sensitive chip on your shoulder?

    Yes, I do. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact of how others present themselves. Why is it that when I say I’m homosexual; but, attempting to live chastely … that is incorrect, for you? I’m sure you can understand that denies my experience, strength and hope. It connotes “never being worthy”. I don’t think I’m the only one to see it that way.

    I will strive hard to remember to stay away from certain phrases in the future. I have areas of sensitivity, too, based on my past struggles.

    I will also strive hard to be measured in my comments in the future. It’s nice to know, Debbie, you’re human, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  167. Whew, more light bulb moments.

    I identify as a sinner, not as a saint or holy. I identify as an alcoholic; because, that’s what I am. I identify as Catholic; because, that’s what I am. I identify as an Italian-American; because, that’s what I am. I identify as a homosexual; because, that’s what I am. I guess I go on what I am, or have/continue to have experienced.

    I thought everybody did this. Learn something new every day.

  168. Debbie,

    Okay, I misunderstood what you meant by: “ I am trying to understand why you would refer to people who refuse to accept help for themselves as the very people who helped you. That sounds like the blind leading the blind to me.

    I’ll not attempt to translate.

  169. I get it. As an “activist”, it is acceptable that I be “set aside” for abuse. As an “activist” I am by definition a propagandist.

    Timothy,

    I’m not sure why it is important for you to believe this or what benefit you get from portraying yourself as a victim. Having said that, I will again repeat the truth for you to consider – what you perceive as verbal abuse from others directed toward you is no different from the verbal abuse and verbal bullying you have inflicted on a continuous basis to many here. It is my belief, subject to correction with more information, that David B. was referencing you and others who have displayed untruths and mis-representations here. When I have made you and others aware of these untruths and asked for retractions and/or apologies, my efforts have been met with contempt. If you think these things go un-noticed, you are wrong. Your credibility and reputation has been harmed. You ask others to do what you are unwilling to do yourself. David B. was comparing tactics and methods that could be perceived as propoganda (untruths) – as an activist, I have experienced you engaging in such. If you would have corrected what was asked of you, or stopped the verbal abuse/bullying when asked to, perhaps you would be considered a man of integrity and moral character who is more interested in preserving your credibility and reputation, rather than have your uncorrected tactics be compared to others who are unwilling to correct their’s either.

    You need not do any more responding, Ann. You’ve said all that you need to say.

    If you have perceived my words to accommodate the portraying yourself as a victim, then I understand your request. If you make a decision to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, then you might see and think and believe things differently and in a more accurate way.

  170. Teresa, could you have an overly sensitive chip on your shoulder? Something appears to be bothering you deeply about identifying as homosexual. You are ever ready to leap up and strike out at someone for causing you to feel inferior. You are not inferior, nor can anyone make you feel that way unless you give them permission. I certainly don’t wish to have a misunderstanding come between us. I will strive hard to remember to stay away from certain phrases in the future. I have areas of sensitivity, too, based on my past struggles.

  171. It’s just a disconnect over language. Perhaps if instead of “love” Teresa used “kindness and care” and you used “pastoral correction”. Just an idea.

    Timothy,

    Good observation.

    Debbie, ah, I own this is my fault. I should have used “kindness and care”, when I spoke of “love”. I apologize for my lack of improper wording.

    “Kindness and care” vs. “pastoral correction” … can be, and I use “can be” very observantly, worlds apart.

  172. I think that you are hearing this conversation on different terms.

    No, Timothy. We “ex-gay” types know how to visit the sick, care for widows and orphans and do all manner of things for people in need in the name of love and or just plain neighborliness. Love for us is not tied up in witnessing the truth — with heaps of sugar-coated grace — to them. Please don’t attempt to be my personal Holy Spirit. You have, of course, done us the favor of illustrating once again what it is that galls people here about your “Gnostic insights.”

  173. Or, to put it in context (and you know this is not what I believe, personally)

    A person tempted to steal would not identity as a thief, so why should a person tempted towards same-sex sexuality identify as a homosexual?

    It goes to whether you see sexuality in terms of whom you are attracted to, or if you see it in terms of whether your desires are holy.

  174. It was gays who attempted to buck the status quo.

    Well, that is awfully uppity of them, isn’t it? The effrontery!!

    That brought Prop 8.

    Yes, indeed! That’ll show them to stay in their place.

  175. Eddy et al:

    Conservative gay Christians often describe their identity as ‘in Christ’ because they are talking to people who are fixated on sexual identity as predominate. I believe it often says more about the person demanding or perhaps only requesting that they identify by their sexuality than it does about the person who answers ‘in Christ’.

    This is more of a gray area than you make it seem. I don’t think I’ve ever met a conservative Christian that speaks this way – at the very least they haven’t ever described their identity as “in Christ” in the way you stated it above. The bigger problem I have with this idea though is this long-standing conservative assumption that all gay people define themselves only, or primarily by their sexual identity, and I think this is false. I am a Christian, a gay man, a significant other, a nurse, a friend, a son, a brother, a volunteer, etc. I don’t see myself as a gay man before any of these other roles

    Another reason for the ‘in Christ’ explanation is that, contrary to popular belief, the ex-gay is usually not consumed by introspection. They don’t assess day by day whether they are a measure further from gay identification or a measure closer to straight identification…they find themselves on a daily walk with Christ, knowing that, for today at least, they don’t have a partner of either gender and aren’t in pursuit of a partner of either gender. So the whole concept of labelling themselves by a sexual orientation is of no import or consequence to them…it only matters to the person who wants to know their label.

    I find this hard to believe by the mere fact that they use the term gay when describing themselves, even if it is ex – gay. This term brings sexuality to the forefront, whether the people using it intend it to or not. It makes sexuality important, even if it is simply used to describe the sexual identity they seek to leave behind.

  176. If one thing is clear from this website, the two groups cited rarely have matching definitions for the terms they use; neither makes great effort to fullly understand the usage of the other; and (I fault the conservative Christians more for this one) sometimes use that fancy sounding terminology oblivious to the landmines of miscommunication.

    True. Though I suspect it is less intentional than cultural.

    Both communities can be, at times, rather insular. And all insular communities develop language patterns and usage that become a unique dialect. Even things which seem quite obvious to each community can have entirely different meanings in slightly different communities, (much less those with little interaction)

    Consider the phrase “freedom in Christ”

    That language has entirely different meaning when spoken in an evangelical Christian church, a Black church, and a predominantly gay church. Each is talking about a different form of bondage and thus freedom has different connotations.

    And that’s all from people within the faith.

  177. A straight person’s attractions ARE considered disordered IF they are directed to the very young, if they are expressed only through masturbation, if they render marital fidelity as impossible, if they are compulsively promiscuous and if they exhibit fixations.

    Eddy, in my opinion, you’re going beyond my original meaning. I’m talking about a str8 person’s normal attractions, whether married or single. I’m not talking about the bleeding edge of behavior. For a healthy, str8 person, if they have attractions, they are called to deal with them as their state in life calls for; but, having those attractions is not disordered, in and of themselves.

    However, for the homosexual, the attractions are themselves disordered … and, considered ‘intrinsically’ disordered … not objectively disordered.

    There’s a huge difference in what I tried to say; and, what you are saying. In fact, Eddy, you are saying homosexuals are like pederasts, masturbators, etc.; although, unwittingly.

    I repeat, again, the homosexual is defined by the fact of the attractions; and, these attractions, are in and of themselves, considered ‘intrinsically disordered’ … in and of themselves. Lust is not ‘intrinsically’ disordered if the object of the lust is opposite gender.

    This is not my reasoning, Eddy, this is the Church’s.

  178. Debbie,

    Yep. As long as we are not aspiring to be like the blind leading the blind (Matt. 15:14), we can help each other. We must all remember where Christ found us and where we have come to. It takes someone who has walked through the minefield to lead others through it.

    My question is, who is blind and who is not? I have a feeling the answer is going to be very subjective. The person who has walked through the minefield is going to be different depending on your perspective ๐Ÿ™‚

  179. @All,

    When I speak about the Church, I’m not talking about the Catholic Church only. I’m speaking about all conservative, Christian Churches.

  180. Jayhuck

    And I think we have plenty of evidence so far that allowing gay marriage does not impinge on other people’s rights.

    Yes it does, to their way of thinking.

    It impinges on their right to hold privilege.

    It impinges on their right to define socially acceptable.

    It impinges on their right to determine what will be taught in secular schools.

    These are all concerns that drive those who oppose same-sex marriage. They fear that if same-sex marriages are allowed, then it sends a message to their children that is in conflict with the values they seek to instill.

    Those opposed to same-sex marriage want for hetero marriage to be held up as an idea. They fear that it will lose that privileged spot if gay people can marry as well.

    They believe that society is best when families consist of one man, one woman and 2.5 kids, with the man working and the woman raising the kids. They accept that this cannot be achieved in ever instance, but they will to keep it as the family structure towards which to strive. And any other structure that is treated equally will threaten that ideal.

    If you took away all of the arguments that lie in giving special status and privilege to ‘one man, one woman’ marriage, there would be little left.

    But in a just society, privileges are not given based on sexual orientation.

  181. Debbie,

    What about drafting personal nonreligious views into law? For that, I guess we mount a hate campaign against any law firm retained by the House of Representatives that is defending a law the President and Attorney General decide needs to be thrown out.

    Hate, intolerance and prejudice begets hate, intolerance and bigotry does it not? Perhaps its time to stop that?

  182. Er, I meant prejudice, but bigotry will work since the two often go hand in hand

  183. Teresa# ~ May 5, 2011 at 10:37 am

    “Simply laying out the Church’s view. ”

    And not just the catholic church’s view either. Many others still claim being gay is unnatural. NARTH still claims it is disordered.

    Fortunately, such attitudes are dying out.

  184. Mary,

    For a moment – try to understand what someone is saying before jumping into an explanation of what you are thinking and how you percieve the world. Just for a moment. Men and women truly are different creatures. The brain is different in hundreds of ways thus the body is different and so are the ways we think, feel, look etc…. There are huge variations of course between men and huge variations between women – but for the most part – you really can lump men with men and women with women.

    That is true but you appear not to try and understand what *I* was saying before you jumped in. I completely understood what Debbie is saying, and I never doubted for a minute that it is true that men and women are different, so I have no idea what you are insinuating here.

    You can lump all men with all men? Really? When it comes to personality traits? What personality traits are there that all men share? I would like to know this.

  185. but its more important not to lump all men or all women under some kind of umbrella and recognize that ALL people are different from each other in important ways

    For a moment – try to understand what someone is saying before jumping into an explanation of what you are thinking and how you percieve the world. Just for a moment. Men and women truly are different creatures. The brain is different in hundreds of ways thus the body is different and so are the ways we think, feel, look etc…. There are huge variations of course between men and huge variations between women – but for the most part – you really can lump men with men and women with women.

    There are more differences between myself and a man than between Debbie and I as separate individuals.

  186. I’ll repeat, for the umpteenth time, opposite gender sexual attractions, have been considered from time immemorial, as good, true, beautiful, the basis of family and society … and, they shall become one … by the Church as following The Natural Law … expressing what God intended.

    Same gender sexual attractions are considered by society and by the Church, through culture after culture, as deviant; and, stated by the Church in her philosophy as “intrinsically disordered”.

    You are right, Teresa. Clear as a bell. While we can all be considered as disordered in some way — tainted with original sin — there is no mistaking that homosexual attractions have always been seen by the majority of people and the Church as intrinsically disordered and unnatural.

  187. Eddy

    I don’t want to make assumptions, please elaborate on the different forms of bondage these churches are referencing when they say ‘freedom in Christ’.

    No. I think I’ll let you just make assumptions.

    But if you want to discuss my point – that often miscommunication is as much cultural (community based) as intentional – I might discuss that with you.

  188. Our republic, imperfect as it is, still works better than any other system of government.

    Yes. That is because our Constitution protects minorities from an out of balance and out of check majority.

    Were it not for our Constitution and Judiciary, white total control of government would have never allowed for civil rights or the overturn of Jim Crow laws. The will of the people was in favor of discrimination.

    Were it not for our Constitution and Judiciary, there would still be “no sale to Jews” provisions in property deeds. The will of the people would have upheld them.

    Were it not for our Constitution and Judiciary, there would still be “sodomy laws” criminalizing gay people. The will of the people in a dozens states favored defining gay people as criminals. (some states still have them on the books even though they are unconstitutional just to remind gay people of their place)

    And were it not for our Constitution and Judiciary, marriage bans will not be overturned in the very near future. The will of the people in some states would uphold them.

  189. Even what some consider to be their homosexual desire or appetite has a level of healthy and normal appetites (needs, desires) within it. I used to feel guilty about desiring close male friends…thinking it was an expression of my homosexuality. And, occasionally it was. But, more often than not, it was just a natural desire for same-gender friendship.

    Yes, Eddy, in my opinion, you are correct in your observation. That is some of the problem with the use of the term: same-sex attraction. No one has friends they are not attracted to, something they like about the other person. In my opinion, the term is ill-suited.

    I’m sorry, Eddy, for my part in what you term wrangling. I think there were sensitive issues being touched in the conversation.

  190. I am so, so sorry. I think I really did what you suggested I did and I apologize for it. To your other well said points – I completely agree.

    Ann, you have nothing at all to be sorry for or about. I certainly took no offense at your comments. I saw conversations were being mixed. I apologize for sounding exasperated in my last comment.

    All’s well, Ann, don’t worry. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  191. I will never argue that differences between the sexes do not exist. What I think is up for debate is the just how different the two are.

  192. David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    “I am all for reading such documents…but I am more impressed by bright scholarly folks in the profession who can comment with authority that Judge Walker manifested repeated skepticism toward the law and nearly naive endorsement of every argument brought against the law.”

    “Bright, scholarly” folks would have read the transcripts and motions, before commenting on the accuracy/bias of the opinion. A scholarly critic would have supported his opinions with actual references to other court opinions to show how Walker’s was biased; to show how Walker’s comments were not in keeping with legal opinion. Not simply played to the prejudices of his audience.

    You do not have to be a legal expert to know that the defense was terrible in this case. All you have to do is read the court transcripts.

    David you’ve made claims before about “critical analysis” of Walker, but you have yet to cite any.

  193. Ken, the reason that statement is entitled “Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents” is this up-front acknowledgment: “Most individuals who have a lesbian and/or gay parent were conceived in the context of a heterosexual relationship.” Remember, it was written in 2002. It also, however, says this:

    Despite these challenges, lesbians and gay men increasingly are becoming parents on their own or in the context of an established same-sex relationship. Most lesbians who conceive a child do so using alternative insemination techniques with a donor’s sperm. The woman or women may choose to become pregnant using sperm from a completely anonymous donor, from a donor who has agreed to be identifiable when the child becomes an adult, or from a fully known donor (eg, a friend or a relative of the non-conceiving partner). Lesbians also can become parents by fostering or adopting children, as can gay men. These opportunities are increasingly available in most states and in many other countries, although they are still limited by legal statutes in some places.

    The statement still talks a good deal about gay parenting, in general. I submit that the data would be even more damaging for sperm-bank babies. As it is, they are comparing gay families formed out of a previous divorce with straight stepfamilies formed similarly. The statement maintained at the time these constituted most gay parenting arrangements.

  194. Debbie,

    Thank you for clarifying that your sole argument is an appeal to theocracy (submission to “moral authority”). While, as a Christian who knows history, that idea is abhorrent to me, I appreciate that you finally were willing to take the argument to the place where we all knew it was based.

  195. Ken, I know that your intentions are good, but it doesn’t look very likely that folks some folks here will take the time or effort to actually read and review the case. They have made up their minds. Don’t confuse them with the facts.

  196. I feel that there is an element of hypocrisy in legalizing gay sex while denying its practitioners the right to formally consummate the aforementioned legalized sexual behaviour in a way that gay sex lobbyists deem fair. In that weird sense, the federal judge in California was right to rule against proposition 8.

    I don’t know if Maazi has read the decision. He seems very well educated and informed, so I hope that he will. In any event, I think he made an excellent point.

  197. Walker originally ruled that the trial would be televised, this decision was later over-turned, however it was still video recorded. the defense can argue that this ruling scared off their experts and hampered their defense.

    The experts were “scared off”? Ken, if this is so, it doesn’t say much for how deeply these expert witnesses really care about the “welfare of children” or the terrible threat that marriage equality poses to the family, to the nation and to society! Where is the strength of their conviction? If they want to be “moral” they cannot also be cowards.

    Also, if is true (as the proponents claimed in court) that the witnesses feared for their personal safety, why didn’t they produce any evidence of such threats to their witnesses? Threatening letter, emails, etc.? Isn’t harassing or threatening witnesses illegal? If they can prove that this was the case, wouldn’t that be grounds enough for a “do-over”?

    I have heard this lame excuse more times than I can count — Scientific evidence that gays can change their sexual orientation is suppressed by the powerful gay lobby. “Tens of thousands of people who have successfully become heterosexual are frightened to come forward. Experts won’t testify in court due to concerns for their safety. I don’t buy it. Don’t these folks have a backbone? Are they all wimps?

  198. Has anyone read the entire decision? Anyone? Bueller?

    (BTW: Just noticed I left the “t” off of “effort” in my earlier post to Eddy. I apologize for my typos and for any confusion this might have caused to the reader.)

  199. An odd decision…forgone, once you knew who was overseeing the case.

    That comment is very telling about you David, and it’s not pretty.

  200. The judge seems to have ruled that fear and prejudice were not grounds to deny equal protection under the law. Good for him.

  201. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, there were 80 findings of FACT in favor of overturning Prop 8, and none in favor of keeping the prohibition.

    Once you know who was overseeing the case, you can gain real respect for Judge Walker’s absolute fairness in considering the evidence in reaching his meticulous and exact 138-page decision. He was scrupulous to the utmost degree precisely because of “who was overseeing the case” – himself, a gay man who had to work three times as hard as a straight one would have done in order to justify the same conclusions.

  202. An odd decision…forgone, once you knew who was overseeing the case.

  203. Michael–Cool! If I make further comments, I will do my best to know what I’m talking about even if haven’t read the entire determination. But, since I don’t intend to do that, I will happily accept that reading the entire 158 pages is not a requirement for posting on this thread AND even more happily accept that YOU won’t be responding to my comments but will instead limit yourself to those who have read the determination in its entirety.

    Eddy -Cool! I am glad that you will make an effor to know what you are talking about. I accept that you do not intend to read the entire decision –even though is’s only 138 pages, not 158. As I said, I do not make the rules as to who can comment here — Warren does that.

    I never said that those who choose to remain ignorant of what the decision actually says have no right to comment — only that I will not argue with them about it. I am making the “rule” for myself, not for them. I will keep my eyes open for someone who says they have read it. We have an understanding.

  204. Having followed the trial as it happened (and read a lot of the transcripts), I can’t see how Judge Walker could rule in favor of the defense. I predict what will happen is the defense will appeal claiming that the “threat” of televised proceedings scared off their experts and hurt the defense. And at either the Circuit Court or Supreme Court level they will agree and send it back down for a re-trial.

  205. “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of marriage licenses,” the judge wrote. “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples.” — Judge Walker

    Another blow to Dominionists.

  206. This is going to the Supremes no matter what and that will be when the lady with girth sings.

    I understand that she’s getting ready. She’s polished up the horns on the sides of her hat.

  207. Of course I don’t claim to have all knowledge.

    At last! Thanks. Debbie, Why was that so hard? I fully acccept that you are convinced that the Bible prohibits gay sex and gay marriage. That is your belief and you are entitled to it.

    Why was it so hard for you to see that I was never claiming to know everything in the first place. Only a fool can make such a claim. I know some things for certain. They are important things.

    And I mean this sincerely — I appreciate your prayers for me. I pray for you and Eddie as well — as my sister and brother in Christ.

    Thank you. I’ll take all the prayer I can get.

  208. “arsenokoitai”–first half means ‘man’, second half means ‘bed’–with the implication of sex. (Our word ‘coitus’ is a derivative.) So many have traditionally interpreted it as ‘man in bed with man for the purpose of sex’.

    Lots of murkiness. Do we emphasize ‘man’ to the exclusion of two women? Do we dig culturally and find any clues? One popular spin is that it didn’t refer to the natural and loving homosexuality that we know today but rather to men who were naturally straight having sex with other men.

    “malakos” was traditionally translated as ‘soft’ or ‘effeminate’. However, much of what our culture deems to be ‘soft’ or ‘effeminate’ doesn’t seem to be the root meaning of the term. Many suggest that it was purposely juxtaposed with arsenokoitai…and that it referred to those who purposely cultivated and flaunted softness and effeminacy for sexual reasons…the male prostitutes of the time.

    Obviously, those understandings, while traditional are not universal. From my experience, most of those who have ‘studied’ the terms have done so from a position of bias. This goes for both sides. That is why I queried earlier if the other terms from 1 Corinthians 6, specifically ‘adulterers’ and ‘fornicators’ had been ‘studied’ to the same extent. When we jump right to the middle of the list, it suggests that, for some reason, those words are more important to us…and is a signal to be wary of potential bias impacting the study and its results.

  209. Paul had to form a new word for homosexual behavior because there was no Greek word for such an unnatural concept in the ancient lexicon, , nor was it a concept that most God-fearing Jews wanted to imagine.

    So what we have here, according to you, is Paul writing a letter to the Corinthians about something they had never heard of and knew nothing about. Greeks, of course, knew nothing at all about same-sex behavior (all of the classics notwithstanding) and the Jews couldn’t even imagine it.

    Yet, so as to be very very clear, Paul made up words that no one used to discuss this unknown concept which the church at Corinth really needed to hear about. Because of its very unknown nature.

    Do you know how irrational that sounds?

    And then to have the arrogance to assume that while no Jews or Greeks knew what Paul was talking about, you do.

    I think that I’m beginning to share Micheal’s concerns. It isn’t just that you think that the Scripture is inerrant, but rather that you think that your understanding of it is inerrant as well.

  210. See, Debbie, you are still confused. You are still having difficultly in recognizing that you are not God.

    I wasn’t mocking God, I was mocking your woefully uninformed pronouncements.

  211. Michael, Paul’s words are very clear on the subject of homosexuality.

    Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha

    he he chortle giggle snort guffaw gasp ho ho ho

    Whew. You really made me laugh there.

    Paul’s words are so “clear” that he actually didn’t use real words. Paul could have selected from the current language and used what everyone else used. But, nope. He selected words that didn’t exist anywhere else. He just made ’em up.

  212. I can accept that Debbie is so certain that she is right that it becomes indisputable fact and that she feels comfortable telling others what the Maker of the Universe thinks.

    I don’t claim such direct and irrefutable knowlegde. I just have my faith, my beliefs — and those beliefs have changed over time for me. The confidence that He loves me and that I am saved by His grace has not.

  213. Michael, do you believe that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness?

    Yes, I believe it is.

    If I have a deeply personal relationship with Christ — and I do — why should I not have that kind of blessed assurance?

    I have that same “blessed assurance” of my own relationship with God through Christ. I also have a deeply personal relationship with Him. I believe that we are both saved by grace — not by our opinions about the Bible. I have assurance of my salvation and of God’s undying love. What I don’t have is the absolute conviction that my understanding of the Bible (including Paul) is the one-and-only, infallible, absolutely correct one. Do you believe that you have some sort of special, infallible knowledge of what every passage of Scripture means? I don’t think any believer of the Bible should slaim such a thing — since Paul clearly says that we don’t have such absolute knowledge in this life. I believe only God has that.:

    Paul says: “What we know now is partial, then it will be complete — when we behold him face-to-face”. When you assert that your understanding is the only possible correct and true one, you behave as though you have already reached that level of knowledge. And you have not. I don’t believe any of us has.

    It seems to me, then, your real beef is with Christ, or the early Church fathers or those who canonized Scripture. You want to strike me down for my beliefs? Why not strike down the original messenger, if you can?

    No. My real beef is with you, not what you believe. Not with the Bible. Not with the “early Church fathers (who, by the way, got into heated arguments about what the Bible required and what it did not, remember? Faithful followers of Jesus have always had disagreements about the meaning of Scripture and its application.

    I am not trying to “strike down your beliefs”. I actually admire the strength of your convictions. I am trying to point out that they are your beliefs — not the facts. By “beef” is not with the Bible. My “real beef” is with you (Debbie) and your lack of humility that there is at least some possibility that you (Debbie) may have it wrong. Does that thought ever occur to you? If it doesn’t, that’s truly frightening.

  214. Lots of murkiness.

    I don’t think so. Political correctness has thrown the muck in.

    From the Christian Research Institute/Journal:

    The Greek translation of these Leviticus passages condemns a man (arseno) lying with (koitai) another man (arseno); these words (excuse the pun) lie side-by-side in these passages in Leviticus. Paul joins these two words together into a neologism, a new word (as we do in saying database or software), and thus he condemns in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy what was condemned in Leviticus.

    1 Corinthians 6:9 confirms that Paul’s rejection of homosexual conduct is just as applicable for believers as for unbelievers and that it is self-evident, then, that the combination of terms, malakoi and arsenokoitai, are correctly understood in our contemporary context when they are applied to every conceivable type of same-sex intercourse.

  215. You’re a braver soul than I am, Timothy. “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that will he also reap.”

  216. My stated curiosity went to ‘what were THEY thinking’ and you answered with how you think it ought to be.

    I was also curious, and ventured a guess, that perhaps phrases like “other opinion” or “other status” and “without distinction” could and should include orientation — or at least should not exclude gay people. Perhaps I should have said:

    “I wonder the same thing Eddy. Perhaps the language does include gays without specifically mentioning orientation. Perhaps they left that out in the mid 40’s because is would have caused such contorversy that the rest of the document would have forever been stalled at the debate stage…”

    All people have these rights. ALL. I offered my opinion. That’s all. Then I looked into it some more — and realized that is was highly unlikely that the framers of the UN Declaration on Human Rights even brought up the subject in the 1940’s.

    Of course I don’t claim to have all knowledge.

    At last! Thanks. Debbie, Why was that so hard? I fully acccept that you are convinced that the Bible prohibits gay sex and gay marriage. That is your belief and you are entitled to it.

    And I mean this sincerely — I appreciate your prayers for me. I pray for you and Eddie as well — as my sister and brother in Christ. I suspect that when we all get there, we will all have to admit how little we actually knew.

  217. clarification:

    And while I am certain that I could hunt up a marriage from SOMEONE in the Bible that would match Debbie’s idea of marriage, I can’t think of any at the moment.

  218. It would makes of all believers, and Christ himself.

    That’s supposed to read “It would make fools of all believers, and Christ himself.”

  219. What I don’t have is the absolute conviction that my understanding of the Bible (including Paul) is the one-and-only, infallible, absolutely correct one. Do you believe that you have some sort of special, infallible knowledge of what every passage of Scripture means? I don’t think any believer of the Bible should slaim such a thing — since Paul clearly says that we don’t have such absolute knowledge in this life. I believe only God has that.:

    Paul says: “What we know now is partial, then it will be complete – when we behold him face-to-face”. When you assert that your understanding is the only possible correct and true one, you behave as though you have already reached that level of knowledge. And you have not.

    Michael, Paul’s words are very clear on the subject of homosexuality. It is not a partial statement that is couched in uncertainty. A soverign God would not allow errant human teaching to be canonized Scripture for 2,000 years. What a cruel joke that would be! It would makes of all believers, and Christ himself.

    God’s Word is sensible to searching and clear enough in the main. Of course He does not reveal every mystery in the universe to us. If He did, we’d be God. But the greater truths are discoverable here and now. “The heavens declare His glory.” The Spirit of Truth was given to all believers.

    You make a mockery of God’s truth and belie your own faith with all your talk of doubt. You want to be right with all your heart. That’s no enough. God grants us clarity and wisdom and knowledge in proportion to our obedience. Or we can stay blind for a lifetime.

    I am not wrong about what marriage is meant to be. If I can’t be certain about that, when it is so clear in Scripture, I am incapable of knowing anything.

    There is nothing more to add to this.

  220. What troubles me about your line of thinking, Debbie, is not your belief in a Divine Creator or that you believe that truth has a source. I strongly believe those things, too. No, what disturbs me is your insistence that your belief — your understanding of the Bible and of God’s will is a fact — and not your own opinion.

    Michael, do you believe that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”? Those are the words of Paul to Timothy. It seems to me those with a liberal bent want to canonize every word from Christ (even when they don’t understand them), yet to exclude Paul, who was a chosen apostle of Christ. and whose ministry brought the Church to folks like you and me — Gentiles.

    You get hung up on my “certainty.” Why? If I have a deeply personal relationship with Christ — and I do — why should I not have that kind of blessed assurance? It seems to me, then, your real beef is with Christ, or the early Church fathers or those who canonized Scripture. You want to strike me down for my beliefs? Why not strike down the original messenger, if you can?

    You are confused about what constitutes humility. Humility is a servant of the Lord, prostrate before him as he contemplates his abject poverty and hopelessness apart from his savior. Humility is realizing that He is God and I am not. Humiity is realizing that His truth is the wellspring of life.

  221. So what we have here, according to you, is Paul writing a letter to the Corinthians about something they had never heard of and knew nothing about.

    When did I ever say that? If they had a man sleeping with his mother-in-law (the chief reason Paul wrote the letter to them), I suspect they had more than an inkling that homosexuality existed. Human nature didn’t suddenly show up in Corinth. It was always there. Why the Greeks apparently had no word for it is anyone’s guess.

    As for the rest of what you said? Gee, you really toddled off the reservation with that comment, Tim.

  222. There are other passages in the Old and New Testaments which, when taken together with the 1 Cor. 6:9 one, confirm what Paul meant. It’s not just this one verse, of course.

  223. Timothy–

    Debbie did not say that they had never seen or heard of it but simply that there was on word for it. So she wasn’t saying that it was an ‘unknown concept’ as you suggest but rather that it was one that there wasn’t a quick ‘buzzword’ for. And this is quite understandable. (Now I’m wondering when, how and why the words ‘heterosexual’, ‘homosexual’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘transsexual’ were coined.)

  224. You make a mockery of God’s truth and belie your own faith with all your talk of doubt.

    Funny. I didn’t talk about doubt. I talked about faith.

    Faith is flexible and strong. Faith allows questions to come because it knows that it can withstand challenge.

    I have found in my life that those who are the least receptive to questions, those who are least willing to listen to facts, those who hold the very strongest to their certainty and who rely most on recitation of scriptures to “prove” that what they see with their own eyes is not true, are those who are really the most afraid of doubt.

    They fear doubt. Desperately.

    Because if there is even the slightest chink in their rigidity, if there is even the slightest consideration that any single matter of dogma might be wrong, then they are unsure and lost and scared and have nothing to hold onto. Their god is not the Creator, their god is their religion.

    This is not to say that Debbie fits in this category. That’s up to her to decide.

    You want to be right with all your heart. That’s no enough. God grants us clarity and wisdom and knowledge in proportion to our obedience. Or we can stay blind for a lifetime.

    Yes indeed. Some of us open our eyes and look to the leading of the Spirit. Others close our eyes, refuse to even read the facts, deny any evidence and live in a place of carefully constructed certainty.

    I am not wrong about what marriage is meant to be. If I can’t be certain about that, when it is so clear in Scripture, I am incapable of knowing anything.

    So clear in Scripture. Oh so ever so very very clear clear clear in Scripture.

    Right.

    I wrote this some time back but I think it’s good for today’s discussion:

    WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT MARRIAGE FROM THE BIBLE

    From Adam we learn that there is not need for a marriage.

    From Seth we learn that procreation with your sisters is OK.

    From Abraham we learn that a man can marry his sister – and lie about it. We also learn that if your wife is barren, she can give you her maid to impregnate.

    From Lot’s daughters we learn that if you don’t have a man and you want a child, you can always just get your father drunk and have sex with him.

    From Jacob we learn that a wife can be purchased by seven years of labor. We also learn that it is acceptable to deceive a groom into marrying the wrong woman and the marriage is valid. We also learn that having two sisters as wives is a blessing.

    From Onan we learn that a man is obligated to impregnate his brother’s widow. We also learn that when having sex with your sister-in-law, you are not supposed to pull out before ejaculating (it’s wicked in God’s sight).

    From Salmon we learn that your son born of a prostitute will bring recognition and honor to your name for millennia and your descendant will be the Messiah.

    From Ruth we learn that a woman belongs to her husband’s family even after his death. We also learn that premarital seduction is honorable.

    From David we learn that marriage (to one of your several wives) is for establishing connection into the royal family. We also find that if you kill a man to take his wife, she’ll provide you an heir who will be both wise and wealthy.

    From Solomon we learn that a man can have as many wives as he can afford – along with twice as many concubines.

    From Joseph we learn that if your fiance becomes pregnant – not by you – marry her anyway.

    Paul tells us some very interesting things about marriage: It’s better never to marry (unless you can’t control your passions). And if do have a spouse and they are not a believer, then if s/he leaves you, let them go.

    Even Jesus had some opinions about marriage: be sure to have enough wine at the ceremony and second marriages are adultery (even if the ex-spouse is a non-believer).

    Yes, there is so much we can learn about marriage from Scripture. But one thing is clear: The idea of “one man, one woman” marriage may indeed be “traditional” but it certainly isn’t Biblical.

    Of course some of those marriages had horrible consequences. But they were the norm, the heros, the biblical example. And while I am certain that I could hunt up a one-man-one-woman marriage from SOMEONE in the Bible, I can’t think of any at the moment.

  225. Holy Crap!!! This thread had gone quiet for a couple of days and I came across something that was actually connected to the topic and brought it here for discussion and all that came of it was two days of word-wrangling with Michael. And now, suddenly it’s back to kindergarden tit for tat spurred by Jayhuck revisiting out of the blue a comment that was made some 25 days ago. Approx. 500 comments have transpired since then, wow! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this site is addicted to contention.

    Shaking my head in disgust and signing off.

  226. Some countries still consider private, consenting, homosexual activity between adults to be a “crime”. It would make sense that these countries would want to exclude sexual orientation under the umbrella of “everyone” being “entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind”. Perhaps it would be easier just to come of with the list of those they think should be excluded.

  227. That I demand facts that are facts and not factoids? Good.

    What troubles me about your line of thinking, Debbie, is not your belief in a Divine Creator or that you believe that truth has a source. I strongly believe those things, too. No, what disturbs me is your insistence that your belief — your understanding of the Bible and of God’s will is a fact — and not your own opinion.

    You and I are human. We have limited knowledge and what we do have is not perfect. Not until we we see Him face-to-face. You have no more reason to assert that your beliefs are “facts” than I do. It is this “What I believe is “the truth” that is the most dangerous aspect of any sort of fundamentalism or extremism.

    Why do you continually exclude yourself from the equation? Your fallibility? Your prejudices? Where is the humility? Where is the possibility that you may have some things wrong? Why not say, with a little bit of true Christian charity, “I believe”?

  228. Faith can look at same-sex marriage like it does any issue. It can listen, look at the facts, challenge the presumptions, and apply eternal principles.

    God to Timothy: “Let me know how that is working for you.”

  229. And, I still think, that if it was an accidental oversight, they need to include it.

    I dont’ think they need to. I think they have it covered in the preamble and first couple of ariticles. Everyone. All. Perhaps they should have started the document with an exhaustive list of all the invalid exclusions that humanity has offered for injustice throughout the ages and say, “None of these apply. When we say “all”, we really mean every human being has these rights.”

  230. I really don’t know Eddy, but I suspect that “sexual orientation” was not mentioned in the document because many nations believe that sexual orientation should be an exclusion for human rights.

    The proposed United Nations declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity is a Dutch/French-initiated, European Union-backed statement presented to the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2008. The statement, originally intended to be adopted as resolution, prompted an Arab League-backed statement opposing it. Both statements remain open for signatures and none of them has been officially adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_declaration_on_LGBT_rights

  231. A little side musing: When Paul wrote the words “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”, do you suppose he meant “including this letter I’m writing”?

    Do we suppose that Paul believed his own writing to be sacred scripture and the inspired word of God?

  232. Amen! Now if we’ll only grasp that both sides have the problem.

    I agree that we both have it. I would suggest that one way to begin would be to stop saying things like “…God says”, or “…the facts are…”, or “…the Bible says” without qualification — and insert the words: “I believe that …”, or “It is my conviction that …, or “It is my understanding that …”

    With this in mind, I promise I will do my best speak my own mind and admit that these are expressions of my faith, my beliefs — and not presume to know or speak with certainty about what God thinks. Can we at least agree to adopt that general approach?

  233. I wish I had been a ‘fly on the wall’ as they discussed this though…hearing the arguments for and against exclusion would have been interesting if not enlightening.

    I agree. It would have been. Fortunately, we still can “be a fly on the wall” so to speak. The United Nations Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity was only introduced in 2008 — and the disussions are still ongoing. It will be interesting to see how that discussion goes. I suspect it will be very much like the discussion here in the US regarding same-sex couples having the right to marry.

    I suspect that personal prejudice, religion and tradition will be the main opposition to human rights being applied to all people, regardless of orientation or gender identity. Those prejudices will die hard. — as they did with issues like racial equality and women’s rights. Many of those prejudices still exist, even though it’s now illegal to deny human rights because of them.

  234. My best guess is that if they had tried to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the original UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, that the whole document would have been stalled forever in debate. Just as the US Constitution might have been if folks had insisted that it abolish slavery, racial discrimination and give women the right to vote.

    At least by 1948, most countries could agree that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” My hope is that someday, words like “without distinction”, “other opinion” and “other status” will be universally understood to indicate that “all” really does mean “all.”

  235. God to Timothy: “Let me know how that is working for you.”

    That’s exacltly what I’m talking about! I guess I don’t need to read, study or pray or search out God’s will for my life — or even bother exerting the effort. I could just ask you.

  236. And I’m sorry but I believe that is illogical. They said ‘all’ but still felt the need to list specifics…I’ll maintain my curiosity about why, when they listed so many other specifics, that they omitted that important one.

    Oversight? purposeful omission? no unanimous consensus that ‘orientation’ should be included? no universal application? some other reason?

    I will have a curiosity while you will have a conclusion. It seems best we leave it there.

  237. In Honor of Women’s Equality Day and the 19th amendment, here’s a little “herstory” lesson. It is my prayer and firm belief that someday, all US citizens will have equal civil rights and we will wonder how anyone could have sensibly and reasonably argued against it.

    “Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours. ~Grover Cleveland, 1905

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dt1cD0vVoA_U&h=e0bdd

  238. Not going to hold my breath…even asking a question on this website brings on the heat.

    I would hope that we’d recognize when we are dismissive, when we refuse to think outside of our own box, when we refuse to allow others to think or talk other than by our own script. I would hope that we stop picking up on one sentence or one word that an ‘opponent’ says to take exception to while ignoring the rest of what they said. (The miracle: “I get what you’re saying in your first paragraph but I’m not sure if I agree with your conclusion that…”) And I would hope that we’d learn to be more open in how we question and in how we respond to being questioned.

  239. To Debbie (who – whether she will ever acknowledge it or not – doesn’t actually speak for God):

    It’s working pretty well, thanks. God’s divine revelation continues to work in His people. More and more are looking to see how their faith speaks to the way they treat gay people and with every passing year more and more come to find that God’s radical welcome is inclusive and joyous. More and more Christians are finding that the gospel is good news indeed rather than a message of legalism, literalism, and bondage to the law and sin paradigm.

    And it is a wonderful thing. As the Holy Spirit leads, certainty gives way to faith. And faith leads to charity and decency.

    And while some (the Southern Baptist Convention, for example) continue to ratchet up their roarings and wailings, much of Christendom is becoming inclusive and supportive and celebrate God’s great goodness and their recovery from rigidity and hidebound narrow-mindedness.

  240. Certainty, however, is rigid and hard. Any crack in certainty can lead to its shattering, so it must be protected from all threat. All conflicting facts must be ignored or dismissed; certainty demands it. It can never be questioned or challenged or (worst of all) allow any thought outside of that which is prescribed.

    Amen! Now if we’ll only grasp that both sides have the problem.

  241. Okay, I’ll accept that ‘many nations believe that sexual orientation should be an exclusion for human rights’ as a valid possible answer to the riddle.

    I wish I had been a ‘fly on the wall’ as they discussed this though…hearing the arguments for and against exclusion would have been interesting if not enlightening.

  242. Wow! That’s quite a list of things not to exclude based on…and yet it still omits ‘orientation’.

    I sympathize with your own feelings on the matter however I still ponder why the oversight or omission of ‘orientation’. And, I still think, that if it was an accidental oversight, they need to include it. Seems we’re having international debates re issues relating to orientation, an International Bill of Rights ought to mention that categorization if they are going to list all those others.

  243. Jayhuck: This is very telling of you and of others who hold so strongly to their beliefs that no amount of facts will sway them. That’s honestly downright scary.

    Debbie: I’m glad it’s telling. But what is it telling? That I hold to faith in a divine creator? Good. That I demand facts that are facts and not factoids? Good. That truth has a source? Good.

    I’ve come to believe that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.

    Faith gives assurance that allows for questions. It invites input, measures the possibilities and applies truths. Faith is flexible and fluid and applicable across the unexpected.

    Certainty, however, is rigid and hard. Any crack in certainty can lead to its shattering, so it must be protected from all threat. All conflicting facts must be ignored or dismissed; certainty demands it. It can never be questioned or challenged or (worst of all) allow any thought outside of that which is prescribed.

    Faith can look at same-sex marriage like it does any issue. It can listen, look at the facts, challenge the presumptions, and apply eternal principles. Faith can come to conclusions that may be surprising or challenging or counter-intuitive.

    Certainty, on the other hand, is threatened by facts, ideas, challenges. Certainty chooses instead to refuse to listen and simply quote texts.

  244. Were that many women “trapped” in “loveless” or abusive marriages in the ’50s and ’60s? Or did folks like Better Friedan (The Feminine Mystique) convince them they were entitled to more than being lackluster housewives? There have been various women’s movements in history. That pendulum has always swung to and fro. It seems to need a catalyst. Today, we see a somewhat reactionary push for moms to stay home with children. I did it. Glad I did.

    Let us not forget the many good marriages we have and have had among us. I’ve been blessed to have seen many examples. Plenty of women have had no difficulty in finding fulfillment in being wives and mothers. They see it as a worthy career. Or they may sandwich child-rearing between the phases of life where they choose to work.

    Many people, men and women, tend to cite the influence their mothers had on their lives. Many strong women, sadly, have had to step up to partly fill the role of a slacking husband and father. Of course, it sometimes goes the other way.

    And yes, it is problematic for conservatives to chime in about the horrors of gay marriage when marriage in general has taken such a hit from within. Entitlement mentality already got to us.

  245. The question Debbie still remains: why did all those Christian women take the bait, join the ranks of the “freed woman”? Betty Friedan didn’t make Christian women’s choice for them.

    Each Christian woman had/has an individual choice, individual responsibility … Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinhem, Germaine Greer didn’t make anybody, do anything. That’s a cop-out for Christians.

    As to a reactionary movement, that’s about over with this newest depression upon the economy … small as that movement is/was.

    Scapegoating feminists, gays, Jews, Muslims (whoever the du jour group) doesn’t wash at the end of the day. Christianity has ceased to be (sometime ago) much of an influence upon society; except to scream, “those bad guys are the fault”. We need to look in a mirror; and, realize “those bad guys” are us.

  246. Teresa,

    The question still remains of individual responsibility in all this recent discussion. If a person is truly a committed Christian (redundant, actually), why isn’t the TV thrown out, why the need for an SUV (let alone one with a DVD player), why the need for a large home, a second home, cruises, casinos, blah, blah, blah. Why have we Christians allowed ourselves to be enslaved to all of this?

    Where is the willingness to not divorce, fornicate, abort, commit adultery, not artificially limit the family size, not watch porn, spend inordinate amounts of time on the internet, not, not, not … and, equally asked is why we don’t spend more time helping our aged family members instead of warehousing them, sheltering our precious money instead of using it to help the poor, and on and on?

    Eddy,

    I agree with you!

  247. Christianity has ceased to be (sometime ago) much of an influence upon society; except to scream, “those bad guys are the fault”. We need to look in a mirror; and, realize “those bad guys” are us.

    Oh, I don’t disagree with you in the least, Teresa. I do think there are a number of influences that helped push us over the edge. But we were already going over. They were just opportunists.

    Yes, Ann, we lost something along the way in family closeness. Large extended families were micro-communities once upon a time. And faith was also at the center of it. The bonds were unbreakable. Industrialization was part of it, as has already been opined. Agrarian communities became fewer. And forgive me, but I think Darwinism had its role to play, as well.

  248. David B.

    These have benefits for public policy, as a citizen is a good person, they are less likely to need to be more closely governed.

    This has implications for sexuality, albeit very difficult to determine: especially for the heterosexual community…as children are more likely to be the consequence of heterosexual coupling…and that libertine attitudes toward uncommitted coupling do not properly see the “down stream” damage to children and to public agencies.

    We agree that ‘good citizenship’ and a host of other factors – including down stream factors – are all legitimate points that the state could put forward to defend its law disallowing polygamous marriage. They are also legitimate points to oppose same-sex marriage.

    My point is not that my rights trump anything the state could present. Indeed, if i were convinced that same-sex marriage would result in pending doom, I’d be opposed.

    It is just that – so far – the arguments against it haven’t held up to scrutiny. Some are legitimately and honestly held, but they don’t seem to have substance. Perry was the first case in which the courts said, “bring in your evidence, bring in your witnesses, bring in your science, let’s get to the bottom of this.”

    And while there are those who think that Judge Walker was biased, Having read the transcripts, I can’t see how any judge could use the evidence presented and come to any other conclusion (but, I am also biased).

    All the “down stream” stuff, when presented clearly illustrated good, not harm. For example, the Prop 8 Supporters came in with a chart that showed that after civil unions were granted in scandinavia there was a downturn in marriage. The plaintiffs came in with the exact same chart… except that theirs was not limited to four carefully selected years. When you saw the bigger picture, it was obvious that marriages had been dropping for decades and that the part after civil unions was actually where the deadfall started to slow and right after was where it leveled off.

  249. David,

    Are you telling me that the words to use should go something like this:

    Senator Jones from North Whoodunk ran on a pro-gay platform and opposed the bill to bar gay people from adopting. On the other hand, Senator Smith from South Whoodunk took the advocating a traditional view of marriage as between one man and one woman view and supported the bill.

    Hmmmm… No. I don’t think that works.

    And while I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt about your intentions to find terms absent of value judgement, you failed utterly.

    I don’t know a single gay person who thinks of our efforts as “broadening the definition of marriage.” The whole “definition of marriage” mantra is a talking point trotted out by anti-gay activists.

    An equally appropriate statement could be

    Applying civil law equally to all citizens verses restricting access to rights based on sexual orientation.

    See. No implied rancor on anyone’s part.

    So as I categorically reject your incredibly ridiculous notion that I term my quest for civil equality as though it’s some imposition on you, I have to consider your objections for what they are.

    You seek to avoid any language that reflects negatively on anti-gay policies that people endores, heterosexist presumptions that they may espouse, and homophobic statements that they may praise.

    I’ve considered your objections, attempted to accommodate you, and now have found your complaint to be unreasonable. Not just impractical, but based in the idea that very bad, very destructive, and very harmful ideas should be shielded from criticism lest the people who are espousing the very bad, very destructive, and very harmful ideas think that my criticism equates to simplistic polarizing labels to describe well intentioned people.

    It doesn’t.

    First, it is dishonest to equate criticism of an idea with “polarizing labels”. That’s nonsense and I’m not going to play along with it any longer.

    Second, there has been of late a blurring of the difference between “I disagree” and horrible personal accusations. You have been more guilty than most. I am not receptive to you lecturing me that I should avoid “simplistic polarizing labels” while I have NEVER seen you criticize ANYONE for personal attacks on me – not my views, but me.

    Finally, underlying your expectations is the presumption that I should be respectful towards views that hurt my life, are based in horrific presumptions, and if directed towards any other group you would call bigotry. I will be respectful in attempting to reach people, but I will not be respectful of the views. They are evil.

  250. But here’s the rub: If I had to choose, I would rather allow polygamist to marry than I would to force my religious beliefs on them.

    I totally agree with allowing polygamists to marry.

    I’m less convinced, however, that we should begin allowing agents of the government to issue marriage licenses to polygamists — there are arguments for and against doing this.

    However, if we as a society choose not to legally recognize polygamous marriages, I emphatically reject the claim that this amounts to “forcing” the majority’s religious beliefs on the polygamists. A man who wants to have multiple wives is free to civilly marry one woman while being religiously married to other women who cohabitate with him.

  251. @All,

    In spite of my personal opinions, I’ve recently read where countries (Sweden, as one) where new marriages had dropped off; the years after permitting same-sex marriage, the marriage rates increased … and, not due to same-sex coupling figures, but removing them from the stats … str8 marriages increased.

    Stats were adjusted for population increase, etc. This was certainly an unexpected consequence, I’m sure, that most people never thought would happen.

  252. Timothy,

    I am just speculating but I think that, oddly enough, the battle over marriage rights has been good in a way for marriage. It has gotten the country talking about what marriage means and portrayed it as something worth fighting for.

    yeeyeeeyeeyeeeyee (queazy, ill-at-ease). This is where I see something entirely different happening.

    The rancorousness of the marriage debate makes more cynics than it does converts. The myopic view of traditional values as “haters” reinforces a counter culture move toward libertine and highly individualistic choices in the name of freedom and a right to demand the tolerance of the larger culture.

    It is one of the reasons why I have had concerns with terms like “anti-gay” when applied too broadly to the marriage debate.

    Christians have never held out Brittany Spears, or Dennis Rodman, other heterosexuals as their examples of why marriage needs to be “kept” from homosexuals…

    Christians have an elevated view of marriage that they feel has been lost in recent decades in the popular culture, this lower view of marriage has had a demonstrable correlative effect on the quality of life for women and children.

  253. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    “To be clear, Jayhuck, Marinelli makes a distinction between “civil marriage” and “holy marriage.” Not sure how many Christians will be able to go there with him, but he is entitled to feel as he does. ”

    I suspect a majority of christians understand the distinction between civil and religious marriage. I have yet to hear of any christians claiming atheists who civilly married aren’t really married. Are you claiming they aren’t married? And I don’t mean aren’t married in the church, I mean aren’t married under the law.

  254. You may think that is strains my credibility to point this out to you. But I think by this point it’s pretty clear to everyone that in your mind gay folks are “sense of entitlement that has nothing to do with being a true victim.”

    Timothy,

    It strains your credibility because you said something that was untrue. You could have chosen otherwise, and didn’t. You lied and it has not gone unnoticed.

  255. Ann# ~ Apr 12, 2011 at 8:50 am

    “I’m not sure how to respond to your impression”

    How about responding to my question instead. I’ll repeat it here:

    Do you, Ann, believe gays are victims of discrimination in this country?

  256. Ann–

    Judge Kincaid has read your heart and has declared his judgement. Not everyone sees it his way (despite his generalized summary that they do). But just like Judge Judy, there’s no point in arguing. The judge’s decisions are final—well, at least in his own mind.

  257. the fact that you never asked about the studies is quite telling Ann.

    No, it is not a fact Ken so there is nothing that is quite telling, unless you want to make an incorrect assumption. This is what I actually said:

    I know there have been studies that infer this, however, I do not know how substantial or credible or conslusive they are.”

    I’m getting the impression that you don’t know because you really don’t want to know

    I’m not sure how to respond to your impression as it is not based on a truth and is something that you have created and I cannot fix.

  258. David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

    “Those in the gay marriage camp say that polygamy is at least a straw man…as they do the argument that broadening a definition of marriage weakens a definition. At worst they say it is mean spirited or a scare tactic…or worse.”

    It is actually worse than a straw man argument. It is an attempt to link gay marriage to something (in many people’s minds) the majority disagree with even more. It is the same tactic (although a little more subtle) many conservatives used by bringing up incest, child molestation and bestiality whenever they talked about homosexuality. Gay marriage and polygamous marriage are 2 completely separate things, with separate arguments for/against them.

    If you (or anyone else) wishes to challenge the government prohibition on polygamous marriage, you are free to do so, but that has NOTHING to do with gay marriage.

  259. And I’m sorry if you are offended.

    You needn’t worry, Timothy. That’s your game, not mine.

    “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27, Ref: Lev. 19:18, Deut. 6:5).

    It’s all there. If I love God with all that I am — mind, body, soul, spirit — I cannot fail to love others as He wants me to because I will understand His heart and be identified with his interests in others. If I remember that Jesus is even now interceding before the Father for me and all believers, praying along the lines of his prayer in John 17 (“that they may all be one, even as You, Father, are in me, and I in You; that they also may be in Us …”), then I will not fail to see Christ’s love for me nor to treat others with true Christ-love. Christ is both truth and love, embodied in one. And so must I be.

    “For whom the LORD loves, He reproves” (Prov. 3:12, Rev. 3:19). It’s an unavoidable truth. Let’s not forget to factor His love for us into the equation.

  260. If this were 1986, Debbie would be saying the same stuff about people, but swap “Muslim” for “Communist.”

  261. David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

    “The scientific data for a biologic deterministic reason for same sex attractions is weak, but real.”

    Timothy didn’t say attractions are solely determined by biology (if he did, I would have challenged that assertion). However, we do know there are biological factors. It is not known the extent they play in determining attractions, but it is clear biological factors play a role. Which is what timothy was saying and Ann was trying to claim wasn’t conclusive.

  262. @ Mary,

    Because the government benefits from people coupling in longterm relationships: they live longer, use less medical resources, are less likely to have drug and alcohol problems and are more likely to raise their children with less government assistance….

    Many government benefits are meant to reflect the lower costs (for the government) associated with long term relationships.

    We can post date all our marriage licenses to read “civil unions”—I think your solution is the most respectful of all involved…but I don’t think it would change anything.

  263. Thanks Warren. Has there been an attempt to get the feds to step up re Social Security etc for civil unions? This is a somewhat major concern and, for that alone, I’d recognize the merits of pursuing marriage over civil unions.

    ———————

    Thanks, Dave. That thoroughly justifies the 2 months of anguish and several confrontive meetings my friend went through to defend their right to be assessed on merit and practice alone.

    The Engardio quote is six comments above yours. Michael Bussee posted it.

  264. Why doesn’t our government get out of the marriage business (granting special financial incentives to marry) , make a civil unions legal for hetero and homo couplings and then let the church (whatever church you go to) marry or bless your union.

  265. Civil Unions and Marriage: What’s the Difference?

    The most significant difference between marriage and civil unions (or domestic partnerships) is that only marriage offers federal benefits and protections.

    According to the federal government’s General Accounting Office (GAO), more than 1,100 rights and protections are conferred to U.S. citizens upon marriage. Areas affected include Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, health insurance, Medicaid, hospital visitation, estate taxes, retirement savings, pensions, family leave, and immigration law.

    Because same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and California, civil unions, and domestic partnerships are not federally recognized, any benefits available at the state or local level are subject to federal taxation. For example, a woman whose health insurance covers her female partner must pay federal taxes on the total employer cost for that insurance.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0922609.html

  266. Here are some of the things I have been hearing here (and elsewhere) from people upset about the decision:

    (1) The judge is gay.

    (2) He prohibited qualified witnesses from testifying.

    (3) He manipulated the case.

    (4) He discriminated against Christians.

    I suspect many of the folks who have made such comments have also refused to read it. It’s an important part of US legal history, an important part of civil rights history — and it raises some every important Constituional questions — questions that I believe are worth reading the decision in order to have intelligent conversation about it.

    People are certainly entitled to make any judgements or accusations they choose, to read it or not read it, etc. I have now read it four times — along with many articles, both pro and con, analyzing the ruling.

    It would be nice to be able to discuss the case with someone else who has made the effort. But you guys will do, I guess.

  267. What compelling secular interest does the state have to deny marriage equality?

    You see, that’s the problem. “Marriage equality” is a non sequitur. There are no marriages equal to (in the eyes of the state — which accords them benefits because they benefit society, as David pointed out — or the eyes of social observers or the Church) those comprised of one man and one woman.

    Others have observed that the pro-gay rationale Judge Walker used might just as well be used to legalize polygamy. What is the hard evidence that either gay or traditional marriages are superior to polygamous ones?

  268. I know I am breaking my own rule about not responding to people who have decided not to educate themselves about the ruling by refusing to actually read it, but I have broken my own rules before, so here goes:

    What compelling reasons do we have to believe gays can do marriage better than the rest of us?

    That’s the same question the judge asked, only in reverse. What compelling reasons do we have, backed up by actual evidence, to believe that straights can do marriage better? Or parent better? What compelling secular interest does the state have to deny marriage equality? There wasn’t any — at least not presented in court.

    “Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman in inherently better …this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.” – Judge Vaughn Walker.

  269. I haven’t read the entire determination so I can’t engage Michael on this…can anyone else cite the specifics of the ‘inferior benefits’ of ‘civil unions’? Are there some inferior benefits that are universal throughout the U.S.? Are there some that some states have addressed and others have overlooked? Are there states that offer equal benefits to both those who are married and those who are coupled in a civil union?

  270. Eddie said..

    For all it’s fine-sounding eloquence, Engardio’s quote doesn’t seem to address the ‘thought police’ scenarios from the link I provided or from my friend’s situation.

    Didn’t see Engardio’s comments .. perhaps I missed them in my fast scrolling… at any rate .. I did look at the link you provided .. I also went to the ADF site to see what they were doing about it directly and read down through some of their suit. According to the news article on ADF they have had cases like this before and been quite successful at them .. so I am guessing this will have the same outcome.

    Quite bluntly .. I am tired of all the phobic statements coming out of Christian resources. Time and time again I have investigated these claims and found that either we won the case (but kepty whining about it anyway) or that the issue was no where near what the spin doctors had spun it out to be. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on this one. If its anything like the other successes .. ADF will succeed and then Christian resources will whine and complain about what *might* have happened.

  271. concerned# ~ Aug 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    “The fact that some did not speak out against this bias judgement is nothing new. ”

    How have you determined that the judgement was biased?

  272. Because the government benefits from people coupling in longterm relationships: they live longer, use less medical resources, are less likely to have drug and alcohol problems and are more likely to raise their children with less government assistance.

    David, you sound like Judge Walker. He said that the evidence presented in court backed this up — that the government and society actually benefit by affirming marriage equality — for all of the reasons you listed.

  273. Perhaps the right to marry ought to be granted on the basis of which groups tend to have the lowest divorce rates.

    There is not enough data to make such a determination. The study I cited above showed that married gays and lesbians (especially lesbians) in Norway and Sweden outpaced heterosexual married couples in divorces. Those countries have had gay marriage longer than we have. It’s about all we have statistically for now.

    Perhaps more compelling evidence would come from the children of gay unions, but, again, it will take time for the maladaptive effects to become evident or attention-getting. What compelling reasons do we have to believe gays can do marriage better than the rest of us? And if divorce is harmful enough for the average kid, how much more so might it be for the child raised in a gay home? Are they not already subjected to harassment from their peers for having two moms or two dads? Is the sandbox not rough enough already for kids?

    In the end, the people will get what they want — enough rope to hang themselves with.

  274. And all of the social scientists/psychologists that have actually STUDIED gay families (and published including the one you cited), have found the children raised in those households are just as well adjusted (sometimes even better off) than children raised by straight couples. if you know of a study that doesn’t, feel free to post the citation. And many also agree that the children in gay households would be even better off if their parents could marry.

    Which leads me back to my question that you still haven’t answered. Do you believe if lesbian couples were married would they have been more or less likely to break up?

    Ken, the statement I cited that concluded lesbian-parented children fared as well as children of divorced parents was not complimentary of lesbian parenting.

    This 2005 study points to the higher divorce rates among lesbians in Norway and Sweden:

    For both countries, dissolution rates were significantly higher for lesbian couples than they were for gay couples. In Norway, 56 out of 497 lesbian partnerships were dissolved (11.26%) as com- pared to 62 out of 796 gay partnerships (7.78%). In Sweden, 117 out of 584 lesbian partnerships were dissolved (20.03%) as compared to 135 out of 942 gay partnerships (14.33%). In comparison, the percentage of dissolved heterosexual marriages in Sweden was 8%. For both countries, the higher rate of dis- solution for lesbian couples than for gay couples persisted even when statistical analyses controlled for length of the partnership (which, if different between the two groups, can produce illusory differences in gay and lesbian couples’ stability).

    It must be pointed out that gay marriage has been around for a relatively short time, not long enough for any comprehensive studies. Why should it matter to you or anyone else what I believe about the effects of marriage on gay or lesbian parents? I am not a social scientist. If you want my commonsense opinion, then, no, I can’t see marriage as contributing to gay couples’ stability, parenting or no parenting, in the long run. Look at how unstable it has become for straight couples.

    By the way, what the limited studies have shown is that some weigh financial stability and education (gays have an edge there) over mother-father role modeling in declaring that gay-parented families are superior or equal to mom-dad-parented ones. I say how can these children be so stable when something essential to their development is always going to be missing? It may not be easily observed or measured, but it’s there. And in adulthood, it will make its presence known. Family engineering is a social experiment as harmful as eugenics, in my opinion.

  275. Debbie,

    Likewise, Jayhuck, when someone asserts having a “right” to something that isn’t self-evident (readily seen or accepted by most people), it is incumbent on that person or group to demonstrate that exercising that right will not impinge on other existing rights.

    And I think we have plenty of evidence so far that allowing gay marriage does not impinge on other people’s rights.

  276. Debbie,

    Dang it, Jayhuck (I am not yelling that). There you go again. I was willing to be done with that.

    How do we draft our “personal” religious views into law? Let’s see, individuals vote and a good many of them also hold to personal religious views. So they must leave religion (and morality) at the voting booth door? Or maybe they call for riots and storm the Capitol, holding their Congressmen and Senators at gunpoint until they pass the laws they believe ought to be passed.

    That is true Debbie and it is a hard question to answer. Obviously no one should be held at gunpoint, and I find it difficult to suggest that people can always merely leave their personal religious views at the voting booth door. Thankfully though we have a system that allows for the people to vote but also allows for some checks a balances regarding the result of that voting – which means that even if a majority wants to restrict rights for a minority, they don’t always get to unless they can prove that giving these rights constitutes some kind of harm for the state or country. So far, when it comes to gay marriage, anti-gay marriage supporters have been unable to do that in the courts

    What about drafting personal nonreligious views into law? For that, I guess we mount a hate campaign against any law firm retained by the House of Representatives that is defending a law the President and Attorney General decide needs to be thrown out.

    This has nothing to do with passing laws and everything to do with groups exerting their right to free speech. A group mounted a “hate campaign” to stop the defense of what can only be called a hateful law – that is an interesting way of looking at it.

  277. Those who share may views need to ever careful that we do not force people to do what we want.

    And we don’t always do a good job of this!

  278. For myself, and only myself, it is a hard pill to swallow that I’m different in a really essential way. Not just a characteristic of I’m left-handed in a right-handed world; or, I’m taller than the average bear. But, in a way, that deprives me of some good I that I truly desire; but, unable to acquire. Is this the end of the world, absolutely not; but, I understand the wanting to see myself as not “disordered” … if that makes sense.

    Teresa,

    There was a time when being left-handed in a right-handed world was also a bit of a bitter pill. The Bible clearly viewed left-handed people as undesirable. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. The sheep are on God’s right hand, the goats on his left. And there is not a single instance in scripture – ever, at all – in which left-handedness is given God’s sanction.

    Just a few decades ago, left-handed children were forced to use their right hand. The crayon was taken from the left and put in the right. Some functioned fairly decently, some not as well, some suffered greatly in an environment that required proficient use of the right hand for all educational pursuits.

    Our language even reflects that historical bias. The word “sinister” literally means left-handed.

    But that prejudice is mostly gone. It seems that references to “the right hand of the Father” were not actually indication of God’s judgment. Who knew?

    Personally (this is me) I believe that much of the social discrimination against gay people will also to a large extent wind up on the dustbin of history.

    All of which doesn’t speak to your point. Even if society had no problem at all, you still would. And that is something that is yours to resolve.

    I am not suggesting a course of action.

    But let me share with you that – for me – I simply stopped believing that I was disordered. The church is wrong. Once I stopped taking it for granted that the religious condemnation of my innate orientation was either just or holy, that burden went away. All the contradictory application of rules, all of the love/hate paradigm that seems to only resemble rejection, all of the double-speak, all of that no longer required me to make logic leaps.

    For me (and I speak only for me) everything became simpler and, frankly, more aligned with what I know of God.

    That is my testimony.

  279. Teresa,

    OK, I picked the KKK example only because it was an easy one to use to illustrate my point, but its not a great example by any means. I don’t want to compare people who hold religious views that run counter to mine as being like the KKK members (I have too many religious conservatives in my life, who I care about, to use such a simplistic and likely offensive example), so here is one that may work better. Lets talk about non-Christians, or atheists. I think there are many Christians, especially conservative Christians, who would disagree with beliefs of other faiths, or with those who don’t believe in God at all. You still don’t see people, other than Dominionists perhaps, who want to try and outlaw the practicing of these particular beliefs, or non-beliefs as it were. Is that better – I hope so ๐Ÿ™‚

  280. Teresa,

    How do we live in the tension of these two, what seem at times, diametrically opposed views? How do I “do unto you, what I would want you to do unto me”? How do I continue to love and respect persons, when I disgree with some positions they’ve taken, and vice versa?

    Case in point: the original issue of this Post … same-sex marriage.

    You do that by respecting each others’ views while understanding the other should have the same rights as you do, whether you agree with them on various issues or not.

    For the sake of discussion: Jayhuck, let’s pretend you’re for same-sex marriage … let’s say I’m not (which happens to be true). This is a core, sensitive, big-time issue for both of us …

    How do we continue to love and respect one another … and, not the current lovey-dovey, I’m OK … you’re OK stuff … but the “malice toward none, charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right …” love and respect? Is this even possible?

    I think it is possible as long as we are not taking our personal religious views and attempting to draft them into law. This is the rub I believe. We can each hold steadfastly to our beliefs without impinging on the rights of others. This may be a bad example, but I think all of us would agree that the KKK have a right to their beliefs, but we don’t agree those beliefs should be enshrined into law. Perhaps a less inflammatory example might be about those who hold religious beliefs against interracial marriage. No one is suggesting that they do not have a right to those beliefs, but I doubt anyone, at least here, is going to campaign to have those beliefs legislated.

    This agreement that those who disagree with us deserve the same rights is one of those things that simply makes it easier to practice the Golden Rule.

  281. Homosexuality is one of the few things classified as “unnatural”.

    It is, and it also can fall into the realm of the specific sins you cited, Teresa.

    Even what some consider to be their homosexual desire or appetite has a level of healthy and normal appetites (needs, desires) within it. I used to feel guilty about desiring close male friends…thinking it was an expression of my homosexuality. And, occasionally it was. But, more often than not, it was just a natural desire for same-gender friendship.

    That is a point that truly needs to be made, Eddy. Thank you.

  282. Tim,

    Those who share may views need to ever careful that we do not force people to do what we want. We must not force churches to conduct same-sex marriages. We must not force them to teach what we want them to teach.

    Absolutely. The gay community has a responsibility to make sure that the people who do not agree with them are also protected. Of course this all becomes even more complex and problematic when we are talking about religious groups providing goods and services to the public.

  283. Ann

    Also – what do you mean by “sexual orientation is a significant piece of who we are.”? By most accounts, people will just accept this statement but have a lingering inner question about the meaning of it. Does it determine what you buy at the grocery store or how you drive or what bank you use? How does it make you who you are and how is that so, so different from anyone else?

    This is an interesting question. And it’s also an ironic one.

    The truth is that sexual orientation does often dictate what one buys at the store and where one banks. And almost none of that is based in attraction.

    I was very curious about what exactly the components were to orientation that would make someone so different than anyone else. Most people get the same gender attractions and sex part but do not understand how orientation (attractions) affect all the other aspects of an individual to such a significant degree and why.

    Religious and/or societal rejection of gay people (and during this comment I use “gay people” to mean “same-sex attracted people who select their life partner in congruence with their attractions”) has resulted in some peculiar business decisions.

    I disagree with Teresa about the meaning of orientation. I think that what Teresa is describing is one’s sexuality rather than one’s sexual orientation. Orientation (like the base word suggests) explains the gender to which one is oriented (one’s own, or another). Sexuality is all of the warm fuzzy, hand holding, stars stuff (along with the, ahem, gets ya going stuff) and (I believe) is experienced rather similarly between orientations (other than the gender).

    Sexual orientation speaks to the gender of how one’s romantic, sexual, emotional, and spiritual attractions are directed. It carries assumptions about behavior and identity, but these are secondary to the defining characteristic of attraction.

    However, as with all attributes that are identified and segregated, the resulting community has many many secondary cultural practices.

    Consider African Americans. This is a culture that – while mainstreaming more today – was for many generations segregated, excluded. And consequently music, art, expression, values, and even linguistics evolved uniquely.

    So too have gay people developed culture, or more accurately cultures. There is nothing about same-sex attraction that would naturally lead to enjoying opera. But for gay men on the East Coast in the decades before the turn of the century, opera was part of one’s culture. On the West Coast, gays hate opera. (these are, of course, generalizations).

    These are social responses to a community. If all your friends enjoy Lady Gaga, well eventually that becomes a part of your social experience.

    And when you are an oppressed people – and surely no one will doubt that during the 70’s – 90’s (and currently in part of the country) gay people were actively oppressed – one does what one can to encourage tolerance and support. If a bank is willing to run an ad in a gay themed newspaper, gay people rewarded that bank. So, yes… in a way sexual orientation directs the way in which banks are selected.

    This also is reflected in other areas. For example, a culture that punishes those same-sex attracted people who court, date, and commit and rewards those who hide their orientation and put up a social front is (and this has to be obvious) going to result in furtive sexual outlets and less meaningful sexual expression.

    And here’s the irony: much of the “homosexual lifestyle” that is loudly condemned as being hedonistic is the direct result of social and religious rejection of homosexual persons. Heck, much of the “homosexual lifestyle” that can be identified in any manner is the result of a community arising out of segregation and social survival.

    But – and here’s the important part – these manifestations of community are not sexual orientation. And absent social oppression or segregation, eventually many of these manifestations will disappear.

    But one will not. Ultimately, the core of orientation – the sex to whom one is romantically, sexually, emotionally, and spiritually attracted – is not socially constructed. As many a rural-raised gay man or woman can tell you, one experiences these attractions absent any social queuing as to their possibility.

    shifting gears…

    Actually, it is really none of anyone’s business unless the statement is made and then the mystery and unasked questions, and, more than likely the assumptions begin.

    This is a common thought. Often those who see themselves as tolerant and accepting share a view that it’s “no one’s business.” But that is a perspective that in most situations is applied in one direction.

    It’s is obviously everyone’s business when a man is married to a woman. He wears a ring, he has her picture on his desk, he talks about her and his kids and his inlaws and where to go on his anniversary, and all of the many many many daily life situations that include being heterosexual and married.

    Think for a moment, do you know any heterosexual married people who have not in some way informed you of their marriage.

    Additionally, no one seems to think that single heterosexuals should keep that fact no one’s business. Younger straight singles are quite public about whom they are dating. In fact, this is the first question one is asked when seeing an old acquaintance after a time. Aunt Susan always asks, doesn’t she?

    And even those straights who are not as young are quick to inform others that they are still in the market if you know of anyone.

    But after time, a single that is no longer in the young sow your oats age and who doesn’t speak about their status gets asked less. Partly its to save embarrassing the person. But, I believe, partly it’s the “no one’s business” issue. Forks are afraid that the confirmed bachelor and the old maid might be, ahem, in the “no one’s business” category and they just don’t want to know.

    I suggest, Ann, that while this is on the surface an admirable position, it is not realistic. And it places a burden on gay people that it does not place on heterosexuals.

    If sexual orientation is a private secret matter, it only is so for those whose sexual orientation is not proudly displayed on their hand, desk, conversation, christmas card, and endless minutia of their lives.

  284. One problem with more ‘conservative’ viewpoints is this idea that ‘Natural Law’ can be neatly defined. I don’t think it can, especially as both science and spirituality are in reality on-going journeys of discovery.

    Sexual preference is good case in point. In recent years, a good deal of research has been done, and it has become clear that same-sex attraction is a ‘fact of life’ in hundreds of species of animal. This is all part of ‘nature’, isn’t it?

    As far as gay marriage is concerned: this is really a matter of how society should be organised, and is therefore the subject of socio-political choice. ‘Natural Law’ (whatever that is!) doesn’t really come into it, in my view.

  285. It’s an important question. Some Christians from a homosexual background wage war with parts of themselves that they think are part of their homosexuality. Other Christians falsely label some things that aren’t sexual as part of homosexuality. Conversely, some gays view parts of themselves as a part of their God-given homosexuality…things that might truly be God-given but aren’t really a part of homosexuality at all. We often hear the rebuttal…”there’s more to us homosexuals than sex”. I agree…but then why is it presumed that the ‘more’ is somehow part of a homosexual orientation? I’m not saying it isn’t; I’m saying the conversation never goes there…we never really discuss those things that people presume are part of their homosexual orientation and so the mysteries remain.

    I believe that for a good many gay people – the ones whom I have encountered – these other attributes are not really presumed to be part of sexual orientation at all.

    I don’t know anyone, Eddy, who would find it odd or peculiar that your sister is heterosexual. Nor anyone who thinks that liking sports is exclusively straight (which would be odd considering the gay sports bars).

    And I don’t think that we are avoiding that discussion. Or, at least, not within the gay community.

  286. Teresa,

    I’m now gonna raise the hackles on some people’s necks.

    No hackles…

    That is your opinion. I once held much of the same views so I can’t fault you for believing as you do. My father shares your views. That doesn’t make you evil or self-hating or whatever it is that you fear will be thrown at you.

    But, of course, I firmly believe that you are wrong.

  287. I think it is possible as long as we are not taking our personal religious views and attempting to draft them into law. This is the rub I believe.

    Dang it, Jayhuck (I am not yelling that). There you go again. I was willing to be done with that.

    How do we draft our “personal” religious views into law? Let’s see, individuals vote and a good many of them also hold to personal religious views. So they must leave religion (and morality) at the voting booth door? Or maybe they call for riots and storm the Capitol, holding their Congressmen and Senators at gunpoint until they pass the laws they believe ought to be passed.

    What about drafting personal nonreligious views into law? For that, I guess we mount a hate campaign against any law firm retained by the House of Representatives that is defending a law the President and Attorney General decide needs to be thrown out.

    Currently, the majority understand homosexuality as not being immoral or, as you put it, outside God’s box.

    On what do you base that assessment, Timothy? The poll of the day? Such a statement needs attribution.

  288. You’re the best , Mr, Kincaid.

    You use this statement in response to mine.

    Consider the phrase “freedom in Christ”

    That language has entirely different meaning when spoken in an evangelical Christian church, a Black church, and a predominantly gay church. Each is talking about a different form of bondage and thus freedom has different connotations.

    And when I ask you to elaborate by saying

    I don’t want to make assumptions, please elaborate on the different forms of bondage these churches are referencing when they say ‘freedom in Christ’.

    You reply with:

    No. I think I’ll let you just make assumptions.

    But if you want to discuss my point – that often miscommunication is as much cultural (community based) as intentional – I might discuss that with you.

    Odd, I thought my point was that miscommunication was cultural (Christian vs psychological) and used the word ‘oblivious’ to suggest that it wasn’t intentional. You gave that statement a ‘true…but’ rating.

    True. Though I suspect it is less intentional than cultural.

    And you used the quote that I led this comment with as approximately half of your explanation…apparently I’m off-base for asking you to elaborate but you’d sure be willing to discuss.

    …scratching my head as I exit…everyone feel free to assume what you will, you know how well that works here.

  289. Debbie,

    The majority of people do have a sense of right and wrong — even if the pendulum has to swing a bit before they see what’s right. The majority hold to a set of common values, rooted in Judeo-Christian tenets. Therefore, the majority understand homosexuality as being outside God’s box.

    Perhaps its a pendulum thing, but you are factually mistaken. Currently, the majority understand homosexuality as not being immoral or, as you put it, outside God’s box.

  290. Timothy,

    “Pro-family” and “Pro-marriage” seem oxymoronic to describe a movement to deny a family the right to legally form a marriage.

    It is precisely this limitation of such terms that has kept me from using them in this debate…I have been pretty rigorous in this regard because such terms attempt to leverage the debate by implying my opponents are anti-marriage or anti-family.

    In other words, you have made my point.

    Please:

    Could it be that you are actually upset at the shifted cultural perceptions that are now – unlike say 20 years ago – receptive to seeing such things as being hateful? Or am I incorrect?

    No…hate has always been hate for me. As my friends struggled with unwanted SSA 25 years ago I felt no disgust for them, only compassion. I grieved losing them as friends, not because I demanded holiness from them, but because they needed to be away from our Christian community. I still pray for and wonder about them and hope they are well.

    I am fully capable of understanding and articulating my own motives; repetitively you seem to need to “illuminate” me as to unseen motives. In AA they call it taking someone else’s inventory.

    I have repetitively told you what my motives are…I have never assumed you are “trying to destroy marriage for the rest of us,” do you really need to assess my motives other than those I have explicitly stated?

    Broadening the definition of marriage to include gays and lesbians verses advocating a traditional view of marriage as between one man and one woman. Not a difficult set of ideas, that imply no rancor in our opponents.

  291. David,

    As I said, you need not agree.

    And Boswell is extremely careful not to do the hard sell. He was an interesting guy, he always insisted that he was not the final word, that other research should be done, that contradicting perspectives might be supported by further review. He tended to present his stuff kinda like “here’s a possibility that based on my research seems likely.”

    I think what is so compelling about him is that he introduced ideas that were REVOLUTIONARY when he wrote them. Extreme. Wild.

    The very idea that the Bible may not be clear in its condemnation of homosexuality or that the Clobber Passages might be either misinterpreted or perhaps not as clear as believed was simply bizarre. And same-sex unions involving romance being officiated by the church? Preposterous! Impossible!

    And all the other parties would jump in to pooh-pooh his ideas and dismiss him as a radical activist out to distort history or a self-deluded Catholic who desperately wants an “out.” And then they would go look at his research.

    But his research was so thorough that even if they didn’t come to the same conclusions, they had to admit that his theories had substance. And over time, his views have provided a basis for discussion that could not have existed without them.

    And some, who originally found them fanciful came to agree.

    I am not at all surprised that your friend came to different conclusions. I’m not dismissing his research, he may be right.

    But one thing that Boswell notes at the beginning is that it is extremely seldom that anyone other than gay people notice the existence of same-sex eroticism in history. It simply isn’t within the realm of possible for most straight folk – men especially – to see as “the most likely explanation” something that for them would not even be a possibility.

    Take, for example, a simple sentence, “Joe met his coworker Sarah for dinner late that night.”

    There is more than one possible was to look at this sentence. Yeah, it might be work, but Joe’s wife may want to pay attention.

    Yet “Joe met his coworker Gary for dinner late that night” invariably is seen by straight guys as having only one possible explanation. No other possible scenario comes to mind.

    (I remember the angry denial by Irving Stone, author of The Agony and The Ecstasy, that Michelangelo could not possibly have been homosexual. He had studied his life in detail never noticing what was obvious and evident to anyone even slightly open to the facts. This sort of thing is amusingly constant.)

    find it common that gay folk pretty much

  292. I remember as a 12 year old my father taking me to the Sistine Chapel and telling me the story that Michelangelo was a homosexual. That was 40 years ago. He marveled how difficult that would have been for him and the irony of him being the greatest Vatican artist of his day.

    This reminds me of an essay I wrote a couple years ago about Michelangelo’s incredibly pagan sculpture that is commonly known as Cristo della Minerva — or as I like to call it, “Jesus Hunky Christ!”

  293. David B

    I agree that it would be good for trends to reverse on marriage and, especially, marriage stability.

    I am just speculating but I think that, oddly enough, the battle over marriage rights has been good in a way for marriage. It has gotten the country talking about what marriage means and portrayed it as something worth fighting for.

    And it diffused some of the “marriage is patriarchal and sexist” message that some had been pushing.

    By the way, I am rereading Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell. I had forgotten his ability to take a huge amount of very complex material and make it readable. I highly recommend this book.

    As a Protestant, I don’t put much value in the Tradition of the Catholic Church – or, at least, I don’t see it as on par with Scripture. So I don’t see his discoveries as having much effect on doctrine. But nevertheless it is fascinating.

    Agree or disagree with his conclusions (and while scholars may differ over interpretation, his scholarship on the matter is unquestioned), you come to discover pretty quickly that what we think of as “marriage” is very very different from what many of our ancestors thought of as marriage. We don’t have words that fit their view and they didn’t have words to fit ours.

    I highly recommend the book. It is both challenging and enjoyable.

  294. Timothy,

    But his research was so thorough that even if they didn’t come to the same conclusions, they had to admit that his theories had substance. And over time, his views have provided a basis for discussion that could not have existed without them.

    My friend would probably agree…especially the proper interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah…the Fundamentalist view here is a complete corruption and has led to a perversion of what homosexuality is.

    I am glad you have found someone who asks spiritual questions of the past in a thought-provoking manner. His early death is a tragedy.

    Regarding:

    I remember the angry denial by Irving Stone, author of The Agony and The Ecstasy, that Michelangelo could not possibly have been homosexual. He had studied his life in detail never noticing what was obvious and evident to anyone even slightly open to the facts. This sort of thing is amusingly constant.

    I remember as a 12 year old my father taking me to the Sistine Chapel and telling me the story that Michelangelo was a homosexual. That was 40 years ago. He marveled how difficult that would have been for him and the irony of him being the greatest Vatican artist of his day.

  295. I am familiar with Boswell’s interpretation. A good friend of mine has studied some of the same material…and come to different conclusions.

    The eroticization of our culture generally does not make these retrospective analysis very fruitful or accurate; you are correct:

    We don’t have words that fit their view and they didn’t have words to fit ours.

    It is important to note that for centuries, for many, women were treated merely sexual containers to breed children; not thought of as equals or partners or companions of any sort.

    Male friendships were much more peer and companion based; a relationship of equals…a vibrant and loyal affection may have been more likely without being homosexual.

    It is difficult to find that kind of warmth and regard in male friendships in the USA, as so much posturing and competition seems to be necessary in our form of masculinity. They certainly are not represented in the popular culture.

  296. The rancorousness of the marriage debate makes more cynics than it does converts.

    That is also possibly true. I guess some day we’ll know.

    The myopic view of traditional values as “haters” reinforces a counter culture move toward libertine and highly individualistic choices in the name of freedom and a right to demand the tolerance of the larger culture.

    With all due respect, I really think that your perception of who is calling people names has little reflection on reality. Yeah the extremes are hurling insults at each other, but there are no credible and representative gay organizations out there who are calling Christians or conservatives “haters” that I know of. Even when the word is accurate.

    I do think, David, that perhaps what you are objecting to is not really the names that you say are being assigned. I think that perhaps you object to the fact that many people – younger people especially – are viewing positions in opposition to gay equality in the same way that you or I view positions in opposition to racial equality.

    It may not be that anyone is calling anyone a “hater” but rather that

    Gay folk aren’t doling out the “haters” moniker so much. Could it be that you are actually upset at the shifted cultural perceptions that are now – unlike say 20 years ago – receptive to seeing such things as being hateful? Or am I incorrect?

    It is one of the reasons why I have had concerns with terms like “anti-gay” when applied too broadly to the marriage debate.

    We have had this discussion many many times. So rather than repeat my points, let me ask you:

    1) Should any words exist to describe positions / views / perspectives / policies that are based in opposition to gay rights / liberties / goals? Or should we simply not have any words that allow us to acknowledge that some policies, etc., are formulated as opposition to the gay movement’s goals?

    2) if so, what words (other than long run on sentences) can be used? If the media, the culture, and everyone here uses “pro-gay” to describe one side of the debate, what is the other side called?

    “Pro-family” and “Pro-marriage” seem oxymoronic to describe a movement to deny a family the right to legally form a marriage. And the second one is especially confusing because I’ve heard it used to indicate support for a pro-gay marriage bill. (And besides, let’s be real. If a position, policy, group, etc. is opposed to everything that gay people want, it really isn’t pro anything as much as it is simply …. well, I need a word here.)

  297. David B –

    Christians have an elevated view of marriage that they feel has been lost in recent decades in the popular culture, this lower view of marriage has had a demonstrable correlative effect on the quality of life for women and children.

    Would you mind elaborating on this? What do you mean when you talk about “quality of life for women and children”?

    This is precisely why its important to make distinctions between civil and religious marriage. Allowing Christians to have their views on marriage upheld without also having them forced on others who do not agree with them is important.

  298. OK. I got it. I am not asking you to change your convictions about what you think God wants. You seem to be absolutely sure of His intent on this issue.

    Personally, I find that a bit over-confident, but that’s fine. We all have the right to our opinions and freedom of conscience.

    Marriage Equality will not rob you of that right — or any of your rights — including the right to believe that I am wrong.

    .”A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION…”

    In the USA, religion or beliefs about the Bible are not the foundation of our mutual civil rights. The Constitution is — it affirms certain inalienable rights — and that’s the way I hope it remains.

  299. CNN Belief Blog Interviews Alan Chambers About Prop 8 and Gay Rights

    Does he think gay marriage is inevitable?

    “It certainly seems so,” Chambers says. “The jury is still out and there are certainly areas where I see a tendency for more rights for gay and lesbian people. But I also see that there’s still a fight among American people so it’s hard to know.”

    Though there seems to be more acceptance of gay and lesbian people in popular culture, Chambers says demand for Exodus ministry has not declined.

    “Our calls are increasing,” he says. “Our ministries say we’re busier than ever.”

    He says the Prop 8 ruling shows something else: More Americans are accepting the humanity of gay and lesbian people.

    “We’re entering a time when we are more compassionate and loving toward people who deserve our compassion,” he says, “and that’s gay and lesbian people.”

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.exodusinternational.org%2F2010%2F08%2F10%2Fcnn-belief-blog-interviews-alan-chambers-about-prop-8-and-gay-rights%2F&h=ddbb3

  300. It appears to me that the Ninth Circuit and the SCOTUS are likely to find that the Intervenor-Defendants simply don’t have standing to appeal. The defendants are the Governor and Attorney General and both have declared that they do not intend to appeal the decision.

    Based on case law, it seems that the court is usually dubious of the claims of proposition preparers. And the Ninth is demanding that they prove their standing in their September 17 filing.

    If they don’t have standing, then this ruling will apply only to California and Proposition 8 and not have precedent outside the Ninth Circuit.

  301. I wonder whether declaring what God’s opinion is on a civil issue can best be seen as taking God’s name (authority) in vain?

  302. Bull. The Declaration is like our country’s “articles of incorporation.” The Constitution are our “by-laws.” The one informs the other. Where is the law for gay marriage? How does this supposed law spring from “Nature and Nature’s God”?

    The Declaration has no legal authority, nor does it “inform” our laws. And the idea that it is an “articles of incorporation” is an charming fiction. Although it contains a beautiful (and ultimately world-changing) statement about a revolutionary notion (equality), it is primarily a list of grievances against King George.

    Further, appealing to Nature and Nature’s God displays an ignorance about both theology and history. These (like Providence and Creator) were Deist terms designed to get around (not support) theocracy. Nature and Nature’s God were hands-off, big picture demideities. Today we might say “bestowed by the Cosmos” or a “Greater Power” or even “all that is” – all inclusive terms that do not imply any doctrine or dogma. The closest that either document comes to appealing to Christianity or its god would be the term “Supreme Judge of the world.”

    Where is the law for gay marriage?

    You missed it? Really? It’s right on the same line as the law for straight marriage.

    Of course, I’m being silly. Neither the Declaration or the Constitution mention marriage at all (despite the best efforts of some very determined people who don’t like the concepts of equality).

    Both do, however, discuss ideas and principles.

    For example, the Declaration says “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Suppose we took that literally. Wow!! Liberty to live as you choose and pursue what makes you happy. Even if someone else doesn’t like it. Even if your happiness is that of marital bliss.

    The only way to get around that, Debbie, is to decide (in Bryan Fischer fashion) that “all men” doesn’t include gay men. Or that in writing “liberty and pursuit of happiness” they really meant “liberty to the extent that the Bible allows and pursuit of such happiness as meets the approval of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

    As for the Constitution, it didn’t discuss equality until 1868 with the 14th amendment. This was inspired primarily to address the rights of people who had been slaves, but – as is true of much of our defining principles – it was not written narrowly so as to apply only to one people. It was, after all, talking about ideas, not incidents.

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    When it comes to civil marriage rights, this one is tough to get around. We know that gay people were born here and are citizens. And that pesky term “privileges or immunities” doesn’t let us say “marriage is a privilege, not a right”. And few people of good will would claim that denying gay people the right to marry does not abridge their privileges or immunities. Further, few people of good will would argue that it does not deprive gay people of liberty or property (to the extent that gay people are taxed differently and must pay for legal services to obtain such very limited protections as can be achieved).

    And, other than comics and scamps, no one suggests that a referendum that is designed for no other purpose than to exclude one demographic from a section of code does not deny them the equal protection of the laws, in the common vernacular.

    Those really aren’t up for debate. And the “will of the people” is exactly what the Constitution was seeking to repress. “The people” most definitely did not think that African descendants were due to equal treatment with European descendants.

    Thus, if we really and honestly do wish to abide by the Constitution, the question MUST be, was there due process and are equal protections being denied? That is, in legalspeak, are the restrictions necessary or are they animus?

    That is what Perry v. Schwarzenegger sought to answer.

  303. Ann,

    So (and please feel free to correct me) gay people have been “portraying themselves as victims” while African-Americans have been “true victims.”

    No Timothy – not gay people, rather some individuals who identify as gay and seek the benefit of portraying themselves as victims.

    Okay. Well, you are making a distinction between “real victims” and those who just portray themselves as such. I’m trying to understand it.

    So (and correct me if I’m wrong), African-Americans are true victims. Those gay people who portray themselves as victims are not.

    Is that what you are saying?

    And I am uncertain as to how you are making the distinction as to who those “some individuals who identify as gay.” As this is in the context of marriage rights, are you including in these some individuals, those gay people who compare restriction on marriage for gay people to restrictions on marriage for black people?

    And are these “some individuals” limited only to those who identify as gay? Or do others who support same-sex marriage rights using the race comparison also misusing victimhood?

    Specifically: Did Coretta Scott King and Mildred Loving misuse the civil rights comparison when they endorsed marriage equality? Did they incorrectly confuse real victims with those only portraying victimhood?

    Specifically: When, in 2003, civil rights leader John Lewis wrote the following, was he insulting African-Americans or confusing ‘real’ and ‘portraying’ victims:

    This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

    It is true that many African-Americans distinguish between civil rights for them and civil rights for gay people. However, many of the pioneers do not.

    If I remember correctly, on the exit polls, religion had little to do with their decision – am I right?

    No, you are mistaken.

    CNN has some good exit polling information that breaks down the vote demographically.

    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=CAI01p1

    Interestingly, it was a fairly close vote along most demographic lines with the expected shifts for age, education, and income. The variances were:

    Gender: this is an odd one. Unlike most polling, gender wasn’t strongly determinant.

    Race: whites and asians voted no and hispanics and others voted yes but all with small margins (high 40’s, low 50’s). African Americans voted yes 70-30.

    Geography: the cities v. the rural and suburbs. Coastal cities near the bay area were overwhelmingly opposed. Los Angeles and neighbors were mixed (the vote difference in Los Angeles County was less than 600). Farmland and desert voted strongly yes.

    Age: under 30 voted no by 61-39; over 65 was the opposite. and inbetween was about 55-45 yes.

    Education and Income: the more education, the more likely to vote no. Income, once you got above 30K, followed the same trend and was probably related. However below 30K was strongly no, which probably relates to age.

    Party & political ID. Liberals and Democrats were strongly no . Republicans and conservatives were strongly yes. Independents and moderates were no by about 55-45.

    Married and children: Being married and having children under 18 were strong indicators. These demographics voted yes in big numbers (suggesting that Prop 8’s targeted advertising was effective).

    Religion: This was a yes or no matter – sharply. Those who attend church weekly or more voted yes by more than 80%. Those who do not attend voted no by about the same. And infrequent attendees voted no by about 60-40.

    Of course, these are all based on exit polling and, as such, are limited.

  304. Should we discuss laws on the Moon? Well… as they – and the laws in Sharia nations – are not relevant to this discussion, let’s not let them distract us.

    Not relevant, Timothy? You wanted to talk about victimization — and only of gays, as no one else matters to you. I said that it will be moot if/when we have Sharia here. Gays will then be in no position to lobby. In other words, we have bigger fish to fry, enemies common to us both. Do you think what is happening in other countries cannot happen here?

    By laws that segregate gays for the purpose of discrimination, I presume you mean marriage laws. And still no clear and compelling reason other than “we want it, we’re hurt” is offered for same-sex marriage.

    It’s OK for you to redefine marriage and build up a tiny subgroup of people who cannot establish a set of common criteria for why they are the way they are into a suspect class whose rights are being infringed upon, but not for me to defend heterosexual marriage for the greater common good? Why?

    We have people wanting “equal access” to both genders, as if the Constitution could somehow rearrange their chromosomes. It can’t do that any more than it can make a meaningful, natural, profitable-for-society conjugal union out of people of the same sex.

  305. What about on the Moon. Should we discuss laws on the Moon? Well… as they – and the laws in Sharia nations – are not relevant to this discussion, let’s not let them distract us.

    +1

  306. Debbie

    Let’s talk about victims. Let’s talk about Christians and Jews who are infidels in the eyes of Shariah, which is now infiltrating this country to a degree the average person knows nothing of. Let’s talk about what has happened and is happening to them in other countries. There are 57 Islamic states. You and I, Timothy, have three options if we end up with an American Caliphate. No, wait. You have none. If we ever get to that point, Shariah says you will be stoned to death. I can convert, be made a slave or be killed. Of course, I would be martyred right along with you. So we really only have one choice.

    What about on the Moon. Should we discuss laws on the Moon? Well… as they – and the laws in Sharia nations – are not relevant to this discussion, let’s not let them distract us. I’m sure we are in agreement about whether Sharia law aught be given consideration in the US. But that is not germane.

    Sure, there have been gay “victims.” There have been lots of other victims as well.

    Let’s stop and look at that pairing. It’s a common rhetorical step: confirm the facts of the other argument but follow it with a dismissal.

    But let’s not do that. Instead, why don’t we acknowledge that regardless of what goes on in Saudi Arabia, here in the United States, in Virgina where you live, there are real living breathing gay victims who are hurt by laws which segregate them from the rest of society for different treatment.

    Whether or not you agree with such laws, it is inhumane to ignore or deny that they hurt people. Whether or not a law that treats people differently is correct or right or valid or good, to ignore or deny the people that are hurt is behavior that in other contexts would be called sociopathic. And, as I know that you are not a sociopath, I know that you are able to recognize this fact.

    But screaming over a “right” you don’t have that is being denied you is not victimization. Sorry.

    A right that I don’t have. And this is because you say so?

    The US Constitution disagrees with you. It says that I have a right to equal access – yes, just as good as your right. Even if your church doesn’t like it. Even if you don’t like it.

  307. Religion: This was a yes or no matter – sharply. Those who attend church weekly or more voted yes by more than 80%. Those who do not attend voted no by about the same. And infrequent attendees voted no by about 60-40.

    Of course, these are all based on exit polling and, as such, are limited.

    Thank you Timothy – I just wasn’t sure and stand corrected.

  308. All men are created equal, Timothy. Yes. Not all ideas or ideologies. We are endowed by our Creator (that’s Almighty God in any language) with equality in that we have the same worth, dignity and basic human rights. Gay marriage is a man-made invention or convention, not a God-created right. To be denied same-sex marriage is not to be devalued as a human being. It is recognizing that there are best ways of doing things, and that society can determine what makes it function best, what best fosters the well-being of its citizens. We will never be able to have a utopia in which someone is not offended by coveting what someone else has.

  309. I do not see a comparison between the color of skin one is born with, and ultimately discriminated against, to those who are attracted to their same gender.

    True. You do not.

    It is irrefutable that the direction of ones attractions is at least partly based in biology, is unchosen, is – for the overwhelming percentage of such persions – immutable, and is likely set either at birth or in the early years of life. For linguistic shorthand in this one instance, and recognizing the caveats, we could say “born with”.

    It is irrefutable that gay people experience discrimination. No, it really is irrefutable. This is fact, not opinion.

    So, in essence, your position is:

    I do not see a comparison between the color of skin one is born with, and ultimately discriminated against, to those who are attracted to their same gender which one is born with, and ultimately discriminated against.

    This is not an uncommon position.

  310. So (and correct me if I’m wrong), African-Americans are true victims. Those gay people who portray themselves as victims are not.

    Is that what you are saying?

    Timothy,

    I do not see the comparison between the color of one’s skin and sexual orientation. Skin color or ethnicity is obvious and understood as a physical distinction that the person was born with. Sexual orientation is something that is not obvious and, in most cases, no known until or unless the person wants it to be known. Some individuals, regardless of their orientation or race or gender have a sense of entitlement that has nothing to do with being a true victim. A true victim, at least to me, is someone like the Pakistani woman in jail over perceived blasphemy. She is now reportedly gravely ill with, I think , chicken pox, because of her incarceration and it’s unsanitary condition. I cannot compare her with the individual who feels discriminated against because they cannot currently marry someone of the same gender. One, at least to me is a true victim and the other one is not.

    I cannot speak to the examples you asked me to as I have respect for their opinions, even if I do not share them.

    And I am uncertain as to how you are making the distinction as to who those “some individuals who identify as gay.” As this is in the context of marriage rights, are you including in these some individuals, those gay people who compare restriction on marriage for gay people to restrictions on marriage for black people?

    There are some individuals, who are gay, and portray themselves as victims. After awhile, and especially comparing them to true victims, one can see how insincere the portrayal is.

  311. Throbert McGee# ~ Apr 11, 2011 at 1:28 am

    “But would you agree, ken, that Prop 8 in CA was vastly less anti-gay than Question 1 in Maine?”

    Which was in turn less anti-gay than the virginia law that says no contracts recognizing gay relationships are to be recognized. Which is still less than laws that criminalized gay behaviour.

  312. Then cite a case were the court ruled something was a violation of the Declaration of Independence rather than the Constitution Debbie.

    Totally irrelevant question, Ken. Quit beating your drum. I will address your earlier relevant question below.

  313. Apples and oranges, but nice try.

    I guess I wasn’t clear — my point was not to defend the Pill, but rather to address your claim here…

    When I speak of abnormal behavior, I’m not strictly speaking of uncommon behavior. Abnormal behavior is behavior that is physically and morally dangerous to ourselves and others.

    I wanted to make the point that the characteristic nun behavior of letting their wombs lie fallow for their entire lives is physically dangerous to the self insofar as it increases the breast cancer risk — making it, by your standards, “abnormal.”

    And being a Catholic priest is also physically dangerous, and thus abnormal, because a lifetime of not ejaculating (NB: Catholic priests don’t masturbate, because that would be a mortal sin!) increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer.

    As to whether the abnormal condition of celibacy that the Church inflicts on its religious men and women is morally dangerous — well, “dangerous” is a strong word, but there’s definitely something a bit reckless about permitting celibates to develop theories of sexual morality that everyone else has to follow. As G.B. Shaw astutely observed, “Why would anyone take the Pope’s advice on sex? Anything the Pope knows about sex, he shouldn’t.”

    Your kindness to me should not support me if I’m messing around with another woman, under the pretext of it’s OK, you’re entitled to be happy, etc.

    On this, Teresa, I somewhat agree — in fact I would say that the gay community suffers from an ongoing plague of non-judgmentalism. Gay people will tolerate every form of vice and wacky opinions among themselves, as long as you don’t have bad hair, are opposed to circumcising baby boys, and avoid voting Republican. But if you want to use dangerous drugs or have promiscuous sex or treat your rectum like the Holland Tunnel, far too many gay people will not be falling over themselves in their non-rush to not judge you, because judging is mean.

    However… just so there’s no confusion, are you aware that there’s more to homosexuality than simply “messing around”? I can see why it wouldn’t be a kindness to support you if “messing around” is all you’re doing, but if you should ever find yourself in a stable, committed, mutually loving and sexually active relationship with another woman, Teresa, then OF COURSE it would be a kindness to support you!

    Confusing the digestive system for the reproductive system (at whatever end) is not healthy, no matter how we want to dress that up.

    Whoa… “at whatever end”? Do you seriously believe that oral-genital sex is ANYWHERE NEAR penile-anal sex in terms of health risks? If so, you’ve been misinformed, my dear. Not only are cunnilingus and fellatio both vastly less risky for practically all STDs compared with anal sex, but going down on a man or a woman is no riskier than penis-in-vagina intercourse for most STDs (and when it comes to HIV transmission, both cunnilingus and fellatio are, literally, about 1/10th as risky as vaginal intercourse).

    And “homosex” can be even safer than that — the acts known as tribadism or scissoring (for women) and frot (for men) don’t involve any kind of penetration at all, so risks for most types of STDs are extremely low.

    But while I don’t see any physical danger in “scissoring” or “frot”, they are nonetheless, homosexual acts. In the absence of physical danger, what moral danger do you see in these acts, Teresa?

  314. That’s right — lesbians, as a group, and RC nuns, as a group, have elevated rates of breast cancer — which cannot be the fault of the Pill, since lesbians and nuns tend not to use the Pill.

    Throbert,

    Apples and oranges, but nice try. Try sticking to statistics of str8 women, particularly married women (or sexually active women) and their cancer rates: those using the Pill and those not using the Pill. Also, look at the rates for age differentiation for onset of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, etc. of those women on the Pill and those not using the Pill.

    I need not remind you, Throbert, that because of the incidence of these myriad bad effects, the hormone level of the Pill was reduced. The “side effects” of the Pill are still all there; but, age of onset is somewhat later. The psychological side effects of the Pill are also present. All the “side effects” of the Pill are still happening, right here, right now, today.

  315. I tend to believe individual stories, that can vary greatly, about how one views their own personal sexual identity and how they respond to that belief. The issue that seems irreconciable, at least for now, is when others do not believe them. I think this should be at least acknowledged, and hopefully considered. My first thought on why one would not believe them is because homosexuality is still somewhat of a mystery for anyone who is not homosexual. There are so many assumptions made, based on sterotypes, about what homosexuals should be, that none of them can be accurate. What seems to get lost is the individual. We still do not have any substantial scientific or psychological research that tells us anything about orientations that could be considered conclusive. There are so many questions and few answers. How can the issue of different orientations be explained so that it is more understood? How can this be done with so many nuances attached to it? Who is credible enough, unbiased enough, who hasn’t been coerced to backtrack their original statements, and who has substantial and sustaining credentials to opine with any certainty on this so that the mystery is removed and understanding takes it’s place?

    I really appreciated and understood Theresa’s thoughtful and intelligent post 4/10 @3:27. It spoke tthe spirit of truth to/for me.

  316. Timothy Kincaid# ~ Apr 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    “The US Constitution disagrees with you. It says that I have a right to equal access – yes, just as good as your right. Even if your church doesn’t like it. Even if you don’t like it.”

    Unless She (or her church) can show just cause why you should be denied such equal access. However, as the Prop 8 case showed, there isn’t any valid cause in the case of gay marriage.

  317. Rosa Parks couldn’t not be black

    Maybe not Rosa Parks, but there have always been light-skinned blacks who were able to “pass as white” if they chose to do so. Similarly, “passing as Gentile” was historically an option chosen by some Jews in order to avoid anti-Semitism. And the personal moral dilemma of “passing” has been a recurring theme in both African-American and Jewish literature and art: “Yes, I probably ‘pass’ successfully and it would advantage me to — but about those who can’t possibly ‘pass’? And why should I have to pass for what I’m not? What right does the majority have to demand this of me?”

  318. It is the Constitution that must be applied (or laws passed by Congress that are derived from it), not the Declaration of Independence.

    It is if a law is being violated. Not if a foundational principle speaking to nature or “Nature’s God” is being disregarded. The Constitution is often misapplied these days. And sometimes it is simply moot.

  319. Sorry, that was Lynn David’s question I was referring to about Sharia (Shari’Ah). He asked about proof of infiltration.

    All the proof ever needed came in the form of a large cache (two truckloads worth) of secret archived Muslim Brotherhood documents recovered from the concealed sub-basement of a Northern Virginia house in a 2004 search by law enforcement officials. The documents, dating back to 1991, listed 29 Muslim-American organizations (CAIR is now also on the list) that Sharia adherents had vowed to work through to subvert American culture. They have bragged about their successes, in fact. The Holy Land Foundation trial in 2008 (prosecuting Islamic terrorist funding in the guise of a charitable organization) highlighted these documents.

    The credo of the Muslim Brotherhood is to “destroy Western civilization from within.” If they can’t wage jihad through violent means (their first preference), then they are to do it through stealth means. The MB documents recovered revealed their plans to infiltrate government, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the military, penal institutions, media think tanks, political entities and academic institutions. And they were to aggressively target non-Muslim religious communities in the name of ecumenicalism.

    If you are an American taxpayer, then you are complicit in a Sharia-compliant scheme through AIG’s seemingly innocuous Muslim insurance/investment program. We funded it to the tune of more than $1 billion.

    Throbert has a follow-on question:

    My main point is that “creeping Sharia” in the US is primarily a danger to Muslim-Americans who don’t want to be bound by Sharia.

    Not so. They are still Muslims and still alive. Christians and Jews have three options: convert, be made slaves or be killed.

  320. have not asserted that “toxic homes” are better than single parent homes. If you read carefully, you will see that this is your distortion.

    That is also not what I said David! I said there is no evidence to show that stable single parent homes are worse than toxic double parent homes. You seemed intent on making the point that single parent homes were bad and double parent homes were good regardless of the environment. At the very least it appeared that was implied. You should probably re-read my posts before you go launching accusations at me.

    Actually I do have a fairly decent understanding of what is meant by the term correlation. You seemed to imply causation above and all you have to show it seems is correlation. As of yet, you don’t seem to have proved causation.

  321. David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    This ads data about the decision:

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/04/judge-who-struck-down-prop-8-confirms-hes-gay

    Timothy Kincaid# ~ Apr 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Well, oddly enough, it doesn’t add data.

    Unless, of course, we assume that it is relevant that a black judge might be assigned to a racial discrimination case or that a Christian judge might not assume recusal on a religious discrimination case.

    To assume that a gay judge’s orientation has any bearing on a decision is to assume that a gay person is incapable of impartiality. I consider such assumptions to be contemptuous.

    Still amazed that David’s use of the word ‘data’ warranted the judgement

    “To assume that a gay judge’s orientation has any bearing on a decision is to assume that a gay person is incapable of impartiality. I consider such assumptions to be contemptuous.” AND the conversation that ensued never did talk about the content of the link.

  322. Regarding citations for my above assertions:

    See Andrew Cherlin: The Changing American Family and Public Policy

    Judith Wallerstein: Second Chances

    The data on domestic violence came from a text on criminology and psychology…can’t remember.

    The assertion about “loveless” or, better said, unfullfilling marriages came from a presentation given by a lecturer at a National Marriage Conference (secular).

    The movement you all fail to cite is “Individualism” as a right…it has been especially destructive in the hands of heterosexual males.

  323. Getting back to the point about which this dust-up between Timothy and David B. began, here and here is more relevant news about Judge Walker.

    I had said I believed Walker was correct in his “slippery slope” assessment. But now that he has revealed his 10-year same-sex relationship, I think there is a valid case for his decision to be vacated. It is also troubling that he is using video clips of the Prop 8 hearing in his talks while no ruling I am aware of has unsealed the footage.

  324. Would it be that difficult to design a study to test the correlation between industrialization and the breakdown of the family?

    Very difficult, as the wealth differential, medical care and longevity issues associated with industrialization make for powerful variables that cannot be duplicated in agrarian societies.

    …I think.

    Best to invite a sociologist into this discussion!

    My nephew, BTW, was completely invested in your hypothesis to include living in India for a few years amongst the people. He found their sense of community and connection amazing, and their vulnerability to illness and poverty terrifying.

  325. Debbie–

    The post of yours I referred to was directed to Timothy and repeated some of his exact words in your rebuttal. If you were responding to Throbert’s scenarios, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was confused.

  326. David,

    Groups are matched for age, socioeconomic status and so forth and then compared. Since we can never control all variables, we cannot assert causes, only scientific correlations.

    Sorry, missed this. That would make sense. My understanding of correlation as it applies to the fields of sociology and psychology , I’m sure, is not as good as yours. Would it be that difficult to design a study to test the correlation between industrialization and the breakdown of the family? I mean, if the correlations you are asserting exist, are they the symptoms of some larger problem? If we try and treat the symptoms and not the cause, would that not be problematic? I’m just throwing ideas out ๐Ÿ™‚

  327. I also find it interesting to go back to the Genesis 3 curse: “Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you” (Gen. 316). Is this where it all began?

    Debbie, could you elaborate on the above. It certainly seems to corroborate the Pauline NT verses. However, many Christian ministries now accept women ministers, teaching men is part of that.

    How do you reconcile these statements? How does 1/2 the world not have some voice in public forums?

  328. A couple with disparate income will pay less than a couple with equal income.

    That’s what I said. And I disagree that most gay couples are in the disparate income situation. All couples who are earning roughly equivalent income (this would not be the case for two men, especially?) are being penalized. I’ve seen examples that place the taxation penalty higher than you say, but I am not an accountant.

  329. Timothy,

    I’m not much interested in your continued untruthful accusations.

    If you want to apologize for the slurs (especially the ones you find so reprehensible when by others and not against me) and the attacks, I’ll listen. If you pledge to stop the campaign of personal villification, I’m all ears.

    You are so gifted with words: “villification…campaign…slurs.” You are a wordsmith.

    Collecting them in a sentence doesn’t make them true…but they can be effective anyway, which furthers my assessment of your style. Each word is a “punch” or a “stab,” but you are punching at the air…because your words are unconnected to the facts.

    You asked for an explanation, and I gave you a thoughtful one that contrasted your identity as an individual and your behavior here “from time to time” with the labels and comparisons that are cast at a group. There is a real difference.

    Leadership carries with it responsibility…I hope someday you can publicly confront Wayne Besen on his demeaning and manipulative writing style…it is a repetitive attack on double minorities: those with unwanted same sex attractions. You have said that you disagree with him, but since the gay rights movement is profiting politically from his style, it may be hard for you to publicly condemn him.

    You don’t like to note the many times I have heartily agreed with your more thoughtful assessments, or how I deeply believe you have moved the argument forward in this whole debate when you have shown fidelity to the facts and emphasized the need for humanity and respect.

    Numerous times you have assumed what my heart and motives are…you remind me of some of the Pastors and Elders and friends I have had over the years who claimed such Moral Clairvoyance.

    You come from a community and are seeking to protect a community; I think there are plenty of listening ears here. When you bring the style of verbal humiliation you are undermining a great good you are trying to accomplish.

    Unless that isn’t your task…unless your task is to drive people away from this site or to humiliate them into silence. I have noticed that some people who were frequent visitors here now only come occasionally.

    But I don’t know your heart.

  330. Dear David,

    It must indeed have been an inconvenience to write – for the third time – a justification for why it is appropriate to accuse me of being comparable to Ssempa and Bahati but not appropriate for others to make such a comparison.

    I suspect that it went beyond inconvenient and approached distressing.

    After all, it does appear to be a startling example of the exact opposite of the Golden Rule. I mean, how often is it that someone complains about something being done unto them in the exact same wording as they did unto others?

    So while it may have been more convenient to address this seeming inconsistency privately, I am actually pleased that the email somehow wasn’t delivered and the word processor somehow crashed. It is fortuitous in that it allows for the explanation to be presented at the same venue as the behavior.

    And somehow that seems only right.

    To clarify, for those who may have missed it and may be wondering what this exchange is about, let me set the stage.

    Amidst a discussion in which I was seeking to help clarify the meaning of a word (heterosexist) introduced by another commenter, you decided that this was a good opportunity to attack me, writing the following:

    David Blakeslee# ~ Mar 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Anti-gay, Anti-abortion, Anti-american, Choice, Anti-tax, Anti-union, Anti-government. It is the propagandist who uses such phrases…please take your place next to Bahati and Sempa when you talk like that. Your goals are the same…to intimidate and marginalize rather than persuade and discuss.

    This was not a stand alone event. Rather, there has been a very long pattern in which you have engaged in a campaign of personal vilification. It had reached the stage where after being absent from the comments section here for several weeks (perhaps longer), I returned to find that you were still slurring me and attributing positions to me in comments to threads I had not even read.

    So I responded:

    David, you personally engage in abuse towards me. Not my view, not my perspectives, but me. You do so in hurtful and demeaning ways. You do so when I’m here and evidently you do so when I have not even read the site in weeks.

    It has become a pattern. You justify it by imagining that I do as attack people personally as well. I don’t. And even if I did, that would still not take away from the fact that you are engaging in a pattern of abuse.

    I am now asking you to please stop.

    If you addressed this issue or apologized at some point or promised to avoid personal attacks, I did not see it.

    However, a few days later, you posted a comment on another thread containing the following:

    David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Attacking Christians as haters, calling them anti-gay and comparing them to Fred Phelps (or Bahati and Sempa and Lively) seems like a needless, polarizing and hopelessly generalizing blunt act of aggression…

    As you believe it “a needless, polarizing and hopelessly generalizing blunt act of aggression” to compare Christians to Bahati and Ssempa, I inquired whether this included me. So now I am receiving your answer.

    And, it seems, the answer is no.

    Not only do you feel entitled to compare me to Bahati and Ssempa and feel such a comparison is apt, but your response was to double down, increasing the comparison to Fisher and Lively.

    I will not address your fresh batch of accusations and slurs. I know them to be false. And they are, for this discussion, beside the point. All that matters is that you simultaneously feel the victim to mostly-imaginary slights but that you use such victim mentality to justify doing worse to others.

    As evident from your response, you will not cease in your personal attacks but will only increase them. You will make baseless accusations which, ironically, describe your behavior and not my own.

    This is unfortunate. I had hoped that an appeal to decency might be effective. I had, now obviously futilely, hoped that facts, logic and reason might give us some common ground. Clearly that was unduly optimistic on my part.

    You, David Blakeslee, have in this latest comment exposed your heart. All I see is darkness.

    Timothy Kincaid

  331. Debbie

    That’s what I said. And I disagree that most gay couples are in the disparate income situation. All couples who are earning roughly equivalent income (this would not be the case for two men, especially?) are being penalized.

    Okay. We can agree that it would be better for society to encourage marriage by reducing taxes below what they would be for single people. That would be, to me, wise policy.

    But being treated the same (or almost so) as single people is not penalizing married people, is it? It was categorizing this as a marriage penalty that had me disagreeing with you. Rather it is a “equal income” penalty, if anything. It simply is the case that marrying doesn’t bring down your taxes if you have the same income.

    As for gay men making the same income, I don’t have the figures but I don’t see it as any kind of norm. As a quick check (and it isn’t statistically valid) I randomly selected four male couples from our database. It may just be these four, but I was surprised at how disproportionate they were (like one over 100K, the other under 20K). It isn’t unusual for one to focus on work and the other on the home. And, of course, some will have similar income.

  332. On the other hand, if you wish to argue a straight person would have had no benefit from the outcome of the trial, then that pretty much says there is no argument for banning gay marriage doesn’t it?

    But gays are forever saying traditional marriages cannot be harmed by same-sex marriage, therefore, it follows that there could be no benefit to straight couples by upholding Prop 8.

    I never maintained at the time of the hearing that Judge Walker’s decision should have been vacated — there were no provable grounds for it then. I did not agree with it, not believe it to be based in the Constitution.

  333. Teresa, I don’t read the Genesis verse as alligning God’s declarations with Pauline teaching. Unless it would point to Romans 7. I just think we are meant to view it for what it is — God judging and disciplining mankind (and Satan) after the fall. I believe it points to the never-ending war in this life over authority — God vs. mankind and man vs. woman within marriage.

  334. Jayhuck,

    I was using your statement above and you seemed to be asking me to defend an argument I had not made.

    Toxic homes are a problem…if unrepairable, making sure one gets out is a start, making sure one does not make the same mistake again is even better.

    Divorce is no cure…if the person who leaves makes the same or similar mistake again.

    Divorce as a solution to a marital crisis tends to lead to divorce as a solution to a marital crisis. Statistically, if you divorce once, chances greatly increase you will divorce again and chances increase greatly that you will divorce even again.

    Just data.

  335. have not asserted that “toxic homes” are better than single parent homes. If you read carefully, you will see that this is your distortion.

    That is also not what I said David! I said there is no evidence to show that stable single parent homes are worse than toxic double parent homes. You should probably re-read my posts before you go launching accusations at me.

    Actually I do have a fairly decent understanding of what is meant by the term correlation. You seemed to imply causation above and all you have to show it seems is correlation. As of yet, you don’t seem to have proved causation.

  336. Eddy, I was addressing Throbert’s scenarios. Seems to me couples with equivalent income filing jointly (taking advantage of all the deductions they can share) ought not be made to pay higher taxes than couples with disparate income filing jointly, if there is an issue there. It doesn’t affect me personally. I’ll have to talk to some more accountants to get their take on it. I don’t think anyone has addressed how the Bush tax cuts impacted this, other than me. Those cuts went through 2010, from my understanding. So this could be an issue facing us this tax year and beyond.

  337. Yes, Eddy — but not “kind of like”. As you pointed out, it is indeed a summary — for folks who may not want to actually read the whole thing. Consider it Cliff Notes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am certain that if I had started offering opinions on Alan Chambers’ latest book or on something more important like the Uganda Anti-homosexuality Bill — while making it very plain that I had not read these sources and had no intention of doing so — that I would have caught holy hell from some of the more frequent commenters on this blog.

    To me, it makes sense that if you are going to opine on the opinion from Walker, that you should read it. If you are going to opine on the legalities of gay marriage and where the issue goes from here legally, you should read the opinion.

    That’s not a rule, just Warren’s suggestion. Not asking anyone to wallow in shame and I cannot make rules that they must read it. That’s up to them. As far as I know, there is no provision in the Constitution that outlaws voluntary ignorance.

  338. Thank you for clarifying that your sole argument is an appeal to theocracy (submission to “moral authority”). While, as a Christian who knows history, that idea is abhorrent to me, I appreciate that you finally were willing to take the argument to the place where we all knew it was based

    That is not at all what that means, Timothy. Where do get that idea? You are referring to a system where people are forced to submit to some person as a moral authority or agent. I am only speaking of individuals privately submitting to God (realizing He is the source of all that is good and owner of all they are stewards of), which I presume will then be worked out in their public lives.

  339. David B.

    I argue that it is very fair to ask the question of motives of anyone who may have a vested interest as a judge in the outcome.

    I would agree. But we should not assume that we know what they are or automatically dismiss decisions that we don’t live with presumptions about the motives or character of judges. In this instance, other than those who are anti-gay activists and only just now hearing about him, Judge Walker is considered by left and by right to be careful, thorough, and fair.

  340. Perhaps our new standard ought to be that you need to read the entire trial transcript.

    Tell you what — I will not state any opinions about the trial transcript until I have read it. Instead, I will limit my opinions about the decision to the text and analysis of the decision itself — which I have read 4 times now. Here are the findings of fact from the decision: .

    1. Marriage is and has been a civil matter, subject to religious intervention only when requested by the intervenors.

    2. California, like every other state, doesn’t require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.

    3. Marriage as an institution has changed overtime; women were given equal status; interracial marriage was formally legalized; no-fault divorce made it easier to dissolve marriages.

    4. California has eliminated marital obligations based on gender.

    5. Same-sex love and intimacy “are well-documented in human history.”

    6. Sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being.

    7. Prop 8 proponents’ “assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence.”

    8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor than it can be changed.

    9. California has no interest in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in its population.

    10. “Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union.”

    11. “Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals.”

    12. “Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States. The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships.”

    13. “Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/08/prop-8-overturned-the-facts-not-the-law-matter/60957/

    Gee — if I keep this up, you guys won’t have to read it. We will have quoted nearly all of it for you, sparing you the time and energy.

  341. There’s a heck of a lot of flurry on this thread but a genuine shortage of actual communication. Rather than respond and elicit yet another shame-based line from you, I think I’ll step away from this conversation altogether.

    Ken, I know that your intentions are good, but it doesn’t look very likely that folks some folks here will take the time or effort to actually read and review the case. They have made up their minds. Don’t confuse them with the facts.

    Sure, no shame meted out there.

    Gee — if I keep this up, you guys won’t have to read it. We will have quoted nearly all of it for you, sparing you the time and energy.

    Or there.

    As far as I know, there is no provision in the Constitution that outlaws voluntary ignorance.

    Or there.

  342. David,

    I think we agree Change occurs (in actual orientation), right?

    I don’t know. I’ve heard from some who claim to have experienced change in orientation. But I’ve also heard from some who once made that claim, only to retract it. And I’ve heard from Jones and Yarhouse that the “change in orientation” is more related to a redefinition of terms which don’t hold up to inspection.

    For me, that is still an open question.

    I think we agree it is rare, right?

    If it does occur it is EXTREMELY rare. So rare that those former ex-gays I know say that they’ve never ever during their years in ex-gay ministries came across anyone who did experience a real change in orientation.

    BUT… it may exist rarely.

    I think we agree that it is more common in women than in men, right?

    I’m inclined to think this is correct.

    I don’t think we have figured out what the mechanism of that change is:

    I’m with you there.

    But you lose me completely when you go off talking about behavior and that because decreasing heterosexual promiscuity is behavior related therefore we should define orientation as behavior.

    Sorry, that ship has sailed and I’m not going to swim back and play the what if game.

    Maturity in some may change sexual orientation.

    While that is a statement without any observable merit and thus dismissible out of hand, it is true that maturity in some may change presumptions about heterosexual superiority.

  343. I cited the extravagant price yesterday…Warren did too…at the same time that he admonished us to abandon the Roots detour. You even thanked him for the redirection. Given that AND the fact that I said I wanted to take my leave of this conversation, I have serious concerns about you. Do you forget these things so quickly? Are you reluctant to see me leave the conversation? is it some twisted need for the last word? A feeble stab at one last parting shot? Whatever…it makes no sense. That detour ended yesterday when Warren spoke to it. Please honor that and my desire to leave this conversation.

  344. OK — you got me Eddy. I am trying to shame you (and others) into reading it. Didn’t work, did it? I should know better.

  345. To me, it makes sense that if you are going to opine on the opinion from Walker, that you should read it. If you are going to opine on the legalities of gay marriage and where the issue goes from here legally, you should read the opinion.

    There was a third part you left out, Michael. That’s where I fit in.

  346. Debbie Thurman# ~ Aug 12, 2010 at 6:36 am

    “I am well aware that some of you believe with all your hearts that genuine love and a desire for lifelong commitment ought to be enough to secure the right to marry whomever you please. But it’s not. Marriage has a higher purpose. Some of you feel righteously indignant over this because it appears to be a slight. It’s not fair. Maybe not, but God never promised us His will would appear fair to us in the short term.”

    Unfortunately Debbie, you are talking about the WRONG type of marriage. This debate isn’t about religious marriage it is about CIVIL marriage. And you (nor anyone else) are not allowed to enforce YOUR particular interpretation of YOUR particular version of YOUR particular religious text on anyone else.

    Now I do agree with your statement that “love and a desire for lifelong commitment …” are not enough to be allowed to marry. The state can (and does) put certain restrictions on who can marry (ex. minimum age limits, consent etc). However, the state must have a compelling state interest in imposing those restrictions. And simply because people don’t like gays isn’t a compelling interest.

  347. LOL. I try very very hard NOT to have Glenn Beck influence my thinking to any great degree.

  348. Aug 10, 4:39 PM EDT — All Mexican states must recognize gay marriages

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital, though its decision does not force those states to begin marrying gay couples in their territory. In a 9-2 decision, the tribunal cited an article of the constitution requiring states to recognize legal contracts drawn up elsewhere.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_MEXICO_GAY_MARRIAGE?SITE=CTDAN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

  349. Tow articles on the ABA Supports Ending All “Legal Barriers” to Marriage Equality

    “In a resolution adopted less than one week after a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, the group acknowledges that same-sex couples “are only seeking to participate in an equal basis in a foundational institution of our civil life,” former ABA president Tommy Wells told the organization’s house of delegates. “They simply want to share in the legal blessings that we give to married couples. It can only strengthen marriage.”

    http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/08/10/American_Bar_Association_Backs_Marriage_Equality

    The ABA’s action is significant in that it represents a broad consensus among scholars and practitioners of the law. The ABA is the nation’s leading legal organization and is the one charged with recommending judges and setting national standards for attorneys. This case is not about ideology or politics, and the ABA’s resolution underscores that. Rather, Perry v. Schwarzenegger is a case grounded in fundamental constitutional law and precedent, including equal protection under the law and due process.”

    Here’s the text of the resolution. No one says you have to read it.

    “RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial, and tribal governments to eliminate all of their legal barriers to civil marriage between two persons of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry.”

    http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2010/08/aba-supports-ending-all-legal.html

  350. RE: Glenn Beck – I have only watched him a couple of times and both times he could not put two sentences together without heaving in exasperation and starting a new thought which at the end produced a non-sequitur of epic proportions.

    Having said that, he quoted a non-Christian who made a lot of sense (Thomas Jefferson) and therein lies his benefit to this debate. Beck is correct I believe in that the nation is being sold to foreign interests to maintain an artificially affluent life. The debt problem which Beck harps on is a serious threat, right up there with the threat of Islamic totalitarians. Sally Kern was wrong, gays don’t rank in that league.

  351. Debbie, got it.

    If you are going to opine on gay marriage from some other point of view, then one may certainly do that from your own perspective.

    Your own perspective, not facts about the case. That’s kinda what the Proponents did — and why they lost. The Judge wanted facts.

  352. Dave# said:

    In short .. it is very difficult to develop any sort of political strategy based on scripture. I do not see a call to change governments in scripture but I do see a call to spread the good news about Christ … this includes sharing the good news by mouth … helping those in need .. weeping with those who weep .. rejoicing with those who rejoice … clothing the naked … helping the sick … giving a drink to someone who is thirsty …feeding the hungry … visiting a person in prison. These are all very clear instructions without any subjectivity. In contrast to this, our anti-gay stance (which at times is quite hateful by any standard) has very little justification in scripture and would seem to be the very opposite of what Christ commands.

    For what it’s worth, I think Anne Rice feels much the same way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0GU1YdxFr4

  353. In this instance, other than those who are anti-gay activists and only just now hearing about him, Judge Walker is considered by left and by right to be careful, thorough, and fair.

    He is, predictably, working with the only tools he has.

  354. If churches are so upset about having to share the word marriage with gays, then let the churches change what they call them. They can be “religious unions.” And if you want more on why the word is so significant I would suggest you read some of the plaintiffs own testimony from the trial. You can get it here

    Geez Ken, I’m on your side. Just looking for a level playing field. I get the idea of the semantics. I’m just not as impressed with the need.

  355. Warren didn’t even write about it here. ๐Ÿ™

    This article on Judge Walkers decision, generated over 1,500 comments. But the Appeal decision which affirmed, didn’t even merit a blurb, sigh.

  356. Yes I know Warren, you have been busy with Uganda. It is just something I noticed, that it is very important to millions of sexual minorities in the States and this is a very big deal for Americans on both sides of the issue. I know you have a job and a family and don’t blog full time so it is hard, you have to make choices on what you want to focus on.

    It would have been nice if there was even a short article on it as I have some things to say about it. If you read the dissent from Judge Smith he references an Amici brief that references over 100 studies that show that children do poorly with parents who are of the same sex.

    That has to be the Amici brief from NARTH which I brought to this website previously. Now a Federal Judge is using that Amici brief from NARTH as true and valid, and using it in his decision. These are the types of topics related to the 9th Circuit ruling that would have made for good discussion on your blog.

    When you have the time it would be nice to see an article on it, that is all I am saying, and I am disappointed that time has not yet permitted it.

  357. Brad Pitt

    as

    Judge Walker

    George Clooney

    as

    David Boies

    Martin Sheen

    as

    Theodore B. Olson

    I read on another website that Kevin Bacon will be playingthe ottorney for the opposing side Charles Cooper.

    Ken I can’t wait for tonight. Hopefully I will see a comment or two from you while it is playiing.

  358. David –

    Forgive me. I did not realize from your post that those words were a direct quote from the article. My favorite part is probably the last paragraph:

    By taking a modest step instead of grandstanding, the liberal 9th Circuit took what is, stylistically if not directionally, a shrewdly conservative approach. The legal journals may conclude that the court’s deactivism was shaky law. But the history books are likely to say it was smart judging.

  359. David –

    Though technically upheld, Walker was strategically reversed. His decision was an idealistic stretch. The appeals court substituted a calculated straddle. Its jurisprudential logic may be questionable, but its political logic is impeccable.

    Well now I have to ask. Do you think the logic behind this appeals court decision was questionable? If so, why?

  360. (reposted from University of Utah professor: NARTH article “unscientific and irresponsible”

    StraightGrandmother# ~ Dec 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Off topic but will be of interest to many people here. At 2:30 pacific time today the Court of Appeals in San Francisco will be hearing oral arguments on 2 cases relative to Prop 8. The first is if ProtectMarriage.com has standing in Federal Court to represent the government of California in the Prop 8 court cases.

    The second is for release of the video of the Trial. The merits of the Prop 8 case were argued last December so there will not be oral arguments on that. We have spent one year on the right to standing which put the main case on hold. There will be live blogging more information here

    http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/2011/12/08/all-you-need-to-know-about-todays-prop-8-hearing-at-the-9th-circuit/

    Again sorry to be off topic but many people here are probably interested, and it is generally on topic as this trial brings in all the things Warren writes about, religion and sexual orientation change and politics. It is all in this trial, including NARTH, NARTH is part of the Prop8 trial.

    Close, the 1st hearing is to determine if the video can be released. The 2nd hearing is about whether Walker’s decision should be thrown out because he is gay.

    the CA supreme court has already ruled that prop 8 proponents have standing to appeal. (http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/2011/11/17/breaking-ca-supreme-court-rules-prop-8-proponents-do-have-standing-to-appeal/)

  361. “Proposition 8 had one effect only. It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they already possessed, to obtain from the state, or any authorized party, an important right – the right to obtain and use the designation of ‘marriage’to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less.” ~ Judge Reinhardt, 2/7/12

    ?”Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

    The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

    In a separate decision, the appeals court refused to invalidate Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he should have disclosed he was in a long term same-sex relationship.”

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/gay-marriage-prop-8s-ban-ruled-unconstitutional.html

  362. True Ken, true, however I did not even know this thread existed until I saw a comment from David Blakeslee in the “Recent Comments” section on the right. I was not around here in August of 2010.

    For the most part we are encouraged to stay on topic and so I generally do that. There wasn’t any recent topics about this so I didn’t interrupt a different topic to bring it up. Keep in mind that I, nor any recent followers of Warrens blog, would not have known about this old article.

    If you read the dissent from Judge Smith he references the amici brief showing over 100 research reports that are negative towards sexual minorities, that has to be the NARTH amici. If we get a topic on it, I’ll go look up the link to NARTH’s amici brief.

  363. Tonight 7:45 PT Americans for Equal Rights (AFER) is streaming live “8” a play about the prop 8 trial. I’m curious to see what others who read the transcript of the trial think about the play.

    Details are at: http://www.afer.org/live/

  364. Alan Chambers once said that he objected to marriage equality for gays because if that option had been available to him he “certainly would have chosen it.” Really? I wonder if had a “special someone” in mind?

    He seemed to be saying that people like him should not have equal rights because that would make it less likely that he – and others like him – would come to Christ. Legal inequity to promote Christian evangelism? He also lamented the end of Sodomy Laws for a similar reason, suggesting that laws should enforce religious beliefs:

    “Our young people are not going to grow up under the same teachings about morality that we did. The school books will simply state that homosexuality was legitimized by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2003. We are risking the moral upbringing of all the generations to come.”

    Now, conceding that Exodus’ attempts to mold public policy were probably not the best use of its time, money and energy and admitting that marriage equality is probably inevitable, he seems to be whistling a different tune. Now Exodus officially denounces criminalization of consensual gay sex. Now, he thinks that society is bending in the direction of “accepting the humanity of gay and lesbian people” and that we are “entering a time when we are more compassionate and loving toward people who deserve our compassion”. Quite a turnabout! I agree with him that that is the primary mission of the Church – not trying to legislate its interpretation of the Bible – but really living it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlBIR7MHtaY

  365. Debbie Thurman# ~ Aug 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

    ” What you are referencing doesn’t include gay parents who have children through artifical insemination or surrogacy, or through adoption. It is only referring to children who have gone through a parents divorce.

    No, it’s not, Ken. It’s talking about children raised in gay-parented (like stepparented) families.”

    The section you referenced was only comparing children of divorced parents (of whom some where lesbian and some where straight). It was NOT comparing children of divorced parents to ALL children of lesbians (i.e. including those who conceived through artificial insemination or who adopted). Your claim that children parented by lesbians have the same outcomes as children who’s parents have been divorced is NOT supported by that tech report.

  366. They are not, but I am going to stop arguing this with you, Michael. Gays have equal treatment (the ability to choose a spouse the same as straight folks do) under the law. They want unequal treatment.

    You couild not be more wrong about this! The findings of fact in the case proved that they cannot marry the person they love or enjoy the same benefits that heterosexual couples do. That’s a violation of the Constitution. We want the same rights, not new or different ones. And it looks like, in spite or your religious prejudice, we may finally get them.

  367. Timothy Kincaid,

    Studies on Change are like studies on Harm…very few and poorly constructed.

    I think we agree Change occurs (in actual orientation), right?

    I think we agree it is rare, right?

    I think we agree that it is more common in women than in men, right?

    I don’t think we have figured out what the mechanism of that change is:

    a. Misidentification in the first place.

    b. Spontaneous remission of SSA

    c. Religious motivations

    d. Treatment interventions

    e. Coercive social pressure

    f. Experience

    Nicholosi is unable to prove his arguments in part because his theory is flawed in its grandiosity and its unwillingness to explain “the exceptions to the deterministic model.”

    In addition, the notion of change, if it refers to change only in attractions, is quite restrictive. Expecially as this strict definition is unequally applied the the psychological sciences:

    a. Change, generally is measure in a reduction of behavior

    b. Change, generally is measure in increase of a desired behavior

    It is this odd, perfectionistic definition which psychology and advocacy groups bring to bear on this topic, which they would never apply so strictly topics like “improving marriage; anger management; task avoidance; relapse prevention; depression, anxiety.”

    Heterosexual men with multiple sexual partners that they find egocentric and pleasant may seek treatment even though this is not a mental illness; it is likely they will consider change a reduction in undesired behavior and an increase in desired behavior.

    The goal of increasing the desired behavior may be greatly facilitated decreasing the promiscuous attractions…but it is not necessary for a satisfied client.

    Psychology bases the foundation of its credibility on this kind of change in every area it seeks to touch: from education, to business, to terrorist interrogation to social science to individual and family therapy.

    Only in the research on SSA are we asked of psychology to change “all of the target feelings” as the measure of success.

    I believe this bias is present in this statement:

    No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

    Maturity in some may change sexual orientation.

  368. Whether or not one chooses to read the actual decision before offering opionions about it, here’s one conservative who has read it, and thinks the Judge got it right.

    My Fellow Conservatives, Think Carefully About Your Opposition to Gay Marriage By Margaret Hoover, Published August 10, 2010, FoxNews.com:

    As a conservative Republican representing the next generation of attitudes towards gays and lesbians, I encouraged the readers of FoxNews.com last January to take a careful look at the arguments and evidence in the Prop 8 trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

    The case was presented by a constitutional conservative, Ted Olson, who helped found the Federalist Society, successfully argued Bush v. Gore to the Supreme Court (among fifty-five other cases), and was George W. Bush’s Solicitor General. Working with his Democratic legal partner David Boies, Olson sought to prove that marriage equality is a constitutional question, not a partisan issue.

    The trial assembled a thorough record of evidence that Prop 8 unreasonably discriminates against gays and lesbians, relegating them to second-class citizenship.

    Surprisingly, the defense’s two lone witnesses also offered compelling reasons to favor of marriage equality. They testified that allowing homosexuals to marry would increase family stability and improve the lives of their children; that sexual orientation is unchangeable; that gays and lesbians have faced a long history of discrimination, including Prop 8.

    Another defense witness’ testimony had to be withdrawn as it proved the discriminatory nature of the Prop 8 campaign, which the Plaintiff’s lawyers then submitted as evidence to embolden their case.

    The trial testimony is available for the world to review at American Foundation for Equal Rights and demonstrates that the defense could muster no sound line of reasoning for the laws to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    The irony of this case is that Judge Walker is not a liberal activist judge but one whose career has proven him to be a tempered judge, true to the Reagan-Bush conservative jurisprudence that he was nominated to represent on the bench.

    Conservatives cannot deny that our Founders intended the judiciary as an equal and independent branch of government purposed to ensure the protection of every citizen’s rights.

    The Supreme Court has previously ruled that the right to marry is a fundamental constitutional right.

    When an unpopular minority is denied the right to marry, it is indeed the role of the courts to protect the rights of that minority, especially when a majority would deny them. This is why Judge Walker’s opinion reads, “That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fopinion%2F2010%2F08%2F09%2Fmargaret-hoover-prop-gay-rights-marriage-conservatives-civil-rights%2F&h=ddbb3

  369. If one person can do it, then the supposition is false, isn’t it?

    No. Not that one person can do it, but rather that “an individual may” do it. The burden in law is not met by a “one person” test.

    The one person test only works in political rallies and on TV. In court, the course of direction has to be open to all people who so choose, and we have clearly demonstrated that virtually no people who so choose may change their orientation.

    Truth and logic? Is that what Judge Walker provided in his 132 pages of opinion?

    In his 138 pages, Judge Walker made 55 pages of Findings of Fact. Walker was looking for facts, not what you call “God’s truth.” He looked for evidence, not just Bible passages.

    Although I’m sure you would prefer that our judicial system be based on theocratic dictates (like Iran’s), I am very glad that it is not. I don’t want judges reading religious texts of any denomination to decide what is factual.

    You see, Debbie, I believe in objective truth.

  370. Frankly I do not see anywhere in scripture where the church is to battle against gay rights

    How about idolatry? It comes in a variety of forms, and you have pointed out some of the other egregious ones.The Church also has its high places and idols.

    Shifting gears, thanks, David, for this. It’s been brought up here before. Apparently needs to be repeated:

    It is this odd, perfectionistic definition which psychology and advocacy groups bring to bear on this topic, which they would never apply so strictly topics like “improving marriage; anger management; task avoidance; relapse prevention; depression, anxiety.”

    Only in the research on SSA are we asked of psychology to change “all of the target feelings” as the measure of success.

  371. Mary# ~ Aug 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    “So make civil unions possible for all. I really don’t see the big deal. Understandably, gays feel discredited when their marriage is not recognized. I stand by my proposal. The government should get out of the marriage business and leave that to churches. Civil unions should be recognized. All are the same.”

    If churches are so upset about having to share the word marriage with gays, then let the churches change what they call them. They can be “religious unions.” And if you want more on why the word is so significant I would suggest you read some of the plaintiffs own testimony from the trial. You can get it here:

    http://www.equalrightsfoundation.org/legal-filings/hearing-transcripts/perry-trial-day-1-transcript/

    From Katami: from the middle of p. 88 (line 15) to top of p. 90. Then again from p. 115, line 23.

    From Perry: pp. 142-147 (description of her marriage to her partner compare this to Katami’s comments on page 115 line 23.)

    Stier: p: 172.

    Although would encourage you to read ALL of the testimony of Zarrilo, Katami, Perry and Stier.

    And if you want a better understanding of how marriage is not just a religious institution, then the testimony of Nancy Cott (plaintiffs expert on the history and significance of marriage).

  372. Eddy,

    Yes, that was WAY off topic.

    But, interestingly, the judge did inspect the evidence about whether there is consensus as to what determines an orientation. He found:

    Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person’s identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents’ assertions that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of evidence.

    This was, of course, based on testimony by expert witnesses. They didn’t discuss non-sexual event quashing.

  373. Maybe we should take a step back and each of us, in one sentence, lay out the legal argument about our claim relating to change in orientation. What would we argue in court?

    I would say:

    No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

    What would you say?

    I would put a not after may. So what? He says, she says ad infinitem. Where does the circle begin and end?

  374. Timothy — as the Judge pointed out in his decision, even the proponents of Prop 8 seemed to have NO trouble defining what they meant by homosexuality.

  375. How about idolatry?

    Maybe I am missing the point. Is idolotry illegal in the US? Should it be? How about adultery? Sex before marriage? Shacking up? Having kids out of wedlock? Swinging? I am against those things or “moral” grounds, but I would not deny marriage equality to those who do them. Would you?

    It is one thing for the church to take the moral stand that all sex outside of hetereosexual marriage is sin. It is quite another to use those beliefs to deny equality under the law. I think the church needs to focus on teaching by example. Using one group’s beliefs to deny equal rights to others is not a good example.

  376. LOL. Debbie, I’d let that hand slap for not reading the entire determination roll off. A while back several people were disparaging the theory of ‘roots’ to homosexuality. Like a fool, I presumed that they’d actually read and understood the concept they were bashing. Instead they had a sound bite or two from Nicolosi and no sense of the original theory. (I believe it was Michael who actually admitted that he hadn’t read my booklet from 1980 and then promised to acquire and read a copy. It’s actually around 100 pages less than this judges determination.) My bad for not attempting to publicly shame all those who comment on the roots theory without reading the original.

    Ooops! Beware the deflection. Last time I brought this up, I was chastised for claiming that I developed the roots theory. I DID NOT develop the theory but I was primarily responsible for applying it to homosexuality.

    LOL. Is this way off topic. I don’t think so. As yet, there is no consensus as to what determines an orientation and few studies re the non-sexual triggers for sexuality. (An increased sexual desire related to a bad day at the office–or it’s opposite: Coming home to a person you normally desire sexually and the non-sexual events of the day have quashed your desire.) If we don’t even fully understand the components of sexuality, how can we speak with any sense of absoluteness to mutability or immutability?

  377. Actually, Debbie, Jones and Yarhouse provided evidence that an individual may not change his sexual orientation through religious mediation. In fact, a lot of individuals may not… all of them in the study, to be exact.

    If one person can do it, then the supposition is false, isn’t it? I did it. Of course, “religious mediation” presumes someone is mediating. Is the someone God? Perhaps you’d like to get his sworn testimony.

    By the way, I don’t intend to read the decision. Why should I? I already know exactly how I feel about gay marriage. All I need to know is the ruling, not the reams of words that back it up. They won’t convince me.

    This is, incidentally, an astonishingly direct response. Most people at least pretend that facts, truth and logic play a part in their thinking but it’s refreshing to hear the honest truth that none of that matters in the slightest to you.

    Yes, quite clear. Truth and logic? Is that what Judge Walker provided in his 132 pages of opinion? I repeat, he does not inform my decisions. I wonder how much of God’s truth (the biblical record) he has read. Walker is but a fading whisper in the halls of time.

  378. Ken: A commenter on another blog (who goes by a ‘handle” only (no first and last name) posted the claim that Walker had not allowed witnesses to testify. The commenter admitted they had not read the decision.

    If they had, I doubt they would have made such an outlandish statement. The commenter also claimed that Walker “manipulated the case” but could not say how.

    Yes, quite clear. Truth and logic? Is that what Judge Walker provided in his 132 pages of opinion?

    Debbie: It’s 136 pages — and you might be able to answer the question yourself if you would take the time to actually read it. BTW: I never made judgements about the “Roots” booklet or presumed to know what was in it. Can Eddy kindly supply the full name of the author and a link as to where I might obtain it?

  379. No Debbie,

    It isn’t he said she said. Let’s be honest and look at these two statements.

    No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may not, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

    Actually, Debbie, Jones and Yarhouse provided evidence that an individual may not change his sexual orientation through religious mediation. In fact, a lot of individuals may not… all of them in the study, to be exact.

  380. The statement you cited did NOT say that children in lesbian-parented relationships fare the same as children of divorced parents! What it says is children whose biological parents have divorced fare just as well REGARDLESS of whether the biological mother was straight or a lesbian.

    The crux of it is the phrase “fare just as well.” Why not say, “fare just as poorly”? This is hot air.

    Family engineering is a social experiment as harmful as eugenics, in my opinion.

    Then why do you seem to be supporting it? Your arguments about how children shouldn’t be raised in gay households sounds like YOU are the one trying to determine which are the “acceptable” form of parents.

    Oh, no you don’t pull that cheap shot! Millennia of history and social observations have set the bar where it is, to say nothing of God. Not I. Those doing the engineering are the ones who mess with the norm.

    The essential thing missing from gay parenting is obviously the opposite sex. Which sex is the more dispensable one in your opinion, Ken? Male or female? Which do we lop off, gonads or ovaries? While role does not matter?

    I could use the same rationale to justify things that would curl your toes.

  381. Michael Bussee# ~ Aug 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    “Here are some of the things I have been hearing here (and elsewhere) from people upset about the decision:

    .

    (2) He prohibited qualified witnesses from testifying.”

    Who is claiming Walker prohibited a qualified witness from testyfing? And who was the witness?

    I know he allowed one unqualifed expert to testify (over the Plaintiffs objection).

    That’s Blankenhorn.

  382. Eddy# ~ Aug 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    “Has there been an attempt to get the feds to step up re Social Security etc for civil unions? This is a somewhat major concern and, for that alone, I’d recognize the merits of pursuing marriage over civil unions.”

    There are a host of other rights/priviledges granted at the federal level for marriage (including allowing a non-citizen spouse to remain in the country). However, currently, even allowing gay marriage at the state level doesn’t entitle gay couples to those benefits because of DOMA. Which I believe is currently being challenged.

    And there was an attempt by Congress to allow same-sex partners to stay in the US (same as spouses are) under immigration law, however, I don’t think it ever came up for a vote. But attempting to grant all the rights, priviledges and responsibilites of marriage on a case by case basis for gay couples would be extremely difficult.

  383. Debbie,

    You are making a fallacy in logic. One cannot “prove” a negative.

    In other words, the burden is not for on the side of proving that orientation can never ever in any possible imaginable circumstances be altered, but rather on the side of those who claim that it can.

    I need not prove that you have not changed your orientation, I need simply to demonstrate that there is no known method by which one may do so if they were so inclined. And, I’m sure you will agree, there is none.

    Yes, God can do as he wishes. He could choose to turn a gay person straight; he could also choose to turn them into an ostrich. But He certainly hasn’t given us any indication that He has a desire to do either of these.

    And appealing to miracles and divine intervention is SURELY not the standard that we want our legal system to apply.

    Incidentally, the innateness of sexual orientation is actually not what this case rested upon – though it did address the issue. This case rested on law.

  384. Race is immutable. Homosexuality has never been proven so.

    Actually, you are mistaken. Judge Walker specifically requested that the defense answer the question as to whether orientation is immutable. They were unable to present any evidence that orientation is NOT immutable.

    And, as anyone who follows the only available information on change therapy would have to agree, there are no effective methods currently available that are known to be able to alter sexual orientation.

    No, I am not mistaken. Homosexuality has never been proven to be immutable. Was the other side able to provide conclusive evidence that homosexuality is not immutable? Neither side could do it because it is unprovable, either way. Are we going to remove “in God We Trust” from our money because we cannot prove He exists?

    The innateness of sexual orientation (or not) is not what this case should have rested upon. That the defense took that bait is sad. How would you go about proving either hypothesis, Timothy? Can you prove that I, who once had significant same-sex attractions, and now have none, am lying? Can I prove I am not? No and no.

    What is the point of belaboring the change thing? Are there “no effective methods” of transformation? Is there no God? Did Jesus heal or not? Is that history or fiction? Now, let’s set about “proving” it all.

  385. I suspect that if I had been making judgements about the Ugandan Bill while admitting that I had not actually reading it — and had intention of doing so — that some of you would have objected.

  386. Race is immutable. Homosexuality has never been proven so.

    Actually, you are mistaken. Judge Walker specifically requested that the defense answer the question as to whether orientation is immutable. They were unable to present any evidence that orientation is NOT immutable.

    And, as anyone who follows the only available information on change therapy would have to agree, there are no effective methods currently available that are known to be able to alter sexual orientation.

    So the judge was forced to conclude that:

    Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

  387. By the way, I don’t intend to read the decision. Why should I? I already know exactly how I feel about gay marriage. All I need to know is the ruling, not the reams of words that back it up. They won’t convince me.

    This is, incidentally, an astonishingly direct response. Most people at least pretend that facts, truth and logic play a part in their thinking but it’s refreshing to hear the honest truth that none of that matters in the slightest to you.

  388. Timothy,

    You are a scholar, are you not? Sexual Orientation does change, spontaneously at times! More often in woman, than in men. And it is rare.

    Courts and judges using science to establish facts is worthy and largely good.

    It can be corrupted by advocacy groups or manipulative attorneys and ignorant agenda driven judges…or later science can make prior rulings obsolete.

    The biological origins of homosexual attraction are weak, the assertions about such biological origins have been exaggerated, and that it differs for the two genders.

  389. In other words, the burden is not for on the side of proving that orientation can never ever in any possible imaginable circumstances be altered, but rather on the side of those who claim that it can.

    Why? What if we make your side the negative? You make one claim, we make another. Who gets to make the distinction? And, absence of proof is not proof of absence, as the adage goes. The side in the Prop. 8 case that brought the suit ought to have had the burden of proof on it.

  390. David Blakeslee,

    Your position seems to be that gay judges are incapable of impartiality due to pressures put on them by the gay community. This fails on three accounts:

    1. Judge Walker is not, contrary to what you and other anti-gay advocates have been claiming, “openly gay”. The Chronicle did not call him “openly gay” and in fact mentioned that he is not public with his sexuality, whatever it may be.

    Therefore your assertion that his “primary support system is likely in the gay community [and he] is under extraordinary pressure on a very personal level to make a decision that community will support” is based on false information.

    His primary support system is likely not in the gay community.

    2. Gay people – including Judge Walker – are more that just a walking stereotype. Each individual has other facets which contribute to their thinking.

    For example, Judge Walker is a Republican and has for decades been part of the Republican community. It would be bizarre to insist that the gay community (of which he may or may not be a part) would subject him to “extraordinary pressure” but that the Republican community would exert none at all.

    And I think we can agree that the Republican community is not likely to have exerted pro-gay-marriage pressure.

    3. Judge Walker has already demonstrated an ability to make decisions that are not popular within the gay community. He was instrumental in blocking the Gay Olympics from using the name “Olympics”.

    I happen to think he was right in doing so – the name belongs to the Olympic Committee and if they want to be bigoted in their decisions as to who can use the term, well I think they should have the right to do so.

    But this was not a popular position. In fact, when Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Walker to the bench, Nancy Pelosi led the fight that blocked his appointment because he was believed to be anti-gay. It wasn’t until under George Bush (Sr) that Walker was confirmed.

  391. ken,

    The Supreme Court has already addressed the “I’m skurrrred of Teh Gehs. They may say mean things to me” argument.

    In Doe V. Reed, the SCOTUS said 8-1 that those who sign petitions are not protected from having their identity disclosed. They said that while some instances may exist in which there is a real threat, it needs to be proven and supported, not just baseless fear mongering.

    Justice Scalia was downright mocking:

    For the first century of our existence, even voting was public—you either did it raising your hand or by voice, or later, you had a ballot that was very visibly red or blue so that people knew which party you were voting for. The fact is that running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate, or to take part in the legislative process.

    I doubt that the court is going to be sympathetic of “Oh but my peers with snub me.”

  392. Debbie,

    When it comes to the evidence, I think David Boies, co-council on this case, said it best:

    “In a court of law you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to support those opinions, you’ve got to stand up under oath and cross-examination,” Boies said. “And what we saw at trial is that it’s very easy for the people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens of the right to vote [sic] to make all sorts of statements and campaign literature, or in debates where they can’t be cross-examined.

    “But when they come into court and they have to support those opinions and they have to defend those opinions under oath and cross-examination, those opinions just melt away. And that’s what happened here. There simply wasn’t any evidence, there weren’t any of those studies. There weren’t any empirical studies. That’s just made up. That’s junk science. It’s easy to say that on television. But a witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court you can’t do that.

  393. “And what we saw at trial is that it’s very easy for the people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens of the right to vote

    Deprive them of the right to vote? Who is doing this? I want names.

  394. In their various court battles, Jehovah’s Witnesses have done much, perhaps ironically as in this case, to extend civil liberties to all Americans:

    Judge Walker used Jackson’s line in striking down the 52% majority vote that had taken away the fundamental right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California.

    While we can thank Jehovah’s Witnesses for this precedent that aims to prevent tyranny of the majority, it should be noted they don’t like gay marriage. They consider it sin and aren’t afraid to say so. But not one devoted Jehovah’s Witness voted for or supported Prop 8. Jehovah’s Witnesses are apolitical. Rather than forcing their beliefs through legislation, they prefer to find converts by sharing a message.

    Justice Jackson saw how protecting the rights of an unpopular religion demonstrated the beauty and full potential of the Bill of Rights for every unpopular group to follow.

    “Fundamental rights,” Jackson wrote in 1943 and Judge Walker quoted in 2010, “depend on the outcome of no elections.”

    Joel P. Engardio

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.usatoday.com%2Fnews%2Fopinion%2Fforum%2F2010-08-06-engardio05_ST_N.htm&h=56c7d

  395. Sexual Orientation does change, spontaneously at times! More often in woman, than in men. And it is rare.

    The judge did not think that hoping for rare spontaneous change is a standard of immutability that could be legally applied. Do you disagree with any of the following words:

    No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

  396. Debbie,

    Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young were both experts for the defense until they decided not to testify. However, the plaintiffs did enter their depositions as testimony and Judge Walker did address them within his ruling:

    Plaintiffs entered into evidence the deposition testimony of two of proponents’ withdrawn witnesses, as their testimony supported plaintiffs’ claims. Katherine Young was to testify on comparative religion and the universal definition of marriage. Doc #292 at 4 (proponents’ December 7 witness list) Doc #286-4 at 2

    (expert report). Paul Nathanson was to testify on religious attitudes towards Proposition 8. Doc #292 at 4 (proponents’ December 7 witness list); Doc #280-4 at 2 (expert report).

    Young has been a professor of religious studies at McGill University since 1978. PX2335 Young CV. She received her PhD in history of religions and comparative religions from McGill in 1978. Id.

    Young testified at her deposition that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality and that same-sex couples possess the same desire for love and commitment as opposite-sex couples.

    PX2545 (dep tr); PX2544 (video of same). Young also explained that several cultures around the world and across centuries have had variations of marital relationships for same-sex couples. Id.

    Nathanson has a PhD in religious studies from McGill University and is a researcher at McGill’s Faculty for Religious Studies. PX2334 Nathanson CV. Nathanson is also a frequent lecturer on consequences of marriage for same-sex couples and on gender and parenting. Id. Nathanson testified at his deposition that religion lies at the heart of the hostility and violence directed at gays and lesbians and that there is no evidence that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than children raised by opposite-sex couples. PX2547 (dep tr); PX2546 (video of same).

    Proponents made no effort to call Young or Nathanson to explain the deposition testimony that plaintiffs had entered into the record or to call any of the withdrawn witnesses after potential for contemporaneous broadcast of the trial proceedings had been eliminated.

  397. Debbie Thurman….. Let’s talk about victims. Let’s talk about Christians and Jews who are infidels in the eyes of Shariah, which is now infiltrating this country to a degree the average person knows nothing of. Let’s talk about what has happened and is happening to them in other countries. There are 57 Islamic states. You and I, Timothy, have three options if we end up with an American Caliphate. No, wait. You have none. If we ever get to that point, Shariah says you will be stoned to death. I can convert, be made a slave or be killed. Of course, I would be martyred right along with you. So we really only have one choice.

    Explain this to me, please. Where has this “infiltration” occurred? And if it has occurred is it any different from Jewish peoples in New York being able to submit their civil (not criminal) matters to their own courts? Or anyone else – that is both parties to a cause – going out and hiring a prominent lawyer or retired person of letters/law to act as a judge in a civil matter?

    I really want to know, because I keep hearing this same ‘rant’ from what I consider the lunatic fringe of the ultra-con right (folk named Fischer and Kincaid come to mind). So enlighten me would you.

    Debbie Thurman….. Bull. The Declaration is like our country’s “articles of incorporation.” The Constitution are our “by-laws.” The one informs the other. Where is the law for gay marriage? How does this supposed law spring from “Nature and Nature’s God”?

    All humanity exists in nature, even gay people, even perhaps the various gods of gay people.

  398. Blakeslee,

    You are correct that poly-marriage will be considered by the courts. And it will be up to the states to defend the prohibition.

    Personally, I believe that there is adequate legal argument to keep marriage limited to two people. The issues of inheritance, divorce, and consent seek to me to preclude more than two.

    But I hope that we agree that those of us who disapprove of multiple partner legal recognition do not insist that our indignation and disapproval are sufficient to veto their rights.

  399. Debbie,

    Timothy, the Prop 8 case hinged on, not a “protection” of gay people or their rights, but a protection of the always-accepted definition of marriage for the greater good.

    No, Debbie.

    I can understand that your opinion on the case may be that ” the always-accepted definition of marriage” was the matter under debate, but that is not what the case hinged on.

    What the case hinges on is what the lawsuit addresses. In this case, the plaintiffs sued because they were denied the ability to register their marriage due to Proposition 8. They argued that this violated their constitution right to equality under the law.

    The question then is not whether people voted, but whether their constitutional right was violated.

    The people who voted in the majority believed it to be in the best interests of their state to preserve the benefits of marriage as they have been traditionally.

    Well, certainly. Otherwise they would not have so voted.

    They have constitutional rights, as well.

    Yes they do. And should in the future Randy Thommason file a lawsuit claiming that his constitutional right to deny marriage to gay people has been violated, then that question will be addressed.

    It likely will not go far.

    Because while each person has the right to vote, there is not constitutionally guaranteed right to veto the constitution.

    The people of California did not have the right, for example, to vote George W. Bush a third term even if they really really wanted to. Or the right to deny property ownership to women. Or to deny tax exemption to Southern Baptists.

    Even if it is the will of the people.

    Because that is what a Constitution means. If every vote was determined to be the will of the people and could veto the Constitution, then it would be pointless and meaningless to even have one.

    That the defense chose inexplicably not to defend Prop 8 does not mean it was not defensible.

    The supporters of Proposition 8 gave it their best defense. They hired the very talented and highly regarded Charles Cooper. It was not that the chose inexplicably not to defend it, but that their defense could not hold up to examination.

    As I said before, there may well exist some defense of laws that treat opposite-sex couples one way and same-sex couples another that is compelling and holds up to scrutiny. I simply haven’t heard it. And neither did the court.

    It is not self-evident that “equal protection” of gays is being violated by not allowing them to marry.

    I think that if you read that again, you may see the inherent contradiction.

    There was absolutely no question whatsoever that gay couples were not being treated equally. That isn’t up for dispute. And surely, even the most hardcore of those opposed to the rights and freedoms of gay people will agree that unequal treatment was the whole point of Proposition 8.

    The question was whether it is constitutionally permissible to treat gay people differently from straight people. And that was what the case was about: whether the state had a good reason for unequal treatment.

    Prop 8 was an affront to their sensibilities.

    If “their sensibilities” is the same as “Timothy’s belief that he is entitled to equality under the law and ought not be relegated to some separate lesser status”, then yes, you are correct. It was an affront.

    (Remember, Debbie, I live in California. “They” is me.)

    Discrimination in the workplace, in housing or in any other realm than marriage is another matter. Same-sex marriage is still a rebuttable presumption.

    This statement assumes that rights can be doled out to gay people by straight people according to whim or desire. It presumes that gay people do not have rights granted by the Constitution.

    It assumes that it is up to you or straight people or legislators or society at large to decide what rights to give to gay people. But in order for that assumption to be true, gay people would have to be excluded from the Constitution.

    Now no doubt some people believe this. Heck, Fischer believes that Muslims are excluded from the Constitution. But I doubt that you are one who believes that gay people are not entitled to the same Constitutional coverage as heterosexual people.

    So then – if you accept the premise that gay people are entitled to rights (not given at the largesse of heterosexuals but entitled) granted by the Constitution, then the only question is whether denying them rights can be justified by the state.

    And every time the people have voted on it, they have voted in favor of traditional marriage.

    Which wins the “and everyone agrees with me” argument. But that is not a legal argument, it’s only an emotional one. And it isn’t any more effective in court than it is with Mom when we’re eight.

    So you’ll have to forgive me for being silly when I reply: well if everyone else voted to jump off the bridge, would you?

  400. Ann# ~ Apr 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    “The problem is that some do not feel gays are discrimminated against as they are just as eligible for all the rights that other people have.”

    Many people believed Elvis was still alive years after his death. Many people believed the US government actually blew up the World Trade Center. Just because someone believes something doesn’t make it true. Currently, in CA, they are not eligible for the right of marriage. Hopefully that will be changing as the case works it way through the appeals process.

    “They do not have a disability or compelling disadvantage that would prevent them from fullfilling the eligibility requirements.”

    Under your reasoning, neither did Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter.

    “They become ineligible, as do others, who do not want to follow the eligibility requirements that we all have to follow. ”

    Do you think the Loving decision was wrong then?

    ” ” Prop 8 was just the latest in a long history of anti-gay laws.”

    Again, I am not sure if most would concur that Prop 8 is an anti-gay law or one that was needed to re-affirm established eligibility requirements for marriage.”

    Prop 8 was specifically designed to remove the right of marriage that gays had in CA. Of course it is anti-gay. Just as the grandfather clauses in the south were specifically designed to prevent blacks from voting.

  401. Debbie: Would you have read the decision if the judge had agreed with you? If not, why not? Even for the sake of curiousity — just to see how the case was argued and how the judge came to his decision? I would.

    It’s a fascinating civics lesson if nothing else — and has bearing on the whole issue of the will of the majority versus the Constitutional rights of the minority. Suppose the issue at at hand was a law that limited religious freedom only to Christians…

  402. ken

    It is similar. In fact if you compare they arguments against gay marriage with those in the Loving v. Virgina case you see the arguments are almost the same.

    Yes, and Mildred Loving noted that fact when she endorsed marriage equality.

  403. Teresa# ~ Apr 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    “Dear me, ken, take a deep breath and relax.”

    Teresa, wake up and smell the coffee.

    See I can give condescending quotes too, doesn’t really help the conversation though does it?

    “” When was the last time you actually interviewed for a job Teresa?”

    About six weeks ago, as a matter of fact.”

    and is for a job after you graduate?

    “I do not wear a “sandwich board” sign that says, ”

    You never answered my question about whether you have a partner. If you do (or eventually get one), do you plan on keeping her hidden? Not referencing her at work or bring her to the office x-mas party? People identify their orientation every day in many different ways Teresa, that doesn’t mean they are wearing a sandwich board or have it tattooed on their foreheads.

    “They could have easily opted to be more discreet and prudent, no? Of course, ken, you would see the choice of being discreet and prudent as somehow offensive.”

    No, I see the suggestion that they SHOULD BE more “discreet and prudent” as offensive. Just as the phrase “just keep your head down and mouth shut boy” is offensive. Just as the suggestion that someone shouldn’t ask for a “prayer break” but instead ask for a “smoke break” then discreetly go off and pray. and many other cases where minorities are asked to just keep quiet and be happy with what they have rather than ask for equality.

    “Society owes me nothing, but to protect me from true harm … life, limb, education, occupation, housing. In my estimation, ”

    and in many places in the US you (because you are gay) don’t get the occupation/housing protections.

    “When a black person interviews for a job … they’re black, up-front, blunt and candid … that’s it. When you show up, ken, unless you’ve got tattooed across your forehead, “I’m gay”, you’re just another average Joe looking for a job. You have a choice, ken, about what you disclose; to whom, when, and where. Can you see that difference? Can you, at least, acknowledge that someone else’s history is not your history?”

    discrimination doesn’t just occur on a job interview Teresa. It happens when the government passes laws denying a group of people basic rights. Or that allow the police to routinely harass a minority group. Or when people accept the most outlandish stereotypes as an accurate representation. As I said before I know there are differences between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement, but they are very similar. and I’m not the only person who sees that. Coretta Scott King saw them as well and said she believed her husband also would have considered the gay rights movement as a logical extension of the civil rights movement. I’m very familiar with many forms of bigotry (based on race, religion, orientation, gender etc). And they all have the same root cause, ignorance about the “other” and the belief that the differences make the “other” inferior.

  404. The other important question seemed to be “Should we restrict the rights of a particular group of people when there is no compelling interest for the State to do so?” I think the answer is No.

  405. Ann

    I cringe when I see or hear anyone make the comparison between race and sexual orientation – I guess, not for the obvious that it is not a comparison at all, rather, for the lack of respect for African Americans or others around the world.

    Whether one sees a lack of respect depends on how one views gay people.

    Bishop Harry Jackson does, indeed, find the comparison between the quest for rights for black people and gay people to be offensive. Jackson opposes equality for gay people and, as he does not oppose equality for himself, he does not wish to be compared. It offends him.

    On the other hand, Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president of the NAACP, is not offended by such comparisons. He does not consider gay people inferior or assume that any comparison with gay people is an offense.

  406. Just because someone believes something doesn’t make it true.

    Ken,

    I know, however, it is true that some, if not more than 50%, feel this way, so it does make a difference.

    Under your reasoning, neither did Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter.

    Neither had a disability, however, they did have racial prejudice from others as a disadvantage. I do not see a comparison between the color of skin one is born with, and ultimately discriminated against, to those who are attracted to their same gender.

    Do you think the Loving decision was wrong then?

    Wrong that there was initially a law against interracial marriage or wrong that it was over turned?

    Prop 8 was specifically designed to remove the right of marriage that gays had in CA. Of course it is anti-gay.

    I am not disagreeing with you – I said I am not sure if most would concur that Prop 8 is an anti-gay law or one that was needed to re-affirm established eligibility requirements for marriage.”

  407. I absolutely believe and wish this:

    BTW…sad he had to be in the closet for so many years…hope he gets a lot of support now that he is out.

    No apology necessary.

    Re: Emily K,

    Heterosexuals making such decisions should be assessed as well, especially if they forbid gay marriage…for bias. It is data that may have wrongly effected their decision.

  408. David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    “I don’t think Joseph Smiths advocacy for polygyny (thanks for the better term), was rooted in his belief that women abandoned by their husbands through divorce or death should be cared for…this argument, made with more verifiable truth could be made today and be an overall social good”

    except in Joseph Smith’s time, wives were little more than property and women had very few rights. things have changed considerably since then, and I am very much opposed to setting women’s rights back over a 100 years.

  409. I don’t know why polygamy and polyamory have any bearing on this discussion since Prop. 8 was only really challenged, to my knowledge by gays. The other movements are underground.

    That aside, I will reiterate that denying gays the right to marry each other is denying them a means of pursuing happiness, not equal protection under the law. But there are other people groups in this country who would seek happiness in ways that contraindicate the general welfare of its people. And this nation was established on an ideology that sees the flow of authority as being from God to the people to the government (so says our Declaration of Independence, the “why”; the Constitution provides the “how”).

    And I would point out that there is new information pertinent to this thread: a study from the Williams Institute concluding 1.7 percent of the U.S. adult population identifies as gay or lesbian (1.8 percent identify as bisexual). That’s about 4 million adults who identify as gay. Contrast that with about 13 percent of the U.S. population that is black (according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice). The civil rights comparison falls flat.

  410. LOL. Comparing the gay struggle to blacks is OK with Ken despite the differences that Teresa elaborated because it’s analogous…but comparing the gay marriage justification to polygamy or gyny or what have you is wrong because…well because Ken thinks so.

  411. Same-sex sexual behavior is unnatural, abnormal and has destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences individually and socially.

    Translation: If I fall to prove that homosexuality per se has destructive physical consequences, and likewise fail to prove that homosexuality per se has destructive emotional consequences, as a last resort I reserve the right to pull some destructive spiritual consequences out of my hat. And since the spiritual consequences largely pertain to the hereafter, they are — conveniently! — un-disprovable.

    Stand by, movin’ goalposts comin’ through!

    P.S. I was raised Catholic, too, Teresa; I know how the shell game works.

  412. I don’t recall if David had, but many of the usual commenters here admitted that they had not and would not read it. They had already made up their minds that the decision was wrong.

    This impression doesn’t appear to be based on facts. I’ve just skimmed through this entire thread and can’t find ‘many’ who admitted they had not and would not read it and had already made up their minds that the decision was wrong.

    Debbie said that she had read it. I acknowledged that I only read 40 pages…but then I didn’t say that my mind was made up or that the decision was wrong. I also can’t find where Mary said that her mind was mind up and that the decision was wrong. Others weighing in were David Blakeslee and concerned. (Did I miss anyone?)

    So Michael’s generalized statement isn’t true especially when you see that the word ‘they’ that leads the second sentence refers back to the ‘many’ from sentence one. Five rarely qualifies as ‘many’; two never does.

  413. The gay marriage decision by Walker may be upheld and be very sound…if there are flaws in the way he admitted testimony or limited testimony…that will become more evident under review, although the fact that it is going to be reviewed by the 9th Circuit, which tends to be more libertine, suggests it will be upheld at that level of appeal.

    If it is…and perhaps rightly so.

    Logically, I think the next level will be exploring the ramifications of polyamory for several reasons:

    1. Unlike Gay marriage, polyamory has a strong and vibrant representation currently in many cultures.

    2. Unlike Gay marriage, polyamory has a strong religious history that even predates monogamous heterosexual unions, and is currently endorsed in many religious settings.

    3. To my knowledge there are no scientific studies which justify refusing extending marriage rights to poly amorous partners (open to new information here).

  414. @ Debbie:

    I also can see how it might refer to the receptive gay male partner.

    There it is again, “might refer”. Thanks. That is what I have been suggesting all along. “Might”. “Perhaps”, “Maybe”. That seems much more reasonable than insisting that you know without a doubt that you have it right. There might be other ways of looking at Scipture that may have validity.

    This “might refer” seems to sugest that people of faith may not be “mocking God” if they question the traditional understanding of this passage. It is not Unchristian to question. Which leads me to ask: How can you be sure that the first Greek word self-evident — and without doubt — means “homosexual” when you concede that the second word (“might”, “perhaps” and “maybe”) could mean something that we’re not quite sure of?

    @ Eddy:

    Actually, Michael, this shows few signs of being a discussion or an exchange of ideas; it’s pretty much the ‘same old same old’.

    I am suprised that you would say so. I seems like a good discussion to me. I think it’s a prety civil and intelligent exchange of ideas on the possible meaning of this passage. And maybe true Christians can give each other the grace to disagree.

    Is there some new approach or perspective that you have to offer that you think we ought to be discussing? I would be very open to hearing it. It would be very interesting and perhaps very beneficial to approach the Biblical discussion in a new way. Instead of complaining that it’s “same old, same old”, can you present a fresher viewpoint or approach?

  415. So what else could he be referring to? Maybe malakoi was meant to cover cross-dressing or transgendered men and not just those who some might call effeminate

    That’s a great question and shows that Paul’s words were not self-evidently clear. “Maybe” — says Debbie. “Perhaps” says Eddy. That’s all I was really asking for — the “maybes”. The “perhaps”. The possibility that there may be other explanations. That’s “faith”. Leaving our hearts and minds open to other possibilities while holding fast to our Blessed Hope.

    We all have certain beliefs. None of us should claim certainty or presume to speak for God. When some folks say that they believe the Bible is “inerrant in it’s original manuscripts” they seem to overlook that we don’t have the original manuscripts — and that they people who recorded Paul’s words, who translated them into various languages and who interpret them today are all fallible human beings. They leave themselves — and the possibility that they may have it wrong — out of the equation. I think that’s a huge mistake.

  416. Still with the LOL! But its’ a rather sad laugh. David reawakened this thread with a link to a seemingly unbiased article that was news connected to the Proposition 8 story. That’s all he did. “This adds data about the decision” were his only words…and the conjectures and insinuations swiftly followed.

    And yes, there was new data. Even though the judge just came out, it seems this wasn’t a complete surprise to anyone involved and yet no protest was made. The link didn’t elaborate much other than to quote the judge himself…with full sentence quotes that didn’t appear to be biased sound bites.

    I find the attacks and insinuations against David to be baseless. I could envision Timothy or Jayhuck sharing the very same link with the same brief lead-in that David used with not one personal attack or insinuation to follow. But with David there was a need to dissect his six lead in words and charge them with dark meaning and intent.

  417. and many different Christian groups understand the Bible in completely different ways

    That’s probably the only thing upon which christians will agree.

  418. That is because the word does not mean effeminate (except in a reference to music). It means “soft” – in general; and more specifically it means ‘morally soft’ in the context of the Biblical use. That is a general statement concerning all persons. It is not as written in the Greek a reference to gay people, except that the prejudices of Christianity over the years have made it so. They associated ‘softness’ in a male to effeminancy. Why should the passage be directed only towards males? Cannot a woman also be morally soft?

  419. Perhaps you could make your scriptural case for that “extravagant welcome” here, Timothy. I’d be interested in seeing it. And while you’re at it, you might explain how that “clear” interpretation of the Bible is any less rigid than mine is.

    No, thank you. I’m not at all interested in arguing my case. Nor do I insist that it is a “clear” interpretation of the Bible.

    That’s your MO, Debbie, not mine. I’m not the one married to certainty and insisting that I speak for God. I know that I’m human.

    Having read a great deal on the subject – and observed the character of some of those who are considered to be the definitive source for non-gay-supportive interpretation (if Gagnon is a man of God, then so is Fred Phelps) – I’ve come to my conclusions. You’ve come to others.

    Since I presume none of us here is a theologian who can dispute the finer points of its hermeneutical foundation, I am content to rest my case upon it.

    Why, of course you do, Debbie.

    As I said, you start with your conclusions and look for support. I wouldn’t expect you to do anything other than rest your case on this particular essay.

    Nor would i ever expect you to even consider reading any alternate perspectives. As you have told us over and over, you already know exactly how I feel about gay marriage and homosexuality.

  420. How brilliant would the judge’s opinion have seemed to you then?

    I didn’t think it was “brilliant”. I simply thought it was the right decision considering the evidence and arguments presented in court. The point is, I would have cared enough to read it either way– because the issues involved (particularly the constitutional ones) are important. Should the courts overrule a statute if it violates the Constitution? I think the answer is Yes.

  421. Lynn David,

    I’ve also hear it to mean “foppish”, a term that generally is used for heterosexual men who are consumed with self-image, leisure, pleasure, and indolence.

    This would be consistent with a certain class of Romans and may have been an indictment of the rich and powerful who may have been perceived as abusing their position and oppressing the poor.

    But, again, I cannot be certain.

  422. Debbie Thurman…. Maybe malakoi was meant to cover cross-dressing or transgendered men and not just those who some might call effeminate.

    That’s also overlaying one’s 20th/21st century thinking on that of a 1st century writer.

    .

    According to Perseus, ??????????? [malakosomos?] means effeminate (LSJ – Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon).

    .

    Here is the Perseus entry concerning malakos and morality:

  423. Mary,

    I had the impression that you used a more holistic view also. You come to different conclusions than I do, but considering that there are hundreds of denominations who have different takes on various scriptures (and often disagree within each denomination) that shouldn’t surprise us.

    You might read that essay in it’s entirety. I gave me new insight on the word homosexual. When you feel up to it.

    I’ll read it at some point but based on my skimming, there is absolutely nothing there that I haven’t read before – probably in the original source. But having read a large number of books from various sources (try slogging through Boswell’s footnotes some time) I don’t find it convincing, compelling, or even persuasive.

    Generally this debate comes down to Camp A finding authority in Scripture X and Camp B finding authority in Scripture Y and both arguing over the meaning of Scripture Z.

  424. Michael, not that I want to go back and beat that old dead horse, but there was one basic question being decided in the Prop 8 case, was there not? The question: Should California’s initiative to define marriage in its constitution as between one man and one woman, as approved by the voters, stand? The implied sub-question was, Or can a court trump the will of the people if it deems it has standing to do so?

    Now, no matter how many “brilliant” things Judge Walker may have written in his opinion, or no matter how horribly the ADF defended Prop. 8, is there anything new that could be added to the question? Not from where I sit. He interpreted the constitution one way. Lots of people see it another way. It’s as plain as that.

    Suppose the case had been reversed and Prop 8 had failed. Suppose, then, a suit had been brought by a plaintiff who felt his and the people’s constitutional rights had been violated and the court ruled in favor of that plaintiff. How brilliant would the judge’s opinion have seemed to you then?

  425. Thanks, Mary.

    I skimmed the article but It’s pretty much the apologetics for the conservative interpretation. It’s definitely one perspective, opinion and view.

    I’ve heard Genesis quoted as God’s definition of what He expects. But reading too much into that would leave one thinking that God wants us to marry our sisters. (why is it that some who insist on scriptural literalism never see where that leads?)

    These essays (from all sides) seem to come from a desire to prove a point and to look for Scriptures the defend a perspective. It is interesting, but it isn’t (to me) informative. Lately I’ve come to view scripture much less from a “yeah but what does this verse say” approach and more holistically.

    I guess I’ve become less of a Paulite and more of a Christian. If a verse doesn’t fit with the theme of Jesus’ message, then clearly it isn’t being understood correctly so I tend to set those aside for later contemplation.

    I’m sure this horrifies some who fear questioning anything, much less the appropriateness of a scripture verse, but that’s where I am in my journey and I’m ok with it.

  426. Timothy,

    You might read that essay in it’s entirety. I gave me new insight on the word homosexual. When you feel up to it.

  427. Some here seemed to question the effeminate designation for the word. I also can see how it might refer to the receptive gay male partner. But there really is nothing new under the sun, and I have seen references to ancient transgendered types.

  428. Timothy,

    No it doesn’t horrify me. I also try to view scritpture from a holistic point of view. Don’t know how you get the incest thing out of it but hey, that’s how you read it. As well, I try to stick with the red letters of Christ, too. But I still can’t make homosexuality work from my perspective on theology.

  429. Ok… Warren’s website does not accept Greek letters.. thus the string of question marks.

  430. Maybe we now live in a time in which humanity is able to finally hear God and his extravagant welcome of sexual minorities.

    Perhaps you could make your scriptural case for that “extravagant welcome” here, Timothy. I’d be interested in seeing it. And while you’re at it, you might explain how that “clear” interpretation of the Bible is any less rigid than mine is.

  431. Let’s not forget that men wrote the Bible – not God! We say the Bible is the “inspired” word of God, but that word inspired means different things to different Christians and many different Christian groups understand the Bible in completely different ways.

    So men wrote the Bible – (Heck, the church didn’t even put the Bible together until the 4th century) – men err – they make mistakes – it stands to reason there could be problems with the inspired Word!

  432. Teresa# ~ Apr 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

    “I find it less than respectful to African Americans to constantly refer to race as analogous to sexual orientation, as tif heir journey is equal to our journey”

    Equal, no. analogous. yes. And I will continue to point out the similarities as I have been doing.

    “A black man or woman can’t hide the fact of their color, can’t wake up and get on with life as different than the color they are … neither, can we white folks.”

    Simply because a group can hide their differences, doesn’t make it alright to discriminate against that group. Do you think it is okay to deny rights to hispanics, jews, muslims, etc?

    “Gay people are perfectly capable of getting on in life, especially today, with great jobs, wonderful housing, little to no harassment”

    I dare you to claim there is “little to no harassment” of gays to the parents of matthew shepard, tyler clementi, seth walsh, or any other the other many gays who died because of this “little to no harassment” you claim exists.

    “Often we gay people do very well financially, as has been noted in any number of sources. We are, for the most part, well educated.”

    What sources?

    “No one looks at us when applying for a job, or housing and, immediately concludes anything about us except what’s on our resume.”

    really, even if that resume including being president of a gay student org in college?

    what if the applicant asks if the company offers healthcare for same-sex domestic partners? Further, many companies will now do online searches of potential applicants (and perhaps see they were president of the gay student org, or have pics of their same-sex partners on their facebook page), and not just look at what is on the resume. When was the last time you actually interviewed for a job Teresa?

    In many states (fortunately less and less) gays CAN still lose their jobs or housing just for being gay.

    “Those of us who are gay, and not black, need to take a second look at this constant refrain of the gay and black journey as similar.”

    It is similar. In fact if you compare they arguments against gay marriage with those in the Loving v. Virgina case you see the arguments are almost the same. The one notable distinction is that in the gay marriage case they argued that the LACK of procreation as a justification for denying gays the right to marry. While in the Loving case it was procreation that they argued was the problem.

    “It is not self-evident to me that any of my civil rights are being violated in any way when the State denies my “right to marry”.”

    It was to the plaintiffs in the prop 8 case. Just curious Teresa, do you have a partner? And if so do you share any property with her (house, condo, car etc)?

    ” It seems to me in this case that society is defining and protecting those institutions necessary for its health and preservation.”

    And how does denying gays the right to marry protect marriage?

  433. Or can a court trump the will of the people if it deems it has standing to do so?

    Thankfully the courts did just this in the cases; Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education

  434. We are talking about the vicissitudes and vulnerabilities of mortal men, regardless of the sexual orientation.

    It is the same criticism that would be made of anyone who had a primal vested interest in the outcome.

    It is data…and after a lengthy appeal may turn out to have corrupted his judgment or so enhanced it that it becomes a landmark example of how “our personal narrative” as judges can be properly tempered to create good law.

  435. My bad. I should not have generalized. I am glad that many took time to read the entire decision. And that only some elected not to.

  436. Gay people are perfectly capable of getting on in life, especially today, with great jobs, wonderful housing, little to no harassment. Often we gay people do very well financially, as has been noted in any number of sources. We are, for the most part, well educated. No one looks at us when applying for a job, or housing and, immediately concludes anything about us except what’s on our resume. Those of us who are gay, and not black, need to take a second look at this constant refrain of the gay and black journey as similar.

    Theresa,

    I’m not sure if you take compliments well, however, the above statement/comment is just one of the reasons I find you so credible and fair and why I respect what you write. Thank for for pointing out what should be obvious to us all. Your ability to use critical thought, and articulate it, is very appreciated.

  437. As long as we’re going back in time on this thread, I just wanted to re-quote Lynn David’s excellent post from 31 Aug 2010:

    The Greeks had a name for the most common form of same-sex relationships between males in Greece was “paiderastia” meaning “boy love.” There were terms which described the older lover, the erastes, courts a boy, the eromenos. In ancient Greece, there never was a word to describe homosexual practices in general. They were instead simply part of aphrodisia, love, which included men and women alike.

    It was considered shameful when a man with a beard remained the passive partner (pathikos) and it was even worse when a man allowed himself to be penetrated by another grown-up man. The Greeks even had a pejorative expression for these people, whom were called kinaidoi. They were the targets of ridicule by the other citizens, especially comedy writers. For example, Aristophanes (c.445-c.380) shows them dressed like women, with a bra, a wig and a gown, and calls them euryprôktoi, “wide arses”.

    So why shouldn’t Paul use any of those terms?

    I agree with Lynn’s general point that any or all of those terms were already available to Paul instead of his neologism arsenokoitai, if exploitative pederasty or drag-queen prostitution is what he meant to condemn.

    The only thing I would add, as by-the-way trivia, is that Aristophanes’ hilarious term euryprôktoi is more anatomically precise than the English translation “wide-assed” or “wide asses” — the -prokto- part refers specifically to the anus or rectum, and not to the buttocks, for which the word was pyg?. Thus, if Aristophanes had meant to say “big butts” in the Sir Mix-a-Lot sense, he would’ve more likely used a term like eurypygoi (or something like that — I’m no expert on Greek word formation). In contrast, euryprôktoi connoted something closer to that infamous “g**tse.cx” shock photo on the Innerwebs.

    Anyheeew, I do take minor issue with Lynn’s conclusion:

    Since Paul was usually concerned with idol worship and the practices associated with that which included the long-time middle eastern practice of the kadesh – the holy ones – male and female prostitutes (as in Romans 1). It’s just as reasonable that Paul was speaking of this practice.

    The one problem with this theory is that here, too, in the case of the Hebrew term kadesh, there were already existing Greek terms that Paul could’ve used. In the Greek Septuagint translation of the Jewish Bible, the masculine form kadesh in Deut. 23:17 is rendered with two words: porneu?n (which in various contexts can mean “rentboy” or “john” or “pimp,” but in all cases refers to a male somehow involved with prostitution) and teliskomenos, (which means something like “acolyte” or “male consecrated to a particular cult” ).

    So if Paul — as a Hellenized Jew who would’ve been familiar with the Septuagint translation — had meant to specifically condemn male temple prostitution, he could’ve used some compound of porneu?n and teliskomenos.

    But, instead, he used arsenokoitai, which denotes “male in a bed with male” and thus connects very directly and literally to the language of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 — but there’s no linguistic connection to the kadesh of Deut. 23:17, nor to the angry mobs of Sodom (Gen 19) and Gibeah (Judges 19) who wanted “to know” the male guests.

    So the pertinent question — to which we don’t really know the answer — is, “How did Paul interpret Lev. 18:22 and 20:13?”

  438. Ken–

    It is to everyone but you Debbie (and others who want to legislate their beliefs).

    Can you rephrase that statement so that it doesn’t appear to be contradicted by this bit of info that Debbie supplied much earlier in the thread?

    One of the more outspoken gay critics of gay marriage has been Paul Nathanson, a professor of religious studies at McGill University in Toronto. He accuses fellow homosexuals who advocate gay marriage of being selfish and short-sighted and of not examining all the evidence. In “Marriage à la Mode: Answering Advocates of Gay Marriage,” a paper first presented at Emory University in Atlanta in 2003, Nathanson and co-author Katherine Young stated:

    This indifference to society as a whole is made clear by those who defend gay marriage. Allowing gay people to marry, they say, would be beneficial to gay individuals (or to the gay community). How could that, they ask, harm straight individuals (or the straight community)? But advocates of gay marriage have made no serious attempt to consider the possible harms and object to those who want more time to assess the evidence from other periods or other cultures.

    Thanks.

  439. @ken, et. al.

    I find it less than respectful to African Americans to constantly refer to race as analogous to sexual orientation, as tif heir journey is equal to our journey. A black man or woman can’t hide the fact of their color, can’t wake up and get on with life as different than the color they are … neither, can we white folks.

    Gay people are perfectly capable of getting on in life, especially today, with great jobs, wonderful housing, little to no harassment. Often we gay people do very well financially, as has been noted in any number of sources. We are, for the most part, well educated. No one looks at us when applying for a job, or housing and, immediately concludes anything about us except what’s on our resume. Those of us who are gay, and not black, need to take a second look at this constant refrain of the gay and black journey as similar.

    Secondly, as a gay woman, (and this is just my opinion),

    It is not self-evident that “equal protection” of gays is being violated by not allowing them to marry.

    I agree with this quote from Debbie. It is not self-evident to me that any of my civil rights are being violated in any way when the State denies my “right to marry”. It seems to me in this case that society is defining and protecting those institutions necessary for its health and preservation.

  440. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    “The implied sub-question was, Or can a court trump the will of the people if it deems it has standing to do so?”

    The answer to this question is yes. The courts have “trumped the will of the people” every time a law has been overturned as unconstitutional. A primary purpose of the courts is to prevent the majority from subjugating the minority.

    “He interpreted the constitution one way. Lots of people see it another way. It’s as plain as that.”

    Except that those people who “see it” the other way can’t seem to present a constitutionally valid reason to justify denying gays the right of marriage.

    “Suppose the case had been reversed and Prop 8 had failed. Suppose, then, a suit had been brought by a plaintiff who felt his and the people’s constitutional rights had been violated and the court ruled in favor of that plaintiff. How brilliant would the judge’s opinion have seemed to you then?”

    this argument doesn’t make sense. If the prop 8 vote failed rather than passed, what grounds would there be for a suit? Further, any suit would still essentially be about denying gays the right of marriage.

  441. It’s true. I did not recall how many actually refused to read it. My recollection was that many had refused to read it because they disagreed with it. That annoyed me greatly. If I am mistaken, I am sorry.

    I admit I did not take time to review the entire thread, as Eddy did. He is obivously more detail oriented than I am. I apologize to any person who may have actually taken the time to read the entire decision.

  442. I find it less than respectful to African Americans to constantly refer to race as analogous to sexual orientation, as tif heir journey is equal to our journey.

    P.S. – Theresa,

    I did not include this very important part of your comment to my response above. I cringe when I see or hear anyone make the comparison between race and sexual orientation – I guess, not for the obvious that it is not a comparison at all, rather, for the lack of respect for African Americans or others around the world.

  443. My apology! My post should have read… “Thankfully the courts did just this in the case of Brown vs Topeka Board of Education . This decision effectively undid the earlier ruling of Plessy vs Ferguson

  444. Blakeslee: This ads data about the decision

    Blakeslee: Its just data Timothy, kind of like if a KKK member was making a decision about voting rights;

    Blakeslee: Having all the data that might bear on the decision is a pretty standard way of dealing with analyzing the decision. Withholding relevant data ads unnecessary mystery.

    and

    Blakeslee: The assumptions are all yours

    Okaaaaay

  445. Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

    “Timothy, the Prop 8 case hinged on, not a “protection” of gay people or their rights, but a protection of the always-accepted definition of marriage for the greater good. ”

    You really do need to read the transcripts/opinion Debbie, at the very least, find a better source of information about the issue. The case was about how the right of marriage was taken away from gays in CA and whether it was constitutional for the people of CA to do that.

    “The people who voted in the majority believed it to be in the best interests of their state to preserve the benefits of marriage as they have been traditionally.”

    And at one time the majority believed blacks were inferior to whites and it was in their (the white majority) best interest to prevent black children from attending the same schools as white children. they also believed it to be in the best interests to “preserve the benefits of marriage as they have been traditionally” and not allow the races to inter-marry. However, just because someone believes something, doesn’t make it true.

    “It is not self-evident that “equal protection” of gays is being violated by not allowing them to marry. ”

    It is to everyone but you Debbie (and others who want to legislate their beliefs).

  446. Timothy, the Prop 8 case hinged on, not a “protection” of gay people or their rights, but a protection of the always-accepted definition of marriage for the greater good. The people who voted in the majority believed it to be in the best interests of their state to preserve the benefits of marriage as they have been traditionally. They have constitutional rights, as well. That the defense chose inexplicably not to defend Prop 8 does not mean it was not defensible.

    It is not self-evident that “equal protection” of gays is being violated by not allowing them to marry. Prop 8 was an affront to their sensibilities. Discrimination in the workplace, in housing or in any other realm than marriage is another matter. Same-sex marriage is still a rebuttable presumption. And every time the people have voted on it, they have voted in favor of traditional marriage.

  447. Debbie

    The question: Should California’s initiative to define marriage in its constitution as between one man and one woman, as approved by the voters, stand? The implied sub-question was, Or can a court trump the will of the people if it deems it has standing to do so?

    What I see here are two questions. And I’ll deal with the second one first.

    Can a court overturn the vote of the people if it sees such a vote to be in violation of the US Constitution? Or, to add an emotional content, can a court overturn the will of the people?

    That wasn’t really a question in Perry v. Schwarzenegger because it is not a legal question. While this does play well in rhetorical debate (and indeed was front and center in media) no one disputes the ability of the judicial system to overturn laws – even very popular laws – that violate the constitution.

    So the only real question which the court addressed was

    Should California’s initiative to define marriage in its constitution as between one man and one woman stand?

    And the answer was no, it violates the equal protections and due process provisions of the US Constitution.

    Now, no matter how many “brilliant” things Judge Walker may have written in his opinion, or no matter how horribly the ADF defended Prop. 8, is there anything new that could be added to the question?

    That truly depends on whether gay people are entitled to the same protections as other people or if the restrictions were of such significant need that it overrode the equal protections principles. I suppose that someone could have come up with an argument that was so compelling that the court would have to accept that different treatment was acceptable in these circumstances. They did not.

    The fact that I’ve never hear that compelling argument doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means I’ve never heard it.

    Not from where I sit. He interpreted the constitution one way. Lots of people see it another way. It’s as plain as that.

    Well kinda.

    It isn’t really how people “see” the Constitution as much as it is how they see gay people.

    If one accepts the premises that:

    1. Gay people exist, intrinsically and immutably. While some people testify to a changed orientation, for nearly all this demographic their orientation is fixed.

    2. There has been a long history of discrimination against people who are gay and all laws passed that disadvantage them need to be inspected in this light.

    3. A majority vote of people cannot be the sole determinant as to whether a subset is granted equality under the law.

    then the question becomes whether a law is based on a legitimate purpose or on a desire to exclude an unpopular demographic. Because laws intended solely to exclude an unpopular demographic are unconstitutional, by everyone’s interpretation.

    There was a preponderance of evidence that Proposition 8 was purposefully intended to exclude gay people. No one credibly denied that.

    So the only question which Perry could answer was that of legitimate purpose. And whether that purpose was sufficient to justify unequal treatment.

    And it was on that question that the supporters failed. Miserably.

  448. David Blakeslee# ~ Apr 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Except the marriages (in other cultures/religious history) you are referring are better termed “polygyny” (one husband, many wives). And regulate women to a subservient role in marriage. And while there are no scientific studies, there are significant legal impediments to polygamous marriage (which I’ve posted before). Now, as I have said before, if someone would present a fair, workable scheme for allowing polygamous marriage I’d be happy to consider it, but to date no one has.

    this is why I consider the polygamous marriage argument to be no more than an red-herring by those opposed to gay marriage. An misguided attempt to muddy the waters hoping to hide the fact they have no constitutionally sound arguments against gay married. so they attempt to link it to something else trying to avoid any real discussion of the issues.

  449. I think it’s on topic since this discussion has included much discussion on how “marriage” ought to be defined. I was curious to hear how those in favor of Prop 8’s definition of marriage as a strictly male/female contract would deal with such a case. If you think it’s off topic, there is no need for you to respond to it.

  450. You see, under civil law, “marriage” is not a “sacred covenant before God”.

    Marriage in the United State has always been a civil matter. Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize marriages but not to determine who may enter into a civil mariiage. Religious leaders may determine whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the realtionship under law. — Vaughn Walker, Finding of Fact # 19

    (Emphasis mine.)

  451. I never said that morality evolved from a vacuum, Debbie. Good and evil, right and wrong, although universally recognized concepts, are a mystery. The belief in a Creator, however reasonable it may be, does not solve the mystery.

    Firstly, as Ayer pointed out, there is no necessary logical connection between having any degree of power, including the power to create the universe, and being morally good.

    Secondly, unless we accept, as Dodgson put it, that “Right and Wrong rest on eternal and self-existent principles, and not on the arbitrary will of any being whatever” and that “God wills a thing because it is right and not that a thing is right because God wills it”, right and wrong simply cease to have any meaning beyond what the Creator happens to want and doesn’t happen to want, and there is no reason why we should trouble our heads over them – except perhaps that we’re afraid of him and think that he’ll get stroppy with us if we don’t do what he wants.

  452. I believe that the discussion of ‘responding Biblically to the intersexed and to post-op transsexuals’ is WAY OFF TOPIC in “Proposition 8 Overturned”.

    We have enough conflict and confusion over matters where the Bible appears to speak clearly…that never lead to resolve but rather to a stream of tit for tat responses. Purposely introducing areas where the Bible is even less clear in a conversation that is already marked with anti-Christian/anti-religious/anti-Bible hostility strikes me as a tad absurd.

  453. Morality is an issue in civil law.

    Only to the extent that it has to do with protecting basic rights — like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Teaching other “moral” values is the role of the family and the church — not the state.

  454. Sorry, Michael, but I was chastised by our blog-meister on this very thread for a detour that had a connection to comments (a recurring theme has been criticism for not reading the entire determination yet engaging in the conversation…so I brought up an example where you all did the same thing.)

    By making this observation about this new detour that you have introduced, I was offering both a word of caution and restraint to those who are biblically-minded and also explaining why I won’t be participating in the detour.

  455. But frankly, I get a little tired of christians who keep telling me (and others) that I should obey their particular interpretation, of their particular version of their bible.

    And I get tired of people posing theological arguments as a form of nit picking and undermining, when they have no interest in exploring the issues they raise by quoting various scriptures.

    Morality is an issue in civil law. Civil law in general is often an expression of various moral understandings first written down in religious documents.

    The fact that gays and lesbians are fighting for their right to marry has some of its roots in Moral Law (equality…see the New Testament-niether Jew nor Greek, but all one in Christ).

    So this argument is necessarily religious, civil, moral and secular.

  456. If we really want to protect the “sanctity of marriage” as a “sacred covenenant before God”, how about we toughen up the regulations on who can get married and who can officiate?

    The current qualitifications for marriage in California? An opposite sex coiuple who can fill out and pay for a marriage license. That’s about it. The current qualifications for who can solemnize this “holy” arrangement? Almost anyone it turns out, even the Cookie Monster.

    It only takes about five minutes to get ordained.The process for becoming ordained – the last, ultimate step in legalizing and validating a marriage before the state – is a totally unregulated, un-policed, and completely frivolous process.”

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/marriage-anyone-it-took-me-5-minutes-to-become-a-minister/

  457. d to point out what I see as hypocrisy in many christians (only adhere to the parts of the bible that are inconvenient for YOU but not for ME

    As a christ follower, I agree with that statment. It takes time, study, and practice to be authentic. I’m still working on it. And it irks me to see that there is a pick and choose sort of style to interpreting the bible and people just don’t like to admit it.

  458. Mere mortals moralizing, William. Morality no more evolved from a vacuum than mankind from some primordial slime. There is an active Creator who was behind it all. It takes far more faith to believe otherwise than to just give up and accept that.

  459. Timothy–

    Yes, it appears that we kinda agree on the premises underlying the point I was trying to get across. I don’t take that as cause for celebration since I didn’t thing I was saying anything either questionable or controversial in those premises. The fact that you now agree (with some possible slight reservation) only demonstrates to me how impossible actual communication is here. In short, it took an hour or more of writing on my part to get you to agree (with some possible slight reservation) to something that I see as an observable reality. The thought of trying to move beyond the premise to the actual substance of what I was trying to say looms as an exhausting and likely impossible task. Not to worry! To you, my ‘substance’ is a ‘talking point’; to me, it’s a ‘concern’. I need to accept that unfortunate difference and pursue this concern with others who share the concern rather than here.

  460. Really? They’ve just succeeded, so far, in changing a state’s constitutional amendment. No impact on those who voted for it, as was their right?

    No, Debbie, no impact on “those who voted for it”.

    Their life doesn’t change one iota… other than the extent to which they can coerce the life of others – which is a “right” they never really had.

    No impact on public education?

    And no impact on public education. None. Zero.

    No conscientious objection allowed?

    No one is forcing anyone into a same-sex marriage so this doesn’t even make sense.

    All three areas are impacted. Let me dispense with the rhetorical. The will of the voters was usurped by one judge. That’s an impact, a serious one. Public education, already largely influenced by pro-gay propaganda (like SB 777 in California), will only now be more so. More students will be attuned to “social justice” while growing more illiterate and history-deprived by the day. And those who would consciously object to recognizing same-sex marriage on moral grounds will, nevertheless, be forced to support it and will be sued if they refuse to be accommodating. You knew perfectly well what I meant by this.

  461. If morality cometh not from God and the biblical revelation of Him, then where does it come from?

    I am sure that the late Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (alias Lewis Carroll) was right in adopting the axiom that “that the ideas of Right and Wrong rest on eternal and self-existent principles, and not on the arbitrary will of any being whatever.”

    Once we start saying that right and wrong depend on God’s ipse dixit, we find ourselves in a never-ending circular argument:

    “Why should we pay any attention to what God says?”

    “Because what God wants is right and what he doesn’t want is wrong.”

    “How do we know that what he wants is right and what he doesn’t want is wrong?

    “Because God says so.”

    “Why should we pay any attention to what God says?”

    “Because he wants us to.”

    “Why should we pay any attention to what he wants us to do?”

    And so it goes on.

    Bertrand Russell expressed it well when he wrote:

    “Theologians have always taught that God’s decrees are good, and that this is not a mere tautology: it follows that goodness is logically independent of God’s decrees.”

    And again:

    “If the only basis of morality is God’s decrees, it follows that they might as well have been the opposite of what they are; no reason except caprice could have prevented the omission of all the ‘nots’ from the Decalogue.”

    Or as another Oxford philosopher, A.J. Ayer, put it:

    “The point is that moral standards can never be justified merely by an appeal to authority, whether the authority is taken to be human or divine. There has to be the additional premiss that the person whose dictates we are to follow is good, or that what he commands is right, and this cannot be the mere tautology that he is what he is, or that he commands what he commands.”

    People knew about right and wrong, even if they disagreed about exactly what was right and what was wrong, before a single word of the Bible was written.

  462. Mere mortals moralizing.

    Keep in mind, Debbie, that includes you, too. Like many religious folks in the past who righteously supported racial and gender discrimination on “moral” and “Biblical” grounds, you speak with a tone of absolute certainty.

    But, being “mere mortal”, they were wrong — and you may be as well. You remind me very much of Sister Aloysius Beauvier in the film “Doubt”. Have you seen it?

    Father Brendan Flynn: You haven’t the slightest proof of anything!

    Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty!

  463. “How do people otherwise instinctively understand right from wrong? If morality cometh not from God and the biblical revelation of Him, then where does it come from? A vacuum? A man?”

    People do not “instinctively” understand right from wrong. People LEARN it as children (and not all of them do). From their parents, relatives, teachers, and society in general.

    They learn it from people who learn it from people, ad infinitem? Right. How did the first person learn it?

  464. Just a thought. If the founders of this country were basing the constitution on the bible, they could have voted to make the bible the constitution. That didn’t happen. Instead they argued over the rights of men and how they would be represented (to later include freed slaves and women.) I do wish that the so called christians would realize this nuance of our constitution. Whether or not a person agrees with the usefulness of homosexuality or heterosexuality, is not the question. The debate is whether or not people are free to choose whom they will marry , build their assets and invest their future.

  465. Because, behind all the arguments over marriage, it all comes down to one thing. Those who oppose marriage equality do so because they oppose equality.

    I truly do not mean to be in the least argumentative, but no, I strongly believe you are mistaken.

    Thinking and caring people can oppose or favor many things in life and “opposing equality” is rarely the reason for their positions.

    Men and women, cats and dogs, plants and animals, young people and older people, Californians and Texans, (you get the idea) are different. To know they are different, to say they are different, and yes, even to treat them differently at times is often the wise thing to do.

    Communication breaks down, unfortunately, when we speak of differences, especially when people with stance #1 pronounce they know the motives of people with stance #2 or stance #3 or #4, and especially when the only motives they can conceive of are evil or unfair or selfish or otherwise negative.

    The word “equality” is often tossed around as if it were a salad ingredient. I stand on my earlier point–different does not mean “not equal’; in the same vein, “same” doesn’t mean “equal” or ensure equality.

  466. “So do you support the past unequal treatment of women under the law?”

    Don’t insult me. You want me to scream, “Damn right, I support fair treatment for only me, myself, and I. Screw everyone else”?

    Women and their supporters used the amendment process to get the vote.

    You are not, if you are gay, being treating unequally. Like any other man or woman over 18, you may marry one person of the other gender. It’s your choice to do so or not to. Surely you know that tens of thousands, perhaps millions of American couples do not get hitched because they are romantically in love with one another. That happens for some, but not many. In some cases, one partner is “in love” while the other isn’t. Marriage is chosen for many reasons; to create children (the biological imperative of mate selection, the process of selecting a mate who is fit and can produce fit offspring is at work here); to rear the nuclear family to maturation in order the formation of an extended family; to en