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Preserving early modern gay civil rights history:

Franklin Kameny was, as they say, a pioneer of the early days of the modern gay civil rights movement. Before even the Stonewall riot in New York in 1969, in days when 49 of 50 states banned sodomy (and meant it), when the police routinely raided gay bars and arrested patrons for dancing together or for no reason at all, when the APA still considered homosexuality a mental disorder, when homosexuality was a disqualification from any federal employment, when the FBI was busy monitoring and harrassing nascent gay political groups, Kameny was leading pickets of homosexuals in front of the White House and generally giving the government hell for its anti-gay policies.

Now an octogenarian, Kameny has kept almost all of his letters and other documents and pictures from those days, from the early 1960's on. That's very fortunate for anyone interested in the history of the movement. Some of this original source material, all of which will ultimately go to a library for preservation and scholarly research, is collected at a website called "The Kameny Papers". It's worth a visit if you have any interest in the subject at all. The pictures, including marvelous color photos of the 1965 White House pickets, can be accessed by clicking the "Memorabilia" tab to the left on the home page.

Much more interesting and often heart-breaking, however, is the material under the tab "Correspondence," also to the left on the home page. These materials have been photocopied and are presented in their original form. Some highlights:

*In 1962, Kameny incorporated the Mattachine Society in Washington, D.C., an association devoted to ending discrimination against gays. He wrote polite letters to members of Congress introducing himself, explaining the purposes of the Society, and offering to meet with them. Rep. Paul C. Jones (D-MO) responded by scribbling the following note on the letter and returning it to Kameny: "I am unalterably opposed to your proposal and cannot see how any person in his right mind can condone the practices which you would justify. Please do not contaminate my mail with such filthy trash."

*Rep. Charles Chamberlain (R-MI), who now has a federal building named after him in Grand Rapids, responded to the same letter from Kameny with this: "Your letter of August 28 has been received, and in reply may I state unequivocally that in all my six years of service in the United States Congress I have not received such a revolting communication."

*A letter from the APA in 1963, ten years before it would remove homosexuality from its list of disorders, refusing even to meet with Kameny's group or to "publicize your meetings."

*Vice President Hubert Humphrey writing to Kameny in 1965 that federal civil rights laws are not "relevant to the problems of homosexuals."

*A 1962 letter to an employee of the Library of Congress (!) informing him that the library had "received a report concerning you," asking whether he had performed a homosexual act, whether he was attracted to other men, whether he had been in bed with men, and whether he "enjoyed embracing them." The letter concludes, "I am quite shook-up over this matter" and requests an interview with the employee as soon as possible. I can only imagine how terrified the employee must have been.

*A 1962 letter from Kameny to Attorney General Robert Kennedy asking him to "halt immediately" the FBI's investigation and infiltration of Mattachine and the interrogation of its members.

*A memorandum from the FBI (headed by J. Edgar Hoover at the time) urging that the Attorney General not respond to Kameny's letter and justifying its harrassment of Mattachine as part of the investigation of "crimes perpetrated by sex deviates," as homosexuals were commonly called at the time. Alas, large parts of the memo are blacked out.

*A 1973 memo from Kameny to his supporters describing the sequence of events that led the APA to remove homosexuality from its list of disorders or, in his words, "'curing' us all, instantaneously, en masse, in one fell swoop, by semantics and by vote, rather than by therapy."

There's much more. See the whole site here. Let's hope the whole archives will be publicly available soon.

Bruce Wilder (www):
"in 1969, in days when all 50 states banned sodomy (and meant it)"

the State model penal code proposed in the 1950's by the American Law Institute removed sodomy, adultery and fornication from the list of felonies, and had been adopted, I believe, by Illinois in 1961. Illinois did retain a solicitation statute, which allowed vice squad persecutions to continue. New York had also adopted the Model Penal Code; though the State retained private homosexual sodomy as a misdemeanor, the reform, supported by religious leaders, was popularly regarded as decriminalization. A change in New York City law enforcement focus following the statutory changes led to the breaking up of a blackmail ring in 1967, a sensational story, which supposedly involved a Congressman and several high-ranking military officers, at least one of whom committed suicide.

So, at least one State had dropped sodomy before 1969, and, at least one other, no longer "meant it".

The change in the zeitgeist, called the Sexual Revolution, of which Gay Liberation was part and consequence, took place over a generation, centered on 1967; though the Sexual Revolution may have had a decade more to run, it was already more than half-completed, when the Stonewall riot took place.

Kameny, himself, was a victim of the prohibition on employment of homosexuals by the Federal government put in place by Executive Order in the Eisenhower Administration. That was the impetus for his activism. Though it is seldom mentioned in either Leftwing or Rightwing narratives of McCarthyism, the witchhunts of the 1950's were looking as much or more for homosexuals than for Communists, per se. Numerically, a lot more people lost their jobs for being homosexuals, than for being Communists.

State laws and practices in the 1950's barred homosexuals from most licensed professions, including, of course, the practice of law.
8.19.2006 3:45pm
Dale Carpenter (mail):
Nice informative comment, Bruce. Good catch on Illinois, which I'd forgotten. I've changed the text to reflect it. Bill Eskridge's book, Gaylaw, has a useful summary of conditions in the period, including Kameny's own experiences in federal employment.
8.19.2006 3:53pm
commentariat:
Although there might be something wrong with the government's regime re homosexual behavior from the 1960's, it worked much better than the current regime of implicit and sometimes-explicit approval of deviant behavior works. How many families have to be broken up by fathers who decide they were homosexual all along, how many children have to be infected with AIDS, and how many insecure teenagers have to have homosexual propaganda dangled in front of them ("How do you know you're heterosexual?") before we say, "Enough is enough!"?
8.19.2006 4:19pm
Huh?:

how many insecure teenagers have to have homosexual propaganda dangled in front of them ("How do you know you're heterosexual?") before we say, "Enough is enough!"?


Mind telling us the school or group that is asking "How do you know you're (or you are) heterosexual?" Because I just Googled it and have not found a one.

Thanks!
8.19.2006 4:30pm
Master Shake:
A number of Clayton Cramer's posts here would fit nicely in the collection. And apparently those of commentariat.

Bruce Wilder - not a big deal, but I think you slightly misquoted the language in the first paragraph. There's some important language before "in 1969" you omitted - i.e., that that's when the Stonewall riot occurred, and that he's referring to a time before that. It's clear from the next paragraph those "days" are "from the early 1960s on."
8.19.2006 5:35pm
Fub:
Bruce Wilder wrote:
Kameny, himself, was a victim of the prohibition on employment of homosexuals by the Federal government put in place by Executive Order in the Eisenhower Administration...

State laws and practices in the 1950's barred homosexuals from most licensed professions, including, of course, the practice of law.
But none of that slowed down Roy Cohn.
8.19.2006 5:51pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
Master Shake: "I think you slightly misquoted the language in the first paragraph"

Looking back, I'm sure you're right. Obviously, I was just looking for an excuse to supplement an excellent post with some potentially interesting historical knowledge.

Posing a comment as a quibble is an established blog convention; I hope my tone was not offensive. I have no argument with anything Dale wrote.
8.19.2006 5:58pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
Roy Cohn: ugliest man and most evil prick I have ever met; brilliant legal mind, though, with a vast and detailed knowledge of, if not much respect for, the law. Go figure.
8.19.2006 6:01pm
Master Shake:
Bruce - no, I thought your post was great.
8.19.2006 6:15pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Roy Cohn generally gets castigated for having been on Senator Joe McCarthy's staff, but Robert Kennedy gets off. Is this a double standard?

I read two biographies of Cohn and he certainly sounded like slime. But if I were going to go through a divorce in New York State at the time, I think I would have wanted him to represent me, although he supposedly had a nasty habit of sometimes taking a client's money and then doing nothing. But if he owed you a favor, or you could do him a favor in the future, then you would get good representation. Evidently he could arrange for a judge to get bribed.
8.19.2006 8:26pm
elChato (mail):

How many families have to be broken up by fathers who decide they were homosexual all along, how many children have to be infected with AIDS, and how many insecure teenagers have to have homosexual propaganda dangled in front of them ("How do you know you're heterosexual?") before we say, "Enough is enough!"?



Suppose we say, "enough is enough" right now. What happens next?
8.19.2006 8:26pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

How many families have to be broken up by fathers who decide they were homosexual all along


Uh maybe they really were homosexual all along. Sexual and romantic attraction aren't things that one turns on and off like a switch. I think all men know to whom they are attracted. Those feelings hit us around age 13 like a ton of bricks.

If those men who "decide" that they really are gay, when in fact they are attracted to women as well, one would expect to see after the decision to come out, not exclusive homosexual behavior, but rather bisexual behavior reflecting the attraction that exists for both genders.

But invariably, that's not what we see. Rather we see exclusive homosexual behavior which supports the reality that they really were gay all along.
8.19.2006 8:35pm
PooHPoohBear:
"Roy Cohn generally gets castigated for having been on Senator Joe McCarthy's staff, but Robert Kennedy gets off. Is this a double standard? "

At least one McCarthy biography claims Bobby Kennedy attended McCarthy's funeral, keeping a low profile sneaking in the back door, no pun intended. I
8.19.2006 9:32pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
When I was practicing my first stint in Tucson (1975-82), I knew a PD who'd had a case in the state Supreme Court where a fellow was convicted of sodomy ... with his wife (after they had a falling out she went to the police), and the Supremes upheld the conviction.
8.19.2006 9:50pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Mind telling us the school or group that is asking "How do you know you're (or you are) heterosexual?" Because I just Googled it and have not found a one.

My late ex told me of one event--I forget now the school, but I think she only taught at G'Town Visitation, sometime in the late 70s. They had in some manner of performers who were doing skits and asking "are you gay?" She, a quite rules-type conservative, objected.

But what REALLY got her goat was a few months later she was told they wanted to fire a gym teacher, because there was a rumor she was a lesbian. My ex told them they were a bunch of hypocrites, first having the performance, because it seemed fashionable, and then privately planning to fire a teacher on the same grounds, based on a mere rumor to boot. The teacher stayed.
8.19.2006 10:01pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
"Roy Cohn generally gets castigated for having been on Senator Joe McCarthy's staff, but Robert Kennedy gets off. Is this a double standard?"

No, not a double standard, a two-party system. Cohn was the Permanent Subcommitte on Investigation's Chief Counsel and Republican staff; Kennedy, as assistant counsel, constituted the subcommittee's Democratic staff. You did know Kennedy was a Democrat?

When party control of the Senate switched, John Little McClellan, made Kennedy Chief counsel, and Kennedy achieved fame for his confrontation with Jimmy Hoffa.
8.19.2006 10:30pm
dick thompson (mail):
And congressional committee legal staff is strictly divided so that republican counsels can only work on certain items and democratic counsels can only work on other items and never the twain shall meet? Seems like if you were on the subcommittee's staff, it would not matter whether you were republican or democrat. If a senator asked questions to be investigated, then the staff would investigate whether they were one party or the other. How you achieve fame is only pertinent to your career and your biographer.
8.19.2006 11:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
I've met Frank Kameny several times, only briefly, though, and I always read his articles when he gets them published. To me, he is obviously brilliant, kind, genial, self-effacing and a delight to be around. We need more people like him.
What he has done for gays is immeasurable, and instead of resting on his laurels, he continues to be active in the community, offering advice and support where it is needed. It's not uncommon to run into him at dinners, lecctures or receptions held around Washington.
8.20.2006 12:38am
Randy R. (mail):
You know, it is very interesting to see comments like commentarian. Apparently, these people really think that if we never heard about gays, then there wouldn't be any. In their world, men never think about sex with other men, unless the idea is pushed on to them. I think it is rather an indication of their own insecurities, because they seem to also believe that any man would have sex with other men IF the idea is pushed onto them. Therefore, no man cannot be trusted with the knowledge that homosexuality exists, because then he might be 'tempted' into gayness.

At least, this is the only explanation I can see for such idiocy.
8.20.2006 12:42am
Randy R. (mail):
I should say that it is an insecurity on their part, since what they are really saying is that if the idea of homosexuality is pushed too hard on themselves, then they might just 'turn gay.' Absurd, I know, but I can hardly think of any other outcome for such comments.
8.20.2006 12:43am
Jackson (mail):
Commentariat's foolish observations remind us that we aren't so far from the days gay people were publicly belittled and fired and put in prison. Does he think that gay men who mistakenly marry (probably in an effort to appease and satisfy bigots like Commentariat) should stay married, no matter how miserable that makes their wife and children? Is it better for the wife to be miserable to preserve the fiction that gay people don't exist?
Since most AIDS is transmitted by straight people, that isn't really a major point (not to mention that straight sex results in hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies, STDs, etc.
The right wing in this country, and the religious zealots who support them, don't want to acknowledge that what they really seek is a return to the "good old days" when gay men and women were socially ostracized and sent to prison because of who they loved. Fortunately, gay men and women aren't going to let that happen again and people like Commentariat are finding themselves on the fringe of society.
8.20.2006 12:59am
Sean E. (mail):

Commentariat:
Although there might be something wrong with the government's regime re homosexual behavior from the 1960's, it worked much better than the current regime of implicit and sometimes-explicit approval of deviant behavior works. How many families have to be broken up by fathers who decide they were homosexual all along, how many children have to be infected with AIDS, ...


Randy R.
I should say that it is an insecurity on their part, since what they are really saying is that if the idea of homosexuality is pushed too hard on themselves, then they might just 'turn gay.' Absurd, I know, but I can hardly think of any other outcome for such comments.


No, they are saying that it is tragic when a marriage ends because one or the other decides they are gay.

My father did exactly that. 12 years into a marriage with 2 children, he "decided he was gay", "became gay", "came out of the closet", whatever you want to call it.

The divorce was rough enough, but when he got into a relationship with someone he knew had AIDS, got AIDS, then died, that was tough to deal with.

So your immediate presumption that someone who would make a comment like Commentariat must be "insecure" and is afraid they might "turn gay" is insulting in the extreme. His comments, at least in my case, are accurate.
8.20.2006 1:36am
Lev:
I wonder if the "archives" will have all of the correspondence, articles, etc. that the gay community in SF used to stop all public health responses to AIDS in, at least, SF in the '70's and '80's.

Nah, too inconvenient.
8.20.2006 1:59am
Per Son:
Lev:

That is no big secret. "And the Band Played On" spoke about that in depth.
8.20.2006 11:57am
Per Son:
One other thing Lev, the archives are of his papers. Unless he wrote any of that stuff, why would it include papers and correspondance that he did not write?

It seems to me you are just attacking the post or the archives - without knowing anything about them.
8.20.2006 12:08pm
PeterH:
Sean E:

So your immediate presumption that someone who would make a comment like Commentariat must be "insecure" and is afraid they might "turn gay" is insulting in the extreme. His comments, at least in my case, are accurate.


Not really. There is no way of or reason to argue that what your family went through was deeply painful, and no compassionate person would say that it was a good thing, or that society should advocate keeping it happen.

But the problem was that Commentariat was saying "enough is enough" and that society should work to make it impossible for gay men to come out, because of the effect on their families.

However, not a peep about helping to make society a place where gay men are secure enough in themselves and in society to be able to marry the people that they CAN form stable relationships with. Randy R. is absolutely correct to say that the vast majority of married men who later come out feel that they were gay all the time; the number of married men who "switch teams" and say anything resembling "I am bisexual and just wanted a change" is vanishingly rare.

So saying that the solution is to eliminate all possibilities of gay men living openly and honestly, so that they are forced to "be heterosexual" and "stay married" is either blindingly ignorant or incredibly bigoted. Offense is left to the beholder.

It is also very deeply telling that Commentariat is only concerned about gay men who come out. Not a peep about women who come out and end a heterosexual marriage. So, based only on what is in his post, it seems that his concern ISN"T about the marriages, but about keeping gay men from being visible. Why would anyone, gay or straight, who is secure in their own identity (sexual or otherwise) focus on keeping someone else from telling their truth? And why would a man focus only on other men, and not on the other half of the involved population?

Randy is right to point this out.

Have you ever asked your dad whether it was some sudden whim or whether it was something he was aware of going into the marriage? If so, what was his answer, and if not, why in the world not?
8.20.2006 12:26pm
PeterH:
Lev:
I wonder if the "archives" will have all of the correspondence, articles, etc. that the gay community in SF used to stop all public health responses to AIDS in, at least, SF in the '70's and '80's.

Nah, too inconvenient.


If it does, perhaps it will be an indication that there was more to it than merely attempting to "stop all public health responses." Not to defend any ill-advised actions, but if such documents were to be found, it might point out that the situation was (at least perceived to be) far more complex than the smug little jibe you just threw at it.
8.20.2006 12:29pm
Fub:
PooHPoohBear wrote:
At least one McCarthy biography claims Bobby Kennedy attended McCarthy's funeral, ...
Maybe Kennedy wanted to check that Cohn was really dead. Can't say as I'd blame anybody for that.
8.20.2006 1:37pm
Randy R. (mail):
I hope that we are moving to a society where gay men can realize that they are gay at an age early enough that they don't feel that they have to get married just to conform to society's expectations. I think we are, and that's a good thing. It will avoid the problems that PeterH has experienced.

I wonder if PeterH actually blames gays for his dad's coming out?
8.21.2006 12:03am
Tinmanic (mail) (www):
Actually you mean Sean E.
8.21.2006 12:26am
Embrace the Future (mail):
Heh. So, will the founder of NAMBLA be posting his personal letters sometime in the next 20 years?
8.21.2006 1:40am
Master Shake:

Heh. So, will the founder of NAMBLA be posting his personal letters sometime in the next 20 years?
Clayton, you know you're allowed to post under your own name, right?
8.21.2006 6:09am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
Is there a corollary to Godwin's Law that states that anything following "Heh" is invariably moronic? Is "Reynolds' Law" taken?
8.21.2006 9:12am
Randy R. (mail):
OOps. Right -- SeanH.

(sigh). When it comes to gay posting, I'm pretty used to seeing the moronic. Some people never outgrow their childhood, when they could call any person they didn't like a 'fag" and think they were really cool.

One consolation, though, studies have shown that the men that are the most homophobic tend to be latent homosexuals themselves. So I feel more pity for these fools than I do hate -- afterall, they spend too much time hating themselves already ....
8.21.2006 1:04pm
Some Guy (mail):
So, the guy put something up wondering if pedophiles will someday enjoy the same acceptance that homosexuals now do, and the response is to insult him. Good call. My guess is, though, that 80% of the public was thinking the same thing when they saw this post and the "hilarious" quotes from 1950s-60s folks condemning homosexuals.

I know I was.

Perhaps just not-so-politely explaingin that we should shut up might get us to support your popular campaign. More likely, it will just reinforce our belief that homosexuality is wrong and that we must draw the line now, rather than later.

Not that I expect anything more than being called a moron, too.
8.21.2006 1:48pm
Jackson (mail):
So, "Some Guy," what's your proposal about "drawing the line"? Because you believe gay people are the same as pedophiles, you want to put them in prison, right? And fire them? And "cure" them even if it entails locking them up? And you think 80% of Americans think like you do?

(And if these things aren't what you are proposing--what, exactly, are you proposing as to the way society should be "condemning" gay people?)

I don't think you're a "moron"--I just think you don't have a clue about what 80% of Americans are thinking. I think 80% of Americans agree with the "campaign" to stop putting gay people in prison and firing them and treating them as being less than human. No, you're not a moron. You're just a blowhard fringe crackpot who uses the internet to express your visceral dislike of gay people.
8.21.2006 2:19pm
Some Guy (mail):
I'm glad I'm just a blowhard fringe crackpot. Thanks for the clarification and the kindly instruction to shut up.

By the way, how do you think people see that sort of response? Think it makes them sympathize with the gay rights movement? Or do you think they reasonably conclude that if they accede to political demands for gay marriage and full equal rights, they will quickly find themselves being harrangued by tolerant individuals such as yourself over polyamory and bestiality? Is it such a stretch to think that if we give people like you what you want, that 20 years from now, we'll be commemorating the founding of NAMBLA?

Perhaps my mind isn't big enough to wrap itself around your 20-year old genius, or maybe I'm just an intolerant bigot. Maybe you could kindly instruct me to shut up, so people will think correctly from now on.

(You know, it's a shame people can't trust the gay rights movement, because gays really do deserve to be protected equally under the law. It's just that their advocates are increasingly revealing themselves to be extremists whose real goal is the destruction of heterosexual marriage as an institution.)
8.21.2006 2:48pm
Jackson (mail):
You're so welcome.

I'm sorry that I'm not more "tolerant" of your effort to characterize me as being in the same group as pedophiles and people who have sex with animals. I'll try to be more understanding in the future. After all, people might think less of me of I say that someone like you is a crackpot.

And if I'm morally equivalent to people who bugger sheepor molest children, why, exactly do you now claim I deserve "to be protected equally under the law." You don't believe that for a minute, or else you don't really believe that there is an equivalency between pedophiles and gay people.

You're right, you are an intolerant bigot. And I'm 38 years old, for whatever that's worth.
8.21.2006 3:09pm
Harbey headbanger (mail):
jackson just totally owned "some guy"
8.21.2006 3:37pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Well the orginal NAMBLA comment was an obvious troll so the first question is should we reply at all?

I agree that people should become aware of their sexual orientation early on so that the tragedies of the person realizing in their late 20's and early 30's that they're gay doesn't adversely impact themselves and their family's lives. As it always is in these situations greater flexibility and early self-awareness trump blind adherence to tradition.
8.21.2006 3:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Well, considering the fact the according to the FBI, about 90% of all pedophiles are heterosexual, I have no idea why anyone would even raise the issue of pedophilia when it comes to gays. The two have nothing in common, just as pedophilia and heterosexuality have nothing in common.

Nonetheless, for a long time, people who wish to discredit gays and gay right will often raise the spector of pedophilia simply to scare people into running away. So whenever a person raises the issue of pedophilia in the context of gay rights (and in this context, it's about gay history), it is done purely as a bigoted attempt to divert attention away from the real issue.

Opps -- did I say bigoted? Yes I did. Because only a bigot would say this: It's just that their advocates are increasingly revealing themselves to be extremists whose real goal is the destruction of heterosexual marriage as an institution.

Yes, of course. We are pedophiles. Our only goal is destroy marriage. What else? We want to convert children in schools?
But oh -- you'd be totally in favor of our rights, if we just weren't such jerks to call you on it.
8.21.2006 7:23pm
Caliban Darklock:
Give me ONE GOOD REASON why gays need to be able to get married. One thing that gays currently do not and cannot have, but would *necessarily* receive if they could get married.

Let me save you a little trouble on that: I honestly do not care how much you pay in taxes or whether you get good insurance rates (gays tend to make more money anyway). I am looking for a fundamental human rights issue.
8.21.2006 9:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
This horse has been beaten many times both on this website and plenty more. Do a little research and you'll find plenty of reasons.

But here's just one: Because two people are in love with each other and want to get married just as much as the other two people across the street who can. If married, two men could call themselves 'husband' whereas without marriage they cannot. Marriage has often been considered a fundamental human right -- why can't it be so for gay people?
8.21.2006 10:14pm
Jackson (mail):

Give me ONE GOOD REASON why gays need to be able to get married. One thing that gays currently do not and cannot have, but would *necessarily* receive if they could get married.

Okay, how about inheritance rights? If you are a married woman and your husband dies, you inherit his Estate automatically. As a gay person, I have to go spend a couple of thousand dollars with a lawyer to achieve the same result. Contrary to what you seem to believe, all gay people aren't rich. In fact, many many gay people can't afford to pay a lawyer a couple of thousand dollars. As a result, they face a major legal problem when their partner dies. (And there are many documented cases where longterm partners were turned out in the street by families who didn't approve of the relationship.)

Okay, so there's ONE GOOD REASON. But this isn't a gay marriage thread--the thread started because of an interesting archive of early gay civil rights materials.
8.21.2006 10:16pm
Randy R. (mail):
And let's not forgot basic crimlaw. A spouse may not be compelled to testify against another spouse. There's a fundamental right.

But the bigger question is, really, give me ONE GOOD REASON why deny gay people the right to marry. I mean, there was a time not long ago when interracial marriage was prohibited. Was Caliban there demanding that interracial couples must give one good reason for being able to marry?

Basically, in America, anyone can marry anyone, so long as they meet the age requirements and the consent is freely given. That should apply regardless of sexual orientation.

(BTW Jackson, when a spouse inherits the deceased spouse's estate, it passes tax free. Even if you and your partner to insure that your inheritance is passed to each other in the event of one's death, you will still owe a hefty tax bill, am I correct?)
8.21.2006 10:23pm
Calvin C. (mail):
You know, that original poster was an obvious troll, but Someguy did have a real point. You guys did go over the top in insulting him and misrepresenting what he had saif. Confirmed his original observation that you were incapable of adressing the subject like adults. Guess we're down to name-calling on the Volokh Conspiracy.

It's still not clear why you wouldn't just as angrily dismiss someone as a "bigot" if they opposed Mormons engaged in polygamy or some David Koresh-like cult that allowed its founder to molest young girls. I may not say that's what I'm thinking, but you can bet if I get a ballot measure in front of me on gay marriage, I'm going to be thinking it, no matter how much I'm insulted before-hand.
8.22.2006 12:38am
Randy R. (mail):
Well, Calvin, perhaps we went a little over board. But put yourself in our shoes. Gay people have been vilified, slandered and so on for the longest time. Individually, we have to suffer as children being called fags and queers. When we are grown up, it doesn't hurt so much to hear that, so the grown up version of calling us names is to say we are pedophiles.
You need only glance at any anti-gay website and you will see quite boldly that gays are all pedophiles, and that's why gay men are all evil, and you must keep all children away from them.
Now it's true, there are SOME gay men who are peds, but the vast majority are straight men. So why is there is such a need to tar us with this libel? Whenever the anti-gay crowd really gets going, they inevitably raise the spectre of pedophilia. For instance, Rich Lowry, editor of the New Republic, once said that the pedophilia scandal in the catholic church proves that gay men shouldn't be allowed in the Boy Scouts! This is all absurd of course.

So how would you feel if we had a civilized talk about jews and the holocaust and memorials, and then someone pops in and says, where's the memorial to all the children eaten by jews? You think that demands a civil response? You think that person would not be called a bigot? Would you admonish people for being incapable of talking like adults? I hardly think so. Well, to us, it's the same when anyone raises the issue of ped and gays.

The person who raised the issue of pedophilia knew exactly what he was doing -- he was inciting people. Then he gets mad when people are incited. That's just baloney, in my book.
8.22.2006 12:57am
Jackson (mail):

Mormons engaged in polygamy or some David Koresh-like cult that allowed its founder to molest young girls. I may not say that's what I'm thinking, but you can bet if I get a ballot measure in front of me on gay marriage, I'm going to be thinking it, no matter how much I'm insulted before-hand.

So let's see, my relationship with my partner of eight years makes you think about people molesting little girls? Now that's logical.
And the problem here is that I'm supposed to be less angry and less dismissive about your irrational associations? Maybe you need to stop and think about why you have these strange associations in your head rather than lecturing us on our manners.

Someguy's opinions weren't "misrepresented." And don't you think his--and your--statements are just a tad bit "insulting" to gay people? If you don't understand the difference between two gay people in a relationship and David Koresh, or Joseph Smith, or whoever, I'm sorry.
8.22.2006 1:12am
Deoxy (mail):
"Fortunately, gay men and women aren't going to let that happen again and people like Commentariat are finding themselves on the fringe of society."

"gay men and women" basically have no say in the matter, as they are a <5% minority. That's not happening because STARIGHT people CHOOSE for it not to happen. Your welcome.

"Well, considering the fact the according to the FBI, about 90% of all pedophiles are heterosexual, I have no idea why anyone would even raise the issue of pedophilia when it comes to gays."

How about because that leaves gays over-represented by at least 2:1? That is, by your own statistic, a gay man is TWICE as likely as a straight one to be a pedophile (or more).

Yes, there are a lot more heterosexual pesophiles than gay ones... but there are a LOT more heterosexuals who AREN'T pedophiles than there are gays who aren't. That's just a true as your statement, and just as misleading, too.

"Because only a bigot would say this: It's just that their advocates are increasingly revealing themselves to be extremists whose real goal is the destruction of heterosexual marriage as an institution."

Actually, his statement was not bigoted: it was TRUE. Now, that doesn't mean that GAYS are all after the destruction of hterosexual marriage, but as time has been passing, more and more gay advocates HAVE PUBLICLY ADMITTED that they desire the destruction of marriage. Go do a little research on the people "representing" you before you start flinging the term "bigot" around. You would apparently be surprised (and likely appalled).
8.22.2006 5:01pm
Jackson (mail):


"gay men and women" basically have no say in the matter, as they are a <5% minority. That's not happening because STARIGHT people CHOOSE for it not to happen. Your welcome.



Not to put this too bluntly, but what a buffoon.

So, let's see....you can go ahead and put American Indians in prison, because they are less than 5% minority, right? How about Chinese-Americans? Is the cut-off 5%? Or is is it 50%? By implication, you seem to believe that minorities don't have any say in anything. No Constitutional scholar, you.

Anyway, the (presumably) straight Supreme Court doesn't agree with you, since they found that putting gay people in prison was unconstitutional. So your opinion is pretty meaningless at this point.

You straight people are doing a pretty good job of "destroying" the institution of marriage yourselves, aren't you? I mean, you don't think gay people are responsible for the divorce rate, do you? Or is that our fault also?

Finally, as for the supposed opinions of people "representing" me, have you checked out the looney opinions of people on your side lately?

It is sad, really, that people who have absolutely no coherent, fact-based arguments still feel compelled to offer up their blather on the internet. Just admit it: you don't like gay people. Either because you were taught that as a child, or because you think God wants you not to like them. There now, don't you feel better?
8.22.2006 6:27pm
lisamarie (mail):
Ok, I'm going to take on SomeGuy's statements, because it's hardly the first time I've encountered his viewpoint and I think it needs a clear answer if we want to change minds. I can explain to you in detail exactly why I advocate complete acceptance of homosexuals as full and equal members of society, and why I have absolutely no fear that it will send us plunging into some moral abyss. You ask about "drawing a line." The problem is that you lump a bunch of actions together and say "all these fall into the category of 'not moral', and if we say one is ok, then they all must be ok." My answer to that is that this is the wrong way to think about human action. Actions fall into two categories: those that violate the rights of other people and those who do not. A full explanation of what rights are and why I believe people have them would take up a lot of space, so I'll just give the brief explanation. Basically, I believe that as a human being, you have an inalienable right to your life, your liberty, and your property. No one has the right to take any of those things from you, or to use your body or your property against your will. Given this, I believe that the law should address only those actions which infringe on these rights, and those are the actions that we should be most concerned about.
From here, we can group actions into three broad categories: 1) those which violate rights; 2) those which are morally objectionable but violate no one's rights; and 3) those that are morally unobjectionable or neutral and violate no one's rights. For example, forcing someone at gunpoint to have anal sex with you violates their right to their body. It's repugnant and immoral, but that's not why it is and should be illegal. It's illegal because it's a violation of another human being's rights. Having anal sex with another adult who consents violates no rights, and should not be a matter for the law, even if it grosses you out. I would place an action like adultery in category 2. It's morally objectionable (it hurts your partner, shatters the trust of your marriage, and violates the promises you made). But it violates no rights, and is not a matter for the law. It's a matter between two individuals, and they are the only ones who can decide what its consequences should be.
Now take your specific questions. Pedophilia would clearly fall into category 1, since it involves sex with an individual who is unable to give meaningful consent. Therefore, it's not only morally repugnant, it's a rights violation. Bestiality, while disgusting, is a little complicated since its status in the law depends on what rights you think animals have. They cannot consent to anything, obviously. I would consider it a form of animal cruelty and abuse, and the consequences for it should be whatever you believe the appropriate consequences for animal abuse are (and this may be controversial, though if I caught you doing it to my dog I'd come after you with a baseball bat). Now for homosexuality. Some people think it falls into the second category, I think it belongs in the third. I do not believe it to be at all morally objectionable, but even if you do, consensual homosexual sex violates no one's rights. It's not a matter for the law at all. Indeed, given all the things going on in the world every day that actually violate the rights of human beings everywhere, I fail to see why anyone worries about it at all.
I wanted to take polygamy last because it involves two separate issues. First, consensual polygamy (NOT involving anyone too young to give consent), violates no rights. However, there are arguments advanced that it has bad consequences. Personally, I think it should be legal, since "X has bad effects" can be used as a justification for criminalizing all kinds of actions that do not violate rights, and can unjustly restrict the liberty of others. The bottom line, though, is that it does not involve a rights violation, so the bar for making it illegal should be set pretty high.
I also wanted to address the question of "drawing a moral line." For me, the line is "is this a rights violation or not?" The problem with the urge to draw the line is that it often turns out to be arbitrary. Imagine what society might be like if anything that anyone thought was revolting or morally repugnant, even if they had no idea why, could be made illegal. S&M? Oral sex? Eating meat? Taxidermy? Charging interest on loans? Fat people wearing shorts? The possibilities are endless. Pretty soon, we'd be overwhelmed by foolish, useless, unenforceable laws that do not make anyone safer, happier, or more moral. For example, we could pass a law tomorrow outlawing sex in anything but the missionary position. We could then say that we've drawn a bright line demarcating what behavior we approve of and what we don't. But what does that accomplish? It makes criminals of people who are doing no harm to anyone else, it wastes time and resources for enforcement, and in the real world, it does exactly nothing. But we feel good because we've "drawn the line." That's pretty meaningless. What we really need is to know how we judge different kinds of actions and why we judge them that way, and the analysis needs to be more sophisticated than "I think that's gross." This is why I believe homosexual individuals should be full and equal members of society, treated with the dignity that every human being deserves. It's the only right thing to do. I have no fear that this will somehow lead down some slippery slope into a world devoid of moral standards, where bestiality and pedophilia are okay- because these have NOTHING to do with acceptance of gay people. Sorry for the long post. But I hope it tells you what you need to know.

Oh, and by the way, I do advocate the destruction of marriage. As a government institution. And I'm married.
8.22.2006 7:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
Kudos to Lisa Marie!

As a gay activist living in Washington, DC, I'm active in many many gay organizations, some social, some political, and some just out there. No where in any of the publications, speeches, private conversations, blogs or anything has any of these organizations ever argued for the destruction of marriage.

When you can specifically point to anyone active in the gay movement who actually says, " I want marriage destroyed," then I'll believe you. Since the research, according to some people, is so easy, then it should be easy to pick up. I don't want a blogger -- any idiot can put up a website. I don't want a quote in a newspaper -- any reporter can find someone stupid statement, or invent one. I want an official website, or official statement from a credible gay rights organization that says our real goal isn't to allow gay people to marrry, but that we want to spend all this time, money and energy to destroy something that doesn't even include us.

And then, please, tell us what exactly how marriage can be destroyed, and what the actual plan is. I didn't get the memo from Homo Central, so you'll have to dig it up for me.
8.22.2006 10:07pm