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California Anti-Same-Sex-Marriage Amendment Polling:

Just as a reminder of how numbers can change over time, and from poll to poll:

Is the reason for the shift "a television ad campaign that features footage of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaiming same-sex marriage is here to stay 'whether you like it or not'"? Or is there no real shift, given the margin of error and given the broader possibility of variation based on factors such as who tended to be at home when the pollsters called? In any case, this is just a reminder not to put too much stock in pre-election polls.

Cornellian (mail):
This is an issue on which even slight changes in the wording of the question will trigger large changes in the poll results, so I don't consider such polls to be a good predictor of the outcome of the upcoming vote.
10.7.2008 3:11pm
Kevin P. (mail):
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is one of those tolerant and inclusive liberals who is fully capable of motivating voters in an unpredictable direction.
10.7.2008 3:19pm
KeithK (mail):

This is an issue on which even slight changes in the wording of the question will trigger large changes in the poll results, so I don't consider such polls to be a good predictor of the outcome of the upcoming vote.

I agree with your point when it comes to the same sex marriage issue in general. But why would you have much variation in this case? There is a concrete question - do you support or oppose Prop 8? A poller could ask that question without much concern about bias or wording. Is it that a polling company will frame this very straightforward question with a whole description of the Proposition and what it entails?

Regardless, I agree with Eugene's conclusions. Polls aren't valueless - they do provide information. But it's imperfect information that needs to be interpreted carefully.
10.7.2008 3:46pm
ejo:
perhaps californians got a look at some of the recent "fairs" in san fran where liberal gay values rule the day? maybe public nudity and sex on city streets doesn't appeal to them and they figure this marriage movement is just a sham?
10.7.2008 3:47pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Lots of people are willing to vote in support of gay marriage because the really don't care about the issue, don't care much about gays, but don't have much reason to oppose it. Besides, it's sitting right there on the ballot. All they have to do is check the box. They have no strong feelings.

But the triumphalism of guys like Newsom just pisses them off. They might have the same reaction to a tax hike if he said taxes would be increased whether you like it or not. Or a stadium if he said it would be built whether you like it or not. People don't like being told they have no say in the matter when they are in the voting booth and can check "YES" or "NO."
10.7.2008 3:54pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
perhaps californians got a look at some of the recent "fairs" in san fran where liberal gay values rule the day?

You really think Californians are unaware of San Francisco gay culture?
10.7.2008 3:54pm
Observer:
What I find encouraging is that answers do not seem to be based on age (at least not in the way one might expect). Last poll has 53 YES; 39% NO for 18-34 age group (and 42%, 49% for 50-64 age group, by comparison).
10.7.2008 4:03pm
tommears (mail):
You can find the 9/25 SurveyUSA survey on their website here...

It's interesting that the 18-34 demographic seems to have flip-flopped in the last 5 weeks; from 54:39 against in September to 39:53 against in October. This is a huge change. In fact, this one change accounts for nearly all of the overall change in the two polls. The younger demographic was (past tense) generally considered to be much more in favor of same-sex marriage, one wonders if this is a fluke, or if there is some significant change of heart for this group.
10.7.2008 4:17pm
Deoxy (mail):
'whether you like it or not' is a GREAT way to get something voted against. Anybody saying that in public about something that doesn't have extreme positive support (as opposed to "I don't give a crap" support, which is mostly what SSM has) is an idiot.
10.7.2008 4:17pm
ejo:
well, if you, as a group, want something from folks never before given, you might not want to go to their house, crap on their rug and then try to rub their noses in it. are they unaware of gay culture in all its SF glory-I doubt it but now the latter needs their votes.
10.7.2008 4:18pm
pluribus:

But the triumphalism of guys like Newsom just pisses them off.

It's a sad commentary if they make gays pay for the stupidity and arrogance of a straight politician.
10.7.2008 4:19pm
ejo:
perhaps, to counteract the noxious newsom, they should just invite the voters to the Folsom Street Fair so they will realize that gay "culture" is just like theirs. that will bring in the votes, big time.
10.7.2008 4:24pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
the change in the polls likely results from all of the TV and radio advertising that proponents of Prop 8 have been running recently. The key will be the undecideds and whether they are affected by the ads as much as they were affected, earlier, by the voters pamphlet description (which truthfully said it was a measure to ban gay marriage, or something like that). The ads are paid for by the Knights of Columbus, according to the radio ad.
10.7.2008 4:26pm
Cal:

There is a concrete question - do you support or oppose Prop 8? A poller could ask that question without much concern about bias or wording.


But there has been confusion and controversy regarding the wording that will be on the ballot. Does voting no mean voting against same-sex marriage or against Prop. 8? People are getting confused that a yes for Prop 8 is a no for same-sex marriage. This isn't helped by the fact that both sides are now asking voters to "preserve marriage" - "traditional" marriage and marriage as it currently stands.

It's also the reason there's been a big controversy over the wording on the actual ballot.
10.7.2008 4:29pm
pluribus:
There is an anti-gay meaxzsure on the Arizona ballot. A similar measure was voted down two years ago, presumably because it was so broad that it would have pohiribited employers from granting benefits to all unmarried couples. Arizona statutes already prohibit same sex marriage, but this time it will be a constitutional amendment. The Catholic bishops and the Mormon president have all urged their flocks to vote for the ban. The Latinos and the Mormons in Arizona are numerous, so this has to be factored in.
10.7.2008 4:32pm
just me (mail):
I haven't seen the commercial in question, but I think if the questions in the polls are consistent, that commercials and/or mailings may change the minds of those who don't feel strongly either way. Some well placed and marketed ads can change the minds of those whose minds aren't wedded to one position, but I also wonder how much just general word of mouth may not be a factor.

Are churches organizing more efforts to promote the amendment, are gays advocating against the amendment stepping on toes. Not sure that Gavin Newsome's attitude alone could change minds, but in combination with an in your face or similar attitude it could change opinion.

Oh, and maybe there is just a lot of variation in where the sample is coming from-I am not sure how they polled the state, but I would imagine a poll that samples heavily from San Francisco or other urban areas might look very different from one that pulls from the more conservative areas of the state.
10.7.2008 4:41pm
Eric Novack:
I think another issue is the difficulty in polling Initiatives generally --- the awareness of the voters is almost always less than major candidates.
10.7.2008 4:41pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
It's a sad commentary if they make gays pay for the stupidity and arrogance of a straight politician.
Not just Newson. The California supreme court and a lot of others are trying to impose same-sex marriage. Whether we like it or not.
10.7.2008 4:41pm
pluribus:
ejo:

perhaps californians got a look at some of the recent "fairs" in san fran where liberal gay values rule the day? maybe public nudity and sex on city streets doesn't appeal to them and they figure this marriage movement is just a sham?



perhaps, to counteract the noxious newsom, they should just invite the voters to the Folsom Street Fair so they will realize that gay "culture" is just like theirs. that will bring in the votes, big time.


There's something about gay sex that really fascinates you, isn't there, ejo? Ever been to a nude beach, where heterosexuals display themselves in the nude? You can find them up and down the coast of California. Or Break Week celebrations of heterosexual hedonism at Lake Havasu and similar places? You are aware, I suppose, that heterosexuals have sex with perfect strangers in clubs all over the country every day, that women display their nude bodies to heterosexual men in clubs in every major city in the country, and that exolicit sexuality by heterosexuals is displayed in videos that are shown in theatres all over the country and displayed on TV channels in very upstanding hotels in blue states as well as red. If you think that gays are the only people who flaunt sex in public places; or that a few thousand people on Folsom Streeet in San Francisco are typical of the several million gay people in the United States; or that they represent all the gay people who want to formalize their committed monogamous relationships, you should disabuse yourself of your prejudices.
10.7.2008 4:45pm
pluribus:

The California supreme court and a lot of others are trying to impose same-sex marriage. Whether we like it or not.

I wasn't aware that the words "whether you like it or not" were in the Supreme Court decision. Or is that just something you added for dramatic effect? Did the U.S. Supreme Court includes those words in their Heller opinion? Or did they just make a constitutional decision, based on their view of the meaning of the Second Amendment? If I recall, the Supreme Court didn't take a poll of public opinion before it announced its decision in Brown v. Board of Education. They decided the constitutional issue before them, which is, after all, what supreme courts are supposed to do.
10.7.2008 4:54pm
ejo:
typical? if we are fed a line that gays are like everyone else and just want marriage to be like everyone else but then any public festival of the culture turns into either a mockery (the average Pride parade, chicago's included) or a cesspool (San Fran), maybe people realize that it's a big lie. is SF typical-I would say yes, it is. it is a lot closer to the truth of the culture than a quiet poetry reading somewhere at the alternative bookstore. but, no matter how repressed on is, you need the voters to believe you to win-when all is said and done, they won't because of folks like newsom and conduct like that in SF.
10.7.2008 5:03pm
wooga:
I am tepidly against Prop 8, based on discussions I've had recently with gay friends.

But Newsom's total disregard for state authority, the will of the people, and the legislative process - really pisses me off. If we give free reign to mayors to ignore laws at will, what is the point in having a state legislature?

At any rate, I don't believe this poll, simply because I cannot believe the young voters would be that much against gay marriage. Seems like some wording or sampling error must be in there.
10.7.2008 5:27pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
I haven't seen any pro-8 ads — but then, I'm in Marin County, and I doubt they'd bother airing them here.

I'd think a poll on Prop. 8 would indeed be very sensitive to the wording of the question. Most voters, even this late in the game, are unlikely to know what "Prop. 8" — identified only by number — is or what it would do, and so there is probably some sort of one-phrase descriptor given to the pollee. Unless the numbers reflect only the responses of those who knew what Prop. 8 was already, in which case the sample is hopelessly skewed towards those interested in the issue pro- or con-.

Funny, I don't remember Newsom's "whether you like it or not" line. Jeez. If it does pass, there's gonna be hell to pay in SF.
10.7.2008 5:28pm
pluribus:
Roger Schlafly:

The California supreme court and a lot of others are trying to impose same-sex marriage.

Relax, Roger. The California Supreme Court is not going to impose same-sex marriage on anybody. Their decision just makes it a matter of personal choice. Individuals can decide for themselves, not the state for them. If you don't want to marry a person of the same sex, nobody is going to force you to. Matter of fact, if you don't want to marry anybody at all, you won't have to. Trust me on this one.
10.7.2008 5:56pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
All three polls say the same thing...
10.7.2008 5:59pm
pluribus:
ejo:

we are fed a line that gays are like everyone else and just want marriage to be like everyone else

No, I thought maybe you had heard. Gays don't want to be like everybody else and have their marriages like everyone else's. They want to marry people of the same sex. That really is the difference, ejo. Or at least some of them want to do that. The truth is that many gays, like many heterosexuals in today's society, don't feel the need for any marriage at all.


is SF typical-I would say yes, it is.

ejo, I wonder if I might ask how you know this. I will not ask your sexual orientation--that's your own business--but if you are not gay, have you done some real intense investigation of this question? Conducted some surveys, maybe? Traveled from street fair to street fair around the country? If so, and if you're not gay, why?
10.7.2008 6:08pm
KWC (mail):
wooga,

I see your point on Newsom, but he's a red herring. In fact, when he tried to single-handedly open up City Hall to perform gay marriages, the California Supreme Court overturned those marriages. He's not being given free reign.

Also, the campaign of deceit being spread by Prop 8 proponents is shocking to me.

The claim that churches will have to marry gay people is absurd. Do churches have to marry Jews? Or synagogues Christians? No. But both groups can get civilly married. So how would gays legally force their ways into these churches? It's illogical.

The claim that marriage is a Christian institution suffers the same flaws. Why can atheists get married then?

The point is not whether or not you personally believe same-sex marriages are right or wrong. The point is whether you think individual adults should make that decision for themselves. Just like no one tells you who to marry, individuals should have no interest in dictating whom others may marry.

There is really no compelling argument for favoring this proposition. The "Yes on 8" people know this. This is why they come up with tenuous reasons -- mostly coated in lies -- to convince people to support it.
10.7.2008 6:08pm
KWC (mail):
Also, wooga, you know why your gay friends want you to vote "no"? Becuase if the bill passes their lives are severely affected. Yours and other heterosexuals' lives will not. At all.

I hope you continue with you decide to vote "no."

-----------------

Final thought: What place does such a thing even have in a constitution? I mean, a constitution is supposed to discuss what rights individuals do have. What other types of Amendments are even like this?
10.7.2008 6:12pm
anonny (mail):
Is there a documented "Bradley Effect" for this kind of vote? I've heard that there is for votes on affirmative action, and I could see the same thing happening on this issue.
10.7.2008 6:26pm
M (mail):
"Final thought: What place does such a thing even have in a constitution? I mean, a constitution is supposed to discuss what rights individuals do have. What other types of Amendments are even like this?"

I don't know -- the 16th and 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution aren't so much individual rights amendments. The people can put whatever they want in an amendment for the most part. That's why it's supposed to be so damn hard to pass them. And as we can see from the 21st amendment, even bad collective decisions can be undone. What the hell were they thinking?
10.7.2008 6:33pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
The claim that churches will have to marry gay people is absurd.

It is? Why? The California Supreme Court (like the Mass Court before it) created a "right" to SSM out of nothing, based on the newly discovered "right" of Gays to be treated exactly like Straights (only better).

So why shouldn't that Court next "discover" that it's "discrimination" for Churches not to allow SSM? Or at least allow the State Legislature to impose SSM on Churches in the State?
10.7.2008 6:55pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Final thought: What place does such a thing even have in a constitution?

Ah, so what you're saying is that, once a majority of a Court decide to force their desires on the people of a State, it's absolutely illegitimate of the People to try to make the laws say what they want, rather than what the "Justices" want?

The Constitution defines the powers and limitations of the Government. If the People of a State want to limit their government so that it cannot pretend that "same sex marriages" are real marriages, that is their right.

It's called democracy. You might have heard of it.
10.7.2008 6:59pm
Grigor:
OK, I'll feed the troll.

Greg Q, what's a "real marriage?" What makes it one?
10.7.2008 7:09pm
pluribus:
Greg Q:
If the People of a State want to limit their government so that it cannot pretend that "same sex marriages" are real marriages, that is their right.

If same sex marriages are not "real," they why do they bother you? If your neighbors down the street want a marriage that gives them beneifts like heterosexuals get and validates their relationship, and if they feel that is "real" enough for them, then what why do you insist that it isn't "real"?

If you don't believe in same sex marriage, then by all means don't marry someone of the same sex. The Supreme Court of California is alright with that.

I have never understood why people want to "protect marriage" by preventing some people from getting married. The logic boggles the mind.
10.7.2008 7:17pm
KeithK (mail):

Final thought: What place does such a thing even have in a constitution? I mean, a constitution is supposed to discuss what rights individuals do have. What other types of Amendments are even like this?


When the state supreme court rules that a clause of the existing constitution mandates that the government take a particular action then the only available response is to pass a constitutional amendment.
10.7.2008 7:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Just like no one tells you who to marry, individuals should have no interest in dictating whom others may marry."

The existence of this election says they do. Either way.
10.7.2008 7:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I have never understood why people want to "protect marriage" by preventing some people from getting married. The logic boggles the mind."

They do so because they value certain groups and institutions in society just as much as they value the individual. Therefore, they want to keep the practices that have supported those groups and institutions. Hence, one who puts as much value on the family as on the individual wants to retain practices which he sees as supporting the family.

Those who argue for SSM stress the individual rather than the group or institution. They speak in terms of the individual's rights, and they value a social compact among individuals. When they do speak of the group or institution, they advocate changing the group to fit their needs.

Each side ends up talking past the other, and each grounds its arguments in different asusmptions. This is not mind boggling logic. It just takes identification of the core values each side brings to the table, and the assumptions in which they ground its arguments. They differ.
10.7.2008 7:30pm
NickM (mail) (www):
The dufference between the 2 Survey USA polls may well be due to the commercials. The difference between those and the Field poll is more likely attributable to the Field poll's awful track record on high-profile CA propositions in recent years (including showing 20 point plus leads for propositions that ended up failing).

Nick
10.7.2008 7:48pm
MarkField (mail):

If the People of a State want to limit their government so that it cannot pretend that "same sex marriages" are real marriages, that is their right.

It's called democracy. You might have heard of it.


No, it's called a majority faction. See Federalist 10.
10.7.2008 8:00pm
KWC (mail):
Greg Q:

I explained why churches won't be forced to marry same-sex couples. You chose to ignore my explanation. My Catholic parish doesn't have to (and won't) marry two Jewish people. Jewish people have been allowed to get married from time and memorial.

I think the problem is your tenuous grasp of how constitutional law applies. I'd recommend law school, or reading a book, at least.
10.7.2008 8:45pm
pluribus:
The illogic continues, apparently without end:

Elliot123:
[O]ne who puts as much value on the family as on the individual wants to retain practices which he sees as supporting the family.

Great way to support the family. Deny people you don't approve of the right to form families.

Those who argue for SSM stress the individual rather than the group or institution.

According to the most conservative estimates, there are several million gay people in the United States. Does this qualify as a "group?"

When they do speak of the group or institution, they advocate changing the group to fit their needs.

It's gay opponents who urge the gays to "change" to fit the opponents needs. Gays, on the other hand, argue that they don't need to change. They just need to have the same liberty to live their lives as straight people have.

This is not mind boggling logic. It just takes identification of the core values each side brings to the table, and the assumptions in which they ground its arguments.

It is illogical to deny liberty to a group of Americans because another group disapproves of them. In a pluralistic society, one group's "core values" do not always equal the "core values" of the other. In a free society, we address realities like this by giving each group the liberty to make their own decisions, live their own lives according to their own "core values," so long as they don't harm others. We do not let one group dictate to the other. It's called liberty.
10.7.2008 8:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):

It's not at all illogical to analyze the motivations and attitudes of both sides of a controversial issue.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. When I used the word "group" it was not simply a collection of individuals with some common characteristic, but a defined social unit. This would be family, extended family, tribe, or clan. It would not be the group of all women, the group of rodeo fans, or the group of gays.

"In a free society, we address realities like this by giving each group the liberty to make their own decisions, live their own lives according to their own "core values," so long as they don't harm others."

Here's where opponents of SSM would disagree. They value keeping the practices and institution that have evolved because they maintain what they see as the strength of the social units I mentioned above. The notion that each person lives according to his own core values is based on the idea that society is a compact among individuals.

Note that your comment is grounded in the social compact of individuals. This is what I wrote of earlier. Both the supporters and opponents of SSM tend to insist their attitudes and assumptions are the only valid ones. Each tries to push those assumptions on the other, then construct an argument around those assumptions. Often they are blind to the fact that assumptions and values other than their own exist.

Too few people have the wisdom to realize they must know and understand their enemy and his motivations before they can defeat him.
10.7.2008 9:46pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Big difference between marriage and state recognition of marriage.

If queer marriage is real, it doesn't need state recognition. Straight marriage never needed state recognition to be real.

I sense that queer marriage is an artificial construct whose participants don't actually believe in -- in the absence of state recognition.

Polls may be changing because less involved voters are starting to pay attention to the election and they oppose SSM.

Opponents of Prop. 8 have always worried about the Obama effect.
10.7.2008 9:56pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
pluribus,

I have never understood why people want to "protect marriage" by preventing some people from getting married. The logic boggles the mind.

No. Logically speaking, at least in the abstract, it's the people who think that expanding marriage will devalue it who have the better case. (I had best say up front that I don't agree with them, in this particular case; but my problem isn't with the logic.)

Here's a somewhat analogous situation to ponder. Several years back, the city of San Francisco passed a law requiring that private organizations doing business with the city provide health benefits to their employees' domestic partners if they did so for employees' spouses. This was quickly seen to (& in fact was probably designed to) put the Catholic Church in a particular bind: It had contracts with SF for various social services. Evidently it would have to either (a) recognize domestic partnerships on a par with marriage; (b) drop spousal benefits for its employees; or (c) cease doing business with the city.

What then-Archbishop Levada did, of course, was to allow every employee of the archdiocese to designate one adult sharing living quarters with him or her as the recipient of quasi-spousal benefits. This might be your actual spouse, of course. Or your domestic partner. But it might equally well be your sister, your uncle, your grandmother, your high school buddy, or the roommate you found on Craigslist last week.

Politically, this was brilliant (if expensive), because what the Church was offering was actually more generous than the law required. But it predictably pissed off the gay activists who had pushed for the law in the first place.

Why? Because what they wanted was recognition of gay partnership as equal with (straight) marriage, whereas what they got was inclusion in a hodgepodge of relationships, many of which looked nothing at all like straight marriage. It didn't matter that the actual bennies were identical, because the condition they were attached to had been (yep) devalued by being put on a par with a lot of other different situations.

I don't happen to think that CA's opening of marriage to same-sex couples changes the institution in the same way that the Archdiocese's redefinition of what were once spousal benefits changes that institution, but there are obviously a lot of people for whom "one man, one woman" is as basic to marriage as the idea that marriage presupposes romantic love. For such people, it's not at all illogical to "protect" the institution by excluding people from it.
10.7.2008 10:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
ejo: "maybe public nudity and sex on city streets doesn't appeal to them and they figure this marriage movement is just a sham?"

Translation: Gay people are really really icky and disgusting. Let's show them how much we hate them by denying them the right to get married. That'll show them.
10.7.2008 11:50pm
Randy R. (mail):
Duncan: "If queer marriage is real, it doesn't need state recognition."

Huh? Gay marriage is real in Massachusetts and Canada and several other countries, where it also has state recognition.

Gays can continue to get married by a church in any other jurisidiction, but it isn't recognized by the state.

"Straight marriage never needed state recognition to be real. "

Then why does the state recognize straight marriage? You would then presumably be okay if the state refused to recognize straight marriage?

Michelle: " For such people, it's not at all illogical to "protect" the institution by excluding people from it."

I understand what you are saying (unlike Duncan), and I appreciate it. However, I disagree that anyone can argue that it is logical to protect marriage by excluding gays from it. Currently, we have two states that allow SSM, both California and Massachusetts, and none of it's opponents have been able to point to any thing that would indicate that straight marriage has been devalued. Straight people continue to get married, the divorce rate has held steady, and life goes on.
10.7.2008 11:56pm
Randy R. (mail):
ejo: "but, no matter how repressed on is, you need the voters to believe you to win-when all is said and done, they won't because of folks like newsom and conduct like that in SF."

Careful, ejo; those freudian slips, such as using the word 'repressed' when you meant something else, tell us more about you than you are probably willing to let on.

Not that your obsession with gay sex means anything, of course.....
10.7.2008 11:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Translation: Gay people are really really icky and disgusting. Let's show them how much we hate them by denying them the right to get married. That'll show them."

That's actually a very accurate description of the attitudes many have, and that type of opposition is rarely successfully challenged by compelling argument.

Many contend that a person's sexual attraction to a particular gender is not chosen by an individual, but is part of his basic makeup. I suspect the icky attitude may also be part of the basic makeup of people, not chosen, but intrinsic to the individual.
10.8.2008 12:34am
RichH (mail):
For all you closet attorneys out there I would like somebody to explain why if the same sex marriage decision by the CA supreme court was such an obvious decision declaring a civil right then why did 3 of the calif justices dissent and all of the other supreme courts in the country that have heard similar cases (except Mass) have also decided it is not a civil right, including New York and New Jersey which are not conservative bastions of society.
10.8.2008 12:42am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Then why does the state recognize straight marriage? You would then presumably be okay if the state refused to recognize straight marriage?"

The state became involved for the administration of inheritance, and child support. The Church became involved in marriages due to disputes involving Church property.

Note the Catholic Church says a couple may marry themselves if no Church or civil official is available for a certain length of time. It doesn't care if the state is involved. Not sure about other Christian sects.
10.8.2008 12:44am
Randy R. (mail):
RichH: "For all you closet attorneys out there I would like somebody to explain why if the same sex marriage decision by the CA supreme court was such an obvious decision"

Well, it doesn't take a closeted attorney to answer your question: I'm actually out to everyone I know, not closeted. But I would answer you with a similar question: Why, if SSM decision by is so obviously not a right, did several judges dissent in the cases where it was declared not a right?

To quote Alexander Pope:
"Tis with our judgements, like our watches,
None go just alike, yet each believes his own."
10.8.2008 12:51am
Elliot123 (mail):
"However, I disagree that anyone can argue that it is logical to protect marriage by excluding gays from it."

Arguments depend on basic assumptions.

The logic is based on the assumption that society developed the man/woman/child family over time and it is the central unit of society. Once one accepts that assumption, then a logical case can be made that preservation of that model is vital to the preservation of society. Changing the model is therefore a threat to social order.

If one does not hold that initial assumption, then one would not see that logic as valid.
10.8.2008 12:54am
Perseus (mail):
The California Supreme Court is not going to impose same-sex marriage on anybody.

So it's perfectly legal for an individual, business, hospital, church, etc. to refuse to recognize such a marriage?


If the People of a State want to limit their government so that it cannot pretend that "same sex marriages" are real marriages, that is their right.
It's called democracy. You might have heard of it.

No, it's called a majority faction. See Federalist 10.


I seem to have missed the passage in Federalist 10 where it mentions that same sex marriage is one of those fundamental rights that the majority may not rightfully deny, but, then again, my text isn't the living version.
10.8.2008 1:19am
Randy R. (mail):
Elliot: "Once one accepts that assumption, then a logical case can be made that preservation of that model is vital to the preservation of society. Changing the model is therefore a threat to social order."

I see what you are getting at. I would argue that allowing SSm is not 'changing the model', as the model isn't changed at all. The central unit of society would still be the man/woman/child family.

Of course, we currently have many family units that are NOT that model. Some families are currently man/child, or woman/child, or man/woman. There are, of course, some families that are man/man, women/women, and even some that are man/man/child, and woman/woman/child. Allowing or disallowing SSM won't change any of these facts, and therefore will not change the model, hence, will is no threat to the social order.
10.8.2008 1:22am
Randy R. (mail):
Perseus: "So it's perfectly legal for an individual, business, hospital, church, etc. to refuse to recognize such a marriage? "

Not exactly. AFter the SCOTUS decision in Loving v. Virginia, all businesses, hospitals, churches and individuals ahd to recognize interracial marriage, even though at the time about 80% of the people in the US were against it.

Believe it or not, the Republic survived. Of course, people are still free to hate interracial couples and are *not* required to attend their weddings if invited.

"I seem to have missed the passage in Federalist 10 where it mentions that same sex marriage is one of those fundamental rights."

Well, again, SCOTUS did declare marriage a fundamental right in Loving. If you have a beef, it is with the decision. The Federalist warns about majority factions ganging up upon undesired minorities and denying them their rights. Which, of course, is exactly what would are arguing in favor of.
10.8.2008 1:28am
Elliot123 (mail):
"There are, of course, some families that are man/man, women/women, and even some that are man/man/child, and woman/woman/child. Allowing or disallowing SSM won't change any of these facts, and therefore will not change the model, hence, will is no threat to the social order."

The SSM opponents accept as a given that the man/woman/child is the basic model. Actual deviations from the model do not change the central place of the model. No matter how many units of various compositions can be observed, they hold the M/W/C is the basic model. Allowing SSM will not change the reality of various unit compositions we can observe, but it will change the change the model.

Perhaps an analogy is the law? The law exists regardless of how many violations also exist.

For those who challenge the basic assumption of the SSM opponents as irrational, consider the other basic assumption the controversy. Many SSM supporters have a basi assumption that attraction to a given gender is intrinsic to an individual and is not a choice.

One side proposes a model of a social unit. The other preposes a model of an individual's sexual attractions. (Again, we have social unit vs individual.) Each side embraces its own model and rejects the other's as nonsense. And when each uses his own model as a starting point, they can construct a logical argument.

This is why the two sides never get anywhere with each other and the issue inevitably ends up at the ballot box.
10.8.2008 1:39am
Perseus (mail):
Not exactly. AFter the SCOTUS decision in Loving v. Virginia, all businesses, hospitals, churches and individuals had to recognize interracial marriage

In other words, the Supreme Court of California has indeed "imposed" same sex marriage on the citizenry.

the Federalist warns about majority factions ganging up upon undesired minorities and denying them their rights.

But that begs the question as to whether there is a fundamental right of 2 adults, regardless of sex, to marry. (I also have stated before that I'm skeptical of any fundamental right of marriage in general.)
10.8.2008 2:03am
Randy R. (mail):
Elliot: "One side proposes a model of a social unit. The other preposes a model of an individual's sexual attractions."

I would argue that both sides agree that they assume a model of an individual's sexual attractions. Surely, most straight marriages are based upon sexual attractions?

However, I do think you are close. People who oppose SSM make a basic assumption that marriage is for man/woman, and therefore, only man/woman models are valid. To me, that's a tautology (ie, A is true because A is true).

Of course, arguments can be made until we are blue in the face. Now that SSm has been legal in Mass. for several years, if any of the terribles are true, then they should have manifested themsevles by now. So, what I am asking for is, if you are against SSM because of the harm it will do, then where is the evidence of this supposed harm?
10.8.2008 2:08am
pluribus:

Politically, this was brilliant (if expensive), because what the Church was offering was actually more generous than the law required. But it predictably pissed off the gay activists who had pushed for the law in the first place.

Let me see if I understand your point. You say that the archbishop devised an elaborate plan that cost the archdiocese much more than it would have cost to simply recognize gay partnerships, as the law required. He did this because he could predict that it would piss off the gay activists. And you call this politically "brilliant"? Might I ask, on a somewhat different level, what is kind and considerate and loving and (dare I ask) "Christian" about this "brilliant" plan?
10.8.2008 8:49am
pluribus:
Elliot123:

The logic is based on the assumption that society developed the man/woman/child family over time and it is the central unit of society. Once one accepts that assumption, then a logical case can be made that preservation of that model is vital to the preservation of society. Changing the model is therefore a threat to social order.

This is rank nonsense. How many hours a day do you spend devising clever arguments that can be used to deny some of your fellow Americans equal treatment under the law? In a pluralistic society in which liberty and equality are two of the foundational values, social order is not threatened by permitting a small and despised minority to affirm their basic natures and make their own decisions about their own personal lives. Nor is it threatened by granting equal benefits to those whose decisions are different from the majority's. If two gay people get married, it does nothing to threaten the marriage of any straight people. To the contrary, it affirms the straight model of marriage as a desirable act of commitment.
10.8.2008 9:02am
deathsinger:
Randy R. said

Now that SSm has been legal in Mass. for several years, if any of the terribles are true, then they should have manifested themsevles by now.

Ever represent investment banks in 2006? "sub-prime loans have been issued for years, if any of the terribles are true, then they should have manifested themselves by now"...

In statistics your argument would be ridiculed as a sample size error.
10.8.2008 10:24am
ejo:
let's see, the antiSSM's focus on society and things that are actually important, like raising children. the proSSM crowd shrieks back, "but what about me". you wonder why folks might vote against further watering down an already screwed up institution just to satisfy your hurt feelings? again, you can't, on one hand, display your contempt for society by engaging in behavior in SF that would embarass a dog and, on the other hand, whine about how you are oppressed and people need to vote for your pseudomarriage.
10.8.2008 11:20am
pluribus:
Thanks, ejo, for coming here regularly to display your prejudices. You seem to have a never-ending supply.

let's see, the antiSSM's focus on society and things that are actually important, like raising children. the proSSM crowd shrieks back, "but what about me".

In your intensive studies of the gay lifestyle, did you happen to learn that gays raise children too? Some are their natural children, some adopted. Gays who raise children regard this as "actually important," just like straights They love their children and want to provide stable home lives for them, just like straights.

you wonder why folks might vote against further watering down an already screwed up institution just to satisfy your hurt feelings?

If a gay person gets married, a straight person's marriage is not "watered down," unless he or she wants it to be. If you really want to "protect" marriage, ever thought of repealing all the divorce laws? Divorce, not gay marriage, really "waters down" marriage. And, I hate to break it to you, but it's rampant among hererosexuals.

again, you can't, on one hand, display your contempt for society by engaging in behavior in SF that would embarass a dog and, on the other hand, whine about how you are oppressed and people need to vote for your pseudomarriage.

You've been spending way too much time on Folsom Street, ejo. What is it about that place that makes you keep coming back? Something about the scenery? Millions of gays have never visited Folson Street, never even wanted to. But you seem to spend a lot of time there--or at least you want to give that impression. Why? Gay marrriage is not public flaunting of sexuality, any more than heterosexual marriage is a nude beach a strip show or a porn movie. It's a personal commitment that reflects love and trust. For gays, it carries with it the same legal benefits that heterosexuals get when they marry.

Now come back again and "whine" some more about Folsom Street. I fully expect you to do so.
10.8.2008 11:59am
Randy R. (mail):
Question for ejo: Under what conditions would you support SSM? If gays unilaterly gave up all public sex and nudity forever, then you *would* support SSM? Or not?
10.8.2008 12:47pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
pluribus,

Let me see if I understand your point. You say that the archbishop devised an elaborate plan that cost the archdiocese much more than it would have cost to simply recognize gay partnerships, as the law required. He did this because he could predict that it would piss off the gay activists. And you call this politically "brilliant"?

The plan (not at all "elaborate" — what's simpler than "You may designate any one adult living in your domicile as the recipient of [the equivalent of] spousal benefits"?) was the only practical alternative to the Catholic Church in San Francisco either ceasing all partnership with the city in providing social services, or else cutting off spousal benefits for its married employees. Archbishop Levada was not in a position to treat gay partnerships as equivalent to marriage, because this isn't what the Catholic Chirch teaches.

"Pissing off gay activists" wasn't the point, only an easily foreseeable side effect. The point was maintaining the Church's role in social services, its existing obligations to its married employees, and its compliance with Church teaching all at once, while complying with the law. That I call "brilliant."

Might I ask, on a somewhat different level, what is kind and considerate and loving and (dare I ask) "Christian" about this "brilliant" plan?

Um . . . maybe that the Church employee taking care of an ailing mother at home, sharing a flat with a younger sibling, rooming with a close friend who is not a romantic partner, &c. now can afford that person the same benefits that were formerly available to spouses only? If I understand you correctly, you think the more kind/considerate/loving/Christian approach would be to deny these benefits. Why?
10.8.2008 12:51pm
Deoxy (mail):
Politically, this was brilliant (if expensive), because what the Church was offering was actually more generous than the law required. But it predictably pissed off the gay activists who had pushed for the law in the first place.

Let me see if I understand your point. You say that the archbishop devised an elaborate plan that cost the archdiocese much more than it would have cost to simply recognize gay partnerships, as the law required. He did this because he could predict that it would piss off the gay activists. And you call this politically "brilliant"? Might I ask, on a somewhat different level, what is kind and considerate and loving and (dare I ask) "Christian" about this "brilliant" plan?


Actually, I would call that plan "honest".

From a governmental perspective, gay marriage makes no sense.

Traditional marriage makes sense, in that you are giving financial and incentive to the most common form of child raising, etc, etc (you can find good arguments on this elsewhere - that's not my point at the moment).

And a simple "this person inherits my stuff if I die, has power of attorney if I'm incapacitated, etc" status, regardless of sexual interest makes sense as well. (Let's call this Spouse For Legal Purposes, of SFLP, just so there's a name for it - I am completely open to suggestions for this.)

But tacking "is somebody I like to have sex with" on the end of that is dumb and pointless, which is basically what is going on here.

Once you've left "child-producing unit" situation, there are few, if any, other good stops until you get to SFLP, and really, it's not much of a move from there to "group marriage" - that is, instead of "this person inherits my stuff, etc", it's "these people".

Now, I'm not necessarily opposed to this position (morally I am, but not doesn't mean I necessarily want the government enforcing that).

Actually, getting the government out of the "marriage" business entirely wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea - a simple designation of who is your SFLP (which could be a good friend, your mother, your son, etc) would be at least honest...

Of course, I also support such silly things as a "flat tax with only a signle standard deduction per person, by household regardless of marital status, etc", so maybe I'm just a kook.
10.8.2008 1:00pm
Z J (mail):
Not surprising, since 63.5% of all polls/statistics are false.
10.8.2008 1:07pm
ejo:
RR, Pluri-you are the folks who want people's votes. if, in the epicenter of your culture, you have folks acting like pigs, you aren't going to get them. if such conduct is both tolerated and celebrated, you will lose support. sorry, but you can blame your fellows in SF for that, not those repressed breeders out there.
10.8.2008 1:18pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"So, what I am asking for is, if you are against SSM because of the harm it will do, then where is the evidence of this supposed harm?"

First, I'm not against SSM. I am discussing the controversy as a function of differing a prioris brought to the table by each side.

But, your question is valid. The opposition doesn't confine its focus the the history of Massachusetts over the past several years. It looks back over all of human history and concludes that the M/W/C model works best for society. It doesn't see it as an entry in a modern contest among a variety of models. It sees it as the model that clearly is superior in all societies over all time. Massachusetts is just a blip on their radar screen.

So, the support of the model comes not from a lack of obvious harm by others models, but by a belief in its positive effects over a very long time. One might also say, they contend that changing the model will result in a lack of good over the coming years. Simply maintaining the status quo measured by a lack of harm is not what the SSM opposition cares about.

We might also note that the importance of the model is not confined to the opposition. Many of the SSM supporters exhibit just as strong a belief in the power of the model. For example, those who reject civil unions which exactly mirror marriage have a strong interest in changing the M/W/C model.

Hospital visitation rights would be granted under civil unions. Inheritance, tax advantags, custody, etc. All the things SSM supporters claim they want, and are now denied, would be available under CU. But it's not named "marriage." They know that if it is not named "marriage," then the M/W/C model will survive as the norm.

The flip side of this is that many SSM opponents are willing to see civil unions that exactly mirror marriage. They really don't care about gays' hospital visits, inheritance, tax status, and custody. But they will not budge on the name "marriage" because they know that would result in changing the model.

So, the SSM supporters acknowledge the power of the model, and they want to change it. The SSM opponents quite rightly recognize the attempt to change the basic model.

Both sides exhibit an attitude that there can only be one model.
10.8.2008 2:01pm
pluribus:
Michelle Dulak Thomson:

The plan . . . was the only practical alternative to the Catholic Church in San Francisco either ceasing all partnership with the city in providing social services, or else cutting off spousal benefits for its married employees.


All this so Catholics Social Services wouldn't have to provide benefits to "sinners." Does Archbishop Levada believe in the aphorism "hate the sin, but love the sinner," or does he hate both?

Archbishop Levada was not in a position to treat gay partnerships as equivalent to marriage, because this isn't what the Catholic Chirch teaches.

As a former Catholic, I know the church has a very, very long list of sins. Does Catholic Social Services deny benefits to divorcees? Those who practice birth control? Those who have missed mass? Thieves? Liars? Adulterers? Fornicators? Pedophiles (especially priestly pedophiles)? Or do they deny benefits only to gays?

"Pissing off gay activists" wasn't the point, only an easily foreseeable side effect.

If it wasn't the point, why did you mention it as one of the reasons the archbishop devised his plan?

The point was maintaining the Church's role in social services, its existing obligations to its married employees, and its compliance with Church teaching all at once, while complying with the law. That I call "brilliant."

Why couldn't Catholic Social Services have continued to distribute benefits to the needy (in partnership with the city) while still obeying the law, explaining it was doing so because it believed in obeying the law? Or maybe it could just have said, we will continue to distribute benefits to the needy as a purely private organization, not in partnership with the city?

If I understand you correctly, you think the more kind/considerate/loving/Christian approach would be to deny these benefits. Why?

No. And, with respect, you must know that's not my position. A good Catholic should not misrepresent another person's position to make a point in an argument. My position is that the kind/considerate/loving/Christian approach would be to continue to distribute benefits to the needy (in partnership, as you say, with the city) and at the same time to obey the law, while counseling the faithful that the Church still maintains its opposition to all kinds of sin--divorce, theft, lying, birth control, adultery, fornication, pedophilia, and, yes, homosexuality.
10.8.2008 2:30pm
pluribus:
dear ejo:
Fiirst of all, you don't know my sexual orientation, nor do I know yours. You like to hang out at the Folsom Street Fair, but I wouldn't speculate as to why. I have never been there, nor am I interested in visiting it. I don't live in California, and my personal life is pretty dull and conservative. Those who think legal recognition of SSM would help to meet American ideals of liberty and equality are not all gay, I assure you. The judges of the California Supreme Court who decided that legal recognition of SSM is required by the California constitution are not gay--not a one of them. So cut the crap about "my culture." I have never celebrated lewd or lascivious behavior in public, whether heterosexual or homosexual. And stop equating lewd and lascivious behavior in public with a committed and loving personal relationship, sanctioned by the law. They are not the same things, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
10.8.2008 2:40pm
pluribus:
Elliot123:

First, I'm not against SSM.

I take you at your word, but wonder why you would indulge so much time and effort in posting arguments against SSM if you're not actually against it. Are you trolling?
10.8.2008 2:43pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
pluribus,

All this so Catholics Social Services wouldn't have to provide benefits to "sinners."

Um . . . no. All this so that the Church wouldn't have to recognize marriage and domestic partnership as equivalent. Did you miss the part where domestic partners, under this scheme, get exactly the benefits that the law insisted they have?


If ["pissing off gay activists"] wasn't the point, why did you mention it as one of the reasons the archbishop devised his plan?

I didn't. I said that gay activists were "predictably pissed off," not that this was a reason for the plan.

A good Catholic should not misrepresent another person's position to make a point in an argument.

Ah, but I'm not only not a "good Catholic," I'm not any kind of Catholic. An understandable mistake, admittedly ;-)

My position is that the kind/considerate/loving/Christian approach would be to continue to distribute benefits to the needy (in partnership, as you say, with the city) and at the same time to obey the law, while counseling the faithful that the Church still maintains its opposition to all kinds of sin--divorce, theft, lying, birth control, adultery, fornication, pedophilia, and, yes, homosexuality.

But pluribus, don't you see that that's exactly what happened? The Church obeyed the law to the letter, maintained its teachings, and continued in partnership with the city. The only part you seem not to like is that, in addition to providing benefits to domestic partners as well as spouses, it also provided them to a variety of other people who are close to its employees, but not necessarily in a romantic sense.

I ask again, what's the problem with that? Unless it's that expanding the benefit dilutes it, damages it, makes it somehow less important? Don't you see that this is the kind of argument Prop. 8's supporters make? Can't you see that your position is in some tension with itself?
10.8.2008 2:49pm
ejo:
pluri, you just don't get it, do you. you don't celebrate lewd behavior in public-good for you. gay culture seems to if SF is any example (and I think it is). if a group wants folks to vote in a certain way, it might help not to behave like pigs or have arrogant twerps like gavin newsom be your spokesman. too bad if you can't get your self righteousness around that but expect an electoral loss.
10.8.2008 3:24pm
pluribus:
Michelle Dulak Thomson:

Ah, but I'm not only not a "good Catholic," I'm not any kind of Catholic. An understandable mistake, admittedly ;-)

Sorry for assuming you were.

The Church obeyed the law to the letter, maintained its teachings, and continued in partnership with the city.

I see the point, and it is good as far as it does, except that the church (actually I think it was Catholic Social Services, an agency run by the church) had to spend a lot of money it wouldn't have otherwise had to spend.

The only part you seem not to like is that, in addition to providing benefits to domestic partners as well as spouses, it also provided them to a variety of other people who are close to its employees, but not necessarily in a romantic sense.

No. I have no problem with providing benefits to lots and lots of people, if the archbishop thinks the archdiocese can afford to do so. Provide benefits to everybody in San Francisco, if that's what the archbishop wants to do. What I don't like is doing this just so the church can make sure that gays aren't treated like heterosexuals. The church wouldn't feel the need to do this to discriminate against other "sinners"--divorcees, adulterers, fornicators, people who practice birth control, people who abuse children, frauds, liars, thieves, etc. etc. Please do not continue to tell me what I seem not to like when I have told you that right here.

I ask again, what's the problem with that? Unless it's that expanding the benefit dilutes it, damages it, makes it somehow less important?

It is a charade designed solely and simply to discriminate against gay partners. This plan would never have entered the archbishop's head if it hadn't been designed to avoid treating gay partners like heterosexual partners--to piss the gays off, to use your phrase. There is no other group of "sinners" that would have provoked such a plan, only gay partners. And the faithful of the diocese--among whom there are many gays--are footing the extra bill. I thought that Catholic dioceses around the country were strapped just to pay the damages ordered by courts in lawsuits against pedophile priests. Some have declared bankruptcy. I guess in San Francisco they have some extra money lying around, even after paying those judgments.

Don't you see that this is the kind of argument Prop. 8's supporters make? Can't you see that your position is in some tension with itself?

Since I don't live in California, I don't know what arguments the proponents are making, but I have seen many arguments in other places. They all come down in the end to "we condemn homosexuality, and we are going to do all we can to make sure homosexuals aren't treated equally." I don't find those arguments persuasive, particularly since we live in a pluralistic society in which opinions as to the morality of homosexuality not only vary but are changing. Liberty and equality are foundational values in our system, and these arguments fly in the face of those values. Bascially, I think, any discrimination against people on the basis of who they are is suspect, and should be sustained only if it is demonstrably required to promote a social good. And, no, discrimination against a whole group of people is not, in itself, a social good.
If the city was requiring the archdiocese to provide sacraments to gay partners, to change its teachings about homosexuality, to conduct gay marriages, or otherwise to change its own religious practices, I would not for a moment side with the city. But it is merely asking that employees' benefits be distributed on a nondiscrimatory basis.
10.8.2008 3:54pm
KWC (mail):
Perseus:

Not exactly. AFter the SCOTUS decision in Loving v. Virginia, all businesses, hospitals, churches and individuals had to recognize interracial marriage

In other words, the Supreme Court of California has indeed "imposed" same sex marriage on the citizenry.


Actually, no. Businesses, hospitals, and churches aren't citizens. What's more, churches don't have to recognize same-sex marriages. Synagogues don't have to recognize Christian marriages. Catholics don't recognize any marriages that aren't performed by a Catholic priest (with some exceptions).

Finally, "individuals" don't have to recognize marriages, ever. For example, are you, Perseus, married? Well, I don't recognize that marriage because I don't want to, so there. Note that the California Supreme Court is not knocking on my door ready to throw me in prison or fine me for not recognizing it.

Now, if you choose to "recognize" all marriages that are performed by the state, then that's your choice. But you are not forced or compelled to do so. And no one cares whether you do or don't.
10.8.2008 4:04pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
pluribus,

It is a charade designed solely and simply to discriminate against gay partners. This plan would never have entered the archbishop's head if it hadn't been designed to avoid treating gay partners like heterosexual partners--to piss the gays off, to use your phrase. There is no other group of "sinners" that would have provoked such a plan, only gay partners.

I see what you're getting at, of course. Absent the new law, there's no way the archdiocese would've done this. But it's an odd "charade designed solely and simply against gay partners" that manages to treat gay and straight partnerships exactly the same!

And since the plan did, obviously and on its face, benefit gay partners, it's nonsense to say that its purpose was to hurt them. What it hurt, again, was the cause of gaining public recognition for gay partnerships as equivalent to marriage. (Also, incidentally, the cause of making straight domestic partnerships and straight marriage interchangeable, not that anyone but the Catholics was much exercised about that part of it.)

And that was what rankled — I won't say you (I've put too many words in your mouth already) — but a number of activists in SF. The point wasn't getting gay partners benefits, because what the Church did accomplished that. The point was bringing the Church to heel somehow: either forcing it out of social-service partnership with the city, or forcing it to recognize domestic partnerships and marriage as equivalent, or forcing it to injure its own married employees by withdrawing benefits. One of those things was supposed to happen, and none did. Instead, the gay parners of employees got benefits, and so did others close to other employees, but not in sexual relationships with them. And that was a defeat. Damn wily equivocating bastards ;-)

You know, I called this "expensive" myself, but I have no idea what the actual expense has been. I'd guess that the shacked-up of all gender combinations ended up representing the bulk of the expense, but these are the people that would've been covered by the law anyway, provided that they went to the trouble of registering themselves as domestic partners. But doubtless there are many who used this provision to benefit their blood relatives, too, and that would be actual extra expense.

Speaking of which: if there's been grumbling from San Francisco Catholics about the cost, it hasn't made the news here. Evidently the notion that the Church's employees should be empowered to support their nearest and dearest, whether related by legal or blood tie or not, seems to have hit some responsive chord in the local Catholic conscience. Go figure.
10.8.2008 5:00pm
Lovernios:
Michelle,

The Church has been involved in the rough and tumble of politics for centuries. It has tangled with kings, emperors, dicators and tyrants of all sorts and survived. I'm not surprised that it would find a way out of a trap set for it.
10.8.2008 6:04pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I take you at your word, but wonder why you would indulge so much time and effort in posting arguments against SSM if you're not actually against it. Are you trolling?"

It really take little time and effort. I'm a very fast typist. I post the arguments because I am discussing the effect of the a prioris each sides brings to the issue. My point isn't so show one argument prevails over the other, but to demonstrate that there is far more to the arguments than is often recognized by opponents. One does not have to be an advocate to understand and present an argument.
10.8.2008 6:14pm
pluribus:
Michelle Dulak Thomson:

I see what you're getting at, of course. Absent the new law, there's no way the archdiocese would've done this.

It really is aimed at gays. The fact that it ends up giving benefits to gays and lots of others doesn't change its original purpose.

And since the plan did, obviously and on its face, benefit gay partners, it's nonsense to say that its purpose was to hurt them.

No it isn't. The "hurt" arises out of the church's position that it would never, ever, give benefits to gay partners unless the law required it to do so, and it would never, ever do so unless it could at the same time condemn the gays in no uncertain terms, making it seems as if the church was being treated unfairly, rather than that the church was treating gays unfairly. I mean these gays hold jobs in an organization that has partnered with the city to provide benefits. It is at least partly a public enterprise. But in the eyes of the church, a loving relationship between two people of the same sex (in some of which there is a relationship of financial dependency) is worth no more than the relationship between two casual friends, brothers and sisters, cousins, or an uncle and a nephew. The Church paid the benefits, yes, but at the same time made it clear that of all the "sinners" in the Catholic church (and they are legion), the gays are at the very top of the list, and the church is willing to spend much, much more money than it would otherwise have had to spend to make that very point. A law requiring them to give benefits to divorcees, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, liars, people who practice birth control, even pedophiles, would not provoke the church into a charade like this. Only gay partners.

The point wasn't getting gay partners benefits, because what the Church did accomplished that. The point was bringing the Church to heel somehow: either forcing it out of social-service partnership with the city, or forcing it to recognize domestic partnerships and marriage as equivalent, or forcing it to injure its own married employees by withdrawing benefits.

No. It was challenging the very premise of this extraordinary charade: that the gays are the worst sinners of all, and that the church is willing to go to great expense to advertise that fact to the city and the world.

You know, I called this "expensive" myself, but I have no idea what the actual expense has been.

Is the San Francisco archdiocese all paid up on its pedophile damages? I ask this not to be nasty, but to point out the obvious--the church itself is not a great bastion of sexual morality. The diocese of Tucson had to file bankruptcy because of its pedophile problem. Other dioceses have done the same. It ill becomes an institution that is so tainted to be so haughty in their condemnation of a despised group of people who happen to love people of their own sex. I think it was the attacks against Mary Magdalen that provoked Jesus to say "Let those among you who are without sin cast the first stone."
10.8.2008 7:06pm
pluribus:
OK, I accept that you are a fast typist. But maybe a little more time thinking about what you type, and a little less time actually typing, would help.
10.8.2008 7:09pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
pluribus,

But in the eyes of the church, a loving relationship between two people of the same sex (in some of which there is a relationship of financial dependency) is worth no more than the relationship between two casual friends, brothers and sisters, cousins, or an uncle and a nephew.

Or a man and his father, or a woman and her adult daughter, or . . . Do you really think that it's a slur on "loving relationships between two people of the same sex" to value them "no more" (and no less) than blood ties or ties of close friendship?

There are some employees of the Church who have no partners; does it follow that they are innocent of deep and meaningful connections to other adults? (Presumably those who do have romantic partners will name them for the spousal-equivalent benefit; I'm concerned here with those who don't.) It might be argued that in the absence of romantic partners they are more likely to attach themselves strongly to others who figure largely in their lives, be they kin or friends. But the ordinary marriage-based benefit structure doesn't recognize these ties — and, obviously, pays those who favor them a lot less than those who marry — if the value of the spousal benefit is included, and why shouldn't it be?

I'm just musing aloud here, so to speak, but it does seem to me that there's something a little juvenile about being miffed because some partnerless person's friend or relative is getting the same bennies your partner is. "I mean, it's like her BROTHER is as important to HER as my HUSBAND is to ME!" Maybe, you know, he is.

The Church paid the benefits, yes, but at the same time made it clear that of all the "sinners" in the Catholic church (and they are legion), the gays are at the very top of the list, and the church is willing to spend much, much more money than it would otherwise have had to spend to make that very point. A law requiring them to give benefits to divorcees, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, liars, people who practice birth control, even pedophiles, would not provoke the church into a charade like this. Only gay partners.

This, once again, seems wrong, because it's not the nature of the partner that's at issue but the nature of the partnership. If the Church had hired a man whose wife subsequently came out publicly as lesbian, I don't think it would've attempted to deny her spousal benefits, so long as the couple were legally married. (What would've transpired if she became a FTM transsexual and got her sex legally changed, I don't know.)
10.8.2008 7:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"OK, I accept that you are a fast typist. But maybe a little more time thinking about what you type, and a little less time actually typing, would help."

Feel free to engage anything I type. That's what these forums are for. Do you dispute my description of the position held by many who oppose SSM? Do you think they hold a different position? If so, what is it?
10.8.2008 8:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"But in the eyes of the church, a loving relationship between two people of the same sex (in some of which there is a relationship of financial dependency) is worth no more than the relationship between two casual friends, brothers and sisters, cousins, or an uncle and a nephew."

Did the law in question restrict benefits to loving relationships? Is love a requirement for either a marriage or relationship? Do SSM supporters contend love is a requirement for marriage? Is love a requirement for civil marriage in any state? Did prior Church practice single out only loving relationships for benefits? Is love a factor in any argument for or against SSM? Is there any current requirement for civil marriage other than age, unmarried status, a partner of the opposite sex, and $25 for the license?

What does love have to do with the issue for or against SSM?
10.8.2008 8:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
Ejo: "RR, Pluri-you are the folks who want people's votes. if, in the epicenter of your culture, you have folks acting like pigs, you aren't going to get them. if such conduct is both tolerated and celebrated, you will lose support. sorry, but you can blame your fellows in SF for that, not those repressed breeders out there."

Thanks for clarifying. I wanted to know if there are any circumstances under which you would support SSM, and you basically refused to answer. To which I can onlyl conclude that there are no circumstances under which you would support SSM.

That means all this business about us acting like pigs has nothing to do with your stance -- you hate gays because you assume we all act like pigs, for which which we deserve no respect.

Again, thanks for clarifying.
10.8.2008 8:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
Deoxy: "But tacking "is somebody I like to have sex with" on the end of that is dumb and pointless, which is basically what is going on here."

Really? No one has said that. But let's discuss:

Are you really suggesting that gays merely have sex with one another and there is no love or mutual commitment in any of the relationships? I know several gay couples who have been together for decades (and yes, just like with the straights, after you are together for a few years, you stop having sex).

So -- if a gay couple is together and pledged for life, and they stop having sex, and they still want to get married, what would you call that?

And what about straight couples who are having sex but no children? Is there relationship just 'having sex with someone' and therefore not deserving of gov't recognition?
10.8.2008 8:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
ejo: "if a group wants folks to vote in a certain way, it might help not to behave like pigs or have arrogant twerps like gavin newsom be your spokesman. too bad if you can't get your self righteousness around that but expect an electoral loss."

Strange, because about 50% (give or take a few points) of the people in CA actually support SSM, even with us all acting like pigs! And, we got a majority of judges on the CA supreme court.

Sounds like we are doing pretty well. What happens if we win? Then can we be self righteous, just like you?
10.8.2008 8:46pm
pluribus:
Elliot123:

What does love have to do with the issue for or against SSM?

Isn't it love that makes two people choose to live their whole lives together in a committed relationship? If love has nothing to do with it, why would anybody call it marriage? Yes, I have heard of marriages of convenience--but not among gay people. Under present conditions, a gay marriage is anything but convenient. In fact, it is a target of hatred, ballot propositions, political agitation, frequent violence, and general contumely.

Michelle Dulak Thomson:

Do you really think that it's a slur on "loving relationships between two people of the same sex" to value them "no more" (and no less) than blood ties or ties of close friendship?

The nature of the relationship is different. A relationship between two people who love each other and who commit to share their lives is what we usually call a marriage--not the relationship of friends or roommates or siblings or cousins.

I am frankly surprised that opponents of SSM seem to show so little understanding of the marriage relationship--or why some gay people want to express their love in such a relationship.

(Well, then, maybe I shouldn't be surprised.)
10.8.2008 9:18pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Randy R.,

I think Deoxy's point was that once we ditch the assumption that families ought to be designed with biologial procreation in mind, there's still an obvious benefit in every person having a legal equivalent of a spouse (default heir, power of attorney, able to make medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated, whatever), but no particular reason that person need be a romantic partner.

Gay marriage, obviously, is designed by analogy with straight marriage, with the presumption that the parties are romantically tied to one another; that's why no one is proposing that, say, close blood relatives be able to marry one another, even if they are of the same sex. But why not a single civil form uniting two people in the same way marriage does now, but not presuming that the relationship is a romantic one? It would collapse into existing marriage law in the case of couples now married; extend those benefits to same-sex couples who want to marry; and additionally allow people who have no romantic attachment to anyone of either sex to establish, easily and conveniently, a marriage-like role for some close person, blood-related or not, in matters of inheritance, medical emergency, &c.

And the real beauty of it is, it'd get attacked from both sides for devaluing marriage!

— [social conservative:] "But, but . . . you're lumping married people in with GAY COUPLINGS!"
— [publius:] "But, but . . . you're lumping loving partnerships in with BROTHERS! And, um, cousins, and friends, and . . ."

Win-win, say I ;-)
10.8.2008 9:23pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Isn't it love that makes two people choose to live their whole lives together in a committed relationship? If love has nothing to do with it, why would anybody call it marriage? Yes, I have heard of marriages of convenience--but not among gay people."

I don't know. It depends on the couple. For centuries marriages were arranged. In many places in the world they still are. Love has never been a requirement. Is it any of our business why two people want to contract in civil marriage?

Do you contend gays should be held to a higher standard? Is love a requirement for SSM, but not OSM?
10.8.2008 9:28pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
publius,

I am frankly surprised that opponents of SSM seem to show so little understanding of the marriage relationship--or why some gay people want to express their love in such a relationship.

Not being an opponent of SSM, I wouldn't know. But yes, the relationships of lovers and of close kin and of close friends are all different — not "more" or "less," but incommensurable. Which is why when you said that the Catholic Church saw same-sex partners as "no more than," say, brothers, my hackles went up.

If you want to argue that society has a duty to support, in particular, lovers' partnerships — such that they, as such, ought to be assumed as the basis for family benefits from employers, then go for it. Me, I think Deoxy is on to something here. Once we take the default child-producing role of the straight family out of the mix, we need at least to think about what spousal (or equivalent) benefits are for, and why they ought to hinge on one person's specifically romantic love for another.
10.8.2008 9:39pm
pluribus:
Elliot123:

Do you contend gays should be held to a higher standard?

You're verging on the ridiculous. My contention is simple: Gays should be treated like heterosexuals in the eyes of the law. They should have the same right to express their committed love in a legally recognized marriage. The standard is neither lower nor higher. No duty. No obligation. No "standard." The same right. If they choose to make the same commitment heterosexuals make, they should have the liberty to do so and to enjoy the same legal benefits that heterosexuals enjoy. Anything less is a denial of liberty and equal protection of the laws.
10.8.2008 9:58pm
pluribus:
Michelle Dulak Thomson:

If you want to argue that society has a duty to support, in particular, lovers' partnerships — such that they, as such, ought to be assumed as the basis for family benefits from employers, then go for it.

That's not my argument at all. It is that homosexuals should be treated like heterosexuals in the eyes of the law. If two homosexuals want to make the commitment of marriage, they should have the same legal right to do so as heterosexuals. No more and no less. The only duty that society has is to treat people equally in the eyes of the law. Do not give one group the liberty to do something that another group is denied. Do not confer legal benefits on one group and deny them to another.
10.8.2008 10:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Gays should be treated like heterosexuals in the eyes of the law."

In that case, love has nothing to do with the isue.
10.8.2008 10:19pm
Aleks:
Re: So why shouldn't that Court next "discover" that it's "discrimination" for Churches not to allow SSM? Or at least allow the State Legislature to impose SSM on Churches in the State?

Because no such right has ever been found or even demanded in the past. There are a few churches which will not perform interracial marriage, many churches which do not perform interfaith marriages, and of course the Roman Catholic church will not marry divorced people. If there was any possibility that the courts could force these churches to do otherwise it would have been done long ago.

Re: if, in the epicenter of your culture, you have folks acting like pigs, you aren't going to get them. if such conduct is both tolerated and celebrated, you will lose support.

Ever been to a straight singles' bar on a busy weekend? Maybe to Bourbon Street in New Orleans druing Mardi Gras? Or driven down some "Hookers Row" in any major city? Gay people at their sleeziest are no worse than straight people at their sleeziest.

Re: Catholics don't recognize any marriages that aren't performed by a Catholic priest

Actually, the Catholic church recgonizes just about any legal marriage (except bigamous or homosexual ones). The Church does not regard most such marriages as sacramental (exception: those done in Orthodox churches) but it does regard them as valid marriages, and does not view such couples as living in sin.
10.8.2008 10:50pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
pluribus,

That's not my argument at all. It is that homosexuals should be treated like heterosexuals in the eyes of the law. If two homosexuals want to make the commitment of marriage, they should have the same legal right to do so as heterosexuals. No more and no less.

Yes, I see that. I see that you want gay and straight couples to be equally situated under the law. But I was talking about what the law should be.

Suppose for a moment that we were to abolish civil marriage and replace it with a civil partnership of the kind Deoxy was talking about — one that did not imply romantic relationship between the contracting parties, and that was open to close blood relatives (indeed, to any two competent adults). Bear in mind that this would put gay and straight relationships on an equal footing, but that it would also lump them in with relationships that aren't romantic in nature.

Would you be pleased, or would you be chagrined?
10.8.2008 11:04pm
Perseus (mail):
Actually, no. Businesses, hospitals, and churches aren't citizens.

Not as such, but they along with individuals are third parties that are required either directly or indirectly to grant a series of legal benefits attached to the marriage contract. That's why it's sheer nonsense to argue that SSM does not impose anything on the rest of society.

Do not confer legal benefits on one group and deny them to another.

Are you prepared to take your principle to its logical conclusion? It would make for some very interesting changes in public policy.
10.8.2008 11:38pm
KWC (mail):
Aleks,

I don't know what you mean that Catholics recognize non-Catholid marriages. For what purpose and in what context? In the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacrament. If it is not treated as such, it is not valid. I don't think Catholics take a position on whether or not, say, Jewish or Muslim marriages are not legitimate or whether they are living in sin. After all, Jews and Muslims are sinner because they don't recongize that Christ died for their sins. In other words, their marriage is the least of their problems.
10.9.2008 2:22am
Greg Q (mail) (www):
pluribus babbled:

I have never understood why people want to "protect marriage" by preventing some people from getting married. The logic boggles the mind.

Really? Society rewards marriages. You can't understand why people wouldn't want to give the rewards of real marriage to people who only have fake ones?

Do you also wonder why someone would get upset if they paid for a real Rolex, and were given a fake one?

Heterosexual marriage is the foundation of our society, and provides the basis of our future. Same sex marriage is the result of whining by pathetically self-obsessed buffoons who want the benefits of heterosexual marriage, without providing for society the benefits that heterosexual marriages provide for society.
10.9.2008 2:24am
Greg Q (mail) (www):
KWC,

What would happen to your Catholic Church if it refused to marry biracial couples?
10.9.2008 2:26am
Greg Q (mail) (www):
pluribus' illogic continues, apparently without end:

Great way to support the family. Deny people you don't approve of the right to form families.

What, you can't have a "family" unless you have a piece of paper from the government saying that you are married? How pathetic.


How many children will be produced and raised, on average, By same sex marriages? How many children are produced and raised, on average, by real (heterosexual) marriages?

Divide the first number by the second number. That will give you a rough approximation of the worth, to society, of SSM.

How close is that number to 1? Not very? Now you know why the majority of Americans don't think that SSMs qualify as real marriages.
10.9.2008 2:33am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I don't think Catholics take a position on whether or not, say, Jewish or Muslim marriages are not legitimate or whether they are living in sin."

It does take a position. It recognizes that those Jews and Muslims are married.
10.9.2008 11:54am
Elliot123 (mail):
"What would happen to your Catholic Church if it refused to marry biracial couples?"

We might note the Catholic Church routinely and publicly refuses to employ women as priests. It says the reason is because they are women. Nothing happens.
10.9.2008 12:15pm
KWC (mail):
Greg Q:

Respectfully, I think you are confused. Catholic people might go around acknowledging this marriages, but the Church doesn't. A marriage is simply not valid if it is not Catholic (or at least Christian). Marriage is not just a unity of two people, but a sacramental statement to the Catholic community at large. It is a sacrament of "Service."

I am not saying that the Catholic Church goes around denying people's marriages, but when does the Church ever have the opportunity to even concern itself with non-Catholic marriages? It doesn't.

If a non-Catholic couple (let's say, Muslims), decided they were to both convert to Catholicism, my understanding is that they'd have to redo the sacrament of marriage, implying the invalidity of the former.

Let's be clear, the Church is schizophrenic in its positions much of the time.

Maybe I'm wrong, but can you point to anything proving that Catholics recognize these marriages?
-----------------

From the Catechism 1635:

"According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority. In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage."

http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm

Here "mixed marriage" means mixed faith. If permission is needed for a mixed faith marriage to be be "valid[]," it would seem to follow that a completely non-Catholic marriage is never valid.
10.9.2008 12:44pm
KWC (mail):
Perseus:

Actually, no. Businesses, hospitals, and churches aren't citizens.

Not as such, but they along with individuals are third parties that are required either directly or indirectly to grant a series of legal benefits attached to the marriage contract. That's why it's sheer nonsense to argue that SSM does not impose anything on the rest of society.

What you are missing is that SSM proponents are not arguing that no benefit comes from marriage. Though, most of the legal benefits you talk about come already from domestic partnerships. Their argument is merely a response to the anti-SSM scare tactics that try to convince people that the gays are going to invade their churches, tell their children to be gay, or force them to agree with same-sex marriage. It's sheer nonsense.

No one is forced to take Britney Spears' valid marriages seriously, nor will they have to take gay people's. No church is forced to perform Britney Spears' wedding, nor will they have to perform gay people's. No one is telling children -- well, except parents who allow their kids to idolize vapid celebrities -- to be Britney Spears or follow her marriage path.

The argument doesn't hold water.
10.9.2008 12:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
Greg Q: So I suppose anyone who doesn't have children in their marriage is 'worthless" ? You might want to tell that to childless couples. Are you going to make all straight couples pledge that they will produce children or they have to give up their right to marriage? I didn't think so.

And you seem to have forgotten -- there are in fact a great many gay parents who DO have children. They have them principally through adoption. Are those families not worthy of marriage? Why not? If having children is so worthwhile, raising them is also worthwhile, and should be valued.

"Same sex marriage is the result of whining by pathetically self-obsessed buffoons who want the benefits of heterosexual marriage, without providing for society the benefits that heterosexual marriages provide for society.'

Really? So all gay people who want to get married are 'buffoons?' We are pathetcially self-obsessed because we actually want to marry the person we love? But if a straight person wants to marry the person he loves, why is that not pathetically self-obsessed?

You people with your bigotry and ignorance make me so angry I can hardly type fast enough....
10.9.2008 12:56pm
Elliot123 (mail):
KWC,

I think you are confusing Church marriage regulations for Catholics with the Church's view on the marriage of two Jews, two Muslims, or two Buddhists.
10.9.2008 1:00pm
KWC (mail):
Elliot,

I repeat. Prove it.

What you fail to acknowledge is that the Catholic Church don't care about the marriage of two Jews, two Muslims, two Buddhists, two atheists, two satan-worshippers. None is a valid marriage for its purposes. These people are violating the number one rule for salvation: They are not accepting Christ as the Messiah. They are all sinners. Just like people who engage in homosexual conduct, but worse still, because they commit the ultimate sin.

Are you saying that Catholics acknowledge any civilly legal marriage?

Do Catholics acknowledge the marriage of two Satanists?

Will Catholics recognize same-sex marriage if it becomes legal?

Please define which marriages the Catholic Church recognizes, and which it does not, and please point to the authority for that.

I'm afraid you cannot.
10.9.2008 1:58pm
KWC (mail):
"Same sex marriage is the result of whining by pathetically self-obsessed buffoons who want the benefits of heterosexual marriage, without providing for society the benefits that heterosexual marriages provide for society."

Believe or not many non-gays (i.e., people who won't benefit directly) think that same-sex marriage should be legal. It's a matter of civil rights, not self-obsession or buffoonery. You know, I'd suggest some introspection on these issues, because I suspect some projecting is going on here...
10.9.2008 2:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Are you saying that Catholics acknowledge any civilly legal marriage?"

Yes. Individual Catholics certainly acknowledge them. The Church acknowledges that two Jews married by a judge under civil law are indeed married. They have different regulations for Catholics, and it can get complex when dealing with mixed religion marriages, prior divorces, and annulments.

Yes, the Church would acknowledge that two satanists married under civil law are married.

Many Catholics probably will acknowledge SSM if it is legal. However, the Church doctrine will not since it reserves marriage for a single man and a single woman.

The Church also acknowledges the marriages in the two thirds of the world which is not Christian.

The very basic Church doctrine holds that the couple marries themselves. It is their voluntary commitment to each other that constitutes the marriage.
10.9.2008 2:25pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Elliot123,

We might note that the ERA failed in the US.

Of course, the thing we'll really note is that you declined to answer my question, and instead brought up a totally spurious and unrelated situation, instead.
10.9.2008 3:13pm
KWC (mail):
Elliot,

Sorry, but you are conflating individual Catholics with the Church. Individual Catholics can be pro-choice and believe in birth control, too, but it doesn't mean much to call them "Catholics". They are deviating from the Church's position on these issues.

I don't know where you are getting the "very basic Church doctrine" or that "the Church doctrine will not [recnogize SSM] since it reserves marriage for a single man and a single woman." You are talking about doctrine, not citing anything, and frankly, are just making stuff up.

I'm willing to concede that the Chruch may not have a position on non-Catholic marriages (because it doesn't have to--they're sort of outside of the scope). I'm also willing to concede that now, in light of the SSM issue, that Church has probably made some blanket proclamation here and there that "marriage is between a man and a woman" which vaguely implies acceptance of any such marriages.

What you are missing is that the Church doesn't and shouldn't care about any non-Catholic marriages. They are outside of their realm.

Your argument is analogous to: The Church knows that there are Buddhist out there, so it accepts the Buddhist religion as legitimate. That's just false. Buddhists, according to Catholic doctrine, are going to hell.

It irks me that no one wants to talk about the subtlties here. Many religions are just uniting to get behind the anti-SSM parade. But what they aren't telling each other is that they think their brothers and sisters against SSM are all going to hell. Sure the Jews can unite with the Catholics on this, but the Catholics are thinking the Jews are hellbound. But no one is being explicit. It's all pageantry.

The Church has not and cannot define marriage as any commitment between a man and a woman that is civilly recognized. It can't. Marriage is a sacrament, not a contract, in Catholic doctrine. What about an open marriage, where the man and the woman have sex with groups of people, but are just the two of them married? Are you seriously contending the Church recognizes these?

You say that the Church "acknolwedges" these marriages but you don't say where, how, or why. When are these marriages being acknowledged? In what context? For what purpose?

I think I am arguing with someone who is underread on this topic. I have taken many classes and studied Catholic dogma and canon inside and out. I don't think you have.
10.9.2008 3:18pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
KWC,

I have no idea what you think you're responding to, because you're certainly note responding to anything I said.

Let me re-state my point, so that even you can't pretend not to understand it:

What would happen to a Church, today, that publicly refused to grant mixed "race" marriages? That said "our doctrine says that whites may not marry non-whites, we don't care what the Supreme Court said in Loving v. Virginia, we will not perform mixed race marriages, and will not recognize them as valid."

What would happen to that Church's tax exempt status? What would happen to its permit applications?

The supporters of SSM claim (falsely) that banning SSM is just like banning mixed-race marriages. It is therefore quite reasonable for opponents of SSM to believe that the long-term goal of SSM proponents is to have SSM opponents treated like mixed-race marriage opponents.
10.9.2008 3:22pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Sorry, I thought it was an apt response to a question about the Catholic Church refusing to marry a mixed race couple. Can I presume your question is prompted by the idea that the Church would be forced to marry a mixed race couple because we have various laws prohibiting racial discrimination?

If so, I think the example of the employment discrimination against women is approproate. Here the Church is explicitly saying it will not hire people for a position, and it bases that discrimination on gender. There are laws prohibiting gender discrimination in hiring, just as there are laws prohibiting racial discrimination in providing services.

But, we can see nothing at all happens to the Church because of this gender discrimination. The basis of that discrimination is the Church's own decision about its beliefs.

So, why should we expect anything to happen to the Church if it refuses to marry anyone for any reason?

The ERA really has nothing to do with the question since there is an existing body of law dealing with gender discrimination.
10.9.2008 3:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Marriage is a sacrament, not a contract, in Catholic doctrine."

Marriage is a sacrament for Catholics who get married according to Church regulations. That is sacrametal marriage. They also recognize that people are married under civil law, but do not consider that to be sacramental marriage.
10.9.2008 3:29pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Randy R.,

All people who try to obtain from the courts what they can't (and haven't previously) obtained through democracy are worthless human beings.

If We The People have not explicitly voted to put something into the Constitution, it's not there. Any "judge" who decides "you know, I really like this, so I'm going to force it on the State / Country by claiming it's in the Constitution is a worthless human being.

I don't care how wonderful, special, "right" the thing you want, is. Get it legitimately, or you don't deserve it.

Now, the SSM proponents have not, in the US, ever attempted to legitimately bring about SSM. That makes SSM proponents worthless human beings. That makes their cause something that should be defeated.

If SSM proponents had been worthwhile human beings, and had tried to bring SSM about via the ballot box, rather than via judicial fiat, I would be utterly indifferent to the issue. Because they chose to embrace vile tactics, I am passionately opposed to them.

SSM proponents are always whining about themselves. It's all "me, me, me!" It's not "society will benefit from SSM, and therefore should support it", it's "whah, whah, whah! I want! Give me now!" This has two flaws. The first is that, when demanding to get benefits that others get (those others providing a service that justifies them getting this benefit), a decent human being says "here's what I'll provide, such that you should reward me, too." At least, that's what they would do if they were actually planning on providing any services in exchange for getting those benefits.

The second flaw is that anyone who thinks marriage is all about benefits for an individual, is someone manifestly unqualified to be part of a marriage. No matter the sex of their partner.

Finally, yes, there are heterosexual couples that get married w/o planning on having kids. So? Society has decided the cost of weeding out those marriages isn't worth the benefits to society of doing so. That's society's right. That doesn't change the fact that our society survives because of heterosexual marriage, and thus HM is worthy of support.

And I never said that no SSM couples will produce / raise children (that would put the ratio at 0, which I did not claim). If you want to make the case that SSM couples, on average, will produce and / or raise as many children as real married couples, go for it. I could use the laugh.

But until you can honestly make that case, the reasonable belief will be that SSM is not as valuable to society as real marriage, and therefore doesn't deserve the benefits we give to real marriages.
10.9.2008 3:50pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Elliot123,

There is no Constitutional prohibition against sex discrimination. There is a Constitutional prohibition against racial discrimination. The supporters of SSM, realizing that their idea has no democratic support, have decided that rather than being decent human beings and trying to change people's minds, they'll be scum and get judges to rewrite the laws and Constitutions. Thus we end up w/ SSM being a "Constitutional Right."

Therefore the appropriate comparison is to an actual Constitutional right.
10.9.2008 5:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
Greg Q; "All people who try to obtain from the courts what they can't (and haven't previously) obtained through democracy are worthless human beings."

All people who have entered into interracial marriages are worthless human beings, because they obtained their rights through the courts, not democracy. See Loving v. Virginia.

"The second flaw is that anyone who thinks marriage is all about benefits for an individual, is someone manifestly unqualified to be part of a marriage."

Care to cite any case law, or did you just make it up? Have you ever heard of any couple who is denied the right of marriage because they only thought about the benefits to the individual? Have you ever heard of women marrying only for money? Yet those marriages are just as legal and legitimate as any other.

"If you want to make the case that SSM couples, on average, will produce and / or raise as many children as real married couples, go for it."

I see. So despite the fact that you realize that many SSM couples do raise children, you would still deny them the right to marry just because *not enough* gay couples raise children? That's pretty bizarre. Talk about punishing children just because you don't like their parents!

What you fail to understand is that Massachusetts currently allows SSM, and the majority of the people approve of it. Some groups tried to do a ballot to reverse the decision, and it was defeated. In fact, the Mass legislature recently voted to expand SSM rights even to couple who don't live in their state.

So I guess even you would have to concede that SSM is legal and legitimate in Mass, right? Or will your hatred of gays blind you to even that fact?

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I deeply resent your characterization of all gay couples as selfish and whiny. I know many couples who have loved each other and cared for each other, more so than many straight couples I know, through sickness and in health. My aunt's partner Betty died of a long slow illness that slowly diminshed her capacity to see, to walk, and even to perform basic bodily functions. My aunt was there to care for her right to the end, which exhausted her. They were together as a couple for over two decades, longer than a lot of straight marriages. Yet throughout Betty's illness, she had to pay a lot more for health insurance because they were not married and could not be a spouse to my aunt's policy. That made things much more difficult for them.

To you, this is just whining. To real people, though, it's heartbreaking. I suppose to you, my aunt should have just kicked her partner out on the street once things got tough -- after all, that's what many straights do, right? However, real love doesn't do that, and you have no right to denigrate it just because you don't like it.
10.9.2008 5:46pm
Elliot123 (mail):
If SSM is ratified by the people of California in the November election, will that constutute democratic support? It's a clear choice.
10.9.2008 5:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
Greg: "What would happen to a Church, today, that publicly refused to grant mixed "race" marriages? That said "our doctrine says that whites may not marry non-whites, we don't care what the Supreme Court said in Loving v. Virginia, we will not perform mixed race marriages, and will not recognize them as valid."

They might lose their tax exempt status. But they would still be allowed to refuse to perform mixed race marriages. Bob Jones University is one that refuses to allow even interracial dating.

The public survives.
10.9.2008 5:58pm
KWC (mail):
I don't know who I'm responding to anymore, but it's Greg Q., not Elliot, who's confused here. Sorry, Elliot.

Greg, sweetie, you don't even make sense. You throw out all these crazy things:

"That's society's right."

Societies don't have right; individuals do.

"Finally, yes, there are heterosexual couples that get married w/o planning on having kids. So? Society has decided the cost of weeding out those marriages isn't worth the benefits to society of doing so."

Are you sure society has made that decision? If so, when was it made. Can you point to any evidence that suggests that this is something more than just your ad hoc defense after having been backed into a corner?

"What would happen to a Church, today, that publicly refused to grant mixed "race" marriages?"

If there is such a law, it has nothing at all to do with Loving v. Virginia. Most anti-discrimination laws (i.e., in employment, housing, etc.) come from federal statute, not from the Constitution, because these things are not government actors. Loving simply said that the government can't deny marriage, it doesn't at all affect what churches did. Churches probably don't do this now more as a social convention than anything else, but if they did, the would-be bride/groom would not be bringing a Loving challenge. You have the law wrong on this.


"What would happen to that Church's tax exempt status? What would happen to its permit applications?"

These, again, have nothing to do with the Constitution. Tax-exempt status and the conditions connected thereto are statutory, not constitutional. Also, even if it did, forcing mixed-race marriages does not interfere with the Church. If the Church doesn't like it, they can give up their government donation. There is no entitlement to that anyway.

"If We The People have not explicitly voted to put something into the Constitution, it's not there. Any "judge" who decides "you know, I really like this, so I'm going to force it on the State / Country by claiming it's in the Constitution is a worthless human being."

I don't remember ever getting to vote what goes in the Constitution. But anyway, it is in there. It's called the equal protection clause. It says, we are all equal under the law.

Also, are you saying Loving is a bad decision? Brown? Even in the face of the 14th Amendment people though separate was equal, which now we know it isn't. Someone -- and we call these people judges -- have to interpret what the law is.
10.9.2008 7:01pm
Aleks:
rE: How many children will be produced and raised, on average, By same sex marriages? How many children are produced and raised, on average, by real (heterosexual) marriages?


While this is probably a wasted efort, childcare is not the only important benefit marriage brings to society. Marriage also provies a structure and restriction for sexual pasions, which if left to run riot are very damaging to society. True, many (most?) people, straight or gay, flout covnention here, at least before marriage, but this is one of those rules that matter very much in the breach as well as in the observance. It does society no good to have a class of sexual outlaws in its midst whose only rule is "anything goes". That's corrosive of public morals. The ideal of marriage should be held up for gays too.
Also of great importance: marriage creates a complex web of interpersonal relationships (think: in-laws) across family lines. Any society more complex than a small village needs that relationship web to function; societies (like those in the middle east) that prefer in-clan marriages are riven by feuds and mistrust, governable only by brute force. Gay marriage serves that purpose too.
It's not all about kids.

Re: Now, the SSM proponents have not, in the US, ever attempted to legitimately bring about SSM.

???
I seem to recall the California state legislature passing SSM. Is there something more legitimate (in politics) than an act of state legislature?

Re: Marriage is a sacrament, not a contract

Marriage is both; those two ideas are not in apposition, though I would prefer to replace "contract" here with "social institution". Marriage as an institution existed long, long before Jesus Christ was born; per Church doctrine the institution of marriage began at the Creation of humankind. The sacrament of marriage however began with Christ's miracle at the wedding at Cana (though as a matter of history actual Christian rites of marriage did not emerge until the early Middle Ages). The sacrament of marriage bestows Grace on a marriage-- but it does not create or validate the marriage. By analogy, people ate and drank long before the Eucharist, and they took baths before Baptism. The Christian sacraments bestow Grace on these actions, but the actions exist with or without that grace.
By the way have you ever known the Church to insist on converts getting remarried, or being denied communion for the sin of fornication for their prior non-Catholic married years?
10.9.2008 8:22pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Elliot123,

If someone had placed an initiative of the CA ballot proposing that CA recognize SSM, and that initiative passed, that would constitute democratic support.

Having the State Supreme Court rewrite the State Constitution, and then not enough people fight that, does not.

Aleks,

The People of CA voted to ban SSM in 2000, through an Initiative. In CA, as most if not all States with Initiatives (IIRC), the State Legislature cannot directlyt overturn the results of an Initiative (since the whole point of them was to give the People a chance to do an end run around the "Special Interests").

So no, a State Legislature trying to ignore an Initiative and change the law, in violation of the law, is not legitimate.

It's not all about kids.

Didn't say it was. That's why I said "roughly". Because it's mostly about the kids.
10.9.2008 8:38pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
Randy R.,

Ever heard of the 14th Amendment? You know, the one that banned discrimination based on "race"? That was passed democratically.

Now, could you point us to the Amendment that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation? No?

Then there's no Constitutional ban on doing so.

What you fail to understand is that Massachusetts currently allows SSM, and the majority of the people approve of it. Some groups tried to do a ballot to reverse the decision, and it was defeated.

I'm curious. Are you dishonest, or just pig ignorant?

The State Legislature refused to vote on whether or not the initiative banning SSM could go onto the ballot, and thus, with the collusion of the same scumbag judges how forced SSM on MA in the first place, prevented the People of MA from being able to vote on the issue.

Resent all you want. I resent worthless scum of the Earth tromping all over democracy and the rule of law. Since you are siding with them, neither your feelings, your desires, or, for that matter, you, matter to me at all.
10.9.2008 8:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If someone had placed an initiative of the CA ballot proposing that CA recognize SSM, and that initiative passed, that would constitute democratic support."

If they reject SSM in the upcoming election, is that a democratic process? Would it indicate the people do not want SSM?
10.9.2008 8:50pm
Greg Q (mail) (www):
KWC,

Societies don't have right; individuals do.

Wrong. Societies have many rights. The most obvious is the right to defend themselves.

For another simple example, an individual's right to have a vote is meaningless unless the majority has the right to get their way.

Here in America, society's decisions are made through the democratic process. As a leftist, you clearly hate democracy, since Americans, typically, aren't stupid enough to vote for what you want. Thus you denigrate democracy, the rule of law, and society, because those things keep you from getting the power you want, and power is the only thing you value.


Is Brown an incredibly poorly "reasoned" decision? Hell yes.

Did it reach the wrong result? Hell no.

I believe it was in "The Tempting of America" where Bork wrote up what would have been far better reasoning to get essentially the same result.

You have a choice: You can accept all of the Constitution, including the parts you don't like, or were voted on before you were born.

Or, you can give up on judicial nullification of laws based on the Constitution. Because if the Constitution is not the supreme law of the land, there's no reason to listen to the babbling of 5 bozos that happen to be members of an organization created by the Constitution that you so desire to ignore.

But if the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it binds everybody. Most certainly including the members of the Supreme Court.
10.9.2008 9:01pm