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Liberty Counsel Corrects Its Press Release:

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel writes, apropos my post yesterday about the misuse of the word "tyranny":

Eugene,

I corrected the statement in my release yesterday which you have on your blog. The last sentence was meant to say: "The consequences will rest on their shoulders and upon those passive objectors who know what to do but who lack the political courage to do what is right for the common good of the people." It was done in a rush and after reading it I rewrote it.

Good catch!

Mat Staver

I'm very pleased to see the correction.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Liberty Counsel Corrects Its Press Release:
  2. "I Don't Think [That Word] Means What You Think It Means":
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Glad to see some people have recovered their sanity :-)
4.8.2009 12:29pm
Dan Weber (www):
Great. Now what do I do with this angry mob?
4.8.2009 12:31pm
pluribus:
I don't think this is a correction. It is a retraction. He says he rewrote his statement, not that it was misquoted. And he doesn't deny using the word tyranny, only suggests that wasn't what he meant to say. If he is sorry, I suppose he is sorry he got caught. When somebody utters an outrageous word and later says that it isn't what he meant to say, you can choose to believe him or not. I do not.
4.8.2009 1:07pm
John D (mail):
Is this a correction or an outright revision?

I'd accept it as a correction if there were some slight alteration to the text, say a word was substituted that was a letter or so off of what the writer intended. I remember one piece in which a writer decided he liked the one-letter variant the typesetter had introduced to his work.

It's hard to see how one could mean to type "the political courage to do what is right for the common good of the people" but instead type, "the courage to stand against this form of tyranny."

Staver realized that his inflammatory rhetoric made him and his group look bad. I've already assumed that if same-sex marriage is ever established by popular vote that Staver will claim it was somehow inappropriate.

The sooner everyone stops viewing Staver as credible, the better.
4.8.2009 1:14pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Slip of tongue, yeah, right.

Not scientific, of course, but a Google search of "Mat Staver" and "tyranny" yields 468 hits. Maybe tyranny is stalking him...
4.8.2009 1:19pm
Rock Chocklett:

I don't think this is a correction. It is a retraction. He says he rewrote his statement, not that it was misquoted. And he doesn't deny using the word tyranny, only suggests that wasn't what he meant to say. If he is sorry, I suppose he is sorry he got caught.


Sorry he got caught? As if he were trying to sneak the word "tyranny" into a press release, hoping no one would notice?

The whole point of Staver's original statement was: "Gay marriage is really bad for our culture, and some people were cowardly in not standing against it." He later looked back and agreed with his critics that describing the legislation as "tyranny" didn't fit in expressing this sentiment. But I suppose it's more exciting to imagine that he's trying to brainwash a new definition of tyranny into the masses.
4.8.2009 1:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
What he *really* meant to say is that you just can't trust people to know what's good for them.
4.8.2009 1:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
Rock: "He later looked back and agreed with his critics that describing the legislation as "tyranny" didn't fit in expressing this sentiment. "

So he just shot off his mouth without thinking? Perhaps he should reread his press releases before he sends them out.
4.8.2009 1:27pm
Rock Chocklett:

So he just shot off his mouth without thinking? Perhaps he should reread his press releases before he sends them out.

I agree that he should have been more thoughtful with this one.
4.8.2009 1:32pm
Steve P. (mail):
While I'm not on the side of the Liberty Counsel (Council?) on this issue, I have no reason not to take Mr. Staver's word at face value. He was in a rush and used a word for its inflammatory value and not for its typical meaning. After Prof. Volokh posted about it, he moderated his statement to more effectively get his point across.

Of course, pluribus could be right, but I haven't seen any evidence that Mr. Staver routinely rewrites statements after legal scholars post about them.
4.8.2009 1:33pm
catullus:
Whether it's a retraction or a correction, same-sex marriage has the potential for tyranny to the extent that the underlying principle of non-discrimination against gays and lesbians is extended to forbid people who hold sincere religious objections to homosexuality to break or disavow those convictions.
4.8.2009 1:41pm
catullus:
Meant to say "require" instead of "forbid"
4.8.2009 1:42pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
If the word "tyranny" conveyed a meaning that was not intended, then the change is a correction.
4.8.2009 1:43pm
John D (mail):
Catullus,

Nonsense.

It is not tyrannical for me to get married against the consent of third parties. The state can find rational limitations, but "offends the sensibilities of a religious group" is not one of these.

However, when third parties wish to control my ability to get married, that is indeed tyranny.

Religious conservatives are making a claim akin to the Charedi in the post on Israel. Their religion forbids the ownership, sale, or consumption of leavened bread during Passover, so they wish to make this ban effective on those who do not follow their religion.

If religious conservatives can make this claim against marriage, why should bread be for sale across the United States? Don't our Orthodox Jews have similar rights? Oh and what about alcohol? (LDS, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons.)

We clearly need to end the tyranny of those who sell chametz and alcohol, not to mention those who violate the Sabbath, which to be fair to everyone would have to extend from sundown Friday through Sunday (and we'll hope no one decides that Sabbath should be on Thursday or Monday).
4.8.2009 1:54pm
dave h:
John D, I'm not sure if this is exactly what Catullus is getting at, but I think the problem with anti-discrimination law is serious. Of course allowing gays to marry isn't tyrannical, because as you say no one is being forced to gay marry (onion articles notwithstanding). However, it seems likely to me that if you have gay marriage people who provide marriage services will not be able to discriminate against gay marriages - and so you will be forcing photographers to work at gay weddings, etc. And that is, to me, a (rather mild) form of tyranny.
4.8.2009 2:47pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
John D:

Sigh. We've been through this so many times before, but here goes: You can "marry" anyone you want in any state in the union. This issue is about your forcing your change of the definition of marriage on the rest of us.

If you were banned from conducting some kind of personal ceremony, then yes, that indeed would be a form of tyranny. However, you already can do that and always could ... what you couldn't do is force the rest of us to recognize that as a marriage.

In other words, same sex marriage as a civil institution is a zero sum game. Either homosexuals and their fellow travelers win, and then the redefinition is imposed on the rest of us through the coercive power of the state. Or we keep the definition the same, and you're limited to private ceremonies and civil unions in some states, i.e., you end up feeling that the state (and the dictionary) is discriminating against you by including gender-specific language in the definition of civil marriage. Someone wins; someone loses.

Which is why this particular issue never should have been brought up, but that's another argument.
4.8.2009 2:59pm
trad and anon (mail):
Whether it's a retraction or a correction, same-sex marriage has the potential for tyranny to the extent that the underlying principle of non-discrimination against gays and lesbians is extended to forbid people who hold sincere religious objections to homosexuality to break or disavow those convictions.


You do realize that gay marriage and antidiscrimination law are different things, no? And of course if antidiscrimination laws protecting gays and lesbians are "tyranny" then this is tyranny too:

All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.


There were (and still are) sincere believers in Southern racist theology, Mormon racist theology, anti-Semitic Christian theology, and other bigoted theologies, Christian and otherwise. The '64 Act contains no exception for public accommodations they run. If you regard the the '64 Act as tyrannical, then you stand condemned by your own words.
4.8.2009 3:09pm
John D (mail):
IB Bill,

Sigh, indeed. It looks like someone is forcing someone's definition on someone, but I think it's running in the direction opposite to the one you claim.

Currently, the coercive power of the state is applied to me, and you're fine with that.

Here are the real choices:

SSM Permitted:
Same-sex couples: private ceremonies and legal recognition
Opposite-sex couples: private ceremonies and legal recognition

SSM Forbidden:
Same-sex couples: private ceremonies and no legal recognition
Opposite-sex couples: private ceremonies and legal recognition

In either scheme, opposite-sex couples get the same deal. When opponents to same-sex marriage claim they will lose something if same-sex marriage is permitted, they really aren't telling the truth.

What they usually complain about is the application of anti-discrimination laws. You want to discriminate against gay people; we understand that. We're not turning back the discrimination laws for your benefits.

And why just marriage?

Why are we not banning the sale of leavened products (chametz) for the next eight days? Are you suggesting that the government ought to favor a specific religious viewpoint?

Can you make an argument while your religious viewpoint about marriage (as opposed to mine) ought to be enshrined in the law? My religion says that gay people should be accorded marriage rights (why would I be a member otherwise?). Why should your religion force its views onto mine. Does only your side get to make religious liberty claims?

By the way, that my religion favors same-sex marriage is not an argument for. That argument must be made in wholly secular terms.
4.8.2009 3:13pm
Houston Lawyer:
The tyranny is not quite here yet, but it is coming. Every expression against same-sex-marriage is to be punished by the nanny state.

Libertarians should be appalled.
4.8.2009 3:21pm
Steve P. (mail):
The tyranny is not quite here yet, but it is coming. Every expression against same-sex-marriage is to be punished by the nanny state.

You should totally write that on some posterboard and walk up and down the street.
4.8.2009 3:44pm
accountant ed:
The definitions of words evolve all the time. The "dictionary defense" of marriage is the weakest of all the anti-SSM arguments out there. Changing the definition to include same-sex couples in no way affects anyone else's marriage. And how will recognistion of SSM affect anyone's free expression? Are people currently being jailed for expressing disapproval of opposite sex couples?
4.8.2009 4:10pm
martinned (mail) (www):
4.8.2009 4:39pm
Adam J:
Houston lawyer- Fearmongering becomes you.
4.8.2009 5:04pm
IB Bill (mail) (www):
Can you make an argument while your religious viewpoint about marriage (as opposed to mine) ought to be enshrined in the law?

LOL. Do you see it's a zero-sum game? Either your religious viewpoint or mine get enshrined, and in wholly secular terms, that means it comes down to political power.

You may claim to make an argument in "wholly secular terms," but good luck with that. The entire history of post-enlightenment philosophy argues against it. You can't get to justice from a secular viewpoint. You can't get to the idea that you have inalienable rights from a wholly secular viewpoint. All you can get to is power. Not a pleasant new world you're building.

This implies there is a fudge in the Constitution. It proclaims religious liberty, but it was designed for a moral people who held to common religious principles, namely, old-style protestant ones. Without fundamental agreements about the definitions of words and various concepts of justice, natural rights, and the like, you end up with the kind of chaos that's happening now.

By requiring wholly secular terms, you're sawing off the branch you're sitting on.

SSM, as I've said before, is a very small leaf on this tree, but it's still part of a nationwide, two-generations-long (so far) abandonment of a fundamental agreement between people. Now, in this brave new world, Boy Scouts are evil, homosexuals are somehow righteous victims, and marriage is inherently discriminatory. Can a people who believe such things long maintain a first-world economy and a civil order across a continent? How far down this rabbit hole do we want to go? I guess we're gonna find out.
4.8.2009 5:06pm
LN (mail):

Either your religious viewpoint or mine get enshrined


In other words, you want to impose your own tyranny on everyone else. Way to claim the moral high ground.
4.8.2009 5:28pm
Henny:
I had a similar slip of the tongue once...

As I sat across the dinner table from my wife, I meant to say "please pass the salt." Instead, I said "you ruined by life, bitch!"




Sorry...that's a very old joke.
4.8.2009 5:33pm
Perseus (mail):
It is not tyrannical for me to get married against the consent of third parties.

But since civil marriage as presently constituted does impose legal obligations on third parties, those legal obligations are arguably tyrannical.
4.8.2009 5:33pm
Henny:
And it would be much funnier without the typo!
4.8.2009 5:34pm
Steve P. (mail):
But since civil marriage as presently constituted does impose legal obligations on third parties, those legal obligations are arguably tyrannical.

And we're back at the beginning.

"I don't think [that word] means what you think it does."
4.8.2009 5:46pm
Sarcastro (www):
Good lord, people! We need to reserve some words for the 2010 midterms, not to mention 2012!

At this rate, we'll have burnt through Socialist, Fascist, Tyrannical and Soviet. Communist, Soviet, Stalinist and Lenninist are already on the endangered list.

Would anyone buy Obama the Trostkyite? Permanent Obamalution!
4.8.2009 5:54pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
IB Bill:

LOL. Do you see it's a zero-sum game? Either your religious viewpoint or mine get enshrined, and in wholly secular terms, that means it comes down to political power.

You may claim to make an argument in "wholly secular terms," but good luck with that. The entire history of post-enlightenment philosophy argues against it. You can't get to justice from a secular viewpoint. You can't get to the idea that you have inalienable rights from a wholly secular viewpoint. All you can get to is power. Not a pleasant new world you're building.


Ok, let me first concede a couple of important points:

1) Enlightenment philosophy is really secularized Catholic Humanism rebuilt with fewer references to God, angels, and Christ. Structurally, the philosophy shows its roots, however. This extends to attitudes among most Western Atheists which are clearly drawn from Christianity (I call them Quasi-Christian Atheists).

2) In general, religious views cannot be fully separated from other elements of a world view. Hence religious views fundamentally inform public policy.

As a bit of a postmodernist, I will certainly admit those two points.

Now, back to the secular argument bit and why wholely secular arguments are important. It isn't about stripping one religion's views or another from our culture but rather about promoting a dialog regarding views from within a framework where everyone can participate regardless of those views. As a pluralist country that is important.

See, the problem is that as long as religious views are *directly* enshrined in law, then we have the problem that every religion can claim special knowledge of the divine and all that we end up with is political power struggles. Why should Christian views of marriage be enshrined in law and not Muslim ones? Wouldn't that lead DIRECTLY to recognizing polygamy regardless of public policy considerations simply because of the way our Constitution treats religion (this is the way it works in India and Indonesia, btw)? As long as public policy is discussed in a religion neutral way, however, people can debate what is good for our country (however "good" is informed by religion) and we can collectively move forward.

Finally, there is a different metholology to public policy argument which is religion-neutral and fundamentally conservative. We can look back to past societies and ask ourselves what we want to do in the same way as was done in the past. Do we agree with Medieval-Iceland style Libertarianism? How about Medieval Theocracy/Monarchy? Republican Rome? Imperial Rome? Republican Athens? Republican Sparta? Imperial Persia? Imperial Britain? Anglo-Saxon England? We can even mix and match based on our studies of the past.

Defining "Good" is a non-trivial problem in philosophy but it is not one which is fundamentally tied to religion. It is rather fundamentally tied to assumptions we get from various sources, both cultural and religious. However we can publically debate what models have worked or not, and whether or not we want to emulate them in our society. I would argue that this is exactly the process that the Framers went through in building the Constitution of our great Republic. Clearly they chose a model based in part on Anglo-Saxon England and in part on Republican Rome, with both enshrined in our state iconography and legal process. On the former, it is worth noting that monuments treat both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in ways consistent with Roman views of apotheosis, and we have pagan Roman goddeses gracing our state and federal buildings.
4.8.2009 6:15pm
Randy R. (mail):
"However, it seems likely to me that if you have gay marriage people who provide marriage services will not be able to discriminate against gay marriages - and so you will be forcing photographers to work at gay weddings, etc. And that is, to me, a (rather mild) form of tyranny."

Oh, it's much, much worse than that. We have been living in a tyranny for quite some time. There are people who are absolute racists, for instance, who operate restaurants. They would love to be able to refuse service to blacks, but Noooooo. The evil gov't tells them, nay, forces them to serve them food. There are landlords who don't want to rent to muslims, but guess what? They can't refuse! They actually must rent to people they despise! I know employers who want to fire pregnant women because they know they will be taking a lot of time off, and that hurst worker productivity. Can they do it? Nope-- in this land of great liberty, an employer can't fire a person because of their pregnancy. Or their religion, or age, or religion, or race.

and now, you won't be able to refuse wedding services to gay couples. The gall!

Can you believe it? Here you sit,and you won't do a damn thing about it. Where are your pitchforks and torches?
4.8.2009 8:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
IB Bill: " Now, in this brave new world, Boy Scouts are evil, homosexuals are somehow righteous victims, and marriage is inherently discriminatory. Can a people who believe such things long maintain a first-world economy and a civil order across a continent? "

Allowing gays to get married will mean that children will be abandoned, the stock market will plummet, and the plague will return.

Worse, you will all be forced to abandon hip hop and instead show tunes will fill the airwaves. Crime dramas will be replaced by musicals from the 30s and 40s. You will be forced to spend 5% of your income on floral arrangements. You won't be able to wear cheap polyester blends anymore. Your vacations will be limited to historical tours of Paris. Napkins will come in a variety of colors, and you will be expected to know which fork to use in a formal dinner.

I think, Bill, you better escape to Canada.

Oh wait. They have gay marriage there too. Okay, run to China. Life is much better there.
4.8.2009 8:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
catullus: "same-sex marriage has the potential for tyranny to the extent that the underlying principle of non-discrimination against gays and lesbians is extended to forbid people who hold sincere religious objections to homosexuality to break or disavow those convictions.'

Then the solution is obvious: get another religion. Or better yet, do what most other people do, and ignore your religion's ridiculous objections. However, if hating gays (oh, I'm sorry, I meant to phrase it more delicately by saying 'religious objections') is so central to your religious beliefs, if it really is the core belief that overrides any other religious notion of compassion, love, and forgiveness, if you have been able to revise your religious beliefs when it comes to other forms of sex, slavery, women place, food prohibitions but you homosexuality is the one issue that you just can't ever change, then please, refrain from gay sex of any kind and stay with your religion. Few other people can tolerate such nonsense anymore.
4.8.2009 8:50pm
ArthurKirkland:

You can't get to justice from a secular viewpoint.


If not, from what viewpoint can one get to justice?
4.8.2009 9:06pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
I changed the title of the post from "Liberty Counsel Correction" to "Liberty Counsel Corrects Its Press Release." After reading some of the comments, I realized that the original title might have been read as suggesting that Liberty Counsel was correcting someone else (maybe me!), so I changed this to clarify that it corrected its own press release.
4.8.2009 10:28pm
Perseus (mail):
Then the solution is obvious: get another religion. ...but you homosexuality is the one issue that you just can't ever change, then please, refrain from gay sex of any kind and stay with your religion. Few other people can tolerate such nonsense anymore.

We humbly thank the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Randy R., Archbishop of the Church of SSM, for granting dissenting sects the privilege of toleration.
4.9.2009 12:18am
Randy R. (mail):
Perseus: "We humbly thank the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Randy R., Archbishop of the Church of SSM, for granting dissenting sects the privilege of toleration."

You betcha! When I was growing up as a Catholic, my family had sincere religious beliefs that prohibited us from eating meat on Fridays.

Somehow, we were able to live in a society where plenty of other people have a very different belief. I have the utmost confidence that if we can do it, so can you!
4.9.2009 1:09am
Tom G (mail):

LOL. Do you see it's a zero-sum game? Either your religious viewpoint or mine get enshrined, and in wholly secular terms, that means it comes down to political power.



The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize divorce or second marriages of divorcees. Is it tyrannical that the gov't grants divorces and allows these people to re-marry? Is there a zero-sum game between these couples and the rights of Roman Catholics?

No, the Catholic Church simply refuses to recognize these marriages or allow them to have the ceremony in the Catholic Church.

Orthodox Judaism does not sanction marriage between Jews and Gentiles. Is it tyrannical for the government to grant marriage licenses to interreligous couples? Is there a zero-sum game between Orthodox Judaism and these couples?

As the Iowa Court eloquently expressed, it is not for the government to resolve theological disputes. The government should treat all marriages the same, and individual churches decide for themselves which to sanctify.

This really isn't rocket science.
4.9.2009 1:17am
Tom G (mail):

You betcha! When I was growing up as a Catholic, my family had sincere religious beliefs that prohibited us from eating meat on Fridays.


Don't you see! By allowing meat to be sold on Fridays it is enshrining anti-Catholic beliefs into law! It is forcing Catholics to RECOGNIZE the eating of meat!! The law MUST take a side in this! Either it bans the sale of meat on Fridays, or it declares Catholicism illegal! ZERO-SUM!!!!!11!
4.9.2009 1:21am
CLS (mail) (www):
Instead of scaring us with "tyranny" he instead invokes "the common good." What amazes me is that I can't remember a time when "the common good" hasn't justified inequality or the destruction of liberty. If I had one litmus test to decide who is, or who isn't, the enemy of basic liberty for all it would be whether or not they appeal "to the common good." Once you see "the good" as a collectivist concept the rest follows from there.
4.9.2009 3:02am
zuch (mail) (www):
Yes, it's amasing (and somewhat discouraging) when "what is 'right' for the 'common good' of the people" is too easily confused with "tyranny".

Cheers,
4.9.2009 7:56am
zuch (mail) (www):
IB Bill:
In other words, same sex marriage as a civil institution is a zero sum game.
Yes, indeed. Every marriage license issued to teh gay is a marriage license denied some worthy (and wholesome) heterosexual couple. Cap and trade, carbon credits, and all that bond paper is not free, you know.

Cheers,
4.9.2009 8:01am
Andy Bolen (mail):
What he *really* meant to say is that you just can't trust people to know what's good for them.

I call thread-jacking.
4.9.2009 8:43am
Esquire:
I always thought it cheapened the word "tyranny" to apply it to something like this. However, isn't it only fair to compare it with analogous assertions by the social-left?

When the government actively endorses a culturally-disputed thing like SSM, isn't that kind of like the government endorsing the ten commandments or school prayer? Don't both sides tend to (albeit hyperbolically) think it's "tyranny" to have the government weighing in on behalf of the other side of any kind of values/worldview/religion issues?
4.9.2009 9:33am
zuch (mail) (www):
Esquire:
When the government actively endorses a culturally-disputed thing like SSM, isn't that kind of like the government endorsing the ten commandments or school prayer?
Outside of the fact that there's a separate FR/NE clause in the 1st Amendment that pertains to gummint "endorse[ment]" of specifically religion, I don't see how the gummint is "actively endors[ing] ... SSM". It's not encouraging it, it's not requiring it; it's purely a permissive rather than a prescriptive response.

Cheers,
4.9.2009 9:53am
KevinM:
Liberty: It was a pun.

Volokh: A pun?

Liberty: No, no, not a pun, no. What's the other thing which reads the same backwards as forwards?

Volokh: A palindrome?

Liberty: Yes, yes.

Volokh: It's not a palindrome. The palindrome of tyranny would be ynnaryt.
4.9.2009 10:54am
pluribus:
IB Bill:

Not a pleasant new world you're building.

This is so sad I could weep. A new world in which another oppressed group is going to be treated equally--like the blacks before us, and women, and Jews, and Catholics, and now gays. Unpleasant for you, perhaps, but not for me.

This implies there is a fudge in the Constitution. It proclaims religious liberty, but it was designed for a moral people who held to common religious principles, namely, old-style protestant ones.

Again, I am consumed by sadness that views like this are still voiced, apparently without shame, in this land of liberty in the twenty-first century. No room for those who do not conform to the dominant religion. "Our way or the highway." I hope and pray that in the future, even after I am gone, true equality--loving they neighbor as theyself--will prevail in this "land of the free."

Without fundamental agreements about the definitions of words and various concepts of justice, natural rights, and the like, you end up with the kind of chaos that's happening now.

With respect, I haven't noticed the chaos. Have there been riots in the streets? Governments overthrown? Armies marching against each other? An effort to extend equality to a few more of our fellow Americans is all I see, and the spirit of fairness and basic justice that prevails among many of us is cheering it on. Yes, we had "fundamental agreements" in the past that slavery was sanctioned by God and wholly approrpriate to the blacks among us. We had "fundamental agreements" that women were ordained to be subservient to men and were not fit to participate on an equal basis in civil society. We had "fundamental agreements" that gays were to be imprisoned, some even exzecuted, for expressing their love for one another, denied employment rights, forbidden to live where they wished, denied the same rights other Americans have flowing from marriage. All of those "fundamental agreements" have given way, and are now giving way, in varying degrees, to the realization that we are all people, all equal in the eyes of God and under our Constitution. I see, not chaos, but an expansion of liberty, and a chipping away at another layer of oppression. I am profoundly sad that you and others like you cannot see it this way.
4.9.2009 11:00am
zuch (mail) (www):
IB Bill:
This implies there is a fudge in the Constitution. It proclaims religious liberty, but it was designed for a moral people who held to common religious principles, namely, old-style protestant ones.
"You can have any color car you want, as long as it's black" -- Henry Ford

Cheers,
4.9.2009 11:15am
Losantiville:
Sorry I missed your first post, Eugene.

But "tyranny"? Or has "tyranny" just come to mean "any law I dislike, even if it doesn't restrict anyone's liberty, usurp any power that should belong to democratically elected bodies, or discriminate against anyone"?

Certainly democratically elected bodies can be tyrannical. No problem there.

Harmless actions like Caligula's alleged appointment of his horse as a Counsel of Rome (even though he probably didn't do it) have traditionally been seen as examples of tyranny (and madness).

Arguably, legislative acts making pi equal to 3 could also be characterized as tyrannical (or mad).

Thus, if one believes that SSM is an impossible condition (perhaps because marriage is seen as a unification of opposites or a melding at a level deeper than is possible in meretricious relationships) one could see a legislative enactment of such a pseudo status as tyrannical (or mad).
4.9.2009 3:18pm
Nooksack:
Whether "Dean" Staver intended a "correction" or a "retraction," his change of heart apparently didn't last very long.

In a radio interview posted today on the Concerned Women for America website (http://www.cwfa.org/articles/16816/CFI/family/index.htm), Staver reverts to using the term "tyranny" to refer to the action of the Vermont Legislature. He also calls any legislator who would vote for same-sex marriage "not competent for public office," and urges the people of Vermont to "rise up and revolt" in "another American Revolution."
4.9.2009 6:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
L : "Thus, if one believes that SSM is an impossible condition (perhaps because marriage is seen as a unification of opposites or a melding at a level deeper than is possible in meretricious relationships) one could see a legislative enactment of such a pseudo status as tyrannical (or mad)."


One could. Fortunatley, there is no *one* who believe such a ridiculous premise. Therefore, one does not see any tyranny.
4.9.2009 8:50pm
Randy R. (mail):
noonsack:"Staver reverts to using the term "tyranny" to refer to the action of the Vermont Legislature. He also calls any legislator who would vote for same-sex marriage "not competent for public office," and urges the people of Vermont to "rise up and revolt" in "another American Revolution."

One doesn't expect integrity from extremists.
4.9.2009 9:36pm
John D (mail):
If he's now accusing the Vermont Legislature of "tyranny" again, two things are clear:

1) he misspoke; and
2) his words were taking out of context.

(What? Is Sarcastro the only allowed sarcasm?)
4.9.2009 10:07pm
KWC (mail):
Eugene:

Is this an accurate statement of your beliefs? You are being cited on NOM's website in their "response to HRC":

"Serious religious liberty scholars from Eugene Volokh to Doug Laycock to Robin Wilson acknowledge the central driving idea behind gay marriage--there is no difference between same-sex and opposite sex unions and supporters of marriage are engaging in discrimination if they think differently--will have consequences for the freedoms of traditional faith communities. To pretend otherwise is to be profoundly unserious--if not deceptive--about what gay marriage means."

(Maggie Gallagher, President, National Organization for Marriage)
4.10.2009 12:06pm
KWC (mail):
What I find most shocking is that Gallagher cites examples of "religious freedoms" being infringed upon that have nothing to do with gay marriage. One big example is the photographer case which happened in New Mexico, I believe, or somewhere where gay marriage isn't even allowed. It was decided based on anti-discrimination laws and had nothing to do with gay marriage.

But they always bring this up. And Gallagher did, yet again, on Hardball. She does that because it happened to be about photographing a gay marriage (commitment ceremony, actually, because gay marriage wasn't allowed in that state), so she hopes to blur the true legal arguments with the word marriage and maybe people won't see through it. And guess what? She's probably right.

They do the same thing with the Massachusetts "King and King" case that was at the centerpiece of the Prop 8 campaign. Read the case. It has nothing to do with gay marriage being legal in Massachusetts. It was analyzed under completely different case law; Goodridge (the case legalizing gay marriage in Massachusetts) was mentioned only in the facts section, not relied upon as precedent. But, you get one unethical (or not bright?) Pepperdine professor to misrepresent the case and, voila, what he says must be true! In the original commercial they even miscite the Parker v. Hurley case by giving the wrong page number...
4.10.2009 12:12pm
hazemyth:
IB Bill:

"the redefinition is imposed"

This sounds like a milder phrasing of the very misprision against which Prof. Volokh originally directed his skepticism. What does it mean to be thus 'imposed' upon? It seems that people simply have to live with a legislative policy with which they disagree, which is the inevitable result (for someone or other) of all legislation. As such, this 'imposition' can hardly be taken in itself as discrediting that legislation. It certainly can't be likened to policies that materially effect one's life.

I'll agree, in advance, that this does not speak to the merits of such legislation in specific or its consequences. I just think that people who complain that they are having gay marriage 'imposed' or 'forced' upon them simply because it exists is utterly flacid.
4.10.2009 6:00pm
hazemyth:
A lot of people on this blog are perturbed by the way the term "homophobia" pathologizes -- or appears to do even if it's used with a non-medical connotation. I'm not fond of the term, since it's imprecise and misleading.

I've come to examine many people's opposition to homosexuality under the rubric of 'heternormative supremacy'. 'Heteronormative', since it adopts heterosexuality as it's norm. And 'supremacy' because it regards this as a necessarily exclusive norm. I doubt this will be any less controversial but I think it's more defensible.

Supremacy regards egalitarianism and compromise as anathema. It regards everything as a 'zero sum game', to borrow IB Bill's phrase. Either you win or you lose -- but your well-being is incompatible with others'. As such, supremacists feel threatened by the legal recognition and social acceptance of those they regard as out-groups, even if that recognition does not proscribe or prescribe the supremacists' own behavior.

So the mere fact of gay marriage is a threat and a tyranny to those that regard heterosexuality as the sole legitimate sexuality. In this way, it's comparable to other forms of supremacy, such as white supremacy, which equates civil rights for blacks with white slavery.
4.10.2009 6:29pm
hazemyth:
Okay, despite the fact that everyone else has clearly stopped posting...

People also tend to infer tyranny. If you are convinced that A) your positions are self-evidently 'the common good' (to borrow a phrase) and B) popular will necessarily aspires to the common good, then C) clearly only tyranny can bring about policies contrary to your position.

Do people think this way? Pundits certainly talk this way. They adopt conviction A for sheer bravado and conviction B as part of our general, flag-waving adulation of American democracy and the American people.
4.10.2009 7:29pm

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