Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
I think we've mentioned it in passing, but I couldn't find an official thread here about gay marriage. There are a lot of changes going on right now in legislature. How do you think it's going to end up? Will gay marriage ever be accepted in our country? 20 years from now will gays have the same legal rights as everyone else?

Jackie Mason | February 16, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
I don't know, Jackie - it might be a bigger issue with the election than you think. I know that it's about 50/50 in America on whether gays should be allowed to marry, with (at least some figures I've seen) at least 40% supporting a constitutional amendment against it.

Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
Church has nothing to do with it, in my opinion. That's another battle. Gays should be allowed to be married in the eyes of the government and of the state, and they should be allowed the same rights as everyone else.

Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
Cute site on the same topic.

Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
But the church isn't involved, is what I'm trying to say. The fight is about the legalities, not whether they can get married in the eyes of the church. The government currently calls it marriage too.

Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
You said your only misgivings were that the church was involved. I was saying that the church is not involved. That's all. I think you' were thinking of the terms "gay marriage" in a larger social aspect than I intended. I was only speaking about marriage as recognized by the government. I was just trying to be clear. No need to get frustrated.

Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
But this is something to discuss....that is what a lot of people are up in arms about - the language, specifically, using the word "marriage." But I don't really get your argument. I think it's apparent when I say "Will gay marriage ever be accepted in our country? 20 years from now will gays have the same legal rights as everyone else?" that I'm talking about both the legal and the acceptance of gay marriage as a whole. So, just to be clear (although I doubt you will respond now, as this seems to have gotten ugly for some reason), you think it is unfortunate that the church is not an issue in the legislation? Even though you said that you think it wasn't fair for the Government to tell someone else that they couldn't marry? If that's the case, than I understand - you do get to have both if the government allows legal gay marriages - gays will be allowed to marry, but not in the church, which I think is what a lot of Americans want.

I know these things can be touchy, but I wasn't trying to spark any arguments here, just discussion. I hope everyone is with me on that.

Scott Hardie | February 16, 2004
Some organized religions barely acknowledge civil marriages, so hypothetically, they shouldn't care whether gay people get married in a civil ceremony - but, of course, they do.

This is indeed going to be a big issue this election year. Sure, the situation in Iraq and the economy are the really important issues, but they're, well, boring and complex. It takes a simple social issue like this to really some fire people up; I understand because it's my own pet issue. I expect that Karl Rove and his strategists will use this issue to get the ultra-conservative voters to turn out to the polls in huge numbers, the way Reagan used the fairly minor issue of the proposed flag-burning amendment. It's the social issue of the year, and with a presidential election that could be as close as the last one, a social issue like this could be the deciding factor.

The latest polls show 53% of Americans favor a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and 59% think gay marriages should not be recognized by law, though those numbers are gradually shrinking.

Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
It's weird - I read a thing that talked about polls - and depending on the language used, there were widely varying results. The constitutional ban support is what it most horrifying to me.

But back to my original question - do you think that gay marriages will be commonplace and recognized 20 years down the line?

Scott Hardie | February 16, 2004
Yes. But it's going to take a lot longer if people don't fight to make it happen, as they're doing now all over the country.

Lori, I like your point about racially mixed marriages, since of course that applies to yourself. A white friend of mine here has expressed casual opposition to gay marriage ("it's just different values, that's all") and is wed to a Native American woman. Nowadays we look back on the historical opposition to racially mixed marriages as quaint at best or barbarous at worst; in a generation or two, we'll probably look at the opposition to gay marriage the same way.

Scott Hardie | February 16, 2004
Btw, this long thread is the closest we've come to discussing gay marriage so far. Wow, less than a year ago our society was debating whether gay people even deserved the legal right to have sex.

Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
I certainly hope so! I haven't heard one good or valid legal argument against gay marriage.

Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Lori Lancaster | February 16, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
I guess I didn't understand what you were saying because I had not heard anything about that viewpoint before. I had never heard of anyone pushing any kind of legislation to allow gays to be married in the church, although I have heard comments from people thinking it should be allowed (which really doesn't make sense in most churches, especially the Catholic church, like you said.) Therefore, I didn't see what bearing it had on the discussion. I wasn't trying to attack you either. I just wanted to clarify what we were talking about!

And, if you notice in the topic - I put it in the Legislation category, as well as making reference to the recent attempts at legislation, and asked about equal legal rights. I don't know what else I could have put in there - I figure that's what the discussion/what we just went through, was for.

Jackie Mason | February 16, 2004
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Scott Hardie | February 16, 2004
I suspect that the erosion of respect for heterosexual marriage is pissing off a lot of people (myself included), and that the mounting opposition to gay marriage is a way for all the pissed-off people to draw the line somewhere and take a stand together. By fighting gay marriage, maybe in their hearts they're doing what they can to protect the institution from all its predators.

Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
I think that's right on the money though, Scott. Just wish they'd realize it's not a good enough reason to tromp on other people's rights.

Anna Gregoline | February 16, 2004
And if I haven't already caused enough trouble with this - not my intention, I swear - I'd like to ask some other people on the board. I know that at least some of you are opposed to gay marriage, for sure on a moral standpoint. But is there any legal reason for denying them? I find it curious that I haven't heard at least one legal argument yet from the other side.

Mike Eberhart | February 17, 2004
You know what, who cares what Gays want. THEY ARE NOT A MINORITY!!!!. They only say that, to try to play up the fact that people don't like them. I just wish they would all go back into the closet and seal themselves in. I'm so sick and tired of hearing about Gay marriages. I'm tired of every damn TV show, movie, etc. that comes out now, always includes some Gay character. WHY????? It doesn't need it. I'm tired of that lifestyle being forced down my throat. It's NOT OK!

Gay marriage is nothing like Inter-racial marriages. That's not even a good comparison. No need to even expand on that arguement.

Also, I would strongly favor a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. But that's just me. I wasn't even going to get into this arguement because it doesn't ever do any good. You all are alwasy right, and I'm wrong. At least that's how it goes around here.

Anyway, I will be glad to be the voice of the Conservative Republican on this board, so feel free to bash away.

P.S., if you haven't noticed, I'm not the most Politically Correct person around, and I'm proud of it.

Anna Gregoline | February 17, 2004
I don't think you're always wrong, Mike, but your arguments are troubling to me. No one's opinion is wrong, even if someone might think your values are different.

My question is, does someone have to be in a minority to be in a position to demand equal rights? Everyone in this country are promised equal rights. When that doesn't happen in reality, it makes sense for people to ask what's going on.

I do agree that gay culture is booming right now. Look at Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, for example. Even 5 years ago, I couldn't imagine something like that on television. Do I enjoy that particular show? Yes. Do I find many networks putting on similar shows in order to appear "hip?" Yes. Their version of "gay" is just hip and metropolitan right now, and I'm sure it will die down in a few years. But I am glad that my gay friends have shows like this help expand the presence of gay people into the lives of hetrosexuals that wouldn't ever see it otherwise.

I, too, find the constant comparison of gay people and the civil rights movement to be a bit tedious - America is not the same now, we've come a long way. But we DO have a long way to go. Granting equal rights to gays would be a good step.

Like I said above, you seem to oppose gay marriage on a moral standpoint, and that's your right. But do you have a legal reason for doing so? Why can gays be treated as lesser citizens than anyone else? Do they not deserve the same rights from the federal government that you enjoy?

P.S. I'm very confused as to why anyone would be proud of being not politically correct. Most people pay too much attention to political correctness, sure, but I don't understand why you'd want to be proud of ignoring it.

Mike Eberhart | February 17, 2004
Mainly, because being PC is what's wrong in this country today. Everyone is so afraid of offending someone because they said the wrong thing. Big freakin deal. If you don't like something, don't pay attention to it. My problem is, I don't want the PC nazi's telling me what I can and cannot say or do. I'm going to do and say what I want, when I want to.

My examples of PCness that I hate. When people say that black people are African-Americans. This applies to other people as well. I guess, I would be considered a German-American. All you are is an American. Yes, your history is from other countries, but you don't live there now. Your just an American... Also, things like, you can't call a blind person, blind. They are visually impaired. That's just stupid. This could go on forever, but you get my point.

As for gays and having the same rights. They do have the same rights as everyone else. They just think they need more rights than everyone else because they are gay. They don't need to be married, just keep living together like they are, and keep quite about it. And before you ask, or think about it, I don't have any gay friends, nor will I have any. That being said, I'm sure that will cause an issue.

Anna Gregoline | February 17, 2004
But do hetrosexual people need to be married either? I mean, what's wrong with letting gay people marry? What harm does it do to give one group of people the same rights as everyone else?

Like I said above, I agree with you on the PC thing. It's gone way too far in this country. A comedian was saying on television the other day how he hates being called African-American because he's from Jamaica.

And you ARE wrong by saying that gays have the same rights as everyone else - they don't. They're not allowed to marry a person of the same sex, a person that they want to spend the rest of their life with. That is a right that all other people enjoy in this country.

There's a difference between saying someone can or can't use certain language and saying someone doesn't need to get married because they are different in one way. Gay people are still humans, with the same thoughts and feelings towards other people as heterosexuals. Why can't they be allowed the same rights as well?

Denise Sawicki | February 17, 2004
Well, I can see how it could be viewed as a moral issue rather than an equal rights issue. Whereas I have no problem with same-sex marriages and certainly think it would be ridiculous to have an amendment outlawing them, some other people may view it as akin to allowing a person to marry their dog or allowing a pedophile to marry a six-year-old. Also, it can be argued that gays already do have equal rights: they have the right to marry people of the opposite sex, just like the rest of us do. Whatever. For my own purposes, I wouldn't really mind if they'd just "ban marriage, ban it all" as the Hidden Cameras song says. That way everyone, even the unlovable, would have an equal chance of getting married. If you can't tell, I'm not being especially serious here. Sorry.

Scott Hardie | February 17, 2004
As far as I'm concerned, you're totally right about political correctness being a choke collar on real communication, Mike. It has been used as a weapon: Liberals who perfected it would portray conservatives like Trent Lott as monstrous bigots for the slightest infractions. That part is just politics and probably should be ignored, but it has an effect on our culture as well. Just a few weeks ago, a high school in Omaha suspended students for their campaign to give the annual Distinguished African-American Student award to a white classmate who had moved there from Johannesburg a few years earlier. The school refused because the kid isn't black, even though he's obviously more African than all of the US-born black kids at the school. That's a clear illustration of a PC term not even having real meaning any more: If a person who is literally an African American cannot be called an "African-American," while the term is reserved for those who are not African, then political correctness has become absurd and meaningless.

Judging from your gay marriage comments, Mike, I guess my local friend is right: It is just a matter of different values. To conservatives, homosexuals are moral deviants who do not deserve the right to marry; that would be wrong, like a person wanting to marry a horse, or an adult wanting to marry a small child. To liberals, homosexuals are just people who have a technical distinction that makes them different from most of us, like religion or race or national origin, not something that should deny them basic rights like marriage. To you it's a matter of morals, to me it's a matter of civics. (I do hope I'm representing you correctly; this discussion has already had more than enough of people telling each other what they just said. :P ) Looking at it that way, the different conclusions are understandable.

Most people these days agree on where the line is drawn between "nature" and "choice" for homosexuals: Their sexual urges are part of their unchangeable biology, but they choose whether or not to act on them. To use a clearer analogy, we can label a pedophile wrong for his behavior and justly demand that he not engage in it, but we must at least admit that he cannot stop having his urges. Fair enough; if everybody acted on their urges, we'd live in anarchy. So the question of homosexuality becomes: Is homosexual behavior wrong? Why do conservatives think it's wrong and not liberals?

I won't speak for either side on this one, just for myself. I have chosen to adopt a libertarian moral code in my life: If your action doesn't hurt somebody else, and it doesn't threaten the system, then it should be allowed. An adult marrying a horse or a child should be illegal because neither the horse nor the child has the ability to rationally choose to marry. Two consenting men or two consenting women hurt no one else by marrying, nor do they threaten our system (though they do make annoying TV shows), so what reasonable right do we have to deny them their action? I honestly don't want to impose this moral code on you or anybody else; you're free to believe whatever you want about homosexuality. But I see a fundamental right being denied to homosexuals who obviously want it, a right that I like to enjoy myself as a heterosexual, and I cannot bring myself to accept that. I have to hope and fight for what I see is a just solution. That's where I'm coming from on the matter.

PS. While I was writing this, Denise obviously posted something similar and much less long-winded, so maybe I should go back to my brief comments for now. ;-) I'm not trying to lecture, I'm just trying to be very clear about what I mean on an issue that is important to me.

Jackie Mason | February 18, 2004
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Erik Bates | February 18, 2004
You've all heard of "White Privelege" right? Well, there's a lesser-known idea called "Heterosexual Privelege." Read this and see if you think that gays have the same rights and freedoms as us heteros.

If you are heterosexual (or, in some cases, simply perceived as heterosexual):
you can go wherever you want and know that you will not be harassed, beaten, or killed because of your sexuality (sixteen people were known to be murdered in 2000 because of being perceived as gay, 29 were killed in 1999, and 26 in 1998)

Anna Gregoline | February 18, 2004
Interesting. Really makes you think about what it would be like to be gay in our society.

Jackie Mason | February 18, 2004
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Erik Bates | February 19, 2004
I haven't really thought through this argument completely, so just tell me to shut up if I'm way off base or I make no sense.

For you straight people on this board (I think that's everyone):

What is the legal justification of you getting married to someone of the opposite sex? Why do gays have to justify themselves when straight folk don't?

Anna Gregoline | February 19, 2004
There is no legal justification, really. It's just been set up that way for years and years. Government shouldn't be in the marriage business, but they are, and since they are, they should allow gays and straights access to the same rights they bestow by being in the marriage business.

Anna Gregoline | February 19, 2004
Wow, I'm proud of Chicago's Mayer Daley for once.

Kris Weberg | February 19, 2004
Ok, Mike, since no one else has asked, I will -- why is being gay, in your own words, "NOT OKAY"? (Caps are Mike's, not mine.)

Jackie Mason | February 19, 2004
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Erik Bates | February 20, 2004
Oh, someone brought up another good argument today:

How do you prove that heterosexuality isn't a choice? People seem so set that homosexuality is a choice that you can just turn away from. Wouldn't that imply that you had the choice to be homo or hetero, and therefore making heterosexuality a choice?

Again, just slap me if I'm being retarded.

Lori Lancaster | February 20, 2004
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Scott Hardie | February 20, 2004
Well, it comes back to nature vs. lifestyle. You can be born with homosexual urges and choose not to act on them, same with heterosexuality.

Anna Gregoline | February 20, 2004
I know that if I had the opposite sexual appetite, I couldn't surpress it - that would go against who I am. I want to be me, no apologies.

I'm anticipating an argument that then killers should act on their urges, that they are only being their own person. But killing someone works outside the boundries of the law. And being gay isn't (generally). And now gays want the right to marry, like all other citizens.

Jackie Mason | February 20, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 20, 2004
I way on the North side, near Belmont and Foster, so I'm close to Lake Shore Drive and the Red Line.

Scott Hardie | February 20, 2004
I don't know if Mike's going to respond. With Erik on the other side of the fence with this issue, and Aaron/Matthew/Dave keeping quiet, he's the lone conservative in this debate. But I am beginning to believe his claims that the conservative authors don't get a fair shake around here, something I have long blamed themselves for, by staying silent in the face of opposition.

The liberal authors have a support reflex for each other: A liberal comment quickly gets three statements of agreement, while a conservative comment quickly gets three statements of disagreement. But this goes beyond that. It's about perceived validity: Mike has now literally been asked to explain his beliefs, while the liberal authors never need to provide a basis for their opinions. There is an imbalance, and I'm just starting to see it.

Lori Lancaster | February 20, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 20, 2004
I think I've provided a basis for my opinions - I also feel I've been very fair in this discussion, and I'm proud that it's one that hasn't really devolved into arguing (at least I feel that way, I hope others feel the same). I asked fair questions, I think, in a calm manner, and I was hoping to get more responses. It's hard to have a discussion if no one will continue to engage in it.

Scott Hardie | February 20, 2004
True. We need more voices here, of various perspectives. I have gotten so tired of hearing from our conservative authors how conservatives never say anything around here.

Reverse the positions. If a conservative friend of yours ran a discussion site in which all voices were welcome but conservatives did 95% of the posting, would you want to express your beliefs there, knowing that they'd draw criticism and you'd look like a coward or fool for not responding to the criticism? Sometimes you just want to say what you believe, without having to defend it or construct an argument around it. I don't know what you would do, but I would probably shy away from such a site. (It's one of the reasons my participation in your own site has diminished, Anna, but we've talked that one through. It's also why I don't leave more comments on Begging to Differ.)

Like you, I'm still proud of this little community for rising above the snarkiness that poisons so many other online forums. You can discuss whatever subject you want here, and no one is going to insult you just because you disagree. But we're not perfect.

Anna Gregoline | February 20, 2004
No one participates in my site anymore, and I think it's due to lack of my own posting. I wish I knew how to make my site satisfying for me, but I'm working on it. Truthfully, Scott, I think you read far more into it than it was - not to diminish any hurt feelings on your part. I didn't even know it was a big thing until later when we talked about it. Maybe I'm just clueless, I don't know.

Scott Hardie | February 20, 2004
No, you're right; I probably did imagine it. Thing is, I liked most of the people on your site, which made their hostility towards me harder to swallow.

Anna Gregoline | February 20, 2004
I feel like I should revisit that thread.

**revisits**

Yeah, hurtful on all sides. I think I've learned more tact since then, in no small part because of Tragic Comedy and butting heads with plenty of folks I don't agree with. But I am sad when I read your last comment, which references a let's stop talking and get back to talking about Anna's cat and stuff found on Metafilter. I'm sure you were being cavalier, but that makes me sad that that's all my site is. I guess I'm always striving for importance in some small way, to make some sort of little ripply impact, and I feel your site does that. In the beginning, mine did, and now it's just my cat (sometimes, as I rarely post anymore), or stupid internet links. What's the point of that?

At least on Tragic Comedy we discuss things, and it stretches the brain a little. But you don't need me to tell you you're legitimate.

Scott Hardie | February 20, 2004
Yeah. I was trying to use humor as a bit of cold water on the fire. All I wanted was for that discussion to end. I should mention that I was responsible for the big fire in the first place, with my unintentionally outrageous comments. (Maybe we should link this so that we're not having a private conversation in a public forum, not to mention an off-topic conversation. Whatever.) I guess we both have room for improvement.

Scott Hardie | February 20, 2004
Maybe you should stop thinking of it as a community forum and go back to treating it like your personal blog? That would make it easier to write. I'm soon to start a blog of my own, so I've been doing a lot of thinking about volume of content, and I know it's a trade-off, workload for readability.

Jackie Mason | February 20, 2004
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Lori Lancaster | February 20, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 21, 2004
Sorry to get so off topic. This is stuff that should be posted on my own page, not here.

Erik Bates | February 21, 2004
I call myself a "Liberal Republican." If Howard Dean were a Republican he'd tell me that I represent the Democratic wing of the Republican party.

It just so happens that on this issue I favor the liberal stance. I was once a hard-core anti-gay individual, but have since become good friends with a few gay folks and my beliefs have changed. I am now a trained Ally (a person who offers a safe zone for GLBT individuals who need someone to talk to), and took place in a little anti-protest, which I started a discussion on a few months ago.

Maybe I've been reading too much Bill O'Reilly. His books have taught me to take a logical look at positions. People don't know if he's a Conservative Liberal or a Liberal Conservative because he is all over the board in his stances. Now, before you go off thinking I'm a sheep, I'll let you know that he is very opposed to the Gay Marriage thing, but simply on a legal basis. I haven't had the chance to see his show to see if he supports the idea or not, though.

This is in no way an attack on any of my conservative buddies. Normally I would support you 100%, but I just can't in this case.

Now, if you want to talk about abortion, I'll jump on the Republican wagon in a heartbeat.

Jackie Mason | February 23, 2004
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Erik Bates | February 23, 2004
Yeah, my eyes were opened when a friend of mine told me a story of a friend of hers who struggeled with his homosexuality for years because of his strong religious beliefs. He thought that what he was feeling was a sin and that it was the most wrong thing he could be doing, but at the same time couldn't help but have those feelings. When my friend told me this story, it made me realize that it can't simply be a choice if it tortured and tormented that young man for so long. If it really bothered him that much and it was a choice, then he could have just stopped, right?

Scott Hardie | February 23, 2004
With Erik's comment at 22:49, this became Tragic Comedy's longest discussion ever, surpassing even this old goliath.

Anna Gregoline | February 23, 2004
Full gay ahead!

Kris Weberg | February 23, 2004
I'd like to think I've explained my position on this, but maybe not -- essentially, I see this as a civil rights issue. It's a two-pronged argument,d rawing on notions of consent and of the American tradition of equality under the law.

In general, I believe consenting adults can do whatever they like so long as no overt harm is done to anyone else. It's a distinction crucial to legal definitions of rape, sexual assault, and arguably even less emotionally charged statutes like battery and theft. (One can't give an item away consensually and then claim theft, for example.) It's a basic legal principle, "consent." Even contract law depends, at some level, on the notion of freedom to act (or sign away rights and privileges) based on informed consent. It ends at, say, depriving someone of their life -- but then, I disagree with that notion as well. On that level, I can find no legal basis for discrimination against or prohibition of homosexuality.

Secondly, there's the equal treatment criterion. In terms of everything from tax status to inheritance rights to hospiutal visitation rights, married couples are a class of citizens receiving special status and protection under the law. The Constitution itself has been amended to prevent unequal distribution of rights and privileges based on gender, race, color, or creed. Here, I think there's no way out of recognizing rights for homosexual couples. At some level, you're discriminating based on the genders of those seeking legal marriage. If you believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, it becomes a "creed" and thus subject to Constitutional protection. If you think it's genetics, it becomes something along the lines of "race," a legal analogue with similar protection udner equality laws and amendments. There's no reason unconventional marriages could be exempt from the same protections as traditional, heterosexual marriages.
This is the same line of argument, I'd add, that broke down legal prohibitions against interracial marriage.

Nor do arguments bringing in "Judeo-Christian values" count for much from a legal perspective. Marriages performed outside the Judeo-Christian tradition are recognized all the time -- what does one all a civil service, for example? It's legally marriage, but the Catholic Church doesn't recognize it. Or, to state plinly what I stated through satire before, calling on a Judeo-Christain standard for marriage would logically lead to opposing legal status for even heterosexual non-Christian or Judaic marriages -- after all, marriage in the "mainstream" religious tradition must be performed in the sight of God, invoking od's authority, right? That's the authority backing prohibitions against homosexuality, and I don't think you get to invoke God to ban homosexual couplings while ignoring First Commandment-related Scriptural opposition to couplings outside Christian versions of marriage. It's cheating at a basic ideological level.

With all this in mind, I'd have to conclude that the burden of proof is on those who want to deny legal marital status to homosexuals, not on thsoe who advocate it. I think people who oppose gay marriage really have to make some kind of compelling case that it's a genuine social danger in itself. And considering the Constitution's stance that the government is "to make no law respecting" any particular religion, I don't think appeals to Christianity really work well in this context -- particularly not after, as I've mentioned before, Christian beliefs are in no way requirements for legal heterosexual marriage in America and never have been so far as I can tell.

So, I'll restate my question -- why, lin a legal or civic context, must gay marriage be considered "not okay?"

Jackie Mason | February 24, 2004
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Kris Weberg | February 24, 2004
I am professionally a student, I suppose. And I did consider it once upon a time. Weirdly, I never wanted to be a trial lawyer, but liked the idea of Constitutional law or contract law.

Anna Gregoline | February 24, 2004
Yeah, Kris knows how to argue a point. I agree, though, there is no legal grounding for denying gay marriage. I'm glad the marriages in San Francisco are still going on.

Jackie Mason | February 24, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 24, 2004
I was caught in that familiar perdicamint today hearing this news - feeling shocked and at the same time, not surprised at all. It's what I expected Bush to do. But it's wrong to add things to our Constitution that legislates discrimination. People might not want gays to marry right now, but I'd like to hope that many would not support an amendment to our Constitution. Luckily, Constitutional amendments are hard to win.

Kris Weberg | February 24, 2004
The trick for gay marriage advocates will be to make sure everyone udnerstands that churches can't be forced legally to marry gfays, or to recognize gay marriage in any religious sense. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, doesn't recognize non-Catholic marriages as it is.

Interestingly enough, the RCC has taken a unique position in Ohio against that state's anti-gay rights bill, the mist sweeping of its kind int he country. Quoth the Archbishop of Cincinnati (a phrase that seems odd to me somehow -- it's like writing "Earl of Hoboken"): "Homosexual behavior is not tolerated byt he church, but homosexuals should still be protected from discrimination." He doesn't support gay marriage, however.

I realize, also, that much of the opposition to gay marriage is from Protestant quarters, particularly evangelical Protestant denominations, and hence that the Catholic Church's stance on an issue won't much bother them. I also realize that this is one Archbishop among many. However, it's still an oddly encouraging sign.

Erik Bates | February 25, 2004
Things like this really make me wonder about my future in the Republican party. Hell, you may be thinking it, but if you want to win an election, you sure as shit don't say it!


...but then again, the 14th amendment is a bit outdated, don't you think? I guess we could repeal it. I mean, we repealed the 18th amendment because we realized it wasn't working, right?

Kris Weberg | February 25, 2004
I wonder how many more decades will pass before we get a 4-party systems -- a system dividing hardline conservatives, libertarians, moderates, and leftists.

Mike Eberhart | February 25, 2004
Well, I haven't posted in this thread for awhile. However, if you go back and look at my earlier post, you'll see that I said that I would fully support a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Now the President has come out and call for one, and I applaud him for doing that. He has solidified my vote for him this coming election. I do agree that this stance will make it tougher for him to get elected, but I will do everything in my power to help out his re-election campaign.

As for you Kris.... If you have one moral thread in your body you would understand why it's not OK. It's just flat out disgusting, immoral, and just wrong. You can't tell me that seeing two guys kissing is normal. It makes me sick even thinking about it. As I said before, if they want to live together, fine, but keep quite about it.

Anna Gregoline | February 25, 2004
Whether you think it is moral or not is immaterial. Whether it should be legal? That's a qualified yes. There is no legal basis for denying people to be gay, even if it's immoral or sinful to you. That's the bottom line. Which is why I am confident that gays will eventually have full civil rights in this country.

Kris Weberg | February 25, 2004
Mike, not everyone has the same moral code as yourself. And I would appreciate it if you refrained from implying -- wait, no, outright stating -- that I'm utterly immoral because I don't share your revulsion for gays and lesbians.

Out of curiosity, on what moral authority do you base your stance?

Mike Eberhart | February 25, 2004
First of all Kris. I did not "outright state" that you are utterly immoral. Thanks for twisting my words. Second, I stated that if you have any moral threads, and I'm sure you do, that you would understand where I was coming from. Third, my revulsion, as you say, is only for when I am forced to see it. If they want to be gay, fine, but don't display it around me. That's all I ask. Fourth, why do I need to explain my moral authority on my stance. I think I've made it clear how I feel about it, what more do you want?

Why don't you tell me why you have such a thing for gay people then. Why is it alright to be gay? You're obviously a supporter for gay issues. Why don't you, for once, explain why it's OK, and I don't want to hear about civil rights, and that BS. I want a real answer.

Anna Gregoline | February 25, 2004
It's ok because we live in a free society. What does it hurt you if someone else is gay? Let them do what they want.

A gay person could say the same thing to you - please don't hands in public, or talk about marriage, or kiss your sweetheart, because it's displaying your hetrosexuality around me. That's all I ask. You would object to that, and just the same, a gay person shouldn't have to censor their behavior when it causes you no harm and is perfectly legal.

P.S. We're not talking about moral issues here, Mike. This IS a civil rights issue, whether you like it or not. And gays should have the same civil rights as you enjoy in this country.

Erik Bates | February 25, 2004
Funny thing is, would Martin Luther King, Jr., say that civil rights was a BS answer to racial segregation? I don't know about anybody else here, but I thought this whole thing was about civil rights in the first place.

Mike Eberhart | February 25, 2004
Anna, just to let you know, I don't do any of that in public. Being former military, PDA is not allowed. I still live by that today. As for the content of my last post, I was asked to state my reasons, and I did. To me, I don't think gays need any more rights, than anyone else. Also, a statement that I made earlier.

Erik Bates | February 25, 2004
I may be wrong here, and correct me if I am, but isn't saying that you want to deny gays the right to marry then turning around and saying that nobody needs to have more rights than anyone else a little hypocritical?

As it currently stands, homosexuals cannot marry in most states, right? Therefore, heterosexuals have more rights. You oppose homosexuals from gaining these rights that heterosexuals have had all along saying that gays don't need more rights than anyone else. They're not getting more than anyone, they're trying to get the same rights as everyone.

Mike Eberhart | February 25, 2004
Then, once again, this brings me back to it shouldn't even be a right, but I feel they shouldn't be married in the first place. You see how this can just keep going in circles. Since I'm the only one to post this view in this thread, it's not doing me any good to continue trying to push my view. I've made my point clear, and how I feel about it and it's worthless to try and keep doing that. You all agree with each other, and I can't try to convince all of you to my point of view so I'm done with this conversation.

PS, I'm still waiting for the long diatribe from Kris using words that most people haven't ever seen, so, I'm looking forward to that. I won't respond to it, because I probably won't understand most of it anyway.

Anna Gregoline | February 25, 2004
Mike, I guess you can't seem to understand why your moral issues aren't being applied to our reasoning. It's just that we can't understand your view because you don't put forth any points pertinent to this discussion of civil rights. I'll say it once, and I'll say it again: Your opinions on the moral issue have no bearing here. If you are willing to talk about the legal ramifications of allowing or not allowing gays to marry, then I would be more than happy to talk about that, since that's what this discussion is about.

Steve Dunn | February 25, 2004
There will never be a four party system in the USA because of the way we count votes. Two parties are the natural consequence of single-member electoral districts with "first past the post" voting. That is, only one person gets to represent each district, and whoever gets the most votes wins (you don't have to get a majority, only more than anyone else).

This system creates a pre-election incentive for large parties containing broad coalitions. The phenomenon is known as Deverger's Law - since the largest party (the broadest coalition) will always crush all smaller parties, two parties naturally form - the second-largest party is the only one that ever has any hope of challenging the largest.

It's a good thing. It leads to centrist policy in the aggregate, a sort of "middle path" which tends to be very stable.

Note, they don't always have to be the SAME two parties - but there will always be two. In order to get multi-party systems (such as many parliamentary democracies in Europe) you need to have some kind of proportional representation. I wrote something about this a while back here:

http://www.beggingtodiffer.com/archives/2003_09.html#000509

Scott Hardie | February 25, 2004
I'm not going to presume that you got your morals about homosexuality from religion, Mike -- you could have gotten them from the military or your parents or anywhere else -- but I think it's safe to say that most people got theirs from religion. To an outsider like myself, religion can seem arbitrary in what it demonizes as immoral: Role-playing games, rock and roll music, eating pork, working on Sunday; the long list goes on. Whether denounced from the pulpit or by the Lord Himself, these things appear neutral and harmless to most people, but some others consider them immoral because the church says so. As a society of different religions, we cannot live under arbitrary moral codes, because they are incompatible with each other. We have to find common ground in some other morality. (I guess it goes without saying that I regard homosexuality the same way: What is "right" or "wrong" about something neutral like two consenting adults being in love?)

Do you want to write laws for the purpose of enforcing your morality, when those laws would be applied to people who reasonably disagree with it? This isn't like locking up a serial killer who has no moral qualms about murder. This is about banning a practice that hurts no one. What does greater harm, you seeing two gay men kissing in the park, or those same two men being denied for their entire lives the right to declare publicly their love for one another? For the tiny effect this proposed amendment would have in the lives of us heterosexuals, consider the tremendous effect it would have in the lives of homosexuals. They need our protection, not our prohibition. I've said it before, I'll say it again; the purpose of law is to protect the rights of the minority from the will of the majority.

I agree with you that gays do not deserve more rights than anybody else. Hate-crime laws that bring harsher punishments for killing a man because he's gay are ridiculous and unfair. But that's no argument as to why the pendulum must swing in the other direction. If we're going to be fair, let's be fair two ways, not just one.

Scott Hardie | February 25, 2004
Also: We may be going in circles here (I'm certainly guilty of repeating myself), but I still think there's value in the discussion. Even when we can't change each other's minds, we can learn more about each other, and nobody was ever worse off for coming to understand someone else's viewpoint. Whenever I ask you why you believe something, it's because I genuinely want to know.

Jackie Mason | February 26, 2004
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Jackie Mason | February 26, 2004
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Erik Bates | February 26, 2004
We're having this same discussion on another board, and one of my good conservative buddies came up with this argument:

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The only problem I have with it is the fact that children already have enough issues to deal with in today's society; the last thing they need is to be faced with being the son or daughter of a same sex marriage. I just really have a problem with the unfortunate reality (I am in no way saying it is right, but it IS reality) that a child from a same sex marriage or even coupling is only opening a pandora's box for a child to face a lifelong struggle of humiliation and degrading comments.

Kids have enough to deal with these days; they don't need one more thing like this to add to the boiling water. But that is just my opinion.

I for one am glad Bush just finally came out and picked a side and is standing by it. The one thing you can't say about Bush...he won't be swayed by people not agreeing with him. I respect him highly for that and he is the man I want making decisions which will directly affect my life and my future.
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See, I can agree with him on some of that. The moral issue of whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to be married is just ignorance, in my opinion. It's not up to the government to impose morals on anyone. I do understand my friend is coming from in the future of the child. Obviously, this is a difficult issue that has no easy answer. We want to allow equal rights but who are we to say that the children that may come from these situations will be in a good situation?

Anna Gregoline | February 26, 2004
We can't say that. But with the guarantee that gays have the same rights as everyone else will go a long way into their full acceptance into normal society - which will hopefully someday do a lot to alleviate any possible taunting.

Jackie Mason | February 27, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | February 27, 2004
A child raised to be proud of their family should have no problems, I think. And like I said above, it's going to take people in the communities actually knowing these gay parents to make a difference in public perception.

Jackie Mason | February 28, 2004
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Kris Weberg | March 2, 2004
An, uh, compelling argument from Dr.* Paul Cameron, founder of the Family Research Institute:

"Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system," says Cameron. "If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm."

So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes, that if society approves that gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality. "I'm convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers," says Cameron. "People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical," he adds, sounding evangelical himself. "It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin. It's such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they'll take enormous risks, do anything." He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible.

"Marital sex tends toward the boring end," he points out. "Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does" So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.


Paul is a practicing clinical psychologist, so I -- *cough* -- I assume he knows what he's talking about here.

Kris Weberg | March 2, 2004
Or maybe not. It appears that Paul was kicked out of the American Psychological Association for -- you guessed it -- falsifying data to "prove" that homosexuals have shorter lifespans than straight people.

Richard Bosch | March 3, 2004
Has anyone considered how much money gay marriage would cost the government? I imagine with IRS deductions alone that there would be a significant loss of tax revenue...........millions or more. I just wonder if resistance to gay marriage in political circles is based on tax revenue.

I realize that most people base their decision to be for or against gay marriage on some moral definition. It is interesting to see how people get polarized by this type of issue. If you just follow the money..........it's easier.

My decision was simple. In cases where DNA has effect, any outcome is possible. Since we are social animals, all of the outcomes are have good support systems. To deny that gay people are not a natural genetic occurrence is like believing that all of the girls at topless bars are natural!

If someone were going to argue against gay marriage, at least argue about how much it will cost the rest of us. The bias / hate filled diatribes do nothing in resolving issues.

Anna Gregoline | March 3, 2004
But you can't make an argument that we can discriminate against people because it will save us money to do so.

I think, you know how much money gay marriage would generate for the economy? Wowza.

Kris Weberg | March 3, 2004
Besides, wouldn't the sudden lack of spending on prosecution of sodomy laws and Marriage Amendment campaiging by elected officials also help offset the tax revenue loss?

Anna Gregoline | March 3, 2004
Go Portland! Back to my original question - with the rash of states starting to allow this, do you think it's only a matter of time before gay marriage is legal everywhere? 5/10/20 years from now will gays have the same legal rights as everyone else in all states? Where do you see this going?

Scott Hardie | March 4, 2004
Anna: Most of the laws that legalize gay marriage will be written in the next 2-3 years, but appeals and Supreme Court challenges (you know nobody will settle for less) will stretch it on to maybe ten years. Full societal acceptance of gay marriage will take about twice that long. There will always be some people who never accept it for religious reasons, but that number will erode over generations. Legalizing gay marriage isn't going to help the global perception that America is an amoral society, but that perception is going to take, at best, decades to change anyway.

Richard: I don't mean to ignore your comment, but I don't know what to say about it. I'm too lazy right now to look up the statistics and do the math. :-) I do believe it's discriminatory to deny marriage to a group just to keep the government's coffers full, but all along I've been arguing this as a civics issue so of course that's my conclusion.

Kris: Love the quote!

Kris Weberg | March 4, 2004
I would add that Supreme Court legalization of interracial marriage preceded its popular acceptance by many decades.

Anna Gregoline | March 7, 2004
You know, the sanctity of marriage is already ruined, I mean, since Barbie and Ken split up.

Kris Weberg | March 8, 2004
Were Barbie and Ken married to begin with? See the depths to which our society has sunk! Children's toys living in sin!!

Anna Gregoline | March 8, 2004
I know, it's bizarre. I was totally weirded out by that article. Barbie never really had time for Ken with all her careers anyway - doctor, rock star, etc., etc.

Scott Hardie | March 8, 2004
Shouldn't Mattel be letting girls decide in their own imaginations whether their dolls break up or not? Isn't that the point?

Anna Gregoline | March 8, 2004
I just don't get the concept of this company press release stuff. Have they done this before? Do they regularly state what's going on in Barbie's life? If so, why? What's the point?

Kris Weberg | March 9, 2004
I don't know -- guy's toys are even more "fake bio" intensive, really. Every GI Joe and Transformer I ever owned had a little life story on the box.

Scott Hardie | March 9, 2004
I remember those quite well. I still have them packed up in a box in the closet with the figures, intending to sell them someday on eBay whenever I get around to it. Few people know how intensive the mythologies were. Larry Hama, a real veteran himself, wrote every single G.I.Joe file card and every issue of the comic book for ten years, and also had creative input on each new line of figures. I want to say that he wrote the Transformers stuff too, but I'm not certain. The complex mythology worked because Hama was a real writer -- he wrote several other monthly comics, including Wolverine -- and not just some company hack. Did having those biographies for every character, no matter how minor, improve playing with the toy? It did for me, but I was always the type to get into the mythology. I was the only kid among my friends who didn't like to blow up his Joes with firecrackers.

Kris Weberg | March 9, 2004
Nah, Transformers was even more complex, because the UK versions had a different set of histories. Most fans I've met prefer the UK stuff, by the way, and writer Simon Furman is considered the end-all there. However, the Transformers toys were entirely the work of marketing, and the comics creators never got to create anything for it.

Interestingly, GI Joe's figures were created for the comic, not vice versa. There had been a brief attempt in the 1970s to create "personalized" Joes (largely to evade the anti-war sentiment at the time. A character named "Eagle-Eye Joe" was created, acting as an adventurer battling a barbarian alien called the Intruder. This short-lived line also included a Six-Milion Dollar Man ripoff and a shameless swipe of 1940s character Bulletman.

Otherwise, GI Joe was actually best known for hyper-realistic renditions of actual armed forces personnel, a market they've rediscovered in recent times, creating not only accurate reproductions of various classes of soldier, sailor, and Marine, but also creating collectors' edition figures of actual historical figures, like a PT Boat commander version of JFK.

Scott Hardie | March 9, 2004
Strange that a discussion about homosexuality going mainstream should veer into a talk about G.I.Joes giving us "too much information."

Anna Gregoline | March 9, 2004
Don't ask, don't tell.

Kris Weberg | March 9, 2004
I always had some questions about the Dreadnoks....

Melissa Erin | March 10, 2004
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Anthony Lewis | March 10, 2004
Geez...what a thread.

Here's my position. I'm a Christian. The Bible pretty much says that homosexuality is wrong. However, my personal view is...I don't really care what gays do. Just as long as I don't have to see half of it, I'm cool.

As far as gays getting married...not in church. But if a public official wants to marry a gay couple, then so be it. Doesn't really bother me too much. I'm more bothered by the fact that there is a young black man named Marcus Dixon in jail in Georgia basically for having sex with a white girl. That concerns me more than two people of the same sex getting married.

http://www.act4justice.com/

Melissa Erin | March 10, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 10, 2004
Agreed.

Jackie Mason | March 10, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | March 10, 2004
Wait, so if the baby looks black, they will call him bi-racial and THAT makes him more attractive to prospective adoptive parents? That he's part white? What a twisted society we live in these days. That's truly disgusting.

Melissa Erin | March 10, 2004
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Scott Hardie | March 10, 2004
Full gay ahead indeed... This discussion is now more than twice as long as it was when I declared it the longest ever. I know because I added a "five longest discussions" count to the TC Introduction. If you're interested, I added similar counts to the GOO Introduction, TMW Introduction, and FIN Introduction (not that the latter two add up to much yet).

Today's link: God Hates Shrimp, via Savage Love.

Anna Gregoline | March 10, 2004
No, Melissa, but I've been meaning to. It's on my Netflix.

Kris Weberg | March 11, 2004
I think Anthony's on the money -- I wouldn't ask anyone to change their religious beliefs abotu homosexuality, but surely most people could agree that religious views and civil legal matters are quite divergent things. I'm not getting into the whole "criminal law as religiously based" debate on this thread, which, as Scott points out, is serpentine and long as it is.

Kris Weberg | March 12, 2004
"5,000 years of Judeo-Christian heritage of one man, one woman."

Which edition of the Bible is this? Mine seems to have all this stuff concerning God's laws about how many concubines you can have and so forth.

Melissa Erin | March 12, 2004
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Kris Weberg | March 13, 2004
And now, some Republican family values for everyone:

"David Knight, son of the state senator who was the author of the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, defied his father's law and wed his partner of 10 years Tuesday in a quiet ceremony attended by just two friends in San Francisco City Hall.

.....

'Joe is my family,' the younger Knight said Tuesday while waiting for their marriage certificate at the county clerk's counter. 'And my blood family that has accepted me is my family.'

Knight, a shy 42-year-old cabinetmaker and former Air Force fighter pilot, broke his long silence on his father's politics in 2000 to denounce Prop. 22 and talk about the pain it caused his family. He had told his father about six years earlier that he is gay."

Rest of article here.

Jackie Mason | March 13, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | March 19, 2004
Again, not trying to be gay TC, but, Children of Gay Parents Excited about Marriage

Jackie Mason | March 23, 2004
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Melissa Erin | March 24, 2004
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Jackie Mason | March 24, 2004
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Erik Bates | March 24, 2004
Katie Couric is hot.

Sorry. Had to say it.

Scott Hardie | March 24, 2004
Had to be said. :-) But seriously, NBC really is trying to position her to be the next Barbara Walters, since Barbara is retiring and leaving a huge void. Couric has said that she tires of interviewing celebrities because she feels like it's fluff journalism, but she knows that she made her own bed and she can sleep in it.

Anna Gregoline | March 24, 2004
Katie Couric is HOT? Really? Weird. I don't find her at all attractive.

Melissa Erin | March 24, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | March 24, 2004
I had to look it up, I didn't know her husband died, or at least I forgot about it. I guess I'm not up on the celebrity news. Makes sense now why she did that high profile colon cancer test, as that's what he died of.

Scott Hardie | March 24, 2004
Agreed. Part of the reason is that she is genuinely trying to help people get checked, because (I think) her husband failed to have an exam in time and could have gotten treatment, but there's some things we don't want from our journalists, and pleas for sympathy are among them. Dan Rather has been sick for years, but you almost never hear about it.

Anna Gregoline | March 24, 2004
Dan Rather has been sick for years?!?!

Erik Bates | March 25, 2004
Oregon county bans all marriages.

That is so cool.

Jackie Mason | March 25, 2004
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Kris Weberg | March 25, 2004
No comments, just trying to perform a public service.

Scott Hardie | March 25, 2004
Cancer. The latest bout of basal cell carcinoma required facial surgery, and he actually hosted the Jan. 19 news with a large bandage on his nose, no doubt getting a little "Chinatown" vibe going.

Kris Weberg | March 26, 2004
"Do you know what happens to nosey people?"

Jackie Mason | April 22, 2004
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Melissa Erin | April 23, 2004
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Scott Hardie | April 23, 2004
Should it be outlawed?

Kris Weberg | April 23, 2004
They outlawed cloning, but does anyone really believe we won't see someone doing it anyway within our lifetimes?

Really, though, I doubt many of these alternate models of reproduction will really replace our own inbuilt means -- after all, if you have cheap, ready-to-hand resources, why spend a lot of money and time on a procedure with a lower occurrence of positive outcomes?

Jackie Mason | April 23, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | April 23, 2004
I think it's awesome. While I'm usually pretty disdainful of extensive medical procedures for ANYONE to get pregnant, when there are tons of kids waiting to be adopted out there, I think this is pretty cool, because it gives the power to lesbian couples to have children of their own, which is an amazing thing, and it will give them another option rather than adoption, which isn't allowed everywhere. Often only one person can adopt the child, and the other will have no legal rights if they break up.

Melissa Erin | April 23, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | April 23, 2004
True enough. But I think that the technology for this method of child-producing is going to arrive far ahead of legislation allowing gay couples the same adoption rights as hetereosexuals, sadly.

Jackie Mason | April 23, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | April 23, 2004
They don't always throw the embryos out - some couples pay to have them in cold storage. Which makes even less sense to me.

They can conceive - but yes, it's a tricky proposition, because you'd have to go to sperm bank, or have a really great friend you wouldn't mind being intimate with in some capacity. I don't know about you, but those options seem pretty limited and icky to me. I would be terrified of adopting as a lesbian couple, because of all the legal things. So I would definitely look into this if I was in that situation.

Anna Gregoline | April 23, 2004
P.S. Ah, the good old Gay Marriage thread. We could never leave you. =)

Melissa Erin | April 23, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | April 23, 2004
I want to have a baby myself, but I'm terrified of it. The whole thing. So it remains to be seen if I'll have my own kids, but that's far off in the future thanks to the little pill I eat every morning. That was weird back in the day too, so maybe two lesbians conceiving a child together won't be all that strange. I think it's really fun in a feminist way, because men won't be able to take part for once. And anything that gives women more control over their reproduction is a good thing to me. Ain't science grand?

Jackie Mason | April 24, 2004
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Kris Weberg | April 25, 2004
One thing about this that would be very interesting -- how would courts interpret things like custody rights in the event of a divorce? At present, of course, courts favor the biological mother's rights above anyone else's, but that standard wouldn't work here.

Anna Gregoline | April 26, 2004
One thing I thought of while watching a sex-change program on television today - they profiled a couple who were married and the man underwent a change and became a woman. But as far as the show said, they were still legally married. How does the state handle that? I realize it doesn't come up that often, but it doesn't seem fair.

Kris Weberg | April 26, 2004
I'd guess the disparity comes about because it's far easier to give a state the power to define who can or can't enter into marriage than to allow a state to effectively anull an existing marriage due to a change in status for a still-living individual. Generally, a state might be very flexible in allowing divorce in such circumstances, but for various reasons the precedent of allowing the state to intercede and declare a marriage null and void is problematic, because it gives the state a pnew ower over a willingly-entered civil status.

However, a state can refuse to recognize a marriage after the fact if some condition predating the marriage would contravene marital law. In that case the state could consider that the civil state of marriage was entered into illegally, but no one recognized it at the time. This need not be predicated on the willful deceit of one or both partners in the marriage, however. Close relatives who enter into a marriage without knowledge of the relation (or degree of relation) might potentially have their marital status legally eliminated.

There are also cases of married individuals who are still legally married to a prior spouse due to an improperly filed divorce or belief that the original partner has died. In the first case, the second marriage effectively ends and the first must be legally ended; in the latter case, things depends on whether the original partner was declared legally dead.

Naturally, some of this thornier (and rare) case law can vary from state to state, but in general states are unwilling to set a legal precedent that would give them any real power to delegitemate a marriage that was entered into under licit conditions.

Anna Gregoline | April 26, 2004
But how could this marriage be considered an illegal pairing originally? I don't get it.

Jackie Mason | April 26, 2004
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Kris Weberg | April 27, 2004
Okay, let me try again --

Anna, that was my point. This marriage isn't being ended precisely because it wasn't intiially an illegal pairing. Most states don't want to set a precedent that would allow them to "undo" a legally-entered marriage because of the potential for abuse. Gay marriage is, legally speaking, an entirely different matter, because at present those are illegal to enter into most places. This case has no legal bearing on gay marriage, because the principles of law involved are different.

Jackie -- name-changes do not affect any legal status other than legal name. They have no legal meaning in terms of the legal state of marriage, and are an entirely separate legal realm, as evidenced by women who decide not to change their last names after marriage (it's not automatic, despite popular belief) and women who don't retake their "maiden" names after divorcing.

If anyone was confused by continual reference to the "legal state of marriage," it was meant to subtly underline the fact that, under the law, it doesn't matter if you got married by a priest, or a rabbi, or a justice of the peace; whether you made vows to God, Buddha, Vishnu, Satan, or nobody at all. Marriage is legally a kind of tax, financial, and property-ownership status that joins two citizens and confers a variety of built-in tax breaks and inheritance law. It's not much more than that in terms of law.

As such, actual trials and cases and judgements regarding marriage work by legal rules, which often aren't commonsensical rules. Marriage law sort of resembles contract laws -- think of prenuptual agreements, which pretty much are contracts -- and like a contract, thing slike failing to meet the initial terms of the "agreement" with the spouse and the state count, while later changes not covered by the "contract" don't.

The law and legal interpretation work much more like Aristotelian logical argument -- lots of Latin names for fallacies and argument types, implicit and so on -- than like common sense. And one small difference in quality or condition can sometimes make two otherwise similar cases irrelevant to one another.

Kris Weberg | May 8, 2004
Oh, and according to recent news reports I've read (but can't find the link for), Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has weakened his previous claim that only MA residents can be gaily married in the state. Though the relevant county clerk still has the option of investigating someone's claims to residence (or intent to reside) in Massachusetts, it's now basically just a box to check on the application for a wedding license from any MA county.

Melissa Erin | May 8, 2004
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Kris Weberg | May 8, 2004
Well, it appears they'll be going on soon enough in MA. I believe the San Francisco marriageswere stopped by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As a side note, I defy anyone to type the words "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger" without feeling at least slightly absurd.

Anna Gregoline | May 10, 2004
I just re-read this thread for fun, and laughed when I read Mike's second post - this quote: "If you don't like something, don't pay attention to it."

Exactly. If you don't like gay marriages, don't pay attention to them. I wish everyone, people who don't like gay marriages included, could take this advice. Thanks, Mike!

Jackie Mason | May 10, 2004
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Kris Weberg | May 18, 2004
Gay marriage started in Massachusetts today.Note that the world has not ended, and all of the newly-married couples pictured in the news articles seem quite happy.

Melissa Erin | May 18, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | May 18, 2004
This stuff is going to cause huge headaches for the IRS, I'm sure. But yay, gay marriage!

Jackie Mason | May 18, 2004
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Melissa Erin | May 19, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | May 19, 2004
This link might be helpful - bottom of page:

States and Gay Marriage

Not sure how current this is, but it seems accurate to what I've seen before.

Anna Gregoline | May 19, 2004
I just saw it was updated in 1998, duh. I'm too lazy to search for a better source right now. That link should at least give you an idea of what states have been up to in the past. I imagine trends among them haven't changed much.

Scott Hardie | May 20, 2004
It's about time the levee broke. Getting it legalized everywhere else will require a struggle, but it's nearly a foregone conclusion at this point that it will eventually happen. I look forward to devoting renewed passion to more important issues.

Melissa Erin | May 23, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | May 25, 2004
At first, it will be less than heterosexual marriage - but as gay rights increase, I bet it will be the same rate of divorce as the rest of us, which IS depressing.

Steve Dunn | May 25, 2004
Divorce is an important civil right that came about as part of the 19th century push for women's rights. Before that, when women were viewed as their husbands' property, women were essentially trapped by marriage. If you think alcohol and domestic violence are big social problems today, you should have seen the 1870s, when women had very little legal recourse.

I'm rusty on my feminist history, but I believe early women's leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton achieved reforms in divorce (closely tied to the temperance movement, I think - the idea being that you should be able to leave your husband if he is a drunk) before they turned their attention to women's suffrage.

Every time I think about it, I'm astounded all over again that women weren't even allowed to VOTE until 1920 (or 1922... or some time right around there).

Anna Gregoline | May 25, 2004
Amen. Part of why I'm such an outspoken feminist.

Melissa Erin | May 26, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | May 26, 2004
Geez, I would say, "I am so-UN-grounded that I'm going to leave your ass."

Scott Hardie | May 26, 2004
From Paul Harris today:

In Heilongjiang, China, a 38-year-old man was very upset when his wife gave birth to an ugly baby daughter. Since the mother was so attractive, and he considered himself quite a looker, too, he accused her of having an affair. His wife denied it, but he kept pressing her until she confessed -- not to an affair, but to plastic surgery. She explained that she'd had about $100,000 worth of plastic surgery before they'd met, and showed him her "before" photo as proof. The man was so horrified by this news that he filed for divorce and sued his wife for $80,000, charging her with deceiving him. When the case got to court, he won.

Lori Lancaster | May 27, 2004
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Melissa Erin | May 27, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | May 27, 2004
Amen again. This is a pretty stupid case of stupid people, but I have to say, what she did IS a kind of betrayal, if one that most people wouldn't care much about. I can understand how it would rock a relationship. Ooh, have we ever talked about plastic surgery on TC?!?!

Jackie Mason | May 28, 2004
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Kris Weberg | June 2, 2004
This is long, but I feel it's worth posting here. Floored me, anyway.
--------------------------------
"Letter to the Editor
by Sharon Underwood, Sunday, April 30, 2000
from the Valley News (White River Junction, VT/Hanover, NH)

As the mother of a gay son, I've seen firsthand how cruel and misguided people can be.

Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough from you good people.

I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won't get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don't know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for "true Vermonters."

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their lives so that the "homosexual agenda "could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks: "What ever happened to the idea of striving...to be better human beings than we are?"

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?"

Anna Gregoline | June 2, 2004
I saw that too! I thought it was absolutely amazing. I'm glad it's being widely circulated. There is too much hate in this world, and we need to start educating against it when kids are very very young.

Jackie Mason | June 2, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | June 3, 2004
I saw a little scene of liberal happiness yesterday - a couple of white lesbians walking their dog and pushing a stroller with a black baby in it that was obviously theirs. They were all laughing and happy to be taking a simple walk as a family. I hope that complete rights for gay people will not be far off in the future. Everyone deserves a shot at something like that.

Erik Bates | June 3, 2004
My cousin proposed to her girlfriend the other day. The whole family freaked out when they heard except for me. I'm happy for her.

Jackie Mason | June 28, 2004
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Jackie Mason | July 12, 2004
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Jackie Mason | July 12, 2004
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Melissa Erin | July 12, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | July 13, 2004
They'll do anything to get re-elected?

Scott Hardie | July 13, 2004
How come Dick has to be the one to come around, not Mary? I just figured that she was putting her family first. A lot of people in the gay community are upset over it, though, and there's a drive to get her to speak out for them.

Melissa Erin | July 13, 2004
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Jackie Mason | July 13, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | July 13, 2004
Jackie, I've been meaning to reply to your gay pride parade comment, but haven't known what to say.

I understand where you're coming from with the parade - it DOESN'T help a cause to perpetuate the stereotype, and perhaps go out of ones way to scare straights. But I think the point is, it's a day where gays can do whatever they want regarding their clothes, etc. for the parade. When every other day of the year is spent perhaps feeling repressed and having people say "Not in my face, you don't," the parade day is a day to let it all hang out (no pun intended.) =)

Jackie Mason | July 13, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | July 14, 2004
But that's what I'm saying - they're not representing a cause, they are enjoying being themselves. Yes, it's gratuitus, but that's because of the constant daily repression perhaps?

People shouldn't have to always feel like they are representing a cause. It's a terrible responsibilty. I feel like that sometimes regarding feminism, but I don't want to always speak up and complain about everything. And if I did, no one would like me. Sometimes, I just want to forget about it and have fun.

Kris Weberg | July 19, 2004
It's part of the paradox that confronts any marginalized group seeking greater rights and acceptance -- to what extent is assimilating tot he mainstream culture necessary, and to what extent is it a tacit defeatism that misses the point of seeking those rights and that acceptance to start with?

Anthony Lewis | July 19, 2004
"The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage -- no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were. She felt curiously moved, curiously envious of them. She had never to this moment thought Eden a particularly attractive paradise, based as it was on naiveté, but she saw that the women in the cart had a passionate, loving intimacy forever closed to her. How strong it made them. What comfort it gave.

The young woman was heavily powdered, but quite attractive, a curvesome creature, rounded at bosom and cheek. When she smiled, even her teeth seemed puffed and rounded, like tiny ivory pillows.

Let us go away together, away from the anger and imperatives of men. We shall find ourselves a secluded bower where they dare not venture. There will be only the two of us, and we shall linger through long afternoons of sweet retirement. In the evenings I shall read to you while you work your cross-stitch in the firelight. And then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl."

An excert from "Sisters". A novel by Lynne Cheney (Dick's wife)

Kris Weberg | July 19, 2004
Dick's daughter, "out" lesbian Mary Cheney, is one of his campaign directors. That's right., she's helping her daddy run on a platform that expicitly advocates denying her and whoever she's in a relationship the same legal rights as heterosexual couples.

On another nasty partisan political note, opposition to gay marriage is the reason I can't get too upset about Jack Ryan's divorce records getting out and wrecking his campaign. When you run on the ticket of a party that wants to police everyone else's bedrooms, perhaps you should make sure nothing controversial's going on in yours.

Jackie Mason | July 19, 2004
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Jackie Mason | July 19, 2004
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Scott Hardie | July 20, 2004
I still don't see the error of Mary's choice. She's a Republican and believes more in conservative values as the whole than in this one issue, and she's willing to put her money where her mouth is. That takes guts, especially in these ultra-politicized times. If I can support gay issues despite being straight, then I have to give her a nod for doing the opposite. We go where our heart takes us.

Erik Bates | July 20, 2004
I really like this article.

Text:

The U.S. Senate anticipates a mid-July vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. This measure legally would define each marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Something so intimate is none of the government's business.
Senators are involved because officials in Massachusetts, San Francisco, the greater Portland, Ore., area and elsewhere have granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That's exactly where the trouble begins. If states and cities did not require couples to beg bureaucrats for permission to wed, politicians would not decide this issue.

One could assert that marriage licenses are appropriate to government, since couples affect third parties (primarily their own children). The state, this argument goes, essentially protects children and the public from the havoc that unlicensed couples could wreak. And yet numerous family affairs exist in which people may operate without government's green light, even when they influence third parties, for good or ill. To wit:

No one needs a government license to reproduce. One of the most profound things two humans can do is bring children onto this planet. Most parents are loving and caring. Others are not. In 2002, the federal Administration for Children and Families estimates, 896,000 boys and girls suffered neglect or abuse, 1,400 of them fatally. Among the perpetrators of these deaths, 79 percent were the victims' parents.
Meanwhile, some 90 percent of children attend K-12 government schools, while 6.7 million college undergraduates received federal financial aid in 2000. Babies cost America's taxpayers who underwrite education from the sandbox to the seminar room. Thus, some parents beat their progeny and bill their neighbors without government approval. How can this be?
There are no licenses for baptisms, first communions, bar mitzvahs or even participation in unusual cults (such as deadly "rebirthing" ceremonies) that have been known to warp kids' minds _ or worse.
Licenses are not required for parents to serve their offspring junk food, even though 15.3 percent of 6-11-year-olds are obese, the American Obesity Association reports. Parents also need no government permits to smoke around their kids, despite tobacco's health hazards.

An estimated 2.1 million seniors endure physical mistreatment, financial exploitation and otherwise are abused annually. Two-thirds of their tormentors are relatives, including adult children. Most, but not all, grown kids treat live-in parents with love, valor and compassion. Despite these risks, moms and dads move into their adult kids' homes without applying for government licenses. How safe is that?

Why on Earth are Americans free to conceive children, feed them as they please, involve them in exotic religious rites and tend to elderly parents, even though these activities sometimes go tragically awry? Why not license such behavior?

On second thought, these are just four more of life's spheres that government should avoid. Marriage is another.

If two adults want to wed, let them. If they find a cleric to grace their nuptials, hallelujah -- although signing a contract should suffice. Clergy and laity should decide who may and may not marry in America's religious institutions.

As for child-rearing, same-sex-marriage opponents should explain why couples who fail or refuse to reproduce or adopt may enjoy matrimonial benefits. If "the core purpose of marriage is to bind children to their mothers and fathers," as Stanley Kurtz argued July 1 on National Review Online, marriage licenses should expire after, say, five years if husbands and wives neither bear nor adopt children.

Consider also the slammed door that repels gay couples who seek marriage licenses vs. the fast lane that greets straights.

"Virtually any different-sex couple can walk in and get a marriage license," says Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry (freedomtomarry.org). "Deadbeat dads, people on their eighth marriage, convicted felons, people in prison, even people in prison for killing their wives can get marriage licenses. But committed same-sex couples cannot. I can sum this up in one word: Britney."

Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Tell your senators not to molest the Constitution. To secure equal justice under law, the public rights and responsibilities that pertain to husbands and wives also should adhere to same-sex spouses. Government should license drivers, not couples. Marriage belongs precisely where we find wedding rings: In private hands.

Erik Bates | July 20, 2004
Looking back, what surprises me the most is at one time I supported this ban on Gay Marriage. Look back far enough (not in this discussion) and you'll probably find some of my comments on the subject. Amazing how opinions can change like that, huh?

Oh, and every time I see this discussion surface again, I chuckle... because it JUST WON'T DIE!

Kris Weberg | July 20, 2004
Actually, Scott, Mary Cheney has a long history of advocating same-sex benefits, and urging conservatives to adopt more gay and lesbian-friendly policies. She's been something of an activist in theis regard for her entire professional career prior to this presidential campaign.

She was on of the board of the Republican Unity Council right up until this very election, when she resigend to work on her father's campaign. During her tenure, she issued statements advocating same-sex equality in the GOP, including this one:

RUC is an organization that reflects my fundamental beliefs and principles. Working together we can expand the Republican Party’s outreach to non-traditional Republicans; we can make sexual orientation a non-issue for the Republican Party; and we can help achieve equality for all gay and lesbian Americans.


The council, as you can see at their website, still strongly opposes the FMA:

"The RUC profoundly disagrees with President Bush's decision to endorse the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would ban gay marriages, and likely ban civil unions as well--as proposed by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Good and decent people can differ on gay marriage. But the FMA is a betrayal of conservative principles of federalism and limited government. We believe this amendment is divisive and distracting from FAR larger and more important issues, and that it will ultimately fail in the Congress. The RUC will neither support nor defend this action."

What was Mary Cheney doing before she was on the RUC? She was a PR person for the Coors Brewing Company, doing outreach to the gay and lesbian community, and hyping Coors' adoption of non-discrimination policies and same-sex partner benefits. She spent 1999 touring with "Mr. leather," a gay beauty contest winner.

This is, in effect, someone who was conservative but strongly committed to gay rights, even at a time when the GOP party platform opposed gay rights. She worked in a group that tried to get that platform position changed -- it was the sole purpose of the RUC. Mary Cheney was essentially an activist. Her entire professional life was built on gay advocacy in conservative organizations. This is not a staunch conservative who happens to be gay, but isn't overly concerned with that element of conservatism; this is someone who has apparently abandoned everything they've worked for in the last 10 years to shill for a candidate who wants to not only ignore, but actually roll back the outreach work already done.

Of course, prior to George W. Bush's advocacy of the FMA, of course, Dick Cheney was on record as saying that gay marriage was an issue for individual states to decide upon. Lynne Cheney recently stirred up a bit of controversy a few weeks back, as you might recall, when she said that she STILL felt that gay marriage was for individual states to decide.

Perhaps the words of anotehr lesbian daughter of a prominent Republican politician will help:

"I was very naïve in my thinking. I still kind of believed in this idea of politicians caring about people and voting based on a belief system of their own as opposed to really a bunch of people who are really trying to keep their jobs. Because their jobs are powerful, these are people with large egos, are really concerned with power and career, and that completely takes over anything else.”

That's Chastity Bono, for those of you keeping score at home. Newt Gingrich's sister Candace was also an openly gay activist, of course, though she openly denounced her brother's views of homosexuality and his politicis in general.

Perhaps you're right, Scott, and Mary Cheney has decided that conservatism in general is more important than her own past politics on the matter. Perhaps, understandably, she doesn't want to look like she's opposing her own father. Or perhaps being a campaign director making $100,00 a year -- they ahve to discolose those salaries publicly -- helps a lot.

In any case, John Kerry isn't the only person who may have "flip-flopped" on an issue.

Anna Gregoline | July 20, 2004
Didn't the amendment initiative fail?

Erik Bates | July 20, 2004
From what I understand, they're expecting a vote sometime soon. I imagine it will fail miserably. Even the Republicans who may agree with it, won't vote for it simply because they'll never get re-elected.

Erik Bates | July 20, 2004
Actually, when it comes down to it, I don't think we'll see many votes from the Republicans at all. The dems will all vote against it, but we'll see a lot of republicans not even show up in the chamber. Better to not vote at all than to vote yes and piss off your constituents.

Kris Weberg | July 20, 2004
It already failed in the Senate -- something like 48-50. It needed 60 votes to remain under consideration, and 67 to pass the Senate before moving to the House. 6 Republicans voted against it; 3 Democrats for it.

John McCain was among those GOPers who "crossed the aisle" on this issue. He called it "antitthetical in every way to the core philosphy of Republicans." Reagan bigwig John Sununu likewise voted against the amendment.

Democrats who sided with the anti-gay marriage crowd? Zell Miller, the Democrat who's speaking at the RNC this year; Robert Byrd, staunch opponent of the war, and as conservatives love to point out -- I hear this one all the time -- a former kmember of the KKK; and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Story here.

Erik Bates | July 20, 2004
I stand corrected... on both of my previous replies.

I think I'll go turn my Political Science degree back in to the school. I think I'm disgracing my professors here. Haha.

Jackie Mason | July 20, 2004
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Scott Hardie | July 21, 2004
Well, if Mary's in it for the money as you imply, Kris, then what's the point of arguing the principles of the matter? I'd take a job clubbing baby seals if it paid enough. Hell, I'd even take a job talking during movies if it... nah, I have to draw the line somewhere. :-)

Anyway, I still fail to see how working on Dick's campaign involves a shift in what she believes or stands for. You already said the obvious, that she likes to pursue gay advocacy within the far right, the place where it most needs to be spread. By being so visible as part of Dick's reelection campaign despite being an out lesbian, isn't she serving to further the national debate on gay marriage just as it is being furthered here? Regardless, I still doubt that's her motive; she is first and foremost a Republican in a position to help her party reclaim the White House, putting the party's needs above her own. I admire her from the other side of the fence.

Kris Weberg | July 21, 2004
Mary Cheney's public role in the campaign thus far has been to applaud her father's speeches. Her private role? I'm guessing it involves a lot of placating Log Cabin Republicans, and that doesn't seem to be working particularly well.

We'll have to agree to disagree, Scott.

I'm actually disappointed with the "gosh, enough money and most principles become worthless" argument. By definition, I'd say that means a person has a pretty weak moral comittment to their own stated "core" positions. That is most people's moth ethical systems' definition of a bad human being. "Gosh, I sure hate subjugating people, but my particular standard of living is partially dependent on subjugating others" does not make the subjugation of others an understandable or defensible moral choice. It's ethically bankrupt, to say the least.

All I see is someone who can afford not to help people like themselves, but who lack their connections. Mary Cheney and her girlfirend aren't going to need the tax breaks or the inheritance protections or the hospital visitation rights her daddy is currently helping to deny millions like Mary. She's rich, connected, and as long as daddy is a bigshot, the rules won't much apply to her. Just another "fuck you, I got mine" type -- exactly the kind of person who's made politics and governance such immoral, worthless enterprises in this country.

Scott Horowitz | July 30, 2004
I just noticed this posting and felt I should add my 2 cents (like I've been doing a lot around here lately.

1) Homosexuals should have the right to marry whomever they choose. For this reason, and this alone " We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world." I think most of you will recognize where this is from.

2) If two men/women choose to get married, how does it affect you? Not at all.

3) I'm going to use Rosie O'Donnell as a point in this (Reminder that I hate this woman, I like her slightly better than I like Star Jones, and that isn't saying much) At Rosie's trial, her partner was forced to testify against her. They could not use the marriage clause to get out of this because they are not "legally married,." It sucks for this reason, and the reason of health care benefits as well.

My views on homosexuality are interesting. I don't think it is natural, not even sure I agree with it. But, I will fight for someone's right to live freely as one. This country was founded so people could live as they are, without the persecution of others. I ahve faced anti-semitism many times in my life, and I can't imagine how a homosexual must feel when they are denied rights because of their lifestyle choices.

Melissa Erin | August 4, 2004
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Jackie Mason | August 5, 2004
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John Viola | August 6, 2004
That website link is interesting. Here is a segment from the end of the article:


'...Family counselor Brett Williams said cheating Web sites are making it easy for people to stray and helping to ruin families.

“They’re basically destroying the fabric of our society,” Williams said. “Our society is built on family units. Once that decays, we’re not going to have much of a society.”


So why are the websites 'sickening' to you, and make you 'want to punch someone?' If people weren't interested in the activities provided then the websites wouldn't be successful. Does the fact that they are successful somehow shed light on something deeper concerning marriage in our society (reference American Beauty)?

Should we hate the apple or the person that grabs it to take a bite? Should we hate both? Should we hate neither?

Jackie Mason | August 6, 2004
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Melissa Erin | August 6, 2004
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Scott Hardie | August 7, 2004
Amen, Melissa. How much more fundamental of a threat to marriage vows can there be than people actively breaking them?

John Viola | August 7, 2004
Well, lets close down all the sites, and while we're at it all the strip clubs and the entire porn industry. That way, no one will EVER want to be with anybody but their spouse and we will have the happy, happy, joy, joy society we've always dreamed of!

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2004
And you accuse me of simplifying things. :-) Seriously, we're neither saying that such sites don't have a right to prosper nor that adultery occurs because of predominantly external influences. We're saying that these sites are disgusting in the extreme for flaunting their rejection of morality. (Even I don't care to see gay people flaunting their marriages as though it doesn't offend anybody.)

John Viola | August 7, 2004
Sorry, but I don't see it as flaunting. Flaunting to me would be porn on a tv screen in your face while waiting in line at a McDonalds. Last time I checked you have to actively pursue these websites to be involved in what they offer.

Also, 'rejection of morality' - who's morality? Is this a civil issue, a moral issue, or both? I flaunt my rejection of an absolute morality on a daily basis. If I say things like 'fuck' or 'shit', aren't those 'dirty' words to some people? Shouldn't I be stopped for so blatantly flaunting my rejection of morality?

I think the real question is: Why are people engaging in these activities? Are they good, hardworking, upstanding citizens with a wonderful family life that fall victim to the mean, nasty, evil temptations from the devil and his minions? Or are they people trying to find their way in the world, realizing that they cannot rely on anyone else for their happiness and well-being, and must be true to themselves and act on their feelings and instincts?

Yes, you can say people that don't want to be married don't need to be married - no one is 'forcing' them. But look deeper at the social structure and you'll see the pressure and setup which condones and pushes marriage. You'll see that women receive less income on average compared to men and typically come to rely on a man or other partner to alleviate some of the financial strain. Pregnant women are in the most dire straights without a spouse or significant other to provide resources.

If people are searching for relationships outside of marriage, perhaps 'the family unit' is not the most advantageous model for society?

Melissa Erin | August 7, 2004
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Scott Hardie | August 7, 2004
You are correct, John; the sites have a right to do their own thing in their own space. I was overreacting because of the recurring waves of press coverage of these sites, and my own strong aversion to them; the fact that a sizeable majority of Americans would be similarly averse to them is also irrelevant.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in vows of all sorts. It's why you don't often hear me commit to doing something, because I want to reserve the freedom to change my mind later. Breaking a date with you on a Saturday afternoon is a minor violation of the trust between us, and can be quickly forgiven. But if I invite my family and precious friends together and make an elaborate ceremony out of promising to stay faithful and stay married to the woman before me for the rest of my life, I thereby invest that promise with the utmost sincerity I can generate. As those vows are the ultimate that I can make, to break them would be to weaken all other compacts that I make in life; the act of breaking my marriage vows would thus contaminate all of the values that I have, which together make me who I am as a person. In other words, I believe it to be about the most fundamentally wrong thing that a person can do.

In the end, not everybody feels this strongly about them, and the only people who I can hold this standard are myself and (I should hope) the woman I marry. I would not deny another person the right to cheat; I just hope it's easy to understand how depraved I find the act of adultery to be. My passion about the subject carries over to sites and attitudes like this that treat marriage so lightly, and so I react to them unfairly.

John Viola | August 7, 2004
Good, I am glad that the women you know are able to be financially self sufficient - although it sounds like some of them are putting their husbands through school figuring on a larger income overall in the end (not a bad thing, just an observation). My main point was that a pregnant woman will only be able to work for so long, and then will be incapacitated during the pregnancy. After which the new child will be a drain on resources, so the mother will need some level of help. Whether that comes from a spouse, society, or a combination of both.

'As far as people being true to themselves and acting on instinct, isn't there a point when you have to maybe care about other people instead of being so damn selfish?'

Interesting. The concept of 'love' in our society (as it relates to a couple) appears to me to be the most selfish, possessive concept humans have. The idea of 'love' is not that you want what makes your partner happy, but that you want what makes you happy and your partner should ascribe to that concept no matter what sacrifices it brings. Otherwise they are not expressing their 'love' for you. If they do things that you don't approve of then their love is tainted, impure or imperfect.

'Just because marriage isn't perfect and people aren't perfect doesn't mean we should intentionally try to further destroy it.'

I don't ascribe to a notion of 'perfect', and don't see a marriage or person as being perfect or imperfect. What would be the perfect tree? What would be the perfect lion? It is a philosophical concept I feel is an error in human communication. Regardless, I see that you value the concept of marriage and its role in society. Therefore you would like to maintain and support it, whether it is from a religious conviction or a personal feeling, belief or desire. What I am suggesting is a societal setup that does not depend on marriage to support it (raising of offspring, etc). Not an abolishment of marriage - people should still be able to freely associate and marry if they so choose - but a release from any pressure (direct or indirect) to marry.

'By the way--there is a point where you just have to conform and accept it. Not to everything, but come on...you couldn't say FUCK and SHIT at most jobs, or you'd be fired in a second if you insisted on speaking the way you wanted to speak, all the time.'


At my current job (small company, privately owned), the owner says 'fuck' more than all the employees put together. While some people have a problem with it, I don't in the least bit. What I do have a problem with is a sanitized, conformist society which seems to be more and more the 'norm' since our structures are based on authoritarian, hierarchical rule and control - which is counter intuitive to democracy. Dress this way, look this way, act this way, talk this way. If you don't you are immature/a bum/a lowlife/(insert derogatory comment here). If you don't you are insensitive the many sheep and their 'sheppards' and must be summarily dealt with (reference Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' album, song - 'Brain Damage'). And while there are certainly instances when I have conformed against my will, I will never accept it. I will keep struggling against it until my dying breath - since it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

Melissa Erin | August 7, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 9, 2004
I agree with Melissa regarding this statement: The concept of 'love' in our society (as it relates to a couple) appears to me to be the most selfish, possessive concept humans have.

It's totally the opposite. If you are in love, and the other person is in love with you, you'll have less of a problem compromising so you can both be happy. Love is not selfish, it's about sharing yourself with someone else. That's totally not selfish.

I found this sentence strange: (Even I don't care to see gay people flaunting their marriages as though it doesn't offend anybody.)

What is "flaunting?" Can't a gay person talk about their marriage like anyone else would? It's a normal want.

Scott Hardie | August 10, 2004
That's not what I meant, talking about it. I meant the publicity that individual gay weddings have received. It's an important moment now for the community and making a big deal of it is to be expected, but the attention should die down in months to come; it's already waning.

Anna Gregoline | August 10, 2004
I don't think gays have any control over the media? Or is that a liberal plot too?

And the attention will die down. Gays never did anything to bring that attention on themselves except wanting to get married. They weren't flaunting anything. That language is inflammatory.

P.S. I want everyone to realize that when I make statements like this, I'm not angry. I'm not trying to bite back at anyone, and I'm not trying to be a bitch. =) I'm simply debating, k? We're all friends here. Just wanted to make that clear.

John Viola | August 10, 2004
Anna - I take major offense at your using the letters P and S in that way. P.S. What's that all about? Is that like 'psst! hey I have something to say?' Or does it stand for something like 'Poor Suckers'? I am inflammed.

P.S. I want everyone to realize that when I make statements like this, I AM angry. GRRRR >:-{}

Scott Horowitz | August 10, 2004
The problem that this country faces time and time again is that people's religious views interfere with progress. Many different religions believe that homosexuality is wrong. Therefore, politicans and people, who are very firm believers in their religion believe that law should agree with their religion. What they seem to forget is that this country is all about change and freedom. My religion (which also discourages homosexuality) says that eating pork is wrong. If more Jews were in power, would pork be illegal???


Like I said earlier, it doesn't affect (or effect I'm an engineer not a writer) me one way or the other if 2 homosexuals decide to marry. Let them enjoy domestic bliss and benefits, and be happy. They have a hard enough life dealing with prejudice as is.

Anna Gregoline | August 10, 2004
It's confusing though - we do base a lot of our laws on "moral" ideas. Like murder - everyone agrees that it's "wrong" to kill someone. Well, morals are tied up with religion, so a lot of times, it blurs the line between personal morality and the law of individual rights. There are no easy answers.

Scott Horowitz | August 10, 2004
If everyone agreed that it is "wrong" to kill someone, there'd be no death penalty.

Anna Gregoline | August 10, 2004
Well, you know what I mean. Don't quibble over little points.

And I think the death penalty will be abolished in our lifetime.

Melissa Erin | August 10, 2004
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John Viola | August 11, 2004
There are things in a society that are potentially destructive (murder, drunk driving, etc) which laws can help deter. But religious restriction adds another deterrent - a psychological one. If I murder someone I will have to face the consequences of the state if caught. But if I ascribe to a religion, such as Christianity, there is a deeper level of mind-fuck such as guilt, eternal damnation, etc. (not counting the 'softening' of Christianity with the whole 'all sins are forgiven if you ask baby Jesus real nice'). I believe this psychological factor is why some soldiers have difficulty when dealing with killing other humans - even though it is 'okay' because they have the label of 'enemy'. I am sure the military has found fairly effective ways of neutralizing this psychological barrier though.

Anna Gregoline | August 11, 2004
I'm not so sure, considering the large (by my standards) amount of soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and the number of them who are committing suicide.

John Viola | August 11, 2004
Anna - my last sentence was more cynical than anything else - akin to a 'Brave New World' or '1984' type future.

Anna Gregoline | August 11, 2004
Ah. A cynical tone is hard to detect through the internet.

John Viola | August 11, 2004
True. So is maniacal laughter unless I go *muhahahaha*. That would be a dead giveaway

Melissa Erin | August 11, 2004
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John Viola | August 11, 2004
I feel religion in general and Christianity specifically is based on error and actually detrimental to living a healthy life (physically, mentally and emotionally - since they are tied together).

Yes it can create a potentially positive result (billy doesn't suddenly stab bobby to death) but at what price? I don't ascribe to an absolute morality (which may be a simplification and useful for controlling the masses) but to my own moral code. I also reserve the right to alter my code as I grow in experience. Convenient, isn't it??

I didn't use the term 'mind-fuck' in the sense of brainwashing, but in the sense that it inhibits you from following through with actions based on your own thoughts and emotions. You may think and feel that pulling the trigger is not the thing to do (in whatever circumstance we can conjur up), or you may not do it through religious fear and trembling. But if pulling the trigger would be best (in whatever case) and you don't simply BECAUSE of fear and trembling - then I consider that a mind-fuck.

Jackie Mason | August 12, 2004
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Scott Horowitz | August 12, 2004
I totally agree with what John said. Moral values are based on what they are... morals. I know plenty of people that consider themselves atheists and don't believe in religion. They still know that murder is wrong. But, these aren't the types of laws that are the problem. Laws prohibiting abortion (I don't want this to become a pro-choice/pro-life thread, so comment on abortion any more), homosexual relations/rights, observance, and decency. I think I mentioned this before but June 10 in Texas is "Jesus Day". Because as we all know, everyone in Texas is Christian. As a government official, it is your responsibility to represent your people, not tell them what to believe in and what to observe.

In high school, I fought to have every holiday decoration taken down. My reasoning was simple.
1) I did not like the fact that Hanukkah was being compared to Christmas (the only thing the holiday of Christmas and the Festival of Hanukkah have in common is time of year)
2) They were only representing 2 religions and 1 ethnicity (Christianity, Judaism, and African Americans (they had one of those Kwanzaa Menorahs (I don't know what they are really called)). While Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were not represented.

I am a firm believer in Freedom of Religion. Unfortunately, a large faction of our government does not .

My rant is over.

Anna Gregoline | August 12, 2004
The most important reason for having those decorations removed, is that it's a high SCHOOL. Why do they need to acknowledge any holiday?

Scott Horowitz | August 12, 2004
If you read the article, what they did makes sense. They basically said that a state/city official cannot do what he wants. It did not say that same-sex marriages are illegal, it is saying what the Mayor did was illegal, which you really can't dispute.

Anna Gregoline | August 12, 2004
It's just a way to stop marriages. Sorry, but I'm still depressed. And so are nearly 8,000 people whose marriages were just nullified.

Anna Gregoline | August 12, 2004
Twist to what?

Extramarrital affairs, bad no matter who they are with. But with elected officials, I don't want to hear about it! I'm tired of all these news stories.

Melissa Erin | August 12, 2004
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John Viola | August 13, 2004
'Still pissed that apparently my beliefs are detrimental to my health.'
-It is understandable that you are pissed. Things that are detrimental to my health don't make me happen either.

'Yeah, if my husband cheated on me with anyone, I sure as hell wouldn't have been standing by his side and holding his hand. I'd have been beating him with a baseball bat.'
-WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? He'd beat the shit out of him with a baseball bat spiked with rusty nails! 'Die you evil, nasty, gay, extramarital loving spawn from hell!!' Here is a little piece of forgiveness - Jesus style!

*children burst into the off-key rendition of Jesus Loves Me*
'Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong!'

Melissa Erin | August 13, 2004
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John Viola | August 14, 2004
I feel that way about religion. If that makes me arrogant to you so be it. I don't recall making an attack on anyone - I simply stated my thoughts on the matter. I don't despise you Melissa, just Christianity. Similar to the way God doesn't hate the sinner, just the sin.

'Apparently, you think I'd actually DO these violent things to people. I was merely expressing that I'd be upset and not very supportive of being cheated on.'

I know. That was just my knack for hyperbole. The point is, from a Christian standpoint, what would Jesus do in that situation? Would he be upset and not very supportive? Or would he act a different way? (when I say Jesus, I am referring to the concept of Jesus we have in our society, regardless whether it is God as man or skewed from the reality of an actual Jesus- since I am not sure how we could tell if that was the case)

'I apparently missed the part of the Bible where Jesus told people to never express ANY emotion and to be a doormat for everyone to wipe their feet on.'

'Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.'
- Colossians 3:13

'You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do no resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.'
- Matthew 5:38-42

Passages taken from the NIV Study Bible

Anna Gregoline | August 14, 2004
Uh, ok. So it's not ok to be upset at all about something like that? That's not even human, and it would make religious people, if they actually followed it, more like the robots you seem to think they are.

John Viola | August 14, 2004
I never said not to be upset. Doesn't seem to be very healthy not to be upset, does it? I was merely quoting the Bible since Melissa said she apparently missed that part. Since in that situation it appears the New Testament promotes a passive, understanding, non-judgmental role. Not my religion, just quoting some passages.

Why does it seem that I think religious people are robots?

Melissa Erin | August 14, 2004
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John Viola | August 15, 2004
Do you mean selling in the temple?

'When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me" Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body.'
- John 2:13-21

Two things: First, Jesus is acting while catching these people in the act of 'sin'. Second, from a Christian point of view, Jesus is God as man - and the Jews ask for proof of this authority. He is not some lowly, imperfect, sinful human like every other flesh bag that has walked the earth.

Contrast with the following example:

'The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
- John 8:3-11

Anna Gregoline | August 15, 2004
No, but you've missed the entire point. When Melissa said she would beat her husband with a baseball bat if he cheated, she was KIDDING. She was saying, in a jovial way, that she'd be furious. That doesn't make her a violent person, for saying that. It doesn't mean that she couldn't someday forgive her husband for doing that.

You're saying to her, "Be kind and forgiving" about a hypothetical situation in which she wouldn't literally behave the way she said she would. So what are you arguing?

Melissa Erin | August 15, 2004
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Melissa Erin | August 15, 2004
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Jackie Mason | August 25, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 25, 2004
I'm really unsure why the news is covering this like it's a big deal. It doesn't change anything.

Jackie Mason | August 25, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | August 26, 2004
Sure, I get what you're saying. But Cheney didn't really say anything that radical. He said that he doesn't agree that it should be a constitutional amendment (which to me looks like Bush realizing it's not going to happen and that most people think it's ludicrious to amend the constituition over this, and is making Cheney talk for damage control). It makes them a teeny bit more center. That's all.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
I'm going to resurrect this topic because of the gay marriage bans - 11 states passed them. Again, I'm not super surprised but it's disheartening, to say the least.

I think people still don't get that gays won't be marrying in their church - it's a legal thing.

I hope I see gay marriage happening well within my own lifetime, but I'm not sure anymore.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
Geeze this thread loads slowly...

Anyway, my thought is this. It doesn't affect me or anyone. Allow these people to share maridal benefits. This again comes down to religious views on the subject of homosexuality. Are people forced to not eat meat on Fridays because of Lent? Is pre-maridal sex illegal? This country is not a theocracy, as much as some in the Bible Belt would like to think. I just hope that we make a radical swing in the next 10 years.

Mike Eberhart | November 3, 2004
Wow, this thread is coming back to life again.

All I know is with this election, you pretty much found out where a majority of the people stand on this issue. The 11 states that passed these bans, passed them overwhelmingly. Ohio even went further and banned civil unions. I, for one, am happy that these states were making a stand against what happened earlier this year. They made their voices heard, and I think it will just get louder.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
The separation of church and state no longer exists. And it's only going to get worse over four years.

Anthony Lewis | November 3, 2004
I'm not crazy about gay marriage, but I wouldn't stand in anyone's way if that's what they wanted to do. I just don't think it should be sanctioned by the church.

I just don't think that it's right for government to deny two people who have chosen to share a life together, to share benefits. Or to adopt a child. Or whatever. That's the problem I have with the issue.

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
The church has nothing to do with it. It's weird to me to think that so many people in this country think it does. THAT'S why it's failing.

Marriage is a civil union. A civil union is marriage. It's all semantics.

If you get married in the church and don't tell the government or file any papers - in their eyes, you're not married. Simple as that.

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
I agree. This isn't about the church's recognition of it. The government is who should recognize it. I could go out and get married tomorrow by a justice of the peace and it would be legal. This is about the government.

Erik Bates | November 3, 2004
DIE THREAD DIE!

What the hell. I'll chime in now... again.

"It's common sense that marriage should be between a man and a woman," read a flyer that was distributed to advertise the Defense of Marriage rally held here in Sioux City a few weeks ago.

I disagree. It is NOT common sense at all. It's common sense under a Christian / religious viewpoint. Hell, "marriage" is a religious thing. I don't care who the church agrees to marry. They're a private institution with no connection to the government.

Why should a legal contract care about the gender of those entering into the cotnract? Isn't that all the legal side of a marriage is?

Scott Horowitz | November 3, 2004
It's the thread that doesn't end, it just goes on and on my friends... some started posting...


hehehe,

Wow Erik. You're views in the last day have really impressed me. Can you convince the rest of the GOP to see things this way?

Anna Gregoline | November 3, 2004
Yes, please, Erik.

Erik Bates | November 3, 2004
I'm the definition of a moderate. I just cling to the Republican title for nostalgia sake, I think :)

Amy Austin | November 4, 2004
"You know, the sanctity of marriage is already ruined, I mean, since Barbie and Ken split up."

"Were Barbie and Ken married to begin with?"

Puh-lease, people... anyone with any sense of gay-dar whatsoever knows that Ken is gay!!! (And GI Joe is most likely the reason for the split!) ;>) That's how far I've gotten on the reading... a pretty interesting thread, I must say.

Anna Gregoline | November 4, 2004
Barbie's such a slut - GI Joe isn't even to scale!

Lori Lancaster | November 4, 2004
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Jackie Mason | November 4, 2004
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Kris Weberg | November 4, 2004
I'm pretty sure Vegas weddings and the many spouses of Liz Taylor have made the sanctity of marriage a canard by now.

For me, gay marriage always comes down to a bigger issue anyway -- the pitfalls of legislating "pure" morality, as opposed to socially "useful" morality. You can make an easy case, without regard to religion, for outlawing murder, theft, fraud, and so on. A society that permitted such things would soon be broke, dead, and wracked with deep distrust. It's a lot harder to make such claims about gay civil unions and so on -- gay couples have been in long-term relationships for centuries, and society still stands. Giving gays equal treatment under the law in regards to those relationships is unlikely to change anything in any practical sense, except for gays themselves.

Look, some people dislike homosexuality. Intensely. I imagine most of us find coprophilia/phagia -- ask if you want to, but be warned -- deeply disgusting and grotesque, but I doubt many of us would really want a legal ban on the practice.

Some people think homosexuality is a sin, that God frowns on it. Orthodox Jews think eating pork is a sin, but they generally don't sponsor Constitutional amendments against bacon.

Perspective and proportion, I think, and the realization that democratic republicanism doesn't mean everyone lives as you'd like them to, are important to keep in mind.

Amy Austin | November 4, 2004
"Katie Couric is HOT? Really? Weird. I don't find her at all attractive."

Still working my way down this Giant Beanstalk called a thread...

Just wanted to let you know whenever I'm in total agreement with you, Anna... it does happen from time to time!

Amy Austin | November 5, 2004
"While I'm usually pretty disdainful of extensive medical procedures for ANYONE to get pregnant, when there are tons of kids waiting to be adopted out there..."

Holy shit, Anna -- another point we agree on... I even said this in another thread ("Bad Medicine"), with no response from you!

Added: And before you possibly try to read into this as "antagonism" -- it's totally not. Strictly commentary.

Amy Austin | November 5, 2004
That *was* some letter that Kris posted.

"Wow, I had no idea that Cheney's daughter was a lesbian."

Don't feel bad, Jackie -- I didn't know until I heard Kerry say it in the debates, and SNL's parody of the debates made me laugh so hard because of it being news to me and how he just blurted it out... hilarious!

Lori Lancaster | November 5, 2004
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Anna Gregoline | November 5, 2004
I don't respond to every comment.

Jackie Mason | November 5, 2004
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Mike Eberhart | November 5, 2004
I know it's not helping their cause. I get so sick of having Gay characters showing up in every show that I watch now. It doesn't need to be there. It didn't used to be there, so why do they have to have a gay character on every show now? It's getting really old, and to the point where I won't watch network television or cable television any longer.

Kris Weberg | November 5, 2004
There also didn't used to be African-American characters on TV shows.

Todd Brotsch | November 5, 2004
Damn right, and they shouldn't now!!! Send them back to UPN!!!!



{/sarcasam}

Amy Austin | November 5, 2004
Hahaha... the Chicago network. But seriously, some balance would be nice. It's just like anything else requiring change... it seems that the pendulum has to swing all the way over to come back to the middle of something.

Amy Austin | November 5, 2004
Whew! I finally caught up with the end of this, and man, oh man, what a thread! Some very interesting digressions, to say the least... I am hoping for the return of both John & Melissa, two very well-spoken people!

And I now feel the need to say something about the recurring comment that Vegas weddings are ruining the sanctity of marriage... since, as I already stated, I got married in Vegas, I'm feeling a little ruffled by the constant repetition of that statement. I know what everyone is referring to... the spontaneous wedding (and just as quickly anulling) of folks without a clue -- much like the "heat of the moment" rashness that the Brady laws were designed to protect us from -- but not all Vegas weddings are like that.

Some people actually find more romance and meaning in an elopement than in a big, overblown ceremony... the expense of which would have been better spent on the down payment for a house to live in! (Exactly what I would have done if I -- or anybody in my family -- had that kind of money when I got married... I would never allow my folks to waste thousands, or even hundreds, on a wedding ceremony, unless they were rich as royalty.)

Also, how hypocritical is it to want marriage rights for gay people, while frowning on the uncomparable ease with which a couple can get married in Vegas? What if gay people could get married with such ease? Is it only okay for gay couples to get married if they do it the "traditional" way? I just think that not a lot of thought seems to be going into this anti-Vegas sentiment. Kris has articulated the separation between ethics and morality very well and more than once here, and what it comes down to is this: you can try to legislate in accordance with your sense of morality all you want (that's what most politicians do), but the law is only intended for the upholding of ETHICS, not morality. You *cannot* legislate morality, just as you cannot legislate "common sense" -- and I am so tired of the idiots who just keep on trying...

Erik Bates | November 5, 2004
I'm afraid to comment on this thread, because I'm too lazy to go back and read what I've already said, and I don't want to contradict/repeat myself and make this thing stretch out even farther than it should.

Then again, it's already longer than it should be.

Kris Weberg | November 5, 2004
To Amy -- I don't have a problem with spontaneous or even 'rash" weddings, which I freely admit are not always the same thing. I consider marriage to be a legal status, and anything else one says of it to be one's personal religious or moral beliefs, which are independent of legislation. As I've said before, I doubt a ruling that the government has no pwoer to recognize any marriage of any kind would cause most married couples to consider themselves single; such a ruling would affect tax claims, certain legal rights pertaining to proprty and inheritance, and consent forms, not the way people feel or what they believe.

My argument is that it's inconsistent to decry gay marriage as bad for families because it "undermines" heterosexual marriage unless you're equally willing to attack the various other legal conditions that can be said to weaken heterosexual marriage, such as divorce laws, the decriminalization of adultery, single parenthood, and so on. And it's even less consistent to decry gay marriage as "unChristian" while failing to decry heterosexual marriages that are not Christian as similarly being "false" because, strictly speaking, no marriage that is not performed by a church official is "real" from most religious standpoints. They shouldn't recognize, say, a Hindu ceremony, because the joining of couples is an authority possessed only by the Christian God.

But opponents of gay marriage who cite some general "defense of marriage" single out gay marriage, so I call them on it.

To Mike -- Apologies for the srcastic response to your comment. I wholeheartedly support your course of action in not watching shows that include elements you don't enjoy, not that it should matter if I approve or not. But I'm not in favor of banning the writers of shows from including what they want to include in their programs, for whatever reasons they choose, with a few obvious and probably universally-shared exceptions I hope I don't need to relay in detail.

To Erik -- I dunno, seems people still feel they have stuff to say about it. I say the thread lives till everyone runs out of steam on it, or Scott intervenes.

Amy Austin | November 5, 2004
Kris -- Sure... I understood/understand all of your points perfectly well, and I find your argument(s) to be completely legit. And as far as any government rulings concerning marriage go, I have no fears of being anulled and/or considered illegally wed and wasn't trying to imply as such. Just trying to point out that I don't think "Vegas weddings" -- or gay marriage, for that matter -- do undermine heterosexual marriage. Or... maybe on second thought, I rather believe they do but really just don't care. Maybe the concept of marriage really is outdated/antiquated, because I don't think that I see it as much beyond a legal contract, either, and right now in my life might not be the best time for me to be thinking too much about the matter.

Kris Weberg | November 6, 2004
Oh, I doubt anyone's marriage will be anuled by the government anytime soon, unless theyre homosexo-, bi-, or polygamous.

But yeah, I think legal marriage is just that -- legal -- and should not pretend to any special religious status. Religious marriage is and should be a whole other matter, not dependent on the law to function nor the law's dependence for its functioning.

Scott Hardie | November 6, 2004
Maybe you misunderstand our "anti-Vegas sentiment," Amy. I'll speak for myself here: I cite it as something that social conservatives should oppose if they're going to oppose gay marriage on the grounds of "the sanctity of marriage." In other words, why do they condone it? My statement is about their beliefs, not mine. Personally, I'm all for Vegas weddings; I've certainly considered getting one.

Jackie Mason | January 13, 2005
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Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
heeheehee -- that's pretty funny, Jackie... how 'bout giving lil' Bushie the ability to be pregnant, while we're at it!

Erik Bates | January 13, 2005
FUUUUUCK! DIE DIE DIE!*

But yeah, that would be funny.


(*aimed at the immortal discussion, not Jackie or Amy)

Mike Eberhart | January 13, 2005
I'd kill myself if that happened. Plain and simple.....

Jackie Mason | January 13, 2005
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Mike Eberhart | January 13, 2005
If it happened to me... I don't know what others would do, but I would seriously consider just knocking myself off.... Just an opinion...

Amy Austin | January 13, 2005
Some gay people do consider that when coming to grips with their identities... that's the tragedy of it and part of the point, I think. Nobody WANTS to be different and/or to live a life of shame and humiliation... but it's the fear and hatred from others that makes it that way.

Kris Weberg | January 13, 2005
If we were a genuinely free society, I doubt we'd be having this discussion at all.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Why, exactly, does the state have any say whatsoever about marriage?

Erik Bates | January 13, 2005
I may have said this once before, but I don't have the energy to read this again.

Churches can refuse to marry people, because marriage is basically a religious thing. The legal side of a marriage is the business of the state. I'm pretty sure that we have laws that make discrimination based on sex illegal, so denying a man to enter into a legal contract with another man is illegal because you are basing the acceptance or denial soley on the gender of one of the parties.

Right?

Right?

Kris Weberg | January 13, 2005
Except that at present a man can't even have a civil wedding to another man in most states, despite the nature of a civil ceremony as a non-religious, effectually contractual arrangement.

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
Oh, I'm not saying that they can. It's just my argument to why they SHOULD.

Scott Hardie | January 14, 2005
Mike: I wouldn't put down your opinion any more than you'd put down mine, but I do wonder something. If you would probably kill yourself because you can't imagine life as a homosexual, does that explain your attitude about gay marriage, and homosexuality in general, via an absence of empathy for gay people? If you can't imagine being one, then you can't form real empathy for them, which obviously would influence your judgment about their political situation. I'm not trying to simplify your opinions or tell you that you're wrong; your words just got me thinking.

Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
That's interesting, Scott. I imagine that people who are more able to place themselves in others shoes ARE more able to feel empathetic for their situation...sometimes it's because we CAN'T imagine but still feel awful about it though...I mean, I have NO idea what it's like to be discriminated against because of your race, since I'm a little white girl - but from the strength of my reaction at being discriminated against because of my gender, I can only imagine how horrible it must be.

Everyone has been discriminated against in some way, I'm sure, whether it's for ethnicity or culture or their gender or their beliefs in God, etc...if only everyone could try and imagine what it would be like to have a greater discrimination and hatred pressed against them in ways that would never effect them - well, we might have a much nicer society. One where everyone was truly treated equally, as it should be.

Scott Horowitz | January 14, 2005
Wow, you take a day off from work, and TC gets booming. Geeze. I'll tell you the problem with homosexuality. I think it is how Chris Rock explained black people, "you have black people and you have n****rs." In the case of gay people, you have gays and you have fags. The flamboyantly gay that make metrosexuality cool It is this culture that scares many people.

Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
Wow, I like Chris Rock less every time I hear him. I vehementaly disagree with this assesment. Seems rude and wrong to me.

Mike Eberhart | January 14, 2005
Actually, I agree with his assessment. Nails it right on.

Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
Well, that's not surprising.

Jackie Mason | January 14, 2005
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Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
Like how it's okay for blacks to call each other "my nigga'" -- or do they just let anyone (not total strangers, mind you) say it to them (teasingly, of course)?

Jackie Mason | January 14, 2005
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Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
Yep -- that's exactly it. My gay friends were (and probably ARE -- we've been out of touch) the same way. In school, we used to call each other on the phone, and our greetings usually involved some form of trashy name-calling... it was all in fun. He was easily the funniest guy I ever knew -- well, on the Top 5 anyway...

Scott Horowitz | January 14, 2005
Hey, the gay thing was my assessment. He said the thing about black people, and I adapted it.

Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
Yeah, I was disgusted with your comment more.

Scott Horowitz | January 14, 2005
What is there to be disgusted about? You can be gay without being flamboyant. It wasn't meant to piss people off. I used it to articulate a point, which I feel that I got across.

Erik Bates | January 14, 2005
It's all about understanding WHAT people are trying to say and now HOW they are saying it.

Scott made a valid point, and a good analogy, in my opinion.

Kris Weberg | January 14, 2005
Having known several people involved in gay rights advocacy and outreach groups, I've heard both shocked and amused stories about the use -- within the gay community -- of exactly the distinction Scott Horowitz notes.

Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
I can't help what I feel disgusted about - I just said what I felt. I'm glad you feel you got your point across.

As I was talking about earlier, sometimes we're not able to understand a minority viewpoint - I cannot understand anyone wanting to use terms that have been used to degrade their group. I, for example, don't feel like calling my friends bitches and hoes, although that is a mild example.

I will always feel disgusted when I hear ugly words like those - I can't shake the feeling that it only perpetuates the usage of them by people who AREN'T a part of the group, like yourself, Scott (unless I missed something, and you're gay?).

I know that many people have the other viewpoint, this is just my own.

Jackie Mason | January 14, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
I know people do - but I wouldn't personally, or at least I don't think I have. It's not really the same thing, though. Weak example.

Jackie Mason | January 14, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | January 14, 2005
I'm saying for me personally, I don't like to hear or use terms that are hurtful - I don't like to take the risk that someone would feel bad when I used it, nor do I want to perpetuate the usage of those words.

I feel the bitch/hoe example was a poor one, and I regret making it, because it is legions away from the hurt I imagine a gay person would feel being called a "faggot" in anger and hatred, just the same for a black person being called a "nigger" in anger and hatred.

Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
I don't know about that, Anna -- I get pretty upset about being called "bitch" by a stranger or someone I don't consider a friend (that is, if it isn't meant in a friendly way)... and if you'd get offended by just friends saying that to you, then how can you say that it's "legions away" for someone else? And besides, we aren't talking about name-calling "in anger and hatred" -- we're talking about between friends/acquaintances... and by comedians.

I think Jackie summed it up well -- it depends completely on the people in question.

Amy Austin | January 14, 2005
Incidentally, I just saw a very recent performance by Chris Rock, and it included -- naturally -- jokes about gay marriage, because it's an "in" thing to joke about. It's pretty apparent that he doesn't give a shit what gays are doing or if they marry one another... his jokes are clearly non-opposing of it.

Also, Chris Rock may be distasteful or even offensive at times, but he's still an "equal opportunity offender" -- if you can pay attention beyond that which offends you...

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2005
I get pretty upset too - but I think we can agree that women aren't nearly as openly discriminated against as blacks or gays. That's all I meant when I said it was a "poor example."

I AM talking about name-calling in anger and hatred. You're missing my point. I think if you re-read what I've said above you can see that I don't want to perpetuate words that EXIST because of anger and hatred - and are still used in those contexts.

On the last note, I've enjoyed a lot of Chris Rock's comedy in the past - but lately, it's gotten rather mysogynistic and strange to me, and lately whenever I hear a sound clip of him, I get annoyed.

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2005
I have wondered for some time: Why is it ok for performers, or just rude people in general, to be "equal opportunity offenders"? So we won't tolerate them making fun of black people, but if they make fun of white people too, then it's ok? Doesn't that just make them twice as offensive? That would be like saying that it's wrong for Bush to drop bombs in the Middle East, but if he bombs Europe and Australia too, then it's ok because he's not showing bias. Doesn't that totally miss the point that dropping bombs at all is what's wrong?

Anyway, this debate is missing the point as well. Chris Rock used abrasive language because it carried immediate connotation and conveyed his meaning exactly. He could have spelled out his meaning over three paragraphs like John Kerry would have, but it wouldn't have provided the spark of instant recognition that comedy requires. To debate the political correctness of his words is to ignore the actual meaning of his statement, which would turn this whole conversation away from what it's about. It's possible to dislike those bad words (I do too) without dismissing Rock's message. (The same goes for Scott's message, since it was intertwined.)

Consider that while Rock's words might not have been PC, in a realistic sense his statement is accurate: The bad habits of people at the extremes of minority culture get entrenched in the perception of the minority as a whole, which makes it difficult for the mainstream to accept that minority. The solution isn't to eliminate these extreme personalities, but for cultural integration to increase until the members of the minority are seen as individual people and not as members of that group. It wasn't very long ago in this country that there were strong negative perceptions about certain European minorities; to be Italian or German or Irish was to define your identity. Now those divisions are all but invisible for most people: White is white, and the rare examples of extreme Euro ethnicity (such as "The Sopranos") are treated as unique anomalies, not reflective of the group. I doubt it will take many more generations for the racial and sexual-preference divisions that we're discussing today to be similarly invisible.

On the subject of the far side of gay male culture, that is, the pseudo-feminine metrosexual aesthetic which is kind of kitschy in a way, I'd like to mention that I dislike it as much as Mike and Scott do. Affectations are fine, and people have been decorating themselves for thousands of years, but why must masculinity be thrown out the window? Earrings to me are the very opposite of masculinity and inspire me to cringe when I see them on a man, and the feeling is even worse when I see a man who arranged his hair with styling gel; I just want to hang my head in shame for my gender.

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2005
Heh. Come to Chicago, where you're just as likely to see a big, strapping, tattooed, bearded, BEAR of a gay man as you are a perfectly kempt metrosexual.

Amy Austin | January 15, 2005
You mean... not all Italians are in the Mafia? What???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scott Horowitz | January 15, 2005
I've been hesitant to post in this thread because everything I have said so far has gotten my head bitten off. But, my point was that a small group can have a negative effect on the larger. But anyways, the point is that gay marriage should be legal. That is all.

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2005
You've said some very wonderful things in this thread - by no means has every comment gotten you in trouble.

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2005
You just proved his point, Anna. :-( Not that your calmly-phrased comment was "biting his head off," exactly, just that it seems like he can't say something without someone telling him he's wrong.

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2005
I know - I did it on purpose. I like to be the Queen of Irony sometimes.

His statement struck me as really inaccurate though - I've liked most everything he's said on the thread - very thoughtful responses that considered a lot of angles.

Scott Hardie | January 15, 2005
Oh. Then it's my turn not to realize when a TC author is only joking. :-)

Dave Mitzman | January 15, 2005
Go Yankees! Oh wait, by the length of this thread I figured that we were back to that old yankees win one.

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2005
I think this is still the longest, Scott?

Amy Austin | January 15, 2005
Uh... you can look at the Intro page to find out...

Anna Gregoline | January 15, 2005
Yep, I sure can.

Amy Austin | January 15, 2005
Well...? Is it? ;>D

Scott Horowitz | February 8, 2005
Just out of curiousity, if gays get married, who's the husband and who's the wife?

(link)

Not sure if that is good news or bad news.

Kris Weberg | February 8, 2005
The specific terms "husband" and "wife" don't really have much legal meaning -- "spouse" sure, but outside of child custody battles, where biological mothers tend to come out ahead, husbands and wives in marriage and divorce have identical rights.

Before someone mentions divorce cases, by the way, that's generally the result of prior case law built on the inequity of male/female wages. Women generally held (and hold) lower-paying jobs, and in some cases have less seniority because they're traditionally more likely to take time off for child-raising purposes than are men. There are cases of women who enter a marriage with more wealth than their husbands paying alimony.

Jackie Mason | February 15, 2005
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Erik Bates | February 15, 2005
DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE

I kid! I kid!

Scott Horowitz | February 15, 2005
hehehe, this thread takes 10 seconds to load.

Erik Bates | February 15, 2005
This thread could single-handedly drive scott's bandwidth over the monthly limit.

Erik Bates | February 15, 2005
Ok, looking back at Scott and my posts, it reminds me of the "Big dick jokes."

My dick is so big...


This thread is so big...

Kris Weberg | February 15, 2005
This thread is so big....the Great Wall of China gets jealous before it's half-loaded.

This thread is so big....NASA wants to rent it out as a rocket gantry.

This thread is so big....it caused the last five eclipses.

This thread is so big....you're on even when your NOT on it.

This thread is so big....it can afford not to do television.

This thread is so big....its people would call your people, if you were important.

They just don't work as well, do they?

Oh, and I firmly believe that any politician who pursues anti-gay policies will turn out to have a) a close relative who is gay; b) televangelist hair; or c) an ugly spouse.