|Gay Issues rev. 11.21.2008|
11.21.2008... Thank you, Keith Olbermann
Get the text here...
06.11.2008: Two wonderful videos: This one, which shows how low the human race and our society has sunk, as demonstrated by our actions against our fellow people, and a second video which shows how some young people can see things so clearly when so many others can't at all.
06.09.2008: Absolutely Incredible Bullshit on the www....
11.02.2007: from a blog at current.com.... See also below....
While France is widely considered to be a Roman Catholic country, they are officially a secular state. Therefore, they do not recognize religious marriages on their own. Basically, the way it is done, is that everyone has their "civil marriage" in the mayor's office, then the wedding party, in gowns and all, runs down the street to the church for the the religious ceremony of their choosing (IF they choose at all!)."
... is one of the first things I would really be willing to acknowledge, support, affirm and cheer France for doing!.......
Subject: Fwd: Why Can't I Own a Canadian?
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by an east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,
05.25.2006 --- Meet the lying hypocrites...
Voiceover: Think the Federal Marriage Amendment isn’t a threat? Think again. Make no mistake… this is a calculated effort by extremists to write discrimination against Americans into our Constitution.
President Bush: Our nation must enact a Constitutional Amendment to protect marriage in America.
Voiceover: This isn’t just about marriage or even civil unions and domestic partnerships. This is about using our nation’s founding document to make gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans second class citizens. The radical right extremists speak for themselves.
Read what Sen. Santorum said: in every society, the definition of marriage not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.
Sen. Orrin Hatch: As you all know, I don't believe in discriminating against anybody but when it comes to traditional marriage, I draw the line.
Rev. Pat Robertson: Self absorbed narcissists who are willing to destroy any institution so long as they can have affirmation of their lifestyle.
Bill O'Reilly: One of the arguments against gay marriage that we just spoke about is that if it becomes law all other alternative marital visions will be allowed ... you can marry 18 people, you can marry a duck... somebody's gonna come and say I want to marry the goat. you'll see it. I'll guarantee you'll see it.
Rev. Jerry Falwell: I'm against same-sex marriage but I'm against a Federal Marriage Amendment. That's like saying 150 years ago I'm opposed to slavery but if my neighbor wants to own one that's alright.
James Dobson: How about group marriage, or marriage between daddies and little girls? How about marriage between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to civil rights will be doable.
Rev. Lou Sheldon: Once you enter into the culture, into the music, into the gay bars, into the gay literature, into the gay theater, and all of that kind of - and gay travel - once you immerse yourself into that... only a sort of exorcism can release you from it.
Voiceover: Discrimination has no place in our country and certainly not in our Constitution. Stand up against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Go to hrc.org/VoteNo and fight back.
5.21.2006: from the "Best of Craigs List"...
An Open Letter to Straights
Date: 2006-03-07, 1:50PM PST
Apparently all this time I’ve been shoving my sexuality in your face and forcing it on you. I misunderstood. I didn’t know. I am so sorry.
I mistakenly thought it was you who were shoving your lifestyle in my face when you called me faggot before I even knew what that word meant.
I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me when you and your friends cornered me in the locker room after gym class in junior high school, called me a goddamn homo and beat the shit out of me.
I thought the coach was forcing his lifestyle on me when he shouted down at my broken and bleeding body in the locker room that I asked for it because I was looking at the other guys “funny”.
I thought you were shoving your sexuality in my face when you spray painted my name and “is a fag” on the side of the High school building.
When you and your friends trashed my car and then afterwards ran me off the road as I was walking home from school, laughing and calling me a “Queer” I thought I was just walking home from school and not forcing my sexuality down your throat.
I was mistaken and apparently trying to force my deviant lifestyle on you in college that day when thought I might be just trying to find someone like me to talk to when you and your cop friends entrapped me, arrested me and beat me up and threw me in jail because I looked at you the wrong way and smiled at you.
Apparently I asked for it when you and your friends chased me down the street, pulled me into an alley and broke my nose with a booze bottle after I had the gall to come out a known gay bar one night in college.
When I was in the military, I thought one of my friends might be just trying to live a decent, honorable life with his partner of 10 years when you and your military police friends pulled him into an interrogation room and accused him of sodomy because he was living with a guy and not dating women. When you kicked him out of the service and dumped him 3500 miles from his home with no money and no job, I didn’t realize that he was forcing his lifestyle on you. I’m sure he’s sorry too.
I didn’t realize that you were offended by us when my best friend asked to be admitted to his partners’ hospital room while he was dying. You see, he’d lived with him for 20 years and they had shared their life together but had the misfortune of living in a state where people like him had no “legal status” and so his sweet love of 20 years died alone surrounded by people who thought that God had given him AIDS as punishment for the sin of homosexuality. He didn’t understand that your religious sensibilities were more important than his misguided need to be with his partner when he died.
All this time I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me, but now I know that I was forcing mine on you. I am so sorry that all my life, I’ve mistakenly thought that being left alone to live my life, to work and to have a home and family and to be allowed to love who I choose was just living my life - like you live yours.
Little did I know that all that time I was cramming my disgusting sexuality and lifestyle down your throat, forcing you to accept me and demanding “Special Rights”.
Now that I’m older and wiser, you’ll excuse the silly idealism of a dotty middle aged guy who had a vain hope that maybe I could marry the guy I’ve been living with for fifteen years and not have to worry if my religiously devout family will decide to ransack my home after my death because my family – the family who have largely cared less if I lived or died – have more legal rights than my partner, no matter what I say in my will.
You’ll excuse my mistaken notion that I should be allowed to have a good job and not be fired at will because my boss might find out that I live with a guy and am still “single”. You’ll pardon my liberal sensibilities when I think I should be able to rent an apartment from someone who might decide that two guys living together is “an abomination”, or be able to open a joint checking account with my partner, because now I know that it isn’t “normal” for two guys to set up a home together.
Hopefully, you’ll excuse my mistaken notion that my life and my love and my family are at least as important and significant as yours – yes, even when you beat the shit out of your wife the day after she caught you fucking the underaged babysitter, even when you tossed your 15 year old gay son out on the streets, even when I gladly pay very high taxes to send your kids to good schools and you cheat on yours.
I hope you will understand when I was momentarily struck speechless when you raised up your bible and told me that God thinks that I am an abomination and will go to hell. You’ll excuse me for my silly notion that God maybe has other more pressing matters than to care that much if I decide that I want to live with someone I love instead of being alone and celibate. You’ll pardon my weakness when I want a family and have to do it by shoving my homosexual lifestyle in your face.
Finally, please excuse the silly sentimentality of an old man who after nearly six decades of life sees a movie with two “normal” guys who are cowboys who fall in love together. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any people like me in the movies who aren’t silly and shallow or tragic and dying of something or another. It’s been years since I’ve seen someone like me love someone like my partner and not die because of it or end up some tragic stupid queen. So the movie made me happy and so I was momentarily blinded by the hope that it might be recognized as a watershed moment in tolerance. I now know it was a shameful use of one of your dearest symbols of American manliness to once again shove my disgusting lifestyle down your throat.
You’ll excuse me please.
All this time, all my life – I just thought you were trying to make me be something that I can never be. I just thought you were forcing me to conform to your idea of normality. I mistakenly thought you hated me.
I was mistaken. Obviously, all this time I was forcing my lifestyle on you. Please accept my apologies.
03.11.2006, with thanks to Ted in Texas....
On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the
proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage,
Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify.
At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said:
"Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a
What do you have to say about that?"
Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you
placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution.
You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
The room erupted into applause.
From the Human Rights Campaign. Support Marriage Rights!
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) recently announced his plans to breathe new life into the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" by bringing this discriminatory legislation to a vote on June 5th, 2006. Senator Frist seems to think "America's values" are under attack - but since when did America's values hinge on bigotry and discrimination?
For some great writings on the discussion, go to: http://www.marriageequality.org/index.htm
One of the best-written arguments/rebuttal/thought-pieces I've read yet is on Carlton Vogt's site, available via this link. ....... copied and attributed with permission....
Civil unions for all
We can solve the 'marriage problem' by separating the religious and the secular for everyone
I suggested a few weeks ago that I had an opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage, but I hadn't really intended to write about it. However, several readers have written in to ask me to elaborate. It's a little off topic, but I figured since everyone else has delivered themselves of an opinion, why the heck shouldn't I. (I was going to use a stronger word than "heck," but with the wave of election-year faux Puritanism that's gripping the country, I decided not to take any chances.)
My solution isn't necessarily original -- several people have suggested it lately -- but it's actually one I've advocated for a long time, over 30 years now. So, I should get some points for that. I actually came up with the idea long before same-sex marriage was even on the radar screen, and I developed it in a totally different context.
In the late '60s I was finishing up my seminary studies and was working in a large parish in the Northeast. Among my duties was preparing couples for marriage. With my newfound knowledge in sacred matters, I was eager to get these couples to appreciate the sacramental nature of their endeavor. They, however, had other ideas.
For too many of the couples, enough so that it disturbed me, the church was simply a convenient place to get married. Many hadn't been to church in years, and many probably wouldn't be making a regular appearance once the ceremony ended. Why were they coming to me to get married, I asked. Because their families expected them to get married in a church. It didn't hurt that we had a really magnificent church building with a big, long aisle, just perfect for the "perfect wedding."
At the same time, my sixth sense -- and a healthy dose of statistics -- told me that a lot of these marriages weren't going to survive, and many, in fact, didn't. While this is a problem for society at large, it's a greater problem if you're Catholic, because the church frowns on divorce and remarriage. You only get one shot at it.
So, I developed this idea that the best solution would be to separate the religious and civil aspects of marriage. Few of these couples coming to me viewed the impending marriage as entering into a mystical religious relationship. Most just wanted to get hitched, live together, file joint taxes, and have some babies. They wanted to set up housekeeping and share their lives. The best solution for that, I thought, would be a civil union that would bestow on them all the civil benefits of setting up that household.
Then, I figured, those people who really felt the religious call to sanctify their union could also go to their church, temple, mosque -- whatever -- and go through whatever religious ceremonies were required. This would mean that those people who went through the religious ceremonies were truly interested in that aspect. This, in my view, would actually strengthen religious unions, since they would be entered into more sincerely and with greater thought.
The arrangement also would have the added benefit of separating church and state.Since there are numerous civil benefits attached to marriage, it's just unseemly in a secular nation that priests and ministers can regulate who has access to those benefits. It's also unseemly that members of the clergy act as agents of the state, which they do when they perform marriages that are civil as well as religious. And it's unseemly when the state bases its regulation of domestic relationships on what various religious sects currently believe.
The whole issue of same-sex unions has brought this all to the fore again. I'm going to avoid the word "marriage" as much as possible in the rest of the discussion because the word has become too loaded, with both civil and religious overtones, to be useful.
Why not have a system where any couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, that wants to establish a household, share their lives, etc., is required to enter into a civil union to acquire all the civil benefits that go with that? The state then can regulate who can do this, perhaps excluding the underage, those mentally incompetent to enter such a relationship, close relatives, etc.
In other words the state could make decisions, based on rational, secular arguments, about who should be able to live as domestic partners. To exclude same-sex couples from this arrangement, would require arguments based solely on non-religious reasons. So far, I've heard none that are compelling. Most are fantasies about "the way it's always been," and which are just plain wrong.
Couples wanting to enter the relationship would go to city hall and get their license and then go through whatever ceremony the state requires, whether that's as simple as signing a registry or as complex as reciting vows. If you don't go through this process, then you are not civilly joined and get none of the civil benefits attached to the arrangement.
Religious institutions, for their part, would be free to enforce whatever restrictions meet their theological requirements. The religious ceremony, however, would have no bearing on civil benefits. It would only confer whatever spiritual benefits are involved. If religious groups didn't want to join same-sex couples, previously married and divorced people, blondes and brunets, fine. Those couples could either do without or find a church that would accommodate them. But they wouldn't be prevented from enjoying civil benefits based on the religious beliefs of other people.
Most of the arguments I've heard against same-sex unions just don't hold water and some are just a few steps past ludicrous. A few people on the radical right have argued that if we allow same-sex unions, the next thing will be people marrying dogs and horses. People who suggest that are most likely mentally unbalanced, if that's the first image that pops into their mind. They should probably seek professional help.
People who argue from religious beliefs have a valid point -- for the religious aspects of these unions. However, as I noted in an earlier column, once you try to enforce those beliefs outside the walls of the religious institution, you need to develop good secular arguments to make your case. I'm still waiting for one. I think my solution allows religious people to maintain their traditions without penalizing the rest of us. In fact, we see that already where divorced Catholics, prevented from remarrying in the church, simply go through a civil ceremony to get the full civil benefits.
Some people try to argue from tradition, but most of those just haven't done their homework. Societal views on human relationships have been all over the place over the centuries, and to try to appeal to "we've always done it this way" just betrays a woeful ignorance.
What I find most ludicrous are the politicians who are exploiting this as a wedge issue to pander to a political base. Many of the people who delight in bloviating about "the sanctity of marriage," or who spout off about "one man and one woman" are, in fact polygamists. They're not traditional polygamists who have numerous wives at the same time, but serial polygamists. They have numerous spouses, but in succession. Many are known adulterers. It's been suggested that if we change "one man and one woman" to "one man and one woman one time," they would all shut up and go away.
As far as the claim that same-sex unions will undermine the opposite-sex institution, I'm just baffled. No one has been able to even come close to convincing me that two people who love each other and want to commit their lives to each other threaten anything. I can list probably 50 things that threaten traditional "marriages." Same sex unions aren't in the top 10. They're not even on the list.
Good Reasons For Legalizing Gay Marriage:
"As a lifelong defender of civil rights, due process and equal protection for all, I do not personally support policies that give lesser legal rights and responsibilities to committed same-sex couples than those provided to heterosexual couples," [Bill Lockyer] said.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "During my campaign, I talked about the importance of rule of law," he said. "We rely upon our courts to enforce our rule of law, but we're seeing in San Francisco that the courts are dropping the ball.
"Today I have sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Lockyer asking him to move as quickly as possible on behalf of the state ... to resolve the issues underlying San Francisco's lawsuit against the state.
So, here's the deal: why should the state or federal government decide who can or can't get married? Think some more about it.
Here Comes The Groom; A conservative case for gay marriage.
Last month in New York, a court ruled that a gay lover had the right to stay in his deceased partner's rent-control apartment because the lover qualified as a member of the deceased's family. The ruling deftly annoyed almost everybody. Conservatives saw judicial activism in favor of gay rent control: three reasons to be appalled. Chastened liberals (such as the New York Times editorial page), while endorsing the recognition of gay relationships, also worried about the abuse of already stretched entitlements that the ruling threatened. What neither side quite contemplated is that they both might be right, and that the way to tackle the issue of unconventional relationships in conventional society is to try something both more radical and more conservative than putting courts in the business of deciding what is and is not a family. That alternative is the legalization of civil gay marriage.
The New York rent-control case did not go anywhere near that far, which is the problem. The rent-control regulations merely stipulated that a "family" member had the right to remain in the apartment. The judge ruled that to all intents and purposes a gay lover is part of his lover's family, inasmuch as a "family" merely means an interwoven social life, emotional commitment, and some level of financial interdependence.
It's principle now well established around the country. Several cities have "domestic partnership" laws, which allow relationships that do not fit into the category of heterosexual marriage to be registered with the city and qualify for benefits that up till now have been reserved for straight married couples. San Francisco, Berkeley, Madison, and Los Angeles all have legislation, as does the politically correct Washington, D.C., suburb, Takoma Park. In these cities, a variety of interpersonal arrangements qualify for health insurance, bereavement leave, insurance, annuity and pension rights, housing rights (such as rent-control apartments), adoption and inheritance rights. Eventually, accordng to gay lobby groups, the aim is to include federal income tax and veterans' benefits as well. A recent case even involved the right to use a family member's accumulated frequent-flier points. Gays are not the only beneficiaries; heterosexual "live-togethers" also qualify.
There's an argument, of course, that the current legal advantages extended to married people unfairly discriminate against people who've shaped their lives in less conventional arrangements. But it doesn't take a genius to see that enshrining in the law a vague principle like "domestic partnership" is an invitation to qualify at little personal cost for a vast array of entitlements otherwise kept crudely under control.
To be sure, potential DPs have to prove financial interdependence, shared living arrangements, and a commitment to mutual caring. But they don't need to have a sexual relationship or even closely mirror old-style marriage. In principle, an elderly woman and her live-in nurse could qualify. A couple of uneuphemistically confirmed bachelors could be DPs. So could two close college students, a pair of seminarians, or a couple of frat buddies. Left as it is, the concept of domestic partnership could open a Pandora's box of litigation and subjective judicial decision-making about who qualifies. You either are or are not married; it's not a complex question. Whether you are in a "domestic partnership" is not so clear.
More important, the concept of domestic partnership chips away at the prestige of traditional relationships and undermines the priority we give them. This priority is not necessarily a product of heterosexism. Consider heterosexual couples. Society has good reason to extend legal advantages to heterosexuals who choose the formal sanction of marriage over simply living together. They make a deeper commitment to one another and to society; in exchange, society extends certain benefits to them. Marriage provides an anchor, if an arbitrary and weak one, in the chaos of sex and relationships to which we are all prone. It provides a mechanism for emotional stability, economic security, and the healthy rearing of the next generation. We rig the law in its favor not because we disparage all forms of relationship other than the nucelar family, but because we recognize that not to promote marriage would be to ask too much of human virtue. In the context of the weakened family's effect upon the poor, it might also invite social disintegration. One of the worst products of the New Right's "family values" campaign is that its extremism and hatred of diversity has disguised this more measured and more convincing case for the importance of the marital bound.iority is not necessarily a product of heterosexism. Consider heterosexual couples. Society has good reason to extend legal advantages to heterosexuals who choose the formal sanction of marriage over simply living together. They make a deeper commitment to one another and to society; in exchange, society extends certain benefits to them. Marriage provides an anchor, if an arbitrary and weak one, in the chaos of sex and relationships to which we are all prone. It provides a mechanism for emotional stability, economic security, and the healthy rearing of the next generation. We rig the law in its favor not because we disparage all forms of relationship other than the nucelar family, but because we recognize that not to promote marriage would be to ask too much of human virtue. In the context of the weakened family's effect upon the poor, it might also invite social disintegration. One of the worst products of the New Right's "family values" campaign is that its extremism and hatred of diversity has disguised this more measured and more convincing case for the importance of the marital bound.
The concept of domestic partnership ignores these concerns, indeed directly attacks them. This is a pity, since one of its most important objectives--providing some civil recognition for gay relationships--is a noble cause and one completely compatible with the defense of the family. But the way to go about it is not to undermine straight marriage; it is to legalize old-style marriage for gays.
The gay movement has ducked this issue primarily out of fear of division. Much of the gay leadership clings to notions of gay life as essentially outsider, anti-bourgeois, radical. Marriage, for them, is co-optation into straight society. For the Stonewall generation, it is hard to see how this vision of conflict will ever fundamentally change. But for many other gays--my guess, a majority--while they don't deny the importance of rebellion 20 years ago and are grateful for what was done, there's now the sense of a new opportunity. A need to rebel has quietly ceded to a desire to belong. To be gay and to be bourgeois no longer seems such an absurd proposition. Certainly since AIDS, to be gay and to be responsible has become a necessity. bourgeois, radical. Marriage, for them, is co-optation into straight society. For the Stonewall generation, it is hard to see how this vision of conflict will ever fundamentally change. But for many other gays--my guess, a majority--while they don't deny the importance of rebellion 20 years ago and are grateful for what was done, there's now the sense of a new opportunity. A need to rebel has quietly ceded to a desire to belong. To be gay and to be bourgeois no longer seems such an absurd proposition. Certainly since AIDS, to be gay and to be responsible has become a necessity.
Gay marriage squares several circles at the heart of the domestic partnership debate. Unlike domestic partnership, it allows for recognition of gay relationships, while casting no aspersions on traditional marriage. It merely asks that gays be allowed to join in. Unlike domestic partnership, it doesn't open up avenues for heterosexuals to get benefits without the responsibilities of marriage, or a nightmare of definitional litigation. And unlike domestic partnership, it harnesses to an already established social convention the yearnings for stability and acceptance among a fast-maturing gay community.
Gay marriage also places more responsibilities upon gays; it says for the first time that gay relationships are not better or worse than straight relationships, and that the same is expected of them. And it's clear and dignified. There's a legal benefit to a clear, common symbol of commitment. There's also a personal benefit. One of the ironies of domestic partnership is that it's not only more complicated than marriage, it's more demanding, requiring an elaborate statement of intent to qualify. It amounts to a substantial invasion of privacy. Why, after all, should gays be required to prove commitment before they get married in a way we would never dream of asking of straights? nd that the same is expected of them. And it's clear and dignified. There's a legal benefit to a clear, common symbol of commitment. There's also a personal benefit. One of the ironies of domestic partnership is that it's not only more complicated than marriage, it's more demanding, requiring an elaborate statement of intent to qualify. It amounts to a substantial invasion of privacy. Why, after all, should gays be required to prove commitment before they get married in a way we would never dream of asking of straights?
Legalizing gay marriage would offer homosexuals the same deal society now offers heterosexuals: general social approval and specific legal advantages in exchange for a deeper and harder-to-extract-yourself-from commitment to another human being. Like straight marriage, it would foster social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence. Since there's no reason gays should not be allowed to adopt or be foster parents, it could also help nurture children. And its introduction would not be some sort of radical break with social custom. As it has become more acceptable for gay people to acknowledge their loves publicly, more and more have committed themselves to one another for life in full view of their families and their friends. A law institutionalizing gay marriage would merely reinforce a healthy social trend. It would also, in the wake of AIDS, qualify as a genuine public health measure. Those conservatives who deplore promiscuity among some homosexuals should be among the first to support it. Burke could have written a powerful case for it.
The argument that gay marriage would subtly undermine the unique legitimacy of straight marriage is based upon a fallacy. For heterosexuals, straight marriage would remain the most significant--and only legal social bond. Gay marriage could only delegitimize straight marriage if it were a real alternative to it, and this is clearly not true. To put it bluntly, there's precious little evidence that straights could be persuaded by any law to have sex with--let alone marry--someone of their own sex. The only possible effect of this sort would be to persuade gay men and women who force themselves into heterosexual marriage (often at appalling cost to themselves and their families) to find a focus for their family instincts in a more personally positive environment. But this is clearly a plus, not a minus: gay marriage could both avoid a lot of tortured families and create the possibility for many happier ones. It is not, in short, a denial of family values. It's an extension of them.
Of course, some would claim that any legal recognition of homosexuality is a de facto attack upon heterosexuality. But even the most hardened conservatives recognize that gays are a permanent minority and aren't likely to go away. Since persecution is not an option in a civilized society, why not coax gays into traditional values rather than rain incoherently against them?
There's a less elaborate argument for gay marriage: it's good for gays. It provides role models for young gay people who, after the exhilaration of coming out, can easily lapse into short-term relationships and insecurity with no tangible goal in sight. My own guess is that most gays would embrace such a goal with as much (if not more) commitment as straights. Even in our society as it is, many lesbian relationships are virtual textbook cases of monogamous commitment. Legal gay marriage could also help bridge the gulf often found between gays and their parents. It could bring the essence of gay life--a gay couple--into the heart of the traditional straight family in a way the family can most understand and the gay offspring can most easily acknowledge. It could do as much to heal the gay-straight rift as any amount of gay rights legislation.
If these arguments sound socially conservative, that's no accident. It's one of the richest ironies of our society's blind spot toward gays that essentially conservative social goals should have the appearance of being so radical. But gay marriage is not a radical step. It avoids the mess of domestic partnership; it is humane; it is conservative in the best sense of the word. It's also about relationships. Given that gay relationships will always exist, what possible social goal is advanced by framing the law to encourage those relationships to be unfaithful, undeveloped, and insecure?
August 28, 1989, The New Republic.
copyright © 1989, 2003 Andrew Sullivan
From the New York Times, July 31, 2003, by Neil A. Lewis:
WASHINGTON, July 30 — President Bush said today that while he believed Americans should treat gays in a welcoming and respectful manner, he remained firmly opposed to gay marriages and that administration lawyers were working to ensure that the term "marriage" would cover only unions between men and women.
At a Rose Garden news conference today, Mr. Bush used a general question from a reporter about his views on homosexuality to plunge into the hotly debated issue of gay marriage and offer reassuring words to many supporters. His response contained his trademark political mix of an expression of tolerance accompanied by a firm conservative position on the actual policy.
"I am mindful that we're all sinners," the president said, and borrowing from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, added:
"And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor's eye when they got a log in their own. I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country."
Excerpt from Neil J. George, Jr., KCI Communications, Inc. [firstname.lastname@example.org], 07.01.2003:
Radio and television talk shows were salivating over the issues, as religious leaders talked up the end of marriage and the proliferation of the new Sodom and other groups from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to various individual rights groups cheered the decision as an end to persecution of the innocent.
And while the decision in the court is said to invalidate a collection of statues in many states, already Senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist is announcing that he will introduce legislation to ban acts of intimate interaction between individuals of the same sex.
It won't be the end of marriage.
It won't be the proliferation of Sodom [or its twin city]
Bill Frist is guaranteeing non-reelection for Republicans, and more liberal votes than would otherwise happen.
Bill's a moron for thinking he or the Federal Government [or State Government, for that matter] has any right to determine what consenting adults of any gender [or combination of genders] do to themselves or to each other behind closed doors.