Monday, August 03, 2009

The Uses of Crying Hate

For a variety of reasons, I don't want to write about the issues in Appling v. Doyle and am only doing media to discuss the issues presented by the case. I just don't think that going back and forth on the blogs would serve the clients' interest.

But I read a couple of things last week that do prompt me to write on a related issue. David Boies is a high powered New York lawyer who, along with Ted Olson, has brought a challenge to California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in that state. In a column in the Wall Street Journal, he offered a defense of his clients position. It was, from a legal standpoint, rather weak and largely given over to assertions that opposition to same sex marriage could be based in nothing other than hate and fear. A rather devastating response to Boies by high powered Washington lawyer, Charles Cooper, appeared in the Journal's letters section a few days later.

Locally, a woman named Maria Cardenas wrote an op-ed suggesting that opposition to same sex marriage - or at least to the domestic partner registry - can only be based in hate and fear.

I realize that, to some extent, this is a rhetorical and strategic ploy. It behooves Boies and Cardenas to have their opponents seen as hateful and the issue to be framed as one about sexual liberty and discrimination. Over the past 40 years, our public morality has been of one mind about those. Sex is good. Discrimination is bad.

But it seems to me to be the ultimate form of hate to deny the human subjectivity of those you disagree with. And that is precisely what Boies and Cardenas are doing. They refuse to respond to - or even acknowledge - the arguments that their opponents make. They presume bad faith. They strive to define those who disagree with them as "the other" - someone outside the circle of civil society.

I assume that Cardenas truly believes that. She wants what she wants and is understandably miffed by those who say she can't have it. (Boies is a skilled litigator who knows which arguments sell so I'm not sure.) But the belief that opposition to same sex marriage is rooted in some form of hate is fear is simply false. And its wrong, I think, to engage in that type of attempted ostracization and objectification of one's opposition.

There are straight people who have a visceral reaction to homosexuality. The idea of it is repulsive. Most of them, however, put that aside. Some do express it in hateful ways. A few even express that hate in religious terms, not appreciating that Christian Hate is an oxymoron. But these aren't the church people behind the marriage protection movement.

Of those within that movement, there are, of course, many who believe that homosexual conduct is sinful. I am not one of them, but I think it's wrong to suggest that they are, for that reason, "hateful." They have a great deal of tradition and history behind their position. This has been - and still overwhelmingly is - the position of the Abrahamic faiths. While this may be a religious justification for feelings of revulsion or for preservation of a purity code (the Roman Catholic theology of the body is far more sophisticated and much different than that), there is a distinction between hating someone and thinking they are doing something wrong and that will, in fact, harm them. This is so even if you think that belief is mistaken. Gays and lesbians understandably object to the charge that they are engaged in wrongful conduct, but it is not accurate to say that those who believe otherwise either "hate" or "fear" them.

Finally, there are those - and this would be me - who make no judgment on the morality of same sex relationships. They believe that same sex marriage or the creation of a marriage-like state for couples other than one man and one woman would, over time, change our traditional understandings and expectations of marriage in a way that would weaken it as the preferred vehicle for heterosexual relationships.

Once again, there seems to be a concerted effort to mistate and deliberately misunderstand this argument. It is not predicated on an assumption that homosexual relationships are "worse" than heterosexual ones (although it does reflect a belief that children, not always but in the great run of cases, are best off when raised by their biological parents who cannot, of course, be a same sex couple)or that gay and lesbians do not love one another. It is not an argument that Mary will divorce Joe on Tuesday because Bill and Tom moved in next door on Monday.

Nor is it anything like discrimination against blacks. Racial discrimination was predicated on an assumption that blacks were inferior human beings whose participation in all of civil society should be surpressed and segregated. The idea that blacks and whites should not marry was not the central feature of that belief, but an incident of it.

Opposition to same sex marriage says nothing about participation of gays and lesbians in civil society. It does not imply - or even provide support for - discrimination in housing, employment and public accomodations. It does not suggest that homosexuality should be criminalized or that gays and lesbians should be ostracized.

It does not even say, contrary to the repeated assertions of supporters of same sex marriage and the domestic partner registry, that same sex couple can't visit each other in the hospital or make medical decisions for one another. It only says that those rights ought not to be created by conferring a marital-like status and, of course, it is not necessary to do so to ensure that they are respected (if, in fact, they are not.)

I don't expect that anyone will read this and, while retaining their support for same sex marriage or the registry, dial down the rhetoric. But these are the facts.


Emily said...

In pleading for better understanding of your own arguments against same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships, you do realize that you're doing the same thing you argue against, right?

You say that the argument against isn't based on hate and fear. Well, I believe that you believe that your argument isn't based on those things. And I believe that many others on your side of the issue feel the same way.

But I also know, full well, that there are many, many people who are against gay marriage and the like because they do believe "that homosexual relationships are 'worse' than heterosexual one...that gay and lesbians do not love one another...that Mary will divorce Joe on Tuesday because Bill and Tom moved in next door on Monday."

And those folks are just as much a part of the issue as those people with views closer to your own. Unfortunately for you, too, I don't believe they can be separated from one another in the grand scheme of the bigger legal fight.

Plus, I'm pretty sure you're all still wrong.

What I'm trying to figure out right now, though, is why you're so against any change in the state-run institution of marriage.

You say that official recognition of same-sex relationships would "change our traditional understandings and expectations of marriage in a way that would weaken it as the preferred vehicle for heterosexual relationships."

How would it weaken anything? I'm honestly curious, because I can't think of a single downside here. I also can't think of a good reason for a secular legal arrangement to be denied to citizens on the basis of the couple's gender.

Anonymous said...

Emily -

This is not about the emotional issues you are raising but about the government trying to do an end run around the constitution of the state.

The decision is if the constitution means anything or if it can be changed anytime the legislative branch wants to sneak something into a budget.

The Sconz said...

Rick, you are right when you assert that the entire movement against gay marriage is not based on hate. Your point would have been complete if you had come to the conclusion that it is instead based on ignorance.

Your post proves the point, as it suggests that homosexuality is a choice, rather than a scientific reality. Like my grandparents, you grew up in a world where homosexuality was "queer," something people did not confront and tried to hide. It was considered something that people in New York and Hollywood engaged in because they were weird and experimental, rather than something rooted in a certain percentage of every town in America.

The younger generations, as polls indicate, accept that homosexuality is here to stay and it would be better to "mainstream" it than to ostracize it. Hence, better to allow gays to adopt traditional values, such as marriage and family.

illusory tenant said...

"Like my grandparents ..."

Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

Emily said...

Anon - I'm appealing to both emotional and legal issues. I honestly don't see how denying same-sex couples the legal protections of marriage does anyone any good. Nor do I see how allowing them such protections would do any harm--both emotionally or constitutionally.

Furthermore, the domestic partnership registry only offers a fraction of the benefits enjoyed by full marriage in this state. Aside from the fact that our constitution currently has discrimination written into it, I don't see how this move circumvents that amendment.

Anonymous said...

When Rick had the chance to "defend marriage," he cut and ran -- he left Wife #1 and married Wife #2.

Zach W. said...

I'm particularly fond of the argument that allowing same-sex couples will somehow lead to a breakdown in traditional family values, as if our doesn't already have a divorce rate that's roughly 50%. Perhaps there are other causes to the breakdown in traditional families than same-sex marriage.

Rick Esenberg said...


No, actually I don't think that I am doing the same thing. The Boies and Cardenas pieces essentially argued that opposition to same sex marriage was grounded in hate and fear. I know - because I was there and because I have looked at the issue in connection with research that I am doing - that this was not part of the campaign for the amendment. Of course, there are some people who are so motivated as my post acknowledged. But to say that this constitutes "the basis" for opposition to same sex marriage is to treat your opponents as caricatures. To say that the motivation of some can't be separated from the arguments that are actually made (which are not from anything like hatred or fear) seems to me to be nothing more than a restatement of the intent to ignore what opponents are actually saying in order to tar them as haters or whatever.

But, to your credit, you asked. I have written about that before here and Robbie George has an excellent piece in today's Wall Street Journal. The short answer is that marriage carries with it s set of norms and expectations (often refected in the law) that flow directly from certain aspects of heterosexual relationships. If those relationships were not potentially procreative, marriage - if it existed at all - probably wouldn't look the way it does. There would be no need for it to.

If one takes marriage and redefines it in a way that includes relationships for which it was not evolved, then it seems possible - even likely - that these cultural and legal norms will be changed. Not because those relationships are "better" or "worse" but because they are different.

Of course, there is more to it than that and you may not be convinced. But it has nothing to do with hatred or fear.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 5:46

The statement that you made is both false and defamatory. Do you think that I am the type of guy who would hire a computer geek to trace you and then sue you?

Well, do you?

As I said in 2006, I am not going to blog about my divorce because my ex-wife did not insert herself into this debate.

And I am probably not going to hire a computer geek and find out who you are so I can sue you. At least I don't think so.

Rick Esenberg said...

Mr. Sconz

I don't think that I suggested anywhere that homosexuality is a choice.

Unless you are about six months old or come from West Virginia (ed: it's a joke!), it is highly unlikely that I grew up during your grandparents' generation. I think we knew there were gay people. I think we even heard tell of this gay rights business. I seem to recollect that they had them there Stonewall riots back when I was in grade school.

Anonymous said...

Professor George makes a very good point. The judiciary should not make itself a target in the culture wars by usurping a social decision that is best left to democratic evolution. That was particularly true of Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court was supposedly protecting "women's rights." Women are a majority of the population, and therefore relatively capable of protecting their rights. There is maybe a little more to be said for the judiciary stepping in to protect historically oppressed minorities, like gays.

But Professor George is less persuasive when he talks about marriage being between people who are capable of performing an act that is "sometimes" procreative. We allow octogenarians of opposite genders to wed, though their union won't produce babies. We don't ask whether allowing this will, in effect, cheapen the currency of marriage, degrade it in some way. If the weddings of octogenarians don't set off alarms, why should the same-sex marriages of gay people? Yeah, yeah, I know, polyamory is around the corner. I really don't think we need to worry about that slippery slope.

But this is a rear-guard defense here (no pun intended). In twenty years gay marriage will be legal in every state, except, probably, those that still enforced miscegenation laws when Loving v. Virginia was decided. And that'll be by democratic decision, for the most part. The generation that grew up watching "Will & Grace" has a more open and accepting attitude. Professor George's attitude toward same-sex marriage will be as quaint as defenses of miscegenation laws appear to us today.

Anonymous said...

Good debate...I think there is room for disagreement here, but I also can not really grasp the argument that gay marriage would go against norms and have some unintended consequance...(so what is my response to that). At least I can understand the religious argument.
That said, I think Rick E. underestimates the percetnage of people who oppose gay marriage because they hate,are scared, or ignorant of homosexuals in general. When i return to the small town i grew up in, my friends (younger people I confess, mid-20s) just dont like (insert derogatory term). Of course they likely have never met an openly homosexual person in their lives...

And Rick, I am suprised you even responded to that low-life's personal attack. That was disgraceful and made me cringe (not your response).

Anonymous said...

Do you not ask too much? In fact, don't you, with your (presumed) historical knowledge simply have a lot of nerve?

I sincerely grant you a presumption of good faith. I acknowledge that you believe that there is a legitimate reason to treat same sex couples differently than different sex couples. But this ain't about you-- and as much as you don't want people to hate, its not about your legal theories either.

Gay people know.. and you know.. that they are frequently the objects of scorn and ridicule, discrimination, disrespect, and just a whole litany of unequal, and dare I say unchristian, treatment. And perhaps your university setting shields you from all that.

But it doesn't shield gay folks from that. That's what they live with, white collar, blue collar, little kid, weird teenager, the whole damn thing. And then you wonder why it's about hate?

Why do gay people think a lot of straight people hate them? That's the crux of the question you ask. But you don't seem interested in making your own effort to answer it.

You are the lawyer that says "the state has barred you from something you want". Because the people have voted that your relationships are not only different, they are not as good. And now when our elected representatives pass a law providing a half ass recognition of the relationship, your legal argument is "its obviously not equal, but its too close to equal for us."

I forget, are you Plessy or Ferguson?

So don't whine because people hate you, fag. You've gone out front in a contentious matter, and many of us think not only did you not have to get into it, but you are on the wrong side of it.

I called you a fag to jar you, and perhaps point out how it is the unanticipated slurs that are jarring. Obviously, one paragraph later I am explaining or apologizing, so hopefully the effect was not long lasting. But in the real world there is real hate and real consequences to being gay. People are going to come back at you. Ask Bull Connor ("oh no, I'm not at all Bull Connor. Its so hateful for you to compare me to someone who tried to suppress people in support of the status quo."

I write Esenberg now, so people who google you and Connor find the comparison.

ramblerQMT said...

The amendment sponsors themselves stated that the government can establish a legal construct to provide particular benefits. The domestic partner registry does exactly that. Is it not a legal construct which grants particular benefits to same-sex couples?

Marriage licenses are explicitly available only to a relationships consisting of one man and one woman. Domestic partner declarations are explicitly available only to relationships consisting of two people of the same sex. Two legal constructs, available to two distinct groups of people. Sorry, I just cannot understand the motivation for any one person's vendetta to deny granting 43 rights to same-sex couples out of 1200+ state and federal rights available to opposite-sex couples.

With all respect, Mr. Esenberg, I appreciate reading your commentary about the rhetoric from people who support equality for same-sex couples. It is simply a hard pill to swallow knowing that Julaine Appling has spewed rhetoric such as this:

Sandra said...

Bigotry does not merely refer to motivation or internal belief; it refers to actions and consequences. Working to deny lesbian and gay people (and their children) equality under the law is a bigoted thing to do, no matter what kind of story one tells about his or her motivations.

Anonymous said...

Emily -

All law is meant to discriminate, that is its purpose.

It appears you're saying that you do not care how you get something you want, just so you get it.

Our society would be far worse if that is how things worked from its beginning.

John Foust said...

Although I don't sanction these anonymous comments about your personal matters and past relationships, I don't think threatening to sue for defamation is the right way to handle it.

I'd also suggest that you have purposefully elevated your profile to the point where you've become a limited public figure and have deliberately opened yourself to public opinion on the issue of marriage. Critics search for hypocrisy. I think your critic is dragging a stick across the bars of your cage in order to generate a response on these claims of the sanctity of marriage as expressed by divorcees everywhere. It could be you or it could be Britney Spears. Where's the defense of serial monogamy amendment when we need it? (Gee, I hope it has a clause that allows for the Twue Wuv of the marriage-ending affair.)

An IP address is a weak link to identity and may be hard to defend in court. You can easily look-up an IP address on your own, even without hiring one of us "computer geeks" who might even charge as much as a "lawyer". Feel free to send me one and I'll show you what you can learn from it. However, without a subpoena you may not be able to link it to a person.

Perhaps you can devote a future post to why defamation actions are often fruitless unless you're the one getting paid. You know what they say about lawyers who represent themselves...

Rick Esenberg said...


Bigotry is generally defined attitudinally. A bigot is someone who obstinately and irrationally intolerant of other religions, ethnic groups, or opinions. The belief that civil marriage is recognized for reasons that are inapplicable to relationships other than those between one man and one woman does not qualify unless your use of the term "stories" is intended to suggest that opponents of same sex marriage cannot really mean what they say or be what they seem to be. Rather, they must be like you think they are which is to objectify them.

As far as denying gays and lesbians the equal protection of the law, that is a conclusion based on a premise about what marriage is and why the law recognizes it. That premise is disputed for reasons that have nothing to do with the moral character of gays and lesbians. Until you make an argument for your premise (rather than assume it), rhetoric about equality and discrimination is conclusory.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 8:30

Thanks. I am having a little fun with my stalker but there is a lesson in it too. He has no basis to believe the things that he says and, it turns out, the facts are quite different than he assumes. There is no true anonymity on the net and there is no immunity from the legal consequences of one's statements. He or she ought to be more careful.

Anonymous said...

Interesting using the word hate. Not appropriate here. However, let us take a close look at our own Capital, Madison that claims its independence and progressive nature through by marketing we are gay friendly the past 3 decades. Politacally, what has this done to the state? We are and have justifiably earned the joke of the nation status we deserve due to the fact our two largest industries employing those very people arguing for same sex marriage are babysitting the incarcerrated and cranking out students, not leaders mind you, but more academics. I believe socialism began in Milwaukee, not Madison.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if you could be respectful enough to get the names correct. It's Maria Cadenas.

Anonymous said...

Your definition:

A bigot is someone who obstinately and irrationally intolerant of other religions, ethnic groups, or opinions.

Everyone else's definition:

A bigot is someone who is intolerant of other religions, ethnic groups, or opinions... and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The difference of course is that you define it in such a way that you do not qualify, for your intolerance is not irrational or obstinate, because good golly you say so. And your clever definition does not even include sexual orientation so you skate that way too.

In your world.

AnotherTosaVoter said...


First I'm not sure why you bother to complain about this. Partisan hacks using "hate" to try to shut down an argument is as normal as homosexuality. It's always been with us and always will. Complaining about it is as futile as complaining about the sun rising in the east.

Second, it's a little hard to take you seriously when the spokesperson for the group you represent in this case can author the screed to which leonel linked. It's obvious that for Ms. Appling, disagreement with her position equates with evil and hatred for "traditional" marriage as she (and you) think you get to define it.

In other words, you're playing either the pot or the kettle here.

Third, while I agree with you that civil debate requires of us that we give our opponents the benefit of the doubt and not assume bad faith, it's a little difficult to do in this case when A>you're being a hypocrite with arguments like this and B>your argument is so unspeakably weak. Your argument rests on the idea that somehow by keeping certain state-granted benefits from gays, then "traditional marriage" as you get to define it will be protected. The problem, which you never seem willing to address, is that "marriage" as an institution has evolved organically over time regardless of the wishes of the state. Your only evidence that it would be "weakened" is your own belief, which for the rest of us isn't enough.

The fact is, family arrangements are changing gradually regardless of what the law says. Gays are becoming monogamous and having children through non-traditional means, heteros are cohabitating and not having kids, etc. etc. even without legalized gay marriage. Basically, legalizing gay marriage wouldn't be a profound societal change, it would reflect the law catching up with society.

And finally, while it may not have been your motivation, you cannot seriously argue that the average joe six-pack who voted against gay marriage did so strictly because they shared your desire to protect marriage. We all know far too many average joes who are opposed to homosexuality on moral grounds or the ickiness factor to take that argument seriously. I'm related to plenty of them. Love them but it's the truth - the electorate is not sophisticated enough to think of the issue in those terms.

Anonymous said...


God bless that homo-lovin' ethos.

In time, the contrabots will aquit themselves to 'peace in our time' with Jack and Joe, their new next-door neighbors, inviting them over for backyard barbeque with their invitro children. They're just normal Americans, Patriots, Tax-payers, who just like getting off a little different from you and your partner.

These truths are self-evident that all men...or, unnmmmhh (HT: dad29) it depends what the meaning of the word "all" is.

Right, perfesser?

Steve said...

Anon 10:13am

Of course, YOU have never, ever, EVER misspelled anybody's name. RIGHT?

Or any other word. RIGHT?

And you have plenty of time to check your spelling, just like a full-time law professor who also has a family and outside commitments besides his blog.


Given that most people who blog or respond to blogs have limited time for doing so, spelling standards have long since been relaxed in the blogosphere. Instead of this infantile criticism, try dealing with Rick's arguments. Assuming of course that you can --

illusory tenant said...

I'm afraid Prof. Rick is not terribly convincing speaking to Ms. Cadenas's experiences from the standpoint of his own experiences.

(Also, hate and fear are only legitimately projected motivations when it comes to Sarah Palin.)

But if Ms. Cadenas has read Ms. Appling's petition (authored, presumably, by her lead counsel Rick Esenberg) then I suspect she may have encountered this passage:

"The [amendment's] proponents argued that creation, official endorsement, and normalization of such a 'look-alike' status would advance the notion that the purpose of forming a couple is more or less limited to the facilitation of the close relationship between, and the felt needs of, its members for as long as it exists, rather than for purposes greater than the relationship itself and the self-directed needs of the individuals comprising it."

If so, I can't say I blame her for being pissed off at its supercilious presumptions with respect to her own understanding of the purposes of her own personal relationships.

Rick Esenberg said...

I'm not going to comment on the petition, but I will say that the argument against same sex marriage has nothing to do with the motivation of Ms. Cadenas or any other individual.


There are sure a lot of smart people who agree with my "unspeakably weak" argument. I am not sure, however, that you understand it because you have not accurately restated it. It is not the "extension of benefits" that is problematic but the extension of a state sanctioned status. The relationship between culture and the law is, indeed, porous. But influence moves both ways. Creating a legal status that will be seen as a form of marriage or redefining marriage itself to accommodate relationships that are in some ways similar but in signicant ways different than those for which it has evolved would change marriage. To suggest that it would not strikes me as naive and ahistorical.

Anonymous said...

Should gays be allowed to own guns?

Anonymous said...

Ok, here is an easy compromise. Gays can get "married" but we legally classify it as something else...civil unions or whatever, but they get all the exact same rights as a married couple
Anti same sex marriage get the symbolic name, and gays get all the substantive benefits...every gay friend of mine says this is fine with them. They understand that a gay "marriage" is different, so just call it that...there, debate over. Nothing wrong with a little compromise.
I am a pro gay marriage person, however I would only add that perhaps adoptions should bit bit different.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

The distinction you make about your argument is inconsequential. It's still based on an appeal that puts far too much emphasis on a superficial factor such as the gender of the participants. You base your argument on the idea that changing marriage weakens it while simply ignoring the fact that, other than the genders involved, marriage has changed radically over history. A couple of hundred years ago had you made the argument that marriage is for the benefit of the kids you'd have been laughed out of the room.

But the merits of gay marriage or civil unions aren't the focus of this thread - using "hate" to shut down an argument is. I agree with your cental point, 100% in fact.

So I have to ask - go read the rant by your client that leonel posted. Don't you think that in that rant, Ms. Appling uses essentially the same tactic by equating an opposing position with evil?

Anonymous said...

anon 5:03
That analogy doesn't make sense. The right to bear arms is the in the constitution (although people disagree to a great degree on the meaning). Marriage is a religious institution.

That aside, of course they should.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:54

So "everyone else's definition" of a bigot would include those who are for same sex marriage being intolerant of the opinions of those being against same sex marriage, right? Same sex marriage advocates are some of the most hostile people around when confronting someone who dares to mention the opposing viewpoint.

It's easy to diss a middle aged white law guy who disagrees with you. African-Americans (and Hispanics) are, as a whole, against same sex marriage because of their strong religious affiliations. How come you don't go after them? Afraid of being labeled a bigot perhaps?

Rick Esenberg said...


Since Ms. Appling is a client, I am not about to comment on her choice of language. You may want to consider, however, that she comes from a religious background very different than mine (and, I suspect,yours) and the use of certain terms have a meaning within that culture which is narrower and more particularized than in the larger society.

Had I said marriage was about "the kids" hundreds of years ago, I would not have been laughed at. It was all about procreation. The concepts of parenting and childhood itself were, of course, quite different.

But I agree that marriage evolves and it has evolved with certain objectives and realities in mind. Our difference about whether it should evolve away from that may be summed up by your statement that gender is superficial. I find that statement astonishing. I take it that what you mean is that both men and women are capable of love, sexual desire and commitment. True. But the idea that the way in which these things are experienced and the nature of mothers and fathers is unrelated to gender is belied by experience. The idea that heterosexual relationships must be "the same" in all material respects ignores that and ignores the basic biological fact that sex between men and women makes babies - a fact in which much of these other differences is rooted.

illusory tenant said...

"I am not about to comment on her choice of language."

This is wise, I think.

Because for what it's worth, "minions of Satan" who are "evil" aren't exactly terms of endearment within any Christian tradition that I'm aware of.

In fact, my understanding is Jesus of Nazareth taught that those are rightly objects of hatred.

Further, Ms. Appling deems them worthy of banishment — "banished forever," which Ms. Appling says "would be nice."

So perhaps Ms. Cadenas is on to something after all.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that allowing gays attend law school has totally corrupted the legal profession. Do we want the same thing happening to marriage?

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Rick, I certainly respect your need to not comment on your client. But, I certainly hope that if we were to take Ms. Appling's screed and block out her name and any reference to the issue, leaving only the rhetoric, and place it next to some liberal's screed about people like you, while doing the same thing, you'd objectively agree that both screeds used the tactic about which you are complaining here - using "hate"/"evil" to shut down debate.

Further, your justification for why her rhetoric is "acceptable" is, frankly, pathetic. So she has a religious background, that allows her to use "evil" to shut down a debate? If someone who, say, had a brother who's gay, who cannot get married and is depressed because of it, saw the effect on her brother and labeled you a bigot, would you excuse her background? I doubt it.

Give me a break.

No, gender is no longer the barrier it used to be. The evolution of marriage over history has been so radical that gender isn't that big of a deal. It's especially not that big of a deal because granting it to homos will not have an effect on the heteros who enter into it, because two men in one marriage cannot reasonably change how a man and woman enter into another. This is the crux of your argument, that marriage is supposed to regulate how men and women interact and raise children, but that makes no sense when the gay men and gay women who would enter into it would never marry someone of the opposite sex. If hetero marriage is supposed to regulate the interaction between men and women then you need to look at things that will actually affect how men and women interact in a marriage, and that means no-fault divorce or something actually relevant.

Then there's the kids. Same thing. The children of gay marriages by definition will not be born into hetero marriages - they're already born either by surrogacy or adopted from parents who cannot handle them or do not want them. Just like with hetero marriage, if you actually want to take action to affect what's already happening by banning surrogacy and taking the position that children are better off languishing in foster care than being adopted by a willing and loving homosexual couple.

Anonymous said...

"It's still based on an appeal that puts far too much emphasis on a superficial factor such as the gender of the participants."

ATV, your words were persuasive until the above and the subsequent defense of it. Gender was and is the entire crux of the issue. Marriage was invented to give blessing to a union that would bring forth children. Today the argument is purely about changing the dynamic of the marriage concept from one man and one woman to any two people of any gender. To take gender out of this marriage debate is to take away this debate. All I can say is What the...

One thing that amuses me to no end on this whole thing brings back the comment made by anon 7:38. Those are my beliefs exactly and every person who I have had discussions with except my very religious mother have admitted it would be anywhere from an acceptable to a great answer. However, all the talking heads need either more or less, and few of them even acknowledge the position.

Create a legally equal state to marriage, but call it a civil union or anything you want except marriage. Religiously, it keeps the definition of one man and one woman in marriage. Secularly, it gives any couple equal protections and states under the law. I have never heard any argument against this simple solution from individuals.

The only reason it does not please hardcore gay rights people is because it does not advance their cause of destroying and infiltrating their enemy: 'Organized religion'.

The only reason it does not please hardcore religious nuts is because it does not do anything to destroy those 'evil satanic gay minions'.

Church and State are being mingled here by using the religious term of marriage in secular law. Separate it!

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