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“I love you, I just don’t support you or your right to get married.”

So I saw this posted on facebook.
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I am so angry about this I can’t even think straight. I expected better from the person who posted it.
Saying you “do not support” marriage equality is the same as saying it shouldn’t be legal. I can’t see another way to interpret it. That means you’re saying they should not be able to marry the person of their choosing, that they should be denied the benefits and privileges of the marriage contract. That this legal contract between equals should be restricted to certain types of people.
That all adds up to second-class citizen status because of who they love.

In this context, “stand for what we believe” means denying legal equality to an already persecuted minority. You’re not defending anyone, you’re not helping anyone, you’re hurting people for no benefit to anyone.

Furthermore, the stereotyping of Christians as hateful, small-minded bigots comes from statements exactly like this, statements that claim being a Christian means being anti-gay. The ones who push this stereotype the hardest are hate groups who want to pressure Christians to support them by convincing them that this is part of being a Christian. If you really want to separate Christianity from bigotry, you need to stop claiming it as your motivation every time you act like a bigot.

Incidentally, you can be a Christian without denying equal rights. If you don’t believe me, come to San Francisco Pride next year and see how many churches of various denominations march in it, often carrying signs advertising “I will marry you!”

Finally, the whine about “name-calling and stereotyping” being “what we don’t want done to you” grates me on another level, because while Christians do get called names and stereotyped, LGBT people get denied services, fired from their jobs, beaten, raped, and murdered. Don’t pretend that you’re equally persecuted with people who literally just won the right to have their marriages recognized throughout the country, and in half the nation the right to marry the person they choose at all.

Consider what friendship means before you imply all that, and then say “we’re still friends.”
I want my friends to be better people than that.

Hopefully the last I will write about Prop8

So Prop8 is gone. The plaintiffs were married today in San Francisco, and we’re all a little more American.

I’m having trouble finding words for this, so here are a few pictures. Read the rest of this entry

Searching for a decent argument.

I was going to skip the search term post this month. There was nothing new, nothing we hadn’t seen before, so I didn’t see any point in parading it around.

Then I logged in to blog about something else this morning and saw that somebody had searched for the entire first argument presented by Peter Saunders in his list of ten reasons not to legalize same-sex marriage in Britain. It’s a marvelously weird morning when you log into your dashboard and see this in the recent search terms bar.

throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognized in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (hyde v hyde 1866). the un declaration of human rights (article 16) recognizes that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state’. it is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognize it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Yes. I blogged about this last May, and seeing it again inspired me to take another look at it, not the whole list but just this one argument. Looking up his references makes me wonder if Peter Saunders has actually read the documents he is listing in support of his claims.

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This is pretty much how they all sound to me

It just perfectly sums up pretty much every anti-marriage equality commercial I’ve seen.

Vague, pointless melodrama.

Will this be the argument presented to the Supreme Court?

This is the strangest argument against gay marriage that I’ve seen yet, I wish I could read it written out formally by the lawyers who said it. It’s bizarre and weak, and apparently the one that the Prop 8 crowd are taking before the Supreme Court.

Here’s the article by the LA Times, and here’s where you can read Greta Christina’s take on it, where I found the link.

“It is plainly reasonable for California to maintain a unique institution [referring to marriage] to address the unique challenges posed by the unique procreative potential of sexual relationships between men and women,” argued Washington attorney Charles J. Cooper, representing the defenders of Proposition 8. Same-sex couples need not be included in the definition of marriage, he said, because they “don’t present a threat of irresponsible procreation.”

Yeah. What puzzles me about this is that it’s by far the most demeaning description of marriage I’ve ever read. Every married couple should be offended by this, and it just gets worse the more I think about it!

Read the rest of this entry

Supremes to hear Prop 8 & DOMA

No, sorry, that’s the Supreme Court of the United States, not the Supremes. But that’s the big news today, the Supreme Court will be hearing Prop 8 and DOMA.

As usual, P8TT has the details here.

So what does this mean?
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Saunders’ List

Let’s take a look at Peter Saunders list of Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in BritainI won’t be quoting his full arguments for the whole list, because this is already doomed to be a very long post.

1. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman

Throughout history in virtually all cultures and faiths throughout the world, marriage has been held to be the union of one man and one woman. Marriage existed thousands of years before our nation began and has been recognised in our laws as the ‘voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life’ (Hyde v Hyde 1866). The UN Declaration of Human Rights (article 16) recognises that the family, headed by a man and a woman, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State’. It is not up to governments to redefine marriage – but simply to recognise it for what it is, and to promote and protect it as a unique institution.

Wow, factually wrong right out of the gate. Throughout history the most common form of marriage has been polygamous. It’s even in the Old Testament of the Bible, according to 1 Kings 11 king Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, though I suspect he may have inflated the number while bragging.

Check out the basic point here, though. Saunders appears to be saying same sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed because right now it isn’t allowed. So we shouldn’t change the rules to allow it because right now it isn’t allowed.

I’m getting a headache already.  Read the rest of this entry

Redefining?

Yeah, this is another gay marriage post. I’ll keep writing them until equality is taken for granted, and then I’ll probably still keep writing them to remind people that it wasn’t always so.

In my internet wanderings this morning I stumbled over this post titled Ten reasons not to legalise same-sex marriage in Britain and was struck by how often the author, Peter Saunders, refers to “redefining” marriage. I’ll address his ten points in a bit, but I think the definition thing is more important so I’m going to talk about this first.

Imagine, if you will, a local sports league, let’s say baseball, that’s been men-only since it was founded years ago. If it changes the rules allowing women to play, is it redefining baseball? If the couples-only three-legged race at the state fair declares that same-sex couples are welcome to participate, does this redefine three-legged races? When the schools were desegregated in the American South, did that redefine education? When women were given the right to vote, did that redefine democracy?

Is it really such a dramatic change to a social institution to welcome those who were previously excluded?

We say “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage”, but when you get down to it we’re just talking about marriage. The distinction between “a man and a women” and “two people” is trivial. We’re not talking about changing how people do things or what rights and responsibilities they have within a marriage contract, we’re literally talking about being a little more inclusive and nothing else.

In fairness, Saunders is British and talking about Britain, there may be other aspects to the British perspective that I’m not aware of. But I kind of doubt it, because his list of ten things contains nothing that I haven’t already seen in arguments here in the United States. I’ll take a look at that list in my next post.

Eight years

Something that’s often said during the Great Gay Marriage Wars™ is how everything will change if we allow it. Which puzzles me because in many places it exists and nothing seems to have happened. Right here in California we have something like 18,000 same-sex marriages and we haven’t slid into the Pacific or been pummeled by meteors or anything.

Zinnia Jones reminds us that today it’s been legal in Massachusetts for eight years, with harrowing details of the devastation caused to that state. I can only wonder what it’s like in Canada!

When bigotry’s your platform.

Mitt Romney gave a speech.

For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.

Wow, I actually agree with him! I don’t know anything about the study you’re talking about, Romney, but you make a great case for why we need Planned Parenthood and universal access to sex education, birth control, and abortion.

As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

Uh, what? Mittens, how the hell do you think those two concepts go together? Also, about that whole “one man, one woman” thing, uh, does that mean you’re disowning your great-grandfather?

The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with.

What the hell are you talking about? The only people who seem to dislike the protection of religious freedom in this country are fundamentalist Christians who want to force others to live by their rules! Are you suggesting that gay marriage somehow violates someone’s freedom of religion? HOW?! Furthermore, if it’s a violation for gays to get married because some religions dislike the idea, isn’t it an equal violation to ban it, since some religions are fine with the idea?

It looks like gay rights are going to be a major part of this election.

“We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage,”

My title quote comes from this article, and was said by one Tami Fitzgerald, explaining why her organization, Vote for Marriage NC, thought it was so important to pass an amendment to NC’s constitution banning same-sex marriage.

Frankly Tami, I think you’re lying. The reason I think this is that this amendment hurts marriage, by making it (even more) impossible for some couples who want to get married to do so, while it enshrines the treatment of gays as second-class citizens at best in the state constitution.

If you were really pro-marriage you’d be making it as easy as possible for people to get married.  Since same-sex marriage is already not legally recognized in your state, this does nothing but spit in the face of every gay citizen of North Carolina. It denies them their self-determination, their equal place in our society, and their human dignity.

Unable to comply

It looks like Toys R Us won’t have to choose whether or not they’re going to pull the Archie comic featuring gay marriage from their shelves as the American Patriarchy Association has demanded. Because that issue has sold out.

I think that’s pretty cool, but I wanted to touch on this quote:

Homosexuality is a topic which is “too complicated” for children to understand, say the mothers, and “a trip to the toy store turns into a premature discussion on sexual orientation and is completely uncalled for”.

I really don’t see how this is complicated. It seriously doesn’t seem any more complex than heterosexuality. Two men got married, what’s so complicated about that? How hard is it to explain that people love each other?

A nasty little part of me thinks the real problem is that kids aren’t likely to develop any real hostility towards different people this way. That the complicated part is explaining to them why these people should be treated with cruelty. But I’d like to think that people are better than that. That the only real problem is that these parents are uncomfortable with the subject and they don’t want to have to talk about it.

It seems really silly to me. Marriage is the same regardless of the sex of the spouses. If you can explain to a child why a woman would marry a man, surely to explain her marrying a woman you simply give the same explanation. Gay marriage, for all the talk, really is just marriage.

Prop 8 struck down again

As far as I can tell, it only has two chances left, at best. The full 9th circuit 11-judge panel appeal, and the Supremes. Well the Supreme Court, not the Supremes.

Prop 8 Trial Tracker has all the details, and the text of the decision, in case you want to read it or read about it from people who are better journalists than I am. But there’s one bit I really want to highlight. From page 5 of the decision:

All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimization and societal recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.

(Scribd didn’t want to let me copy & paste, btw, so that was typed out by hand. Assume any errors are my fault. Sorry about that.)

I guess I shouldn’t feel bad that a panel of judges who spend a lot more time & effort putting their thoughts and decisions into clear words than I do said it so much better than I’ve managed. I don’t really know what else to say about this that I haven’t said already.

The decision is going to be appealed, of course. It sounds unlikely that the 9th will do a full panel appeal, and the Supreme Court generally takes about 1% of the cases offered. It’s not clear to me what’s going to happen from here.

Oh, and in case you were wondering the stay is still in effect. No new marriages just yet.

The Dangers of Feminist Marriage!

Wow, this is a special kind of crazy. From Manboobz we find this post from David Usher of the Center for Marriage Policy explaining the latest reason you should fight against the evil tyranny of same-sex marriage: It’s a Trojan horse to allow “Feminist Marriage” which will destroy America! Read the rest of this entry

Gay Marriage

(For more on this subject in general, and the ongoing legal battles over prop8 in particular, I recommend the excellent Prop 8 Trial Tracker)

Last weekend New York passed a bill legalizing gay marriage. I haven’t talked about it here because I kind of felt that everything had been said already, but you know what? They haven’t been said by me, and that’s already bitten me in the ass once, so here’s my say.

If this looks too long to read and you just want to know in simple terms how I feel about it so you can categorize me or something, I’m saying “Marriage bans do nothing but prevent some people from marrying the person they choose. Way to go New York, hope the remaining 44 states follow you into the 21st century soon!” If that’s all you need to know, then there’s no point in reading past the cut. Those of you who want details? Onward!
Read the rest of this entry

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