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Abortion, Homosexuality, and Marriage

Some years back, a classroom instructor advised us that an audience would always be interested in sex. 'Find a way to bring sex into it', he promised, 'and your audience will stay focused and enthusiastic'. Looking back, I would say that the poor gentleman probably had some wish fulfillment issues in that area, but even so I have to admit that many of today's top issues have a clearly sexual component, particularly the volatile issues of Abortion, Homosexuality, and Marriage.

It seems very clear to me that the issues of Abortion, Homosexuality, and Marriage are heated because each side not only believes its position to be right, but that any other position is heinously immoral. This leads to the inevitable accusation that "they" must not even be human if they believe what they claim. Being compared to infernal monsters or sadists tends to make civil discussion difficult. For these issues, people seem to fall broadly into one of three camps - the liberal position, the conservative position, and the people who refuse to take a position and just want to be left alone. As a result, a few people end up speaking for everyone, and their positions are almost always extreme to one end or the other of the spectrum.

Abortion is a horrible thing to contemplate, the deliberate killing of a - what? For liberals, the woman concerned is the focus, pregnancy being a difficult process even when you are healthy and financially secure, and bringing up a child a long and arduous ordeal if you are not prepared for it and desire to be a mother. This is further complicated by a society which, let's be honest, does not do much to compel biological fathers to meet their responsibilities. Aborting the fetus, to a liberal, is a difficult decision but a necessary option for women facing the burden of having and raising children they do not want and cannot care for. But for conservatives, the matter is not of removing a fetus, but killing a pre-natal infant, murder by any reasonable definition. For conservatives, people have rights according to their merits, and no one can hold a higher moral claim than a baby. So liberals focus on the woman, conservatives on the baby-to-be. Both sides believe the other is ignoring the proper balance of interests.

The biggest problem I find in trying to consider this issue, is the extremely personal nature of the situation. No one is likely to think through the decision to have an abortion or go through a pregnancy, until they are faced with the reality of a pregnancy. Therefore the matter is compounded by the emotions and stress of crisis, multiplied by the family and relationship conditions in place. Is the father ready to be a dad? Is the mother prepared to become a mother? Are the families supportive or critical? And then there are additional complications to consider. I leave off the 'rape victim' or 'having the baby might kill the mother' scenarios because they are really very uncommon, but it needs to be said that pregnancy is full of unforeseen conditions and risks. This is also one of my strongest complaints against abortion. Abortions are surgical procedures, which always carry a degree of medical risk to the woman having the abortion, in addition to a certain psychological trauma. Women have died having abortions, and others have committed suicide after having abortions. This is not to equate having an abortion to becoming clinically depressed, but the risk in such an operation must be recognized as well.

Homosexuality has long been treated socially and legally as unacceptable behavior. It has been grounds for dismissal, divorce, even incarceration, yet after thousands of years it still occurs in every sort of society and culture, even where efforts to eradicate homosexuality by force, like in Iran, are promoted. The plain fact is, on the one hand homosexuals will always be a small minority of the population, but on the other hand homosexuals will always exist in any substantial population. Conservatives would argue that personal conduct is a choice, and so homosexuals are not entitled to any special benefits simply for being homosexual. Liberals argue on the other hand that homosexuals are a demographic minority, who have rights like anyone else which are infringed by a majority society which marginalizes homosexuals. Both sides believe the other is trying to impose an intolerable social order.

(continued)



It seems strange to me, sometimes, that conservatives should be unduly offended by homosexuality. That is, when it is practiced in the same way that most people practice heterosexual sex. So long as I am not the object of homosexual advances, what should I care what someone does in private with another consenting adult? Yes, there is the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, but that exists when someone is sexually promiscuous in any way, so it seems not to really be a problem on the personal level, stay out of risky behavior and you're fine. Sure, some gays get into protests and such, but this is the same nation that allows Nazis to march and someone keeps paying money and giving TV shows to Rosie O'Donnell.

At the same time, I do think it's inappropriate for gay special interest groups to try to influence kids in grade school. Look, I want my daughter to be tolerant and make her own decisions, but an 8-year-old does not to be indoctrinated in sexual conduct. Those discussions belong to the family, not the government anyway.

Marriage is in some ways a new battlefield, but in others an old one. Not so long ago, pretty much everyone accepted a definition of marriage that, more or less, was the same everywhere for everyone. Since no one was required to get married, it was a low-priority issue. That's changed, with the push to grant first civil unions, then religiously-sanctioned marriage ceremonies, for same-sex couples. The problem comes from the question of who has the greater right, couples to be married if they decide to do so, or religious institutions to stay true to sworn ideals. The reason that the battlefield is in some ways an old one, is that the moral boundaries began to decay with the liberal advocacy of casual sex a generation ago. Sexual conduct has been a factor for half a century in changing attitudes about marriage. Remember the "open" marriage, wherein the vows were apparently optional when one partner so desired? Remember when they introduced the "no-fault" divorce, a 'limited' measure designed to remedy the bitter court fights and post-marriage feuds? The sanctity of marriage has been under attack for quite a while now, and it's no accident. So now it should be no surprise that liberals want to redefine what a marriage is in the first place. That said, however, it is impossible for conservatives to compel the country to abide by the standards used in 1950. The question therefore, stands at hand - what makes a marriage, and who has the right to define its terms? For here and now, the best first step would be civil discussion with consideration of all reasonable perspectives. I have little confidence, however, that we are ready for that discussion as a nation.


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Comments (75)

We need to split the religi... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

We need to split the religious concept of marriage apart from the rights & benefits conferred by the civil form. In my perfect world the civil form cannot be called marriage and religious marriage cannot be recognized by civil authority. If you want both, you have 2 ceremonies. The civil form would be open to all, though I would still apply current consanguinity law even to same-sex couples. Religious sects can do as they wish with no fear of State intervention. Some sects clearly will embrace same-sex religious marriage; others won't. Exactly as it should be.

Many of us who are in the m... (Below threshold)

Many of us who are in the middle are not so much refusing to take a position and just be left alone, we feel like neither side will listen to us.

We see merits in the thinking of both sides, but no willingness of either side to give an inch.

...yet after thous... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
...yet after thousands of years it [homosexuality] still occurs in every sort of society and culture, even where efforts to eradicate homosexuality by force, like in Iran, are promoted. The plain fact is, on the one hand homosexuals will always be a small minority of the population, but on the other hand homosexuals will always exist in any substantial population.

Pestilence is like that even defying Darwin's laws of natural selection. Will science ever find the cause of homosexuality, and if it does and it's preventable through treatment in the womb or in early childhood, what political implications would such a treatment have? Would gays protest such treatments for children like the deaf protest treatments to give a deaf child hearing? As the numbers of any group declines so does its political clout.

DJ,This was an ext... (Below threshold)
jmc:

DJ,

This was an extremly well thought out, and fair post. I am sure you and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum on these issues, however, that is what I thinks makes this post so impressive, the fact that while certainly having your own opinion you took the time to see why the other side has theirs. You disagree, but didn't demonize. And that, in the combative internet age is very rare.

You are right in that it will probably be a long time, if ever, before our society will have civil discourse on these issues; they just generate so much anger. but posts like this that advocate with attacking are a good start. I sincerely hope (naively I admit) that others in this debate do the same.

DJ,I think your ri... (Below threshold)
dee:

DJ,

I think your right on target when you say you don't know what you'll do until faced with the reality of a pregnancy. I was always for abortion and my boyfriend was against it. Until one day we were faced with an unwanted pregnancy. My boyfriend changed his view quickly and gave me his blessing to do what I felt was best. My son is 11 years old today and ironically enough since that pregnancy I've never been able to get pregnant again.

"So long as I am not the ob... (Below threshold)

"So long as I am not the object of homosexual advances, what should I care what someone does in private with another consenting adult?"

1. If governments grant homosexual unions the special recognition that heterosexuals receive when they beomce legally married, its no longer a "private" matter.

2. If homosexual marriage is recognized by states, homosexual education will become ubiquitous. As a persecuted minority with legal recognition, married homosexual couples will insist on redoubled educational efforts.

3. The more broadly we define marriage, the more unlikely it is that children will enjoy the psychological benefits of being raised by two parents, one of each gender. Moreover, if the definition of marriage becomes too broad, marriage itself becomes meaningless. What happens when polygamists begin to demand their "rights"? Their rhetorical argument would be simple: Shouldn't people involved in polygamous relationships be allowed to enjoy all the same rights enjoyed by homosexual and heterosexual couples, e.g., employment benefits, hospital visitation, and the right to adopt children? I don't see any way to avoid this question--and because of the precedent set by the institution of homosexual marriage, there would be only one logical answer: yes.

http://www.rightklik.net/2008/12/proposition-8-and-bigoted-anti-mormon.html

...Then marriage becomes wh... (Below threshold)

...Then marriage becomes whatever social arrangement you want to imagine it to be. Equality is for EVERYONE, right?

http://www.rightklik.net/2008/12/proposition-8-and-bigoted-anti-mormon.html

Jason--there are reasons wh... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Jason--there are reasons why homosexual marriage is not a slippery slope to people marrying animals/children/siblings/groups. Consent; the moral psychology of romantic love; etc.. It can be demonstrated that polygamous relationships necessarily involve a degree of harm, but that homosexual relationships do not.

DJ--I agree with jmc, this is a good post. One thing that struck me as odd, though, is the bit about homosexuality being tolerable so long as no one makes same-sex advances on hetero individuals. Presumably we don't think someone is doing something wrong if they offer to buy a girl a drink in a club and she says, "Sorry bud, I go for girls." When someone persists beyond the point of firm rejection, whether they be straight or gay, that's basically sexual harassment.

It's hard to believe that some people still think homosexuality is a choice considering how shitty life is for many homosexuals. If you're gay and you live in Iran or Jamaica, you're either choosing to risk your life or, more likely, you can't help feeling a compelling degree of attraction to the same sex.

Some pro-choice people feel that a person is indeed being killed (murdered) during the act of abortion, but that it's inconceivable how one would mete out punishment for such an act; thus something that will be done anyway might as well be legally sanctioned to make it safer, and people should be educated such that demand for abortion is radically reduced. I think Hillary Clinton's position seems to be more or less this one. Also, consider the low rates of teen pregnancy and abortion in healthier countries (e.g. Scandinavian ones)--abortion is legal, but sex ed is incredibly effective at reducing unwanted pregnancies.

So what do you make of the ... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

So what do you make of the recent report about the rise in teen pregnancies? All of those states are red states, aren't they? And what does that tell you?

Right: nothing. There's no schema for that in the Republican echo chamber, is there? Must...watch...Fox...news...

astugafa, perhaps if your s... (Below threshold)
Pam:

astugafa, perhaps if your statement is true, you provide no data, it only means that Red State girls choose to have their babies, while Blue State girls abort theirs.

Gay activists want to make ... (Below threshold)
Steve:

Gay activists want to make saying homosexuality is wrong similar to a racial slur and an anti-Semitic remark. Freedom of speech for religious groups is being chipped away at in Canada. In the U.S, a photographer was just fined in New Mexico for not doing photos of a lesbian ceremony because of her moral convictions. In Massachusetts, a man was thrown in jail for trying to get his child out of a same sex marriage assembly..one which he was not notified about. No one thought in 1930 there would be abortion. No one though in 1968 we'd talk about gay marriage. So people who think religious freedom of speech is free now can't predict what will happen with the future..but based on what we have seen, the first Amendment will be chipped away it by the ACLU and gay activists.

there are reasons ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
there are reasons why homosexual marriage is not a slippery slope to people marrying animals/children/siblings/groups.

Marring animals is silly unless animals are given the same status under the law as humans. For the others, none of the reasons against them is as strong as the procreation reason for marriage being restricted to a man and a woman. Certainly there's no reason for a parent and child or two siblings of the same sex to be excluded once procreation is breached. In fact, many siblings of the same sex live together and share resources. Are you going to argue that they must commit deviant sexual acts to obtain the same rights as two unrelated individuals of the same sex?

It's hard to believe that some people still think homosexuality is a choice considering how shitty life is for many homosexuals.

Men like Gene Robinson prove the homosexual life style is in fact a choice. Gene Robinson was the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination. Robinson claims he was attracted to men before he married a women and fathered two children. It's likely many men with attractions to other men put that aside and live normal lives? How a person lives is a choice, miswired or not.

JACK AND JILL HID IN THE HI... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

JACK AND JILL HID IN THE HILL,TO MAKE OUT IN THEIR NUDE CLOTHES,

#11 - "No one thought in 19... (Below threshold)

#11 - "No one thought in 1930 there would be abortion."

You might want to read a history book.

hyperbolist:"It ca... (Below threshold)

hyperbolist:

"It can be demonstrated that polygamous relationships necessarily involve a degree of harm, but that homosexual relationships do not."

What do you have to support that statement?

DJ, you wrote:"The... (Below threshold)
Guvnah:

DJ, you wrote:

"The problem comes from the question of who has the greater right, couples to be married if they decide to do so, or religious institutions to stay true to sworn ideals."

Actually, neither of these issues presents any problem.

Any couple or group of people can decide to get married and then do so. Likewise, any religious institution is free to define the scope of marriages that it will consecrate and recognize.

As a religious conservative/libertarian, I have no problem with any group of people conducting a ceremony whereby they call themselves married, and I have no problem with any sect deciding they will perform those ceremonies.

The gay marriage debate is not a conflict between one group of people (homosexuals) demanding the "freedom" to do something and another group (religious conservatives) seeking to restrict individual choice.

There are no laws prohibiting gay marriage ceremonies, I know of no movement to create such laws, and the last time I checked, even when we were living under the tyrannical reign of AG Ashcroft police didn't break up homosexual weddings and arrest the participants.

The problem arises with the demand for legal recognition of relationships. The ultimate question is whether or not we, as a people, have the right to determine the legal incidents that will attach to a given relationship, through our democratically elected representatives.

Some gay marriage proponents concede that the people and their representatives have the right to define the legal contours of marriage, and seek to get their preferences enacted through the legislature.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach. I will not vote for their preferred policies because I believe they are misguided, but I wish them luck.

Other, more vocal proponents, whom I believe to be the majority of proponents, believe that the people have NO RIGHT to define marriage in such a way that it excludes same-sex couples.

There is everything wrong with this approach, because it involves the creation of constitutional rights out of thin air that cannot be limited in any intellectually coherent manner from resulting in the requirement that any and all relationships -- regardless of the number or other characteristics of the "spouses" will have to be recognized as well.

You also wrote:

"The question therefore, stands at hand - what makes a marriage, and who has the right to define its terms?"

Close.

Anyone has the right to define their own relationships however they see fit. So the question is "who has the right to define the terms of a legally recognized marriage?"

The most vocal gay marriage proponents say -- nobody has the right to define those terms unless they define them identically for gay and straight marriage.

How a person lives ... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

How a person lives is a choice, miswired or not.

I'm married with two great kids. As heterosexual as they come and couldn't conceive of what it would be like to be gay.

However, I'm in a creative field and have several good friends who happen to be gay - as well as a friend from high school who came out to everyone while in college. In his case, it was never a surprise.

All these people are friends whom I know and care about deeply. To have anyone suggest they are "purposely" placing themselves into a lifestyle by choice is the height of ignorance - and I DO have a problem with that. Ignorance is a greater threat to our society than homosexuality ever will be.

I'll concede there may be a tiny percentage of people out there who've come upon this lifestyle due to means other than their genes, but just like any group it's the small minority. For anyone who knows someone who's gay - that is, is friends with them, knows them for a while and knows their life - you don't question these things. It's the way your born.

Those who can't wrap their heads around this either don't know anyone who is gay well, have such issues with homophobia that they've put themselves in this theoretical shell that cannot be penetrated with logic, or have been so brainwashed by their religion to believe this hogwash. (and, by the way, I'm Congregational Protestant - does believing gays are born this way make me a heretic? Don't care if it does. Rather treat others equally. It's what everyone deserves.)

Lastly, as I've said before, I have no issue with anyone who is gay being given the rights we have with their loved ones. I just think the approach of hijacking the term "marriage" is the big sticking point. Call it something else, but give them the same rights.

To those who can't work around this, go see "Milk." Maybe you'll understand a few things.

All these people a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
All these people are friends whom I know and care about deeply. To have anyone suggest they are "purposely" placing themselves into a lifestyle by choice is the height of ignorance - and I DO have a problem with that. Ignorance is a greater threat to our society than homosexuality ever will be.

The ignorance is on your part, not mine. There's a difference between sexual orientation and sexual action. History shows that a significant percentage of men are attracted to younger women, which under today's legal system are classified as minors. The actual age varies from nation to nation, which demonstrates it's a societal norm not an inherent state. The vast majority of men with a sexual orientation for too young women set it aside and live within the societal norms. Likewise, the case of Gene Robinson proves gays can live as a heterosexual man even fathering children.

What you are promoting is that people should be allowed to give-in to their sexual appetites and even receive legal standing and benefits once reserved for procreation couples. If your views weren't so myopic you would see that the procreation couple is the foundation upon which every human society is built. Abandon the biological underpinnings of the family and you weaken the underpinnings of civilization as we know it.

"Aborting the fetus, to a l... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Aborting the fetus, to a liberal, is a difficult decision" -- D.J. Drummond

Not necessarily, depends on the pregnant liberal female. Likely millions of females throughout the world get an abortion through taking a pill (e.g., the "morning-after" pill) or seeing a doctor without thinking twice.

Heck, conservative anti-choice females themselves have abortions! How so, you might ask? It's called "spontaneous abortion" (as opposed to "induced abortion"). A woman can have a spontaneous abortion without even knowing about it! Definition time:

spontaneous abortion: woman expels fertilized embryo from her body on her own.

induced abortion: woman expels fertilized embryo (or fetus) from her body with the help of an external agent (e.g., drug or doctor).

What's the big deal you say, you see no important difference? Well, neither do I!

But if conservative females are truly to be "anti-abortion" then they should tape their vaginas shut after sexual intercourse. (Yes, urination might be a bit hard, but, hey, it's worth it for the "pro-life" cause). What say you, anti-abortion females?

Imagine a world where conservatives have succeeded in outlawing abortion in America. Well, if you're going to outlaw an activity, you have to have penalties for those who violate the law making that activity illegal. SO CONSERVATIVES, HOW MANY YEARS BEHIND BARS SHOULD A WOMAN WHO HAS UNDERTAKEN AN ABORTION ENDURE? SHOULD SHE GET THE DEATH PENALTY?

And don't try to weasel out of answering the question by saying only the doctor should receive criminal sanctions; if the woman had never gone to the doctor the abortion wouldn't have occurred. Heck, with the pill, RU-486, nowadays women don't even need a doctor to get an induced abortion!

And what criminal penalty shall there be for the woman who has a miscarriage because she took extremely poor care of herself after getting impregnated through rape? Should she be charged with manslaughter or second-degree murder?

I anxiously await your answers to the questions posed, conservatives!

"Homosexuality has long bee... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Homosexuality has long been treated socially and legally as unacceptable behavior. It has been grounds for dismissal, divorce, even incarceration, yet after thousands of years it still occurs in every sort of society and culture, even where efforts to eradicate homosexuality by force, like in Iran, are promoted." -- DJ Drummond

What is striking here is how much in common the American religious conservatives have with the Iranian religious conservatives. On this issue of intolerance toward homosexuals, you conservatives are quite a bit like the Iranians! DJ Drummond comments about 'efforts to eradiccate homosexuality' in Iran. Well, the same efforts existed here in (primarily) the backward red states, until a few years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and abolished anti-sodomy statutes.

And, conservatives, those anti-homosexual statutes you guys came up with aren't ever coming back in this country. You lose: deal with it.

What you are promot... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

What you are promoting is that people should be allowed to give-in to their sexual appetites and even receive legal standing and benefits once reserved for procreation couples.

You still just don't get it. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

This is a neanderthalic argument. And it doesn't really matter. Decades from now, Mac Lorry, you will be viewed as exactly what you are, but can't possibly see yourself as. It's unfortunate you don't see it.

Personally, like someone who's been in battle, I don't think anyone who's not been in war can tell another what's it's like to be there and have any credibility. And with you, someone who obviously has not had any gay friends or anyone who is gay that they know well - or has been gay - can weigh in on this with any credibility. (Sure, you can have an "opinion", just be aware that it does not carry any weight).

Sorry. Your religion may tell you your right, but you're as wrong as those who thought blacks were inferior.

Let me ask you this: Can you keep yourself from being attracted to women? Can you stop eating forever? You call this a "choice" but how easy would it be for you to stop seeing women and start seeing men? Pretty tough, huh?

Stupid argument, and I don't expect you to be swayed, sadly.

If your views weren... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

If your views weren't so myopic you would see that the procreation couple is the foundation upon which every human society is built. Abandon the biological underpinnings of the family and you weaken the underpinnings of civilization as we know it.

This I find hilarious and sad at the same time. No one is questioning anyone's ability to procreate. What? Do you think that if homosexuality is considered "acceptable" in general society that everyone would jump at being gay and the population would decrease.

Ignorance.

Furthermore, no one is "abandoning" anything. Is this what you really believe? Do you live in the dark ages? Sad.

You want to limit people's freedom's based on your ignorance, move to Iran or Saudi Arabia.

"That said, however, it is ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"That said, however, it is impossible for conservatives to compel the country to abide by the standards used in 1950." -- DJ Drummond

I commend you, DJ, for realizing that as time marches on, your side continues to lose. Indeed, you conservatives often eventually wind up completely accepting positions that would have made your conservative ancestors grimace and shudder!!

We can't go back to the past, as much as the conservatives would long to. But will liberalism continue to kick conservatism's ass in the future, as it has done throughout the centuries? Will greed and conservatism make a comeback as worldwide resources per person dwindle with rising population, or will expanded education continue to ensure that liberalism emerges triumphant?

I remain cautiously optimistic.

DJ, I still believe homosex... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

DJ, I still believe homosexuality to be morally wrong, but I don't believe it to be our biggest concern right now. What people do in their private lives is their business and only for God to judge. What I don't appreciate is the agenda of pushing laws just to create friction between members of the public and generate revenue for those behind the agenda.

The actual root of all evil is the love of money, not the vehicle by which that love is propagated.

Hansel2,Y... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Hansel2,

You still just don't get it. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

Once again, it's your ignorance, not mine.

This is a neanderthalic argument. And it doesn't really matter. Decades from now, Mac Lorry, you will be viewed as exactly what you are, but can't possibly see yourself as. It's unfortunate you don't see it.

History demonstrates just the opposite. Your hippie logic has come and gone throughout history and resulted in untold damage to the civilizations that didn't see it for what it was.

And with you, someone who obviously has not had any gay friends or anyone who is gay that they know well - or has been gay - can weigh in on this with any credibility. (Sure, you can have an "opinion", just be aware that it does not carry any weight).

Your assertion is false and so is your argument. I don't need to have friendly relationships with pedophiles or adulterers to demonstrate they are damaging to individuals and to society. If we follow your logic then no one who's not been chemically dependent should have an opinion about chemical dependency. That's absurd as is your argument that you have to be friends with gays to have an opinion about how society defines legally recognized relationships.

Sorry. Your religion may tell you your right, but you're as wrong as those who thought blacks were inferior.

One has nothing to do with the other so your analogy fails. I could just as easily turn it around and say "Sorry. Your hippie politics may tell you your right, but you're as wrong as those who thought blacks were inferior."

Let me ask you this: Can you keep yourself from being attracted to women? Can you stop eating forever?

No, but I can and do control my actions. Millions of married men set aside their sexual appetites every day and do the right thing, and yes they stay faithful for the rest of their lives. Nothing less is acceptable in a civilized society. Are you in forth grade that you don't know this?

You call this a "choice" but how easy would it be for you to stop seeing women and start seeing men? Pretty tough, huh?

No I couldn't start seeing men, but I can be celibate. Did it when I was in the military as millions of honorable men have done and are doing. Seems you don't know any.

This I find hilarious and sad at the same time. No one is questioning anyone's ability to procreate. What? Do you think that if homosexuality is considered "acceptable" in general society that everyone would jump at being gay and the population would decrease.

Ignorance

A sure sign of ignorance is to keep presuming those who don't agree with you are ignorant or stupid. Personally I don't care if two adults want to have an interment relationship in their private lives. However, when such people bring their relationship into the political process and ask for government benefits, they make it my business and the business of every voter and every taxpayer.

Obviously you haven't spent much time thinking about the implications of gay marriage, but it's not harmless to society. Society grants special rights to procreation couples because society must successfully procreate and raise the next generation or ceases to exist as we know it. In return for the next generation of good citizens, society extends financial benefits to married couples not available to others. The equality of the partners and biology dictate that marriage be reserved for a relationship between one man and one women. The fact that close relatives are not allowed to marry, even if they love each other, demonstrates that the purpose of marriage has been and is that of procreation.

Some couples can't procreate, but the law treats people by type, not as individuals. Not all those 18 and older have the judgement to vote, but they can because they are of the 18 or older type. Not all 17 year-olds are incapable of voting intelligently, but they are barred because they are of the too young to vote type. There are many examples of this in or laws, everything from the draft to income tax deductions that have nothing to do with income, like being 65 years old. Why do the blind get an extra deduction but the quadriplegic don't? It's because of the type of their disability, not their individual circumstances.

Once society abandons the rock of equality of the partners and procreation biology that traditional marriage is founded on, there's no other foundation upon which to limit the benefits of marriage. Consider same sex relatives, many of whom currently share resources. What argument will you make to deny them the financial benefits of marriage if two strangers of the same sex are allowed to marry? Are you going to require two brothers or two sisters to perform deviant sexual acts to obtain the same benefits as two strangers of the same sex?

Marriage benefits have a significant cost for society, both public and private. In fact, financial benefits are one of the key arguments gays make to courts in seeking the right to marry. Society has limited capacity to extend such benefits and must be allowed to limit those benefits to procreation couples in return for the next generation of good citizens. Gay marriage is a bad investment it that regard.

The left has no conception ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The left has no conception of a belief system. Their idea of commitment is what the polls say is popular at the moment. True belief and true leadership is sticking to that belief system no matter what the nay sayers spew.

No evidence that homosexuality is in the genes but yet the left embraces that dream.

I am on record and will say again, my GOD says homosexuality is an abomination and a deviancy, and that is good enough for me. That being said, I do not want any harm to come to homo's.

Since we are not sure when life starts, wouldn't it be prudent to err on the side of the earliest? ww

DJ, if your post is a call ... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

DJ, if your post is a call for greater civility, I think that is admirable. Rational inquiry and debate presuppose civility. Conversely, hostility impedes intelligent dialog.

That said, so long as one side is committed to intellectual dishonesty, then rational dialog is impossible. When political interests outrun rational integrity, then civility is expendable. The objective then becomes the sine qua non of politics.

As to abortion, there is no rational justification for its practice. The only objective definition of human life is the human genetic code. Every other definition is demonstrably arbitrary, but that is irrelevant to its defenders. To them, female autonomy is indistinct from equality and autonomy includes reproductive rights. Hence, rational inanity notwithstanding, any restriction of abortion restrict's a woman's equality and must be opposed. This makes civil discourse difficult, at best. An intellectually dishonest person wants victory, not rational precision. Name-calling is a refuge for an exhausted mind and that's exactly what occurs when abortion advocates are pinned with logical arguments. To call abortion murder is to state a biological fact; and if it is murder, **every other issue is ancillary**. If facts inflame a debate, the anger exhibits a commitment to bias, not truth. In reasoned discourse, the instant you feel anger, you have ceased striving for the truth and have begun to strive for yourself. Of course, one may be angry at an opponent's dishonesty, but one should never be angry about facts.

For us, civil discourse is what we want, but we must also have the conviction to stand on principle. To surrender to fallacy merely because the other side makes more noise is unprincipled and cowardly. It is also ultimately self-destructive for if one is not willing to fight for truth, then one becomes what one pretends to oppose.

Herman, your history lesson is a little flawed. The pro-choice position of the 1800s was the property rights position of those defending slavery. My property, my choice; slaves aren't fully human; government has no business telling me what to do with my property; if you don't like slavery don't own a slave; don't impose your morality on me; live and let live; et cetera, ad nauseam. The anti-choice abolitionists exposed those fatuous arguments and justifications for what they were, and, thankfully, the anti-choice argument won. It is always good to oppose immorality and if we cannot eliminate it, we must do what we can to restrict it. If not, then we're not committed to morality; and if we're not committed to morality, we're finished.

To be continued...

"The left has no conception... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

"The left has no conception of a belief system. Their idea of commitment is what the polls say is popular at the moment."

Exactly! Rightists NEVER point to polls whose results are friendly to THEIR causes and agenda.

"True belief and true leadership is sticking to that belief system no matter what the nay sayers spew."

What if that "belief system" sucks and the "nay sayers" are correct in all their nay saying?

DJ, I think your "unduly of... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

DJ, I think your "unduly offended by homosexuality" comment needs further clarification. I'm not fresh out of grade school and am part of the Religious Right. The many, MANY conservatives I know don't waste their time thinking about homosexuality. The only time we "think" about it is when their advocacy groups want to "educate" our children about homophobia and sympathetic judges want to impose their worldview on our society.

First any gay person in every state can get married. Nothing prohibits two persons from exchanging vows and living together as they see fit. That's not what they want. They want government *endorsement* of their lifestyle. **WE** take notice because the "government" is We the People. If they want to get married, they can do so right now; if they want certain property rights, there are legal constructs available, etc; but when they seek government endorsement, that's where we draw the line. Homosexuality is unnatural from a biological standpoint, and immoral from a Biblical standpoint. It is, therefore, not surprising we would oppose government endorsement of unnatural, immoral behavior.

Second, science HAS NOT taken the position that homosexuality is exclusively genetic. Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health (the organization is a co-decipherer of the human DNA sequence) says the following, "If you look at identical twins and if one of those identical twins is exclusively gay...what's the chance that the other twin will also be exclusively homosexual? It's about 20 percent...If it was purely genetic, you'd expect to see 100 percent accordance and you don't, you see much less than that. So that says there are other factors. DNA is involved but others factors are also very important. We don't know what those other factors are. We don't know whether they're biological, whether they're environmental exposures, whether they are childhood experiences... we don't know whether they're reversible or not."

So, while DNA may be involved, it is not the exclusive cause of the phenomena. Fully 80% of identical twins of homosexuals, having the same genetic makeup, ARE NOT gay. Moreover, a genetic cause does not imply normal genetic variation (like left-handedness). It could also imply a genetic *flaw*. Why do lesbians have ovaries? Why do gays produce sperm? Homosexuality is biologically unnatural, so if we see a persistent occurrence of it, and if there is a genetic cause, to one degree or another, that does not imply that the genetic cause is normal. It can equally imply a genetic disorder which affects a very small percentage of the population. So, even if the cause were exclusive genetic, it is irresponsible to leap to the conclusion that the behavior is normal.

As a counterexample, look a pedophilia. How many of you know a pedophile? What if a person tells you s/he is not attracted to adults? What if s/he says s/he is only attracted to children? What if science one day demonstrates a limited or exclusive genetic cause? Do we then say that pedophilia is normal? Of course not. It is not normal for adults to have sex with children and society should not pretend that it is.

It is simply bad science to teach that homosexuality is exclusively genetic and irresponsible to teach that such phenomena is normal. To oppose bad science is something I would hope every decent person would do. That doesn't appear to be the case and if you speak up, you're homophobic, a bigot..... They can throw temper tantrums/hissy fits and that's called political advocacy. We try to talk logic and we're called Nazis.

Finally, injury has prevented many spouses from having sex. That does not mean the uninjured spouse may commit adultery. Our sexuality should be subordinate to morality. When morality is subordinated to emotion and appetite, then we become moral relativists. We are not animals.

Kind regards,
Scalia

You know something, Mac Lor... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

You know something, Mac Lorry, I could comment on your post but it disgusts me so profoundly there's nothing I feel I can say that would make much of a difference here.

I just feel sorry for anyone who is so backward in their thinking that they would look at the world the way you do. It is truly sad.

30., you shouldn't bother t... (Below threshold)
daniel rotter:

30., you shouldn't bother taking anyone seriously who uses the term "procreation couples."

Wow. This thread deteriorat... (Below threshold)

Wow. This thread deteriorated in a hurry. The Religious Right view of homosexuality is not necessarily the Conservative view. Conservatives are not necessarily Republicans either.

To call taking RU-486 an abortion is truly ignorant.

They want governme... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
They want government *endorsement* of their lifestyle. **WE** take notice because the "government" is We the People.

Donna, this is the key right here. I believe in one and only one God, one Christ, and am a conservative, but am not part of the religious right. The government is no longer "We the people", and hasn't been for some time. The lawmakers have become corporate interest and pharmaceutical companies that want to push an agenda for revenue. Taking RU-486 may or may not be an abortion, put the primary reason this drug exists at all is to give a false sense of security and control over actions. "If we aren't in control of our own appetites, let a drug compensate for it". The word choice takes on a whole new meaning. This is what the drug companies are trying to sell as opposed to common sense and moderation.

I just feel sorry ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I just feel sorry for anyone who is so backward in their thinking that they would look at the world the way you do. It is truly sad.

Hansel2 - I can look 2,500 years back and see people like you who thought their ideas were new and revolutionary only to find out too late they were actually just failed ideas from the past. The only thing sad here is those like you who won't learn from the past.

Donna, you write, "The Reli... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Donna, you write, "The Religious Right view of homosexuality is not necessarily the Conservative view. Conservatives are not necessarily Republicans either."

Whoever said conservatives are necessarily Republicans? Who said the Religious Right view of homosexuality is necessarily the conservative view? And how are your comments relevant to the points made?

As to this thread "deteriorating," I don't see how correcting uninformed assumptions about human behavior or history detracts from the discussion.

I think DJ is calling for more civility, but, as I've pointed out, one cannot be a moral relativist and be rational. There is truth and there is error; and when one side is committed to intellectual dishonesty, civil debate is rarely, if ever, possible.

I can look 2,500 ye... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

I can look 2,500 years back and see people like you who thought their ideas were new and revolutionary only to find out too late they were actually just failed ideas from the past.

2,500 years ago, people still thought the world was round, modern medicine was the art of applying leeches to a wound and there was no such thing as civil rights. Really, what issue from the past is it you're referring to? Is it something current like Darwinism maybe? I'm sure that's a gray area to you, despite every last scrape of evidence to the contrary.

Of course nothing I'm saying is revolutionary. The problem is, it seems to be to you. Most educated, open-minded, non-prejudice people accept that gay individuals are just like you and I, as you say, wired a little differently. People with tourettes are wired a little differently. There a small percentage of people born with two sets of genitalia. You keep harping on this issue of choice. It's an ignorant rant.

I don't see how correcting uninformed assumptions about human behavior...

The only uninformed assumption is yours. It's pointless trying to educate bigots. They will always find a way to create their own reality. Really, discussion with these people is like going back in time and trying to convince a racist that blacks are equal to them. I'm happy to leave this with the fact that the majority of the U.S. don't consider gays an "abomination."

Hansel, you illustrate my a... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Hansel, you illustrate my arguments perfectly. Instead of intelligently engaging my arguments and refuting them with with sound analysis, you resort to name-calling (bigots). Whoever taught you that name-calling is rational discourse ought to be sued for malpractice.

Let's see...you choose a belief, assume that belief is enlightened, offer arguments in support of that belief that are unsupported by facts, and then verbally bludgeon anybody who sees your ignoratio elenchi.

DJ, of course you're reading all this. Your call for civility is a noble effort because your call is a *rational* one. Irrational people do not heed the call of reason. There are honest persons who will be persuaded by evidence, and we can only hope they comprise the majority. I'll not hold my beath.

I am a conservative but ... (Below threshold)
MF:

I am a conservative but that does not mean I believe in all of or even most of the republican concepts. I believe it is time for reviewing the rulings.... and ensure they are 'constitutional' and streamline.

As far as abortion: in my opinion it should not be handled or even addressed at the federal level.
Regarding gay rights. I believe they should have the same rights but not be considered 'married'. just a personal opinion.

They have proven there there is an item enyzme (under ones tongue)that determines ones sex.
It's no more of a choice than it is that I am attracted to tall dark and handsome men.

so the short of it is there are legal, moral, and then health/psychological factors.
legal aspects are to consider what is best for the majority of the US citizens based on the constitution taking the 'emotion' and 'personal/religious opinions' out of the rulings.


Hansel2,Blinded by... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Hansel2,

Blinded by your own smug sense of superiority you ignore the lessons of history. We aren't talking about rocket science nor the electronic trinketry of our time, we are talking about human nature and in particular, sexual desires. Nothing you have thought of or experienced in that regard was unknown to people 2500 years ago. The only thing they didn't have is our perspective. Simply put, every nation that has abandoned the nuclear family as it's foundation as failed.

Yes, times have changed, but human nature has not. Our society now tolerates biologically invalid forms of sex among consenting adults, but that's not enough for the practitioners of such acts. They want equal status with the procreation couple who are vital to the continuation of our civilization, and useful idiots who disdain the lessons of history are all too happy to accommodate them. Good thing you didn't know Dennis Rader or you would be on here defending his actions because he was born miswired and couldn't control his actions. History is full of useful idiots and you are just another on a long line.

As a counterexampl... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
As a counterexample, look a pedophilia. How many of you know a pedophile? What if a person tells you s/he is not attracted to adults? What if s/he says s/he is only attracted to children? What if science one day demonstrates a limited or exclusive genetic cause? Do we then say that pedophilia is normal? Of course not. It is not normal for adults to have sex with children and society should not pretend that it is

What is artificial is society's definition of child. The age of sexual consent varies from nation to nation on this day, which proves it's artificial. Sex with a post pubescent girl under 18 is illegal, but it's not unnatural. If you define pedophilia as being attracted to post pubescent girls under the age of 18, then if you know 10 adult men you likely know some pedophiles. HOWEVER, being attracted and acting on those feelings are entirely different things. The vast majority of men put aside their feelings in such a case, even scolding themselves for having those feelings, and live according to our laws. People do have a choice over their actions and most people make the right choice. Arguments to the contrary run counter to the most basic tenants of our legal system.

Mac Lorry,I have a... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

Mac Lorry,

I have a 4 month old daughter. The idea of doing anything unnatural with any minor is as foreign to me as having relations with a goat (and was before having my daughter). Pedophilia is NOT something that any majority of men have and need to keep "under control." It is a sickness and/or a horrid genetic deviation.

The idea of comparing pedophilia to homosexuality is like comparing a murder to a scuffle. I don't know where you're coming from on this, but MY urges would never go that way.

The vast majority o... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

The vast majority of men put aside their feelings in such a case, even scolding themselves for having those feelings, and live according to our laws.

The vast majority of men are not even CLOSE to being pedophiles. Don't know how you think about this, but I believe there is not a scintilla of comparison to homosexuality or the average man.

The fact that you would use this as a comparison, in fact, exposes your ignorance completely.

If you define pedop... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

If you define pedophilia as being attracted to post pubescent girls under the age of 18, then if you know 10 adult men you likely know some pedophiles.

Once again, your view on the world is not coming from some collective conscious. I don't know who you hang out with, but none of the men I know, friends or otherwise, would consider this kind of idea anything but grotesque.

There is a great deal of difference in finding someone like a 20-year-old Britney Spears as opposed to finding a 15-year-old attractive. The latter is not even a consideration for an average adult. It is, in fact, unseemly.

Simply put, you are under the assumption that your view on all of this is correct. Re-read what you wrote here and tell me you wouldn't want to rethink this.

Hansel2,I... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Hansel2,

I have a 4 month old daughter. The idea of doing anything unnatural with any minor is as foreign to me as having relations with a goat (and was before having my daughter).

Well that explains it. Either you can't read our you don't know what "post pubescent" means. Only a first class idiot thinks a 4 month-old has already gone through puberty. Do a little studying before you make a bigger fool of yourself than you already have. Then see if you can argue about what I actually wrote, rather than your own ignorant misunderstandings.

There is a great d... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
There is a great deal of difference in finding someone like a 20-year-old Britney Spears as opposed to finding a 15-year-old attractive.

And yet the age of sexual consent is 15 in Denmark. According to you all of Denmark is backward in their thinking. Obviously, there are lots of 15, 16, and 17 year-old boys who find 15 year old girls attractive and even have sex with them. Your whole argument on this thread has been that such attraction are inborn and not a matter of choice. Do you think than that teenage boys outgrow their attraction to 15 and 16 year old girls on their 18th birthday? If so, why do you believe such attractions are inborn and don't change for homosexuals?

You either have to change your story about sexual attractions being inborn and immutable or you have to accept that most men can control their actions even if they can't control their feelings. You can't have it both ways, so which is it?

Here are my viewpoints. Tak... (Below threshold)

Here are my viewpoints. Take them or leave them, as I get the feeling that is the choice I am given by others:

1. Homosexuality is not a "choice" unless you believe that all homosexuals are mentally ill. This is because no sane person would subject themselves to the sort of ridicule and persecution homosexuals have traditionally received in the last several hundred years.

2. Pedophilia is not equivalent to homosexuality. Witness the post about the 29 year old female school teacher and her 15 year old male lover. That's certainly not a homosexual relationship, but it is certainly pedophilia.

3. If sex is tied to only to reproduction, why do human females not exhibit external indications that they are fertile?

There are likely many more questions I could ask, including why do homosexuals appear in every society throughout recorded history and why do male dogs hump other male dogs or female dogs who are not in heat... but I won't ask these in this comment.


Mac Lorry,I think ... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Mac Lorry,

I think you and I are on the same page with respect to controlling temptation. As I said, we are not beasts and we are not slaves to our passions.

Whatever is or isn't artificial about society's lines of demarcation, my comments about pedophilia are restricted to the abnormal attraction to prepubescent children.

Kind regards,
Scalia

Re: Pedophilia/Homosexuali... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Re: Pedophilia/Homosexuality

Some of you continue to make assertions without supporting evidence and this is where rational discourse breaks down. I clearly explained why I used pedophilia as a counterexample and the only replies I see (not to me directly) are those which insist there is no comparison. This fallacy is called a bald assertion. An opinion is not persuasive by its mere invocation. If you lack good reasons for believing proposition x, don't expect others to climb aboard.

Many, if not most homosexuals insist they never chose their sexuality. They say asking them to change is akin to asking a heterosexual to change h/er sexuality. Concurrent to this is the insistence that their sexuality is of genetic origin. Since they cannot change their genes, they cannot change their sexuality.

As heretofore stated, the genetic claim is false. Whatever one's opinion of gay rights, the debate should not be fueled by bad science. As the science now stands, the genes may play a role, but, at best, it is not the exclusive cause of that phenomena.

The counterexample of pedophilia demonstrates that logical debate cannot be based upon mere genetic claims. Many, if not most, pedophiles ARE NOT attracted to adults. Pedophilia appears just as persistent a phenomena as other sexually deviant practices. Do the genes play a role? What if the cause thereof, to one degree or another, is genetic? It is irresponsible to call pedophilia normal regardless the originating cause because it is manifest that sexual relationships between adults and children are unnatural. Again, even if the cause is exclusively genetic, it is more likely due to genetic disorder as opposed to natural variation.

Similarly, homosexuality is biologically unnatural. The reproductive organs are for....reproduction; and that can only occur heterosexually. That's not political bias, it is a biological fact. Even if it's cause is exclusively genetic, one cannot call it normal. We again have a case of genetic disorder.

In the political context, the choice/genetic positions are irrelevant because no mainstream group advocates the persecution of gays. If they want to be left alone, buy homes, have careers, etc., that's fine. When they seek government endorsement for abnormal, deviant behavior while dressing it up with bad science, that's where we draw the line.

DJ,This is one of ... (Below threshold)

DJ,

This is one of the most balanced, yet succinct, assessments of these three issues I have ever read.

While I think the article does little to move any of them in any direction, it does afford us a moment for pause and reflection on the other side's views and their motivations.

Thanks.

Scalia,I ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Scalia,

I think you and I are on the same page with respect to controlling temptation. As I said, we are not beasts and we are not slaves to our passions.

Yes, we agree on much. I used a part of one of your posts to make the point that legal definitions of pedophilia are different than natural normal sexual attractions. It was surprising, however, to find opposition to my readily provable point, but even more surprising to find that some don't even know what post pubescent means. I even split the word postpubescent apart to help them and they still thought it applied to a 4 month-old girl. What's scary is these people vote.

I even split the wo... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

I even split the word postpubescent apart to help them and they still thought it applied to a 4 month-old girl.

This is what I wrote:

"I have a 4 month old daughter. The idea of doing anything unnatural with any minor is as foreign to me as having relations with a goat (and was before having my daughter)."

Did I say "...doing anything unnatural with a 4 month old? " No. A minor. That is a general reference to anyone under 18 years old - and that statement I stand by.

You, somehow, seem to separate very young minors from older minors in your explanation. I don't do that - but that's the least of where you're just plain off the mark. You are trying to rationalize abhorrent behaviour (attraction to minors - those under 18 - and what you feel are men's "urges" to act on that.) with some idea that you can break it up by age - and in some twisted way applying this paradigm to homosexuality.

I have a daughter. Anyone under the age of 18 I look at as a child. As a parent, the idea of doing anything with any minor is reprehensible and not a natural "urge."

Try reading less into what others say and a little more into what they actually write.

As Donna B. has stated, hom... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

As Donna B. has stated, homosexuality and pedophilia are not related for a myriad of reasons. That you continually try to link the two shows your ignorance of this issue - it's like linking a Sikh with a Wahhabi muslim simply because they both have turbans and beards. Furthermore, that you have obviously never been friends with any homosexuals at all makes your clarity on this issue limited.

Ignorance combined with a strong, uninformed position does not make an argument any more true.

And yet the age of ... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

And yet the age of sexual consent is 15 in Denmark.

Yes - too young. Just as certain muslim cultures treating women as second class citizens is wrong - and is also a civil rights issue. And a 17 year old by going out with a 15 year old girl is hardly considered in any legal or social context to be a "pedophile." When I was 21 I went out with a 17 year old - and was well aware of the laws and keenly aware of her youth and lack of emotional maturity and was very conscious about it all the time - and she was 17!

Homosexuality regarding a legal union is a choice between two consenting adults. Trying to push this argument of comparing them to pedophiles is, as I said before, uninformed - and your definition of normal male urges as being linked to pedophilia is way off.

Hansel says, "As Donna B. h... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Hansel says, "As Donna B. has stated, homosexuality and pedophilia are not related for a myriad of reasons. That you continually try to link the two shows your ignorance of this issue - it's like linking a Sikh with a Wahhabi muslim simply because they both have turbans and beards."

Donna B offered no argument, just bald assertions, rhetorical questions and blatant non sequiturs. If bald assertions and non sequiturs are rational, then I'm right because I say so. Repeating your illogic doesn't help your position.

The "link" I made is notice the FACT both phenomena are sexually aberrant and that a genetic argument cannot be the basis of the gay rights debate. It is bad science to assume genetic causation and irresponsible to teach children said behavior is normal.

Don't assume who I have or haven't been friends with. I had two homosexual friends in high school and I've worked with several homosexuals. "Ignorance" might have logical force if you reinforced it with some evidence. Standing alone, it's just a signpost you have no ammunition.

Regards,
Scalia

Okay, here's a recent study... (Below threshold)
Hans:

Okay, here's a recent study:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/06/13/0801566105.abstract

and here's reference to another one:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6519-survival-of-genetic-homosexual
-traits-explained.html

The problem with these studies is not whether they were thorough. It's whether you believe science has anything to offer a discussion. I'm inclined to believe you'll ignore science if it doesn't fit with your very unscientific theory. Just because you've laid out your theory in a sober manor doesn't assure it's correctness. And, even if you did offer some footnote of scientific trials, it's a wash.

It is bad science to assume genetic causation and irresponsible to teach children said behavior is normal.

No one said anything about "normal." Normal has no play in these kind of rights. No one in school teaches that children with downes syndrome are genetically "normal" but their rights are not infringed apon due to their "abnormality." As well, unless an abnormality is truly a danger to society, those individuals should be afforded equal rights in civil unions. It is a societal moral issue, having more to do with religion than anything else, that is the road block here. And while this is one nation under God, the separation of church and state is a responsible approach, since legal issues don't always coincide with moral.

Mac Lorry believes the biological underpinnings of the family will collapse if we allow gays to have "civil unions" in our society.

Darwinism did not destroy religion now, did it? This is why I think these are neanderthal arguments - the last gasp of quietly scared people. If I thought being gay could be "taught" I'd redirect my son to a football game rather than listening to show tunes, wouldn't I?

"I have a 4 month ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
"I have a 4 month old daughter. The idea of doing anything unnatural with any minor is as foreign to me as having relations with a goat (and was before having my daughter)."

Did I say "...doing anything unnatural with a 4 month old? " No. A minor. That is a general reference to anyone under 18 years old - and that statement I stand by.

You wrote that in response to my post #40. The only explanation is that you didn't know what postpubescent means. Nothing I wrote was in regard to prepubescent children.

You, somehow, seem to separate very young minors from older minors in your explanation. I don't do that - but that's the least of where you're just plain off the mark.

Unbelievable! You still don't know what puberty means, and yet you accuse me of being ignorant. Please read what puberty means and the age it normally happens at. Here's a link to help you.

You are trying to rationalize abhorrent behaviour (attraction to minors - those under 18 - and what you feel are men's "urges" to act on that.)

What seems beyond your grasp to understand is that there's a difference between the age a girl becomes physically fully mature and the age our society defines as an adult. Normal men feel sexual attraction to physically fully mature women. Having such feelings are not "behavior" any more than feeling hungry when you smell good food. Acting on those feelings is behavior, not having them. Your argument requires some flag men can see to pop up on a women's 18th birthday and that without that flag men feel no sexual attraction to an otherwise physically fully mature women. That's just stupid.

That vast majority of men experience sexual attractions they know are inappropriate in our society or in their marriage and they control them. If heterosexual men can control their behavior then so can homosexual men, or are you going to claim homosexual men are just animals incapable of controlling their behavior?

I have a daughter. Anyone under the age of 18 I look at as a child. As a parent, the idea of doing anything with any minor is reprehensible and not a natural "urge."

Nobody is talking about your 4 month-old prepubescent daughter. Are you going to find it reprehensible when your daughter is a physically mature 16 year-old and some teenage guy wants to date her? Maybe you will, but I can assure you there's nothing abhorrent or unnatural about it.

Try reading less into what others say and a little more into what they actually write.

Please take your own advise.

As Donna B. has stated, homosexuality and pedophilia are not related for a myriad of reasons. That you continually try to link the two shows your ignorance of this issue - it's like linking a Sikh with a Wahhabi muslim simply because they both have turbans and beards.

But of course she is referring to real pedophilia, a term you obviously don't understand. I linked the sexual attraction of heterosexual men to postpubescent minors to that of homosexuals only to show that, while the feelings are in-born, the behavior is readily controllable. Why do you think there are so few muslim homosexuals? It's because in their society homosexual relations are seen as abnormal and abhorrent. Muslim men live as heterosexuals, miswired or not because their society demands it.

Furthermore, that you have obviously never been friends with any homosexuals at all makes your clarity on this issue limited.

You, on the other hand, base your opinions on your personal feelings for your friends, not on readily provable facts and the historical record. Your feelings cloud your judgement.

Yes - too young. J... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Yes - too young. Just as certain muslim cultures treating women as second class citizens is wrong - and is also a civil rights issue.

And yet you probably think Denmark is right on homosexuals. You go on to confuse civil rights with human sexuality.

And a 17 year old by going out with a 15 year old girl is hardly considered in any legal or social context to be a "pedophile."

So a 17 year-old being attracted to a 15 year-old in normal, but by the time he becomes 21 you are saying he's a pedophile if he's still attracted to 15 year-old physically mature girls. Yet you then tell us such attractions are in-born and can't be changed. Which is it or is that question beyond your intellect?

Homosexuality regarding a legal union is a choice between two consenting adults. Trying to push this argument of comparing them to pedophiles is, as I said before, uninformed - and your definition of normal male urges as being linked to pedophilia is way off.

In post #51 you define pedophilia as "doing anything unnatural with any minor". That age (minor) is determined by society, not by nature. I use the FACT that most girls become fully physically mature (postpubescent) while they are still a minor under the law. The reason I point that out is to show that heterosexual men (who by nature are sexually attracted to fully physically mature women) accept the legal restrictions and they CONTROL their behavior. Thus, unless homosexuals are truly deviant, they can also CONTROL their behavior. Do you dispute that?

If heterosexual men... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

If heterosexual men can control their behavior then so can homosexual men, or are you going to claim homosexual men are just animals incapable of controlling their behavior?

And why should they - as long as their partner is not a minor and is consenting?

Your issue is one of suggesting homosexuals are abnormal and their acts are abnormal, so therefore their rights should be limited. Once again, if they are not a danger to society (and I'm talking in a physical sense, not your definition of morality within your religion) than their rights should coincide with anyone elses under law. The only thing standing in the way of this issue is fear-based morality derived from ignorance, not genetics.

Why do you think there are so few muslim homosexuals?

You can be sure there are quite afew. So are you suggesting that the muslim policy - and cultural taboo - on homosexuals is correct? These folks hide their identity because they'd be killed if they didn't. Once again, this all comes back to civil rights for particular groups.

...and furthermore, you're ... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

...and furthermore, you're talking about the sexual "act" as a "choice" to abstain from. This is not about a sexual act, it is about a group of people who are born feeling this way.

Anyone can convince themselves of anything. It doesn't mean that if I convince myself I'm the King of England that I really am.

That vast majority ... (Below threshold)
Han:

That vast majority of men experience sexual attractions they know are inappropriate in our society or in their marriage and they control them.

You feel homosexuality is inappropriate. It makes you uncomfortable. That is not a good theoretical reason to curb someone's rights.

Society has accepted homosexuals, just as they've accepted equality with blacks. The next natural step is to afford them their equal rights. Your feelings about this are completely tied to this issue of "choice." Once again, this is not a group of people as a whole who choose their sexual orientation.

And none of this has anything to do with choices of adult men curbing their inapropriate feelings for minor women. That is a legal issue. Being gay and liking another person who is consenting and gay is not illegal.

Hans,Mac ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Hans,

Mac Lorry believes the biological underpinnings of the family will collapse if we allow gays to have "civil unions" in our society.

If you are going to state my position then please get it right. No where did I say the biological underpinnings of the family will collapse. What I said is that history shows that every society that has abounded the nuclear family as it foundation has collapsed. Even if that's irrelevant, I go on to show that our society has awarded special benefits and status to married couples for the purpose of procreation. I'm sure you understand that society must insure the production of the next generation of good citizens in order for that society to survive. Thus, taxpayers and individuals get back something for the financial benefits they award procreation couples.

Now if our society had ample public resources we could extend these substantial financial benefits to every couple who wanted them regardless of biology or sexual anything. It's obvious that our society doesn't have such resources and Obama is even talking about scaling back social security. Now that a spouse can retain part of a deceased spouse's social security benefits, every additional couple strains the system. Once procreation biology is breached as an augment for limiting such benefits, you'll find there is no rational argument of limiting the union of any two adults including the millions of currently single siblings who already pool their resources. In the end, our society will be forced by financial reality to cut back on the assistance we give procreation couples and we will get fewer of the next generations of good citizens as a result.

Darwinism did not destroy religion now, did it? This is why I think these are Neanderthal arguments - the last gasp of quietly scared people. If I thought being gay could be "taught" I'd redirect my son to a football game rather than listening to show tunes, wouldn't I?

Please note that my augment against gay marriage does not invoke religion nor is it born out of fear. And yes, we have separation of church and state in this nation, but no where does that mean a religious person can't vote their conscious nor express their opinion. Gay's and their supporters will do well to not cross the line of religious oppression. BTW, Darwinism is a religion and that's why it can't destroy religion.

Unbelievable! You s... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

Unbelievable! You still don't know what puberty means, and yet you accuse me of being ignorant.

Puberty has nothing to do with this argument. It is illegal for an adult to have sexual relations with someone under 18 years of age in our society, urges or not.

Your issue is one ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Your issue is one of suggesting homosexuals are abnormal and their acts are abnormal, so therefore their rights should be limited.

I didn't say that. My argument against gay marriage neither relies on religion nor on gay's be in abnormal. Try reading my post #25.

You can be sure there are quite afew. So are you suggesting that the muslim policy - and cultural taboo - on homosexuals is correct?

Weather or not there are quite a few, they live as heterosexuals. Gene Robinson proves gays can live as a heterosexual man even fathering children, if that's what society demands.

However, I don't demand that gays go back in the closet, only that their relationship not be recognized as equal with traditional marriage. Also, if gays can form civil unions than any two adults should be allowed to do the same thing regardless of age, sex, or sexual orientation. Will you oppose two brothers or two sisters who have no sexual relation from forming a civil union for financial benefit?

Hansel, I've already addres... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Hansel, I've already addressed the science issue (several times). I cite scientific fact, not fantasy disguised as scientific evidence.

As to the "studies" you offer, they are woefully incomplete which is to say they are light years from scientific law. Savic's & Lindstrom's methodology is flawed and this is obvious to anybody trained in science. If one wants to demonstrate birth differences lead irreversibly to sexual orientation differences, one would have to scan at least several thousand newborns (before learning and behavior can have any effect), follow them into adulthood and then determine whether there is a significant correlation between newborn brain anatomy and adult sexuality.

Did you read Camperio-Ciani? He said his study might or could account for a very small percentage of homosexuals having a genetic component while the other factors are environment and personality. "Might" or "could" work as an hypothesis, but that doesn't fly as scientific theory.

The identical twin studies are far more comprehensive and demonstrate conclusively that genetic causation IS NOT the exclusive cause of homosexuality. That's not a "footnote" as you deliberately mischaracterize my posts. Identical twins have the same genetic makeup and are raised in the same environment (generally). If fully 80% of the twins of homosexuals are not gay, then you cannot claim genetic causation.

Even if the cause is genetic, as I've stated repeatedly, whether in animals or humans, it is more likely due to genetic disorder.

I am glad you acknowledge homosexuality is aberrant. Insofar as the "genetic" argument is concerned, that was my only point. Gay rights advocates vehemently disagree and would consider your comparison to Down's Syndrome as offensive as anything I've said. Incomplete scientific "studies" fuel irrational assumptions. Bad science clouds rational dialog.

Your other comments about rights are hanging irrelevantly in midair. Nobody here wants to persecute gays. Engage my argument, not a straw man.

Regards,
Scalia

Puberty has nothin... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Puberty has nothing to do with this argument. It is illegal for an adult to have sexual relations with someone under 18 years of age in our society, urges or not.

So who's posts are your reading? No where did I say it was legal to have sexual relations with minors, only that normal men are attracted to fully physically mature women even if they are under 18 (It's the puberty thing). I wrote many times that men C O N T R O L their behavior is this regard. How is it you can't seem to read what I write?

You feel homosexua... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
You feel homosexuality is inappropriate. It makes you uncomfortable. That is not a good theoretical reason to curb someone's rights.

What are the odds that two people responding to me on this thread can't read? Is that you Hansel2 posing as a second person to prop up your ego? If not, then try to respond to something I actually wrote. I'm taking things one point at a time trying not to go too fast for Hansel2.

And did you read what I wro... (Below threshold)
hansel2:

And did you read what I wrote:

"And none of this has anything to do with choices of adult men curbing their inapropriate feelings for minor women. That is a legal issue. Being gay and liking another person who is consenting and gay is not illegal."

That is a legal is... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
That is a legal issue. Being gay and liking another person who is consenting and gay is not illegal."

No one said it was illegal, but you have made the point that any attraction a man feels for an underage fully physically mature woman was "abhorrent". My point has been that such an attraction is normal, but that being attracted does not create a legal right, not for heterosexuals nor for homosexuals. Gays have said in many TV interviews that they should have the right to marry someone they love just as heterosexuals do. However, it's not the feelings of love that create the legal right. If it were love, then two close relatives who loved each other should also be allowed to marry, and that's not the case.

Scalia, you seem to think t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Scalia, you seem to think that liberalism or tolerance of homosexuality leads to moral relativism. That is fallacious.

This guy understands that liberalism holds an objective moral standard. Kant proved it; Nietzsche understood it; and Rawls put it out there in plain English, available at your local public library.

Moral relativism tends to spring up among post-modernists, whose philosophies do not play any real role in contemporary American political discourse.

You need to better acquaint yourself with what you are arguing against because as such, you are speaking to shadows (albeit eloquently).

Hello, Hyper! I hope you d... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Hello, Hyper! I hope you don't mind the abbreviation. It's not an epithet.

I never said liberalism or tolerance of homosexuality leads to moral relativism. Perhaps you are confusing me with somebody else.

The closest I've come to what you allege is what I said in Post 29:

"When morality is subordinated to emotion and appetite, then we become moral relativists."

If you subordinate your moral standard to your appetite, then you have no moral standard. You become a de facto relativist.

I appreciate your recommendation I better acquaint myself with the issues. Being a theologian and a philosopher, I'm better acquainted with these issues than you think.

May I kindly suggest you read my posts a little more carefully before you accuse me of positions I do not take?

Kind regards (really),
Scalia

There was a time in this co... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

There was a time in this country when it was illegal for two people of different races to marry. People on THAT side of the argument then had what they thought were logical reasons why it should have stayed illegal. In today's world, they were considered narrow-minded.

You feel marriage should be between a man and woman. I think when we talk about "marriage" and are able to separate that from the legal terms, sure, "marriage" as a word should be left untampered. There are alot of perfectly good words out there that gay couples can use rather than "marriage", but to me that's the only issue (only because I think It makes for a greater uphill battle for them, but that's my opinion).

However, legally, they are not able to be considered family when their loved one dies. And quite honestly the benefits you get from the "marriage tax breaks" are non-existent today. (at least in my state) to make that some abuse milestone.

So then we're talking about medical benefits. The reality is there will always be people trying to abuse the system. There is in heterosexual marriage as well - such as those trying to marry to get a green card. Should we redefine the qualifications of a legal union to make sure the couple truly are a couple? The reality is it's a much smaller minority that abuse the system.

So then, once again, it comes down to people's personally feelings about this. Some law has been changed over the centuries to accomodate the times. If we learn nothing more from "Footloose" (nothing more being the key for that film), we know dancing has been illegal in some counties around this country.

And lastly, you can't define a minority on your terms simply by whether you agree with their beliefs or m.o. or not.

If someone makes a "choice", or as you feel can make a "choice", they should not be afforded the designation of minority in legal circumstances. Many religions have believers that are of varied ethnic groups and previous religious orientation, and they are all afforded different pretections under the law, irregardless of their genetic makeup.

Many religions have beli... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

Many religions have believers that are of varied ethnic groups and previous religious orientation, and they are all afforded different pretections under the law, irregardless of their genetic makeup.

...and religious beliefs, after all, are a choice.

There was a time i... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
There was a time in this country when it was illegal for two people of different races to marry. People on THAT side of the argument then had what they thought were logical reasons why it should have stayed illegal. In today's world, they were considered narrow-minded.

Minorities who have fought racism find it offensive when you equate their struggle to that of homosexuals. A black man can't hide his race, but a homosexual can and many have (Gene Robinson) done so, coming out only when it's safe to do so. Unlike, homosexuality, interracial marriage is biologically correct producing the next generation of good citizens, like Obama, which society must have to continue.

Race and sexual orientation are not equivalent. Sexual orientation is more like inherited obesity, or less than perfect eyesight. Older airline pilots are allowed to wear corrective lenses, but any young person with less than 20-20 eyesight is barred from that job. If myopic groups cited racial struggles as equivalent to their fight for equal rights as pilots they would be laughed at. Same for the those with inherited obesity wanting equal rights to be fashion models or jockeys.

However, legally, they are not able to be considered family when their loved one dies.

That has never been the case. There are legal documents such as wills and power of attorney that parties can enact that give the surviving partner full rights over the deceased partner's remains and property. The only thing such parties can't do is encumber a third party or the government.

And quite honestly the benefits you get from the "marriage tax breaks" are non-existent today.

And yet it's gays who argue the loudest that they are being denied financial benefits. The biggest one I know of is that the surviving spouse can retain some part of the deceased partners pension. With social security on the financial ropes this is no time to be opening the door for those in non traditional marriages to dip into that trough.

And lastly, you can't define a minority on your terms simply by whether you agree with their beliefs or m.o. or not.

That works both ways. People can't just say they are a minority and their struggle for equal rights is the same as that of racial minorities. Otherwise, bald men would be pointing to groups of men with too much hair and claiming discrimination.

...and religious beliefs, after all, are a choice.

But only the proponents of gay rights are bringing up religion on this thread. Obviously, you weren't ready for a non-religious argument against gay marriage.

Fair enough, Scalia.<... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Fair enough, Scalia.

I don't know of anybody who argues that we ought to base our morals on our basest appetites, though. For instance, pedophilia is wrong because it implies a lack of informed consent. (13 year olds cannot be expected to make informed decisions.) Same goes for animals. And, with incest and polygamy, there is a degree of harm involved in these relationships that cannot be fully ameliorated. It does not matter what pedophiles etc. want; what matters is what's right. As for what standard we ought to use, well, we're a pretty clever species and when we think about things we tend to get them right, of course with horrible exceptions to this rule.

Hyper,My point abo... (Below threshold)
Scalia:

Hyper,

My point about morals and appetites was made in the immediate context of adultery and in the greater context of self-control. Although not explicitly expressed, orientation alone is insufficient justification for action. A man may think he cannot avoid pornography, but that does not ipso facto legitimize pornography. A man may have a paraplegic wife, but that does not justify adultery. If such a person uses weakness as justification for lowering the bar, he is subordinating a standard to his passion. Hence, he unwittingly becomes a relativist (at least, as to that issue).

I'm certain you've seen human weakness justifications in many philosophical, political and religious debates. I contend such arguments are fallacious appeals to pity or simple red herrings.

My philosophical endeavors have lead me to interact with and debate many moral relativists. Their presuppositions are, of course, internally inconsistent and epistemologically toothless, but they are definitely out there.

Best wishes,
Scalia




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