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Signs of sanity in the gay marriage fight

I've always been of the opinion that the only way gay marriage will come about, and stay, was when it was generally accepted by the people. And the best way that would happen would be incrementally, in stages, with concessions and acceptances done over time.

Conversely, I said that if it was imposed by fiat, there would be a backlash and would set back the cause. Actions such as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's just proclaiming it legal would end up in opponents digging in their heels and resisting any compromise, even perhaps looking to undo past steps.

It looks like I might have been wrong about that, and I'm glad to see it.

While those opposed to gay marriage continue their petition drive to put the question before the Massachusetts voters, they're also putting forth laws that will enshrine some rights into law for gay couples. They're proposing bills that recognize gay couples and extend to them some of the benefits of married couples -- such as hospital visitation, transfer of property, burial, and health care proxy, among others.

It's a good move, both ethically and politically. It's an attempt to depolarize the issue, to soften the rhetoric and moderate the tone of "you're only doing this because you hate gays" criticism they've been getting.

Naturally, the gay activists are calling it a "sham" and other unpleasant things. But I hope that regardless of how the petition goes (and it looks like it'll be smothered to death in the legislature, which has never missed an opportunity to show how little it thinks of the people who pay their salaries), I hope it passes.

Crap. This is twice in one day I've supported the Massachusetts legislature passing a new law. I know I'm suffering from a rather nasty summer cold, but I must be sicker than I thought.

Comments (27)

Though I am opposed to same... (Below threshold)

Though I am opposed to same sex marriage I would not be totally opposed to some sort of a union.

It looks as if these petitioners are reasonable and looking for that middle ground. You can bet though, that if the gay community want it all or nothing, which I expect but hope I am wrong, the petitioners will dig in.

"...I must be sicker than I... (Below threshold)

"...I must be sicker than I thought."

No argument here, Jay Tea. (walks away, whistling)

Well, I suspect gay marriag... (Below threshold)

Well, I suspect gay marriage will be a reality at some point and I have no strong feelings one way or another. I think it is an issue that more Americans are continually evolving a greater comfort level for. I can think of some reasons why folks who would be quite tolerant of their gay neighbors being "married" still might have some reservations about a general sanction for such a practice under the name marriage. The question has already been brought up about how agressively gay activists might push this issue ultimately to their detriment. Could these activists be happy with incremental progress knowing that they themselves may not benefit completely but that they have contributed to the goal finally being realized in the future?

Jay Tea,I'm remind... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

I'm reminded of the saying "Even a blind pig can find a acorn once in a while."

Don't worry...

Speaking form the position ... (Below threshold)

Speaking form the position of experience of one who has been married more than once I feel qualified to say that anyone fighting to get married is not showing any signs of sanity. There are only two ways out of marriage, death or divorce, neither one is very highly rated.

I've always been a "fence-s... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I've always been a "fence-sitter" on the gay marriage issue. I've never felt strongly one way or the other, until somewhat recently when I found a stance I can live with.

On one hand, I believe gay and lesbian couples should have all the privileges (not "rights" because hospital visitations, health care coverage, transfer of property and so on are not inalienable rights covered under the Bill of Rights) that heterosexuals enjoy. (Are burials really "enjoyable"? Anyway...)

On the other, I am Catholic and believe that the marriage of a man and a woman is a sacrament before and in the eyes of God. There's not a word about a man and a man before God in the Bible. To that end, gay marriage, in my opinion, is to go against the will of God.

However, God's will is to love each other. So to that end, I think God would be pretty cool and happy with the idea that two people in love is a good thing. I still think He'd say that homosexual love isn't the kind of love He was thinking about and definitely not what He had in mind, but love is good all the same.

More importantly, love is not a right in the Bill of Rights. You don't have a right granted to you by the state to be loved or find love or give love. Only in God's eyes are you granted unconditional love. And when and if you do find love, you're privileged and lucky and it is something God has willed. And that should make you humbled and honored and respectful.

In the end...Do I want the Vatican to approve of gay marriage? No. Do I want the states to approve it because it's a right? No. Because it's a privilege? Yes. Should anyone obstruct that privilege here on earth? No. Will God have the final say? You bet.

I hope the legislation passes, too.

We need to make a clear dif... (Below threshold)
Sabba Hillel:

We need to make a clear differentiation between what is called the "sacrament" of marriage and the rights, responsibilities, and privileges that can be granted by a civil contract. An analogy can be to a power of attorney or an inheritence left in a will.

Only when the difference is clearly and unambiguously understood can the issue be settled.

Nicely put, Peter.... (Below threshold)

Nicely put, Peter.

I haven't quite figured out why people oppose gay marriage. If someone can give me a rational reason why gay marriage is bad, please let me know so that I may form an informed opinion on it.

The reasons I have heard thus far are:

1. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

This is, I think, circular and doesn't really answer the question. That's like saying "Orange soda should be banned, because soda is purple." There's got to be more to it.

2. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin.

The Bible also says that working on the Sabbath and wearing a fabric blend is a sin. While the Bible may influence my life personally, it doesn't dictate the law of the land (hence the legality of practicing buddhism, hinduism, etc., which is a direct violation of the bible and the first commandment "I am the Lord thy God..."). If the concern is God's will, shouldn't the focus be on banning homosexuality? Because if we allow homosexuality, what is the difference if they marry? It's all a sin, legal marriage or not.

3. Allowing gays to marry threatens the sanctity of marriage.

I don't mean to be cheeky, but if my marriage is so weak that it is threatened by allowing certain others to marry, I am more worried about the strength of my marriage, than whether gays ultimately are allowed to marry or not.

4. Similar to #3 - Allowing gay marriage will destroy the traditional family.

Again, if I thought my family so weak that it risked being destroyed by gay marriage, I might be concerned, but I don't think gay marriage can destroy my family. Further, if the "traditional" family as we know it is the best type of family, the legalization of any other type of family would not destroy it, because humans will form the families best suited to enable them raise the children to best survive. I think that single parenthood is far worse than two homosexual parents. Raising kids is hard, and it helps to have someone there, be they the same or opposite sex, to support you. Of course, the answer is also not to ban single parenthood.

5. Allowing gay marriage will hurt children.

As far as I can tell, children will be raised in gay households whether gay marriage is legal or not. It might be better to allow gay marriage so that the children have the same protections as children in heterosexual households.

6. Allowing gay marriage will increase the number of gay people.

I don't see myself "turning gay" anytime soon (or ever, for that matter). I can't see how gay marriage would alter that. If my kid ever told me he was gay, banning gay marriage won't change that.

7. It will destroy the health care system (by increasing the number of spousal dependents).

First, it doesn't seem to me that gay people make up that much of the population, so the impact would arguably be small. Many companies also offer domestic partner benefits. If there was no economic benefit in doing so, companies wouldn't do it. Second, if there were a number of uninsured people who became insured and the health care system could not handle it, shouldn't we reform our health care system so that more people can be insured?

8. Gay marriage threatens religious freedom.

Again, I don't see how gay people getting married will impact my ability to practice. How will I be restrained from attending church, praying, going to bible study? I live my life according to the rules set forth by my God. If someone else's God says that gay marriage is okay, who am I to disagree, especially since I have yet to determine that it will impede on my life. Now, if someone else's God said that robbing people is okay, then I might have something to say, since I could be robbed by this person, which would harm me in an identifiable way (physical damage, tangible economic harm).

9. One reason that no one says out loud really, but I think is a big one is:

Homosexuality is gross.

Yes, when I see two guys on the street holding hands or kissing on TV, it weirds me out. But I don't necessarily think that is a basis to ban the legal recognition of their relationship. Besides, those guys will still be holding hands whether gay marriage is legal or not.

What are some of the other arguments against gay marriage? The only arguments I have thus far heard are the ones I enumerated above and none of them have really seemed plausible or supportable to me for the reasons I listed below them.

Please inform my understanding of the issue.

It's interesting, because gay marriage is such a hotly contested issue and yet the discourse, to me, seems sadly lacking, unlike debates such as social security reform or abortion, where both sides have pretty sound and supportable arguments.

Andrew, you are completely,... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Andrew, you are completely, utterly, mind-bogglingly wrong on one point:

"Homosexuality is gross."

Well, you're half right. You cited the right example with two men. But very few men object to two women.

But that's gut instinct talking. Intellectually, I prefer gay men to gay women. Gay men aren't rivals for women's attention. Gay women, on the other hand...


We need to make a clear ... (Below threshold)

We need to make a clear differentiation between what is called the "sacrament" of marriage and the rights, responsibilities, and privileges that can be granted by a civil contract.

There already is one. Its called the separation of church and state. Unless you can show me a law that refers to marriage as a sacrament and not a legal contract. Marriage is a sacrament to your church (presumably), to the government it's a contract. Last time I checked priests handled confession, baptism, and the like, not judges.

Andrew:Replace "gr... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Replace "gross" with "icky" and that's place where you and I differ.

Seriously, I enjoyed your well-thought out response.

On a funny side note:

Growing up in Bay Area, and on the single scene in college and after, a group of friends and myself, including several gay friends, would go out clubbing. Naturally, we'd go to straight bars, but to be fair to our gay friends we'd go to gay bars and clubs, too. And there was always such a polarity of feelings I would experience doing this. You'd walk in and here would be two really good-looking guys holding hands, dancing and whatnot, and I'd be thinking 'All right, two good-looking guys off the market! More chicks for me!" Then I'd see two really hot lesbians holding hands, dancing and whatnot, and think, "Aw, crap. Two really hot chicks off the market. Less for me." And that was disappointing for a moment, until it dawned on me: I'm watching two hot chicks kissing, and I didn't have to go into some nasty and dirty porn video store to buy it, either! Sweet! (Guys doing that? Yeah, no. Not quite as enjoyable.) Anyway...

I said I was Catholic, not pure.

After 229 years you lowlive... (Below threshold)

After 229 years you lowlives still haven't learned to separate your church and state. And methinks you never will. It's pathetic to watch you argue that minority rights should be settled by mob rule. Those uppity queers, how dare they demand the same rights as heterosexuals. Just who do these sinners think they are? Praise the Lord and God Bless AmeriKKKa.

I would probably say, for m... (Below threshold)

I would probably say, for me, homosexuality is "strange", but that is just because I don't see it very often. Homosexuality is strange to me just like seeing a Buddhist monk or a camel or a car with the steering wheel on the right would be strange to me.

I do hear people say that homosexuality is gross, but I can think of lots of things that are much grosser to me (e.g. I once saw an open heart surgery and wanted to pass out is was so gross. But the benefits, I'm sure we all know, are great and don't justify outlawing it).

My wife once said that big boobs are gross. Naturally, I disagreed.

I guess now that I'm married, the disadvantages of lesbians (fewer women to choose from) no longer outweighs the benefits (lesbians).

But before this thread turns into a bunch of guys talking about how "lesbians are hot", I will try to bring the post full circle by reiterating that personal preferences are no basis for legislating, even if that mean big boobs for all (or free weekly massages for all, if you're my wife).

Simon, speaking as a procla... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Simon, speaking as a proclaimed agnostic, let me just say this:

There is a HUGE difference between saying "ick" and saying "make it illegal." If I can help gays achieve their goal of being able to lawfully marry (or civilly conjoin, or whatever) without actually having to witness the consummation of said union, I will be ecstatic.

Unless, of course, it's two really, really hot women...

Now go away and bother some other people -- the grownups have serious matters to discuss.


09-14-05Subject: ... (Below threshold)
Tony Valeri:


Subject: Arnold the TERMINATOR is BACK

Arnold has adopted a new weapon. . .it is called a VETO. It will be used to support a few billion people whose ancient cultures and religious laws are being overriden by a minute class of hedonistic, western world special interest groups, in particular, The Homosexual Lobby.

The great religions of the world, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism all teach and abide by the sacredness of the One Man/One Woman marriage ceremony.

It is to Governor Schwarzenegger s understanding of this sacredness and the will of the people, especially the people of Calofornia, that the Governor has started to reverse the momentous tide of sin and secularism overcoming America.

The Governor s next step must be to propose and support an amendment to the California Constitution that will permanently STOP any further attempts to turn California cities into modern Sodom and Gomorrah s.


Tony Valeri, Eugene, OR Tel: 541 607-6305 ([email protected])

"cultures and religious law... (Below threshold)

"cultures and religious laws are being overriden by a minute class of hedonistic, western world special interest groups"

" momentous tide of sin and secularism overcoming America"

"turn[ing] California cities into modern Sodom and Gomorrahs"

Interesting points, but no mention of why any of it is a bad thing. No mention of how it would change my individual religous life. No mention of how it would threaten my relationship with God. No mention of how it threaten the "sacredness" of my marriage ceremony.

Did I mention that rhetoric is so much fun?

Hmmmm.1. Quite fra... (Below threshold)


1. Quite frankly I'm opposed to gay marriage.

I didn't used to be, but all the endless judicial nonsense and screaming has changed my mind. I have absolutely no doubt that, if they got gay marriage, gays would find some other issue to start screaming about.

2. @ Peter F.

"There's not a word about a man and a man before God in the Bible."

Leviticus 18:22

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

It's been almost 30 years since I last went to Sunday school, which was a rather odd experience as I'm not, and have never been, Christian, but even I know those two quotes.

Quite a few of my friends are Catholic and it's somewhat amazing to find a Catholic who would write what you did in that quote above.

Ed, I'm Catholic, and sady,... (Below threshold)

Ed, I'm Catholic, and sady, that is true.

Quite a few Catholics are that way in name only. They don't understand their faith and many do not understand the Bible either. Many Catholics recognize that the Bible is not the be-all and end-all, but they don't understand what is even IN the Bible.

Just to clarify a point, many fundamentalists and other Christians believe that the Bible is word-for-word straight out of God's mouth (if God could have anatomical appendages such as mouths). Catholic Christians, on the other hand, believe that the Bible was inspired by God, and not dictated. The Bible was written in the context of the time, and many of the parables, stories, and laws do not apply in modern times. Much of what was not understood scientifically is now, and the context of such things can chance.

However, the underlying reason many of the stories were written still exist. Evil still is drawing our children away from being good people. People still covet, greed is still rampant, prodigal sons are still returning.

Change, not chance, apologi... (Below threshold)

Change, not chance, apologies.

[email protected] Henry... (Below threshold)


@ Henry

1. "Ed, I'm Catholic, and sady, that is true."

I can't say that I'd agree that being Catholic was something to be sad about. But who am I to judge.

2. "Quite a few Catholics are that way in name only."

True, but there are a vast number who take their faith seriously all over the world. The Catholic Church might be weak here in America, but it's fairly strong elsewhere. On the other hand I know many devout Catholics so YMMV.

3. "Just to clarify a point, many fundamentalists and other Christians believe that the Bible is word-for-word straight out of God's mouth (if God could have anatomical appendages such as mouths)."

Genesis 1:27 (KJV)
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him"

If man was created in God's image, then God must have a mouth.

And this business of the Bible not being the word of God to Catholics is news to me.

On the other, I am Catho... (Below threshold)

On the other, I am Catholic and believe that the marriage of a man and a woman is a sacrament before and in the eyes of God. There's not a word about a man and a man before God in the Bible. To that end, gay marriage, in my opinion, is to go against the will of God.

Read it again, ed. He is saying that there is no word in the Bible condoning "a man and a man". Notice he says that marriage is a man and a woman before that sentence, and that gay marriage is against the will of God in the next sentence. I think you simply misunderstood.

mantis:Thanks for ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Thanks for clarifying my point. That is exactly what I meant. And I ageee, I believe ed simply misunderstood what I was saying.

Hi everyone. I stumbled upo... (Below threshold)

Hi everyone. I stumbled upon this blog and found it quite "entertaining."

I'm a gay man from Wisconsin. I married my partner last year in Canada.

I think Andrew's several points pretty much sums things up, but there's one thing that people just don't seem to get yet or haven't thought much about.

Gay is gay is gay (quoting my mother). Straight is straight is straight. I am gay to the center of my core. It always has been and it just is. Just the same for straight people. There is no choice for any of us. And yes, I do know there is a choice in my behavior, so don't try that one. Straight people have the same choice.

That being my truth, does anyone think it would be a good idea for closet cases to be marrying unsuspecting straight people? What kind of marriage is that? Is that good for the couple? For their children?

As far as compromises, I think they're all silly. I'm as much of a human being as anyone. I'm an equal person in this country. I wanted to make the most powerful public testament of love and commitment to my partner. This is why we got married. Marriage is universally understood, respected, both legally and emotionally. Marriage is about the traditional values of commitment, love, sharing and mutual support. Any couple who gets married knows this. Anyone who wants to get married knows this. Nothing else will cut it. This is why we are so passionate about this, and ultimately it comes down to us being an equal part of this society or not.

So, no, to the person who said we would just find something else to whine about, we will not continue to whine once we're treated equally in this country.

And by the way, most of us gays find a man and a woman making out just as "icky." But we get it. That seems to be the difference.

Judaism, Christianity and I... (Below threshold)

Judaism, Christianity and Islam all promote murder, stoning, hanging, slavery, genital mutilation and the like. Read the Book, children. They even advocate the taking of multiple wives and pedophilia -- both of which are still widely practiced in Islam where 40 year old men take 9 year old brides and Sheiks have harems. But these are also Jewish and Christian values.

I can see why you religious zombies want to get rid of judges and laywers. The rule of law has always been an obstacle to your disgusting behavior. And you have the nerve to criticize two men who love each other. Go bury your filthy heads in shame you swine.

To Simon:It's glar... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

To Simon:

It's glaringly obvious you read not a lick of what any one said in this thread, including the article which Jay Tea cites. Instead you wasted perfectly good words on a bunch, well, mean-spirited nothingness. Thanks for proving who the ignorant ones truly are.

David:The person w... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


The person whom you've cited in your post presents a honest, thoughtful and compelling position. I would say almost all of it is true.

Where I begin to quibble (and please see my post above for a greater explanation) is when you refer to "being treated equally in this country". Insofar as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are concerned, gays and lesbians enjoy all of the liberties as straight folks: due process, voting rights, free speech and so on. (Even your individual property rights are still protected.) There's nary a "right" gays do not enjoy.

However, marriage is not a constitutional right, it is a privilege. (Yes, much like obtaining a driver's license is a privilege, not a right.) So I have a difficult time seeing how your "rights" are being violated if gay marriage is not recognized by the government.

Perhaps one could argue that by recognizing straight marriage over gay marriage as an act of government discrimination is a violation of your rights, and this may be a legitimate argument. However, there are some restrictions on who can and can't get married in the U.S. This first one that comes to mind is that children under the age of 18 are not allowed to be married. Is this discrimination? No. Nor can a 25-year old man marry a 13-year old, legally. It is not recognized by the state. Again, is that discrimination? No.

However, the states recongize marriage as being between "two consenting adults". Is a gay couple "two consenting adults"? Absolutely! Do I think marriage is a privilege which two consenting adults, even if they're gay, should enjoy? Yes. Do I think they should enjoy the tax breaks (supposedly!), child care credits and so on that straight married couples enjoy? Sure.

All I ask of the gay community is to please stop bastardizing the word "rights" when it comes to the issue of gay marriage because marriage itself it's not a right.

On a side note (again): Again, having numerous gay friends while growing up in the Bay Area, bashing the instiution of marriage was almost a national pastime among almost all of them. So now I find it laughably hypocritical on the part of gay community to want to be a part of the institution of marriage! LOL Trust me, I get the last laugh when I talk about it these days with them. It sort of renders them speechless...LOL

Hi Peter,I think w... (Below threshold)

Hi Peter,

I think we're probably being misunderstood when we speak of equal rights. You are right in that in an absolute sense, it isn't a right for anyone to marry anyone else...this applies to gay and straight couples. When we say it's a right, we mean it becomes a right by default when straight couples are allowed to marry but we're not. After all, marriage is something that society made up, so it's not really an inherent right in an absolute sense.

If the institution of marriage were abolished tomorrow, we'd have no argument any longer. Neither would anyone else.

Yeah, belive me, I understand many people don't want to get married and it's certainly worthy of bashing in terms of how it's been "abused." That's another topic that I'm sure many boards already address ad nauseam.






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