November 14, 2009 8:35:00 PM
I am writing to express my disgust that you would choose to print the repugnant letter from Gerry Jones on 11/9. I am tired of hearing that the "people have spoken" on the issue of same-sex marriage. Marriage is a basic civil right.
The public cannot vote on civil rights; they are naturally possessed by the citizens of the nation. If we had had to wait for popular approval to grant other excluded groups civil rights, we''d still live in a slave-owning country where men who didn''t own property and all women couldn''t vote.
I am a bisexual woman who happens to have fallen in love with and married a delightful man; I shudder to think of the happiness I''d be missing had my beloved happened to be a woman instead. I urge everyone who opposes this issue to put themselves in the other''s place for just a moment.
This is indeed a "historic battle for the minds and souls of our children," but it is a battle that can only be won by teaching them that everyone has certain basic rights, regardless of their gender, religion, or sexual orientation. If we can deny basic rights to others because of our differences, hasn''t the battle for our souls already been lost?
Megan Stoner Morgan, Athens, Ga.
melody commented at 11/15/2009 4:45:00 PM:
You all mixed up Megan. Hurry up and fall out of love with another woman's husband then seek professional help.
Abraham commented at 11/15/2009 6:29:00 PM:
Megan, you are among many unreasonable people who think that only your view point should be expressed. This is kind of annoying. I am not in any way associated with the newspaper and often they print points of view that I disagree with. But I suppose that these people might subscribe to the newspaper just like I do. I suspect that they live in Lowdnes county like I do and might buy goods and services advertised by people who pay for such advertisement like I do. It seems that people like you fail to see that newspapers must service everyone.
If this newspaper decided not to print such view points, do you think this person will stop believing as he does? Rather than chastising this newspaper for printing an opinion you don't agree with, you should see this as an opportunity to challenge the thinking of those who disagree with you. And will you send a check to this newspaper to make up for revenue it misses from people like him who decides not to read a paper because it refuses to print his view point?
Since I disagree with your view point, should I write to this newspaper and chastise them for printing your view point? I hope, if this man comes to Athens, that you and your husband would be willing to sit down over lunch and reason together with him about the issue. You know it is possible to differ deeply over issues and still be friends. I'd like to reason with you too. What do you say?
anonymous commented at 11/15/2009 6:54:00 PM:
To the first reply, try a careful reread of the comments. Nowhere in there does it say she is in love with a married man. She is married to that man. Also, I have to agree with the writer. Who really is to say someone's rights should be given or taken based on preferences that really don't affect anyone else. I am sad to say that part of our country is still very close minded in regards to lifestyle and religion. Her comments can be interpretted as chastising...or...just a strongly expressed viewpoint. She is entitled to her opinion just as much as the next person. And it is refreshing to see open-mindedness in the section of the country of people who hate anything that differs from Christianity. There actually are good, just people who don't live Christian lifestyles. If you disagree that strongly, my advise is to never leave the south. You wouldn't fit in with the rest of the modern world.
xy commented at 11/16/2009 4:19:00 PM:
Read the Bible. Same-sex marriage is not suppose to happen! The Fire is going to be very Hot for you and your kind.
JC commented at 11/16/2009 4:21:00 PM:
And don't forget - the same letter from "Gerry Jones" was published in papers all over the country, in each case identifying the author as local. It was a cut-and-paste job and the Dispatch fell for it.
Anonymous me commented at 11/17/2009 7:24:00 AM:
In regards to Anonymous's opinion. Good people who don't live Christian lifestyles do not go to Heaven, they go to hell. I don't intend to leave the South and I am a Christian and I hope never to fit in with the rest of the modern world, which by the way, is ruled by satan.
Abraham commented at 11/17/2009 8:48:00 AM:
Meagan, it is never my intention to offend anyone and I hope you are not offended by anything I have to say. I think dialogue the vehicle to transport us to the destination of understanding one another and it is the way to "win" someone over to what you think is right. If certain opinions are never printed, even if you view them as "hateful", you can not have the needed dialogue that brings understanding and persuasion.
If I owned a news paper, I would not hesitate to state my opinion. But I would not do it on every subject. Otherwise, I might hinder dialogue between readers who differ from another. In my newspaper, I would be pleased that people expressed various view points like the other guy did, and have others like you express your dissenting opinion.
If I owned a newspaper and did not believe the constitution protects "same sex" marriages, what would you say to me to convince me other wise?
Sane commented at 11/17/2009 9:58:00 AM:
Christian crazies... how do you guys stay so righteous?
C commented at 11/17/2009 11:17:00 AM:
Dear Anonymous me, don't you know there's no such thing as God anyway? I guess you don't believe in scientifically proven evolution, either, do you?
andyouwonderwhy commented at 11/17/2009 12:40:00 PM:
And y'all wonder why more people don't go to church. Please, oh please, don't lump this southern girl into your ideology just because we share geography. And stop using the Bible as a club with which to whack others with whom you disagree. Ever heard of "Love your neighbor"? How about "Judge not, lest ye be judged"? Do you faithfully keep every one of the top 10, at all times? Are you without sin and worthy of throwing the first stone in the first place? Jesus himself didn't hang out with the righteous, who might be better described as "self" righteous. And little wonder! Do you even hear yourselves??? You are no better than those you seek to condemn, and that's not your job in the first place, thank God! I am a Christian and have been for many years, but I want no part of your beliefs. So please, others who are reading and think that all Christians are like this, please know that we're not. And we southerners aren't all like that, either.
ET commented at 11/17/2009 12:58:00 PM:
"Andyouwonderwhy", that was a GREAT letter. Some of the things you mentioned are what drove me out of the "church". I just got so tired of week after week of condemnation from the pulpit, no matter what church I attended. Many "Christians" seem to hate everything and everybody who does not go to "their" church. Jesus' message of love and forgiveness has been suppressed and replaced by the "apostle" Paul's message of hatred and condemnation.
andyouwonderwhy commented at 11/17/2009 1:43:00 PM:
ET, Jesus' message of love hasn't gone anywhere. It's being conveniently overlooked to suit human agendas. Read for yourself, and don't assume all churches will have weekly condemnation services. Don't give up :)
melody commented at 11/17/2009 2:46:00 PM:
Hey Anonymous--- misread is right. Need new glasses don't you reckon. But Miss Megan still mixed up in my book and needs prof. help; not shade tree head repair.
andyouwonderwhy commented at 11/17/2009 10:16:00 PM:
Meanwhile, we've hijacked Megan's topic, same-sex marriage and the opposition to the idea.
Those opposed seem to feel that the gay community is a collection of people who've made the choice to go against society's norms and/or the Bible, and therefore, should not be allowed to legally marry.
I think the debate is a huge time-waster, as there is a compromise available if people can stop and be reasonable.
Regardless of Bible teachings or societal pressure, think of these things for a moment: you think it's a choice. Ok. So you're saying, then, that you have chosen to NOT be gay. Interesting. If it's such an easy thing to just make this choice, then I challenge you to spend the next week trying to develop new feelings for others who share your gender. What's that I hear? Not gonna happen? Why not? Because you're not made that way? Really?? But it's supposed to be a choice! Gay people can't choose to be straight anymore than you can choose to be gay. We're all wired the way we're wired. Why would people "choose" relationships that are much more difficult to develop, and a lifestyle that is so prone to such nasty responses from other people? And how do you explain that often when one family member is gay, there is at least one other member of the same family who is also gay?
I'm all for differences of opinion, but for everyone's sake, please make your opinion an educated one. You don't have to agree with someone's choices. But on this and many other topics, it's important to be able to have honest communication that flows both ways, rather than saying "My way is right, yours is wrong, so I don't care about what you have to say."
Incidentally, I am a straight female who has a variety of friends, including gay and straight people.
Now, back to that compromise, and it would require both sides to be reasonable. An "all or none" attitude is not helpful.
Why not allow civil unions? Make that the "legal" term. Technically, and in practice, it would be the very same thing as a marriage, just not called a "marriage". This would allow the "against" crowd to retain marriage as a male/female institution, but afford same-sex couples the same benefits (and pitfalls) enjoyed by the rest of us? What's it to you if a same-sex partner is included on a person's tax return? Or becomes the legal next-of-kin? Or is covered by employer insurance plans? What is it to you, and why should it be anything? And for the pro-side, why push for that one little word and end up with nothing when you can back off to a synonym and achieve the same goals?
Seems to me the whole thing is tangled up in semantics, when both sides could easily have what they want. Why come to the table bearing arms?
Matt commented at 11/18/2009 9:09:00 AM:
What a bunch of hipocrites we have in Columbus. The Bible has been the excuse for the south to discriminate since its beginning. I love the high and mighty people judging on who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. I'm a mixed (black and white) man will I go to hell also? I have been told my whole life in the south that mixing of the races is against the bible also. Some southern white christians seem to feel some sort of entitlement. Get over yourselves! It's funny to me that most of these people are also conservative republicans that want the government to keep out of their lives but want to dictate how everyone else should live theirs. Gay people aren't going away and neither are black people or mexicans so get over it.
melody commented at 11/18/2009 10:39:00 AM:
Hey Matt- what is YOUR excuse for discriminating, pointing fingers and judging "these people"?? Where you spend eternity is between you and Almighty God. The same thing goes for "these people". Sounds like you need to find another place to stay before your perfect self becomes contaminated living amongst all "those peoples" over there in Possum Town.
Matt commented at 11/18/2009 11:27:00 AM:
Who am i discriminating against?
I am just speaking the truth sorry you feel so angry. I'm not sure what the anger is about but ok. I have lived here in columbus my entire life and will probably be here forever. These people are in the wrong and are living in the past. Times have changed and bigotry is no longer acceptable and using the Bible to cover up hate is no longer acceptable either. Lets be honest here those that hate gays are most likely harboring hate in their heart for other groups also.
melody commented at 11/18/2009 1:27:00 PM:
Just read what you have written-you're still judgeing folks. The "these people" you refer to are probably "white folk", right? Prejudice is pre judgeing people and sounds like you are full of it, Matt.
Now, just What is discrimination? Search your own heart, Matt. Are you discriminating against the white folk? Be honest with yourself now.
Matt commented at 11/18/2009 2:06:00 PM:
My mother is white and so is half of my family. Love the english you are using also it sounds a bit racist itself. I said nothing about "white folk" that would never come out of my mouth. I don't discriminate against anyone and believe that is the correct way to live. I just pointed out the normal "type" of person that wants to dictate how everyone else lives but wants government out of their lives.
Matt commented at 11/19/2009 9:12:00 AM:
Do mixed race couples have the right to be married? 35 years ago the same debate was going on as to whether people of different races should be able to marry. There are still some elected officials in this country that will not marry a mixed race couple. Is this an abomination in your Bible also? The constitution gives equal rights to all of its citizens which cannot be taken away by the states. This will ultimately be resolved in the judicial branch and many recent decisions have proved my point. Why do you care so much about taking the rights of a group of people away? The christians are the last word in the way our government should be run? Get real! I would be willing to bet that abraham is also a christian coservative republican that is for small government but wants to be able to decide what goes on in the bedroom of grown people. Abraham Gay people are not going away and you can't make them straight by baptising them. Not everyone in this world wants to live the life that you live nor should they. I know your logical next thing to say is that if we let gays marry then whats next can you marry a sheep. The arguments of those that wish to discriminate are old and tired. we are talking about two people being married that love each other. You cannot dictate the lives of others anymore. Sorry! The times have moved past such narrow minded people.
KJ commented at 11/19/2009 12:42:00 PM:
The answer to your question, Abraham, is that there is a constitutional right to equal treatment under the law. Because we make a secular civil institution called "marriage" available to heterosexuals via law, homosexuals are entitled to the same access.
A common refutation to this is that homosexuals can get married: to spouses of the opposite sex. However, this is not an equal outcome and therefore spurious. In general, homosexuals have no agenda to destroy marriage. The goal is participation in, not destruction of, the civil institution.
None of this has anything to do with access to religious ceremonies or facilities, except insofar as they qualify as "public" facilities and are subject to anti-discrimination ordinances in return for tax breaks or similar consideration by government. And it isn't about criminalizing christianity or limiting free speech. It's about the ability to participate. But what we see time and time again is religious bullies--who believe that their freedom of religion includes the right to impose their belief and value system on the general public--claiming that they are the victims of a very small percentage of the population.
Hope that helps.
Anonymous. commented at 11/19/2009 9:41:00 PM:
To Anonymous me. There are thousands of religions in the world outside Christianity that promote good values and love for others. It's the only way our world can function. Christianty is no the only way. Besides, I don't give a like about heaven or hell since I don't believe in it, and you will find countless people who don't either, and you may make your own hell by your interpretation of the bible. Are you sure your interpretations are correct?
Anonymous commented at 11/19/2009 9:44:00 PM:
To andyouwonderwhy. I think you have a very good viewpoint. No one is perfect, no matter their religion. Your accepting viewpoint is refreshing and really the only way multiple religions and cultures can co-exist without hate. Just look what happens when people get too caught up in their religious differences...middle east anyone?
Abraham commented at 11/20/2009 7:42:00 AM:
You all have given me something to think on. Some of this generates some questions. Maybe later I will have a few thoughts to share.
Abraham commented at 11/21/2009 12:15:00 AM:
KJ, you said, "There is a constitutional right to equal treatment under the law." The problem I have with that statement is that "marriage" (until recently) has never been defined as inclusive of same sex partners. So, as far as that definition, one that has been accepted for years, there is no discrimination. I am certain that the following might be objectionable to some, but it none the less applies. Why couldn't a father say he is discriminated upon because he could not marry his daughter? Or what about brothers and sisters. What about a 13 year old wanting to marry another 13 year old? It seems to me that if we can see that the government can regulate marriage in these latter cases, it can restrict marriage to its original scope, man and woman.
Abraham commented at 11/21/2009 12:32:00 AM:
And-youwonderwhy, you said, "I'm not trying to change your mind." The truth of the matter is that we all are trying to influence the way we think about these issues and If we have the right attitude, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to do that.
You said, "What I am saying is that gay people shouldn't be denied a legal relationship just because they're gay." And others differ with you. There are some who believe that homosexual relationships do not fit the standard for legal unions. As I stated earlier, I don't believe anyone has made a good case that homosexual relationships should be treated equally to heterosexual relationships. This inequality is not based on the quality of the relationship, but upon what standard should dictate what constitutes legal unions.
I am aware that the following may offend someone, but I don't intend on hiding what I believe in. I believe that whenever a man or woman has strong romantic feelings for their own sex, it indicates that something is wrong. I feel the same for a boy who "falls in love" with his mother or sister. We should not try to accomodate his unnatural feelings.
gogetum commented at 11/21/2009 9:54:00 AM:
Anonymous has never been in a Fox Hole.
KJ commented at 11/21/2009 7:19:00 PM:
Abraham, to start with, the original scope of marriage is debatable. Historically many different types of marriage have existed. And I'm not sure I understand your point about there not being discrimination against same-sex marriage just because there always has been.
As far as argument shifting to incest goes, the only people I know making the argument that we would have to allow incestuous and polygamous marriages if we extend marriage rights to same-sex couples are people who wish to frighten the general populace in order to continue discrimination. But to answer your question anyway, no, it would not be discrimination. Fathers and daughters (and brothers and sisters) already meet the the current gender requirements for marriages under federal law. The basis for their disqualification lies elsewhere. The discrimination based solely on the genders of a couple is only that. Erasing that discrimination, as we erased discrimination based on the races of a couple in Loving vs. Virginia, won't do anything to encourage polygamous or incestuous marriages that heterosexual marriage has not already done.
Abraham commented at 11/22/2009 12:38:00 AM:
KJ, historically, there might be some debate about rules for divorce and remarriage, the procedure for marriage, and the number of people that one can be married to at one time. But I have never heard of anyone offering any evidence any where showing that "marriage" included members of the same sex. If you call that discrimination, then it would be the same kind of "discrimination" we would make when we deny 10 year olds the right to marry or when/if we deny illegal aliens the benefits of citizens.
Your claim about me wanting to frighten someone is simply not true. It is just a matter of calling it as I see it. We all agree that a Latino citizen should have the same rights as a white citizen. When he does not get the same rights as whites, then there is a proper charge of discrimination. We do not all agree that same sex partners should have the same rights as heterosexuals any more than we all agree that polygamy and incest should be accepted.
You said the reason lies else where as to why polygamy and incest are excluded. Would you mind elaborating on HOW "elsewhere" should eliminate polygamy and incest? In essence, what argument(s) would you make as to why polygamy and incest should not be tolerated?
After you answer that, then answer why a marital couple (black man and a white woman) should be treated differently than another couple (white man and white woman) in marriage? There isn't a good reason. They both can procreate. And both couples (potentially) can provide a loving example of how a man and a woman interact with one another and is the basis for continuing our specie. (These reasons and others I could add would and should exclude same sex partners from being included in any definition of marriage.)
Therefore, the reason why interracial marriages do not open the door to polygamy and incest is because we all can see the vast difference between the interracial marriages on the one hand and polygamy and incest on the other hand.
But I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. I have gathered from other posts of yours that you do not believe in God. Even so, I hope you are not offended when I say to you, "May God bless you as we continue our friendly discussion!"
andyouwonderwhy commented at 11/22/2009 7:26:00 AM:
If homosexual relationships are to be shot down because they cannot procreate, then what happens if we back up to the incest type situation? Certainly, procreation would be possible there...not desirable, but possible.
If procreation is the only purpose of marriage, and same-sex couples can't do this (the old-fashioned way, anyway), then wouldn't it naturally follow that people known to be sterile or have physical limitations that would make a pregnancy dangerous shouldn't marry, either?
Should we annul, then, those marriages between people who have elected, on purpose, to not have children? And maybe toss in an age restriction so that those beyond child-bearing years don't marry, either.
Dear Abraham, I know those are extreme examples stretching out what you've said to an extent you really didn't intend. Those are my add-ons, not that you've said those things. However, I did base them on your idea of who can marry is based on who can procreate.
I suppose my idea of "marriage" being reserved for male/female couples while allowing same sex couples to have "civil unions" didn't strike you as an acceptable compromise. "Marriage" could be considered slightly different because of the composition of the relationship, and includes the possibility of children. "Civil Union" would allow for next of kin status for purposes of health, taxes, and other benefits. I do know some same-sex couples who don't like the compromise issue because they insist on the word marriage applying just as much to their relationship as it does to my relationship with my husband. This would be the "all" part of the "all or none" attitude I mentioned earlier that isn't helpful. And you would seek to prevent same sex couples from filing a joint tax return simply because they're the same gender, thus bringing the "none" part of "all or none" to bear.
In the idea of marriage and civil union having 2 distinct definitions, I just don't see, personally, why allowing a civil union is a harmful thing. Keeping marriage a male/female relationship is in agreement with your reasoning, so technically, I'm not trying to change your mind about that.
Just imagine how dull this world would be if we all thought exactly alike :) I've enjoyed the exchange.
And for folks who don't believe in God...well, it makes me sad to think about you...nevermind the traditional view of eternity, because that's not something you believe in anyway...but it's the life as we know it part that makes me sad. What do you cling to, what comfort do you have, when things get very hard? See, I rely on my faith to get me through the awful things, and can't imagine what it would be like to go through those things without it. No matter who may be against me from time to time, I know who is always on my side and never leaves it. I can look back and know that presence even during times in my life when I didn't pay any attention to my faith. And there is no comfort anywhere that can compare. The idea that you may be walking around without that...well, I wish you could have that, too.
Abraham commented at 11/22/2009 10:34:00 PM:
And-youwonderwhy, I too enjoy the exchange. And hopefully these discussions can challenge us to think about how we justify our beliefs and also cause us to objectively evaluate opposing views.
I did not introduce "procreation" into this discussion as a point to stand upon its own. Yes, I believe that there is more to marriage than having children. But it is a vital part that same sexes can never do. I used "procreation" to show that interracial marriages are no different than "same race" marriages. I could have said also that it is beyond debate whether genetics determine the races of marital couples. But there IS debate whether orientation is determined by genetics. Remember my point about identical twins?
So the proper question we should ask, given the above, is why should we view "same sex" relationships as the same as heterosexual ones? You ask what would it hurt if their relationships were given marital status? But what would it hurt if a man has more than one wife? What would it hurt if a father wanted to marry his daughter? What if the polygamist and incest persons wanted civil unions, would you be in favor of them? If not, why not?
KJ commented at 11/23/2009 12:08:00 PM:
Abraham, age-based discrimination is different, in that eventually 10yo's grow up and are no longer discriminated against; I'm not sure why illegal aliens come up, but again they have the ability to alter their status. Neither form of discrimination is applicable to the argument of same-sex marriage.
As far as attempting to frighten people, I'm calling it as I see it, too: incest and polygamy and illegal aliens have no place in this debate, yet they continue to be raised. In the Maine campaign for discrimination, the "threat" to children was the entire basis of the pro-discrimination campaign.
You'll have to find someone else with whom to debate incest and polygamy. It should suffice to say that the basis of those prohibitions is not solely the gender of the proposed spouses and they are therefore irrelevant to a debate about the discrimination same-sex couples face.
Procreation is not currently and has never been a prerequisite for a civil marriage license in the U.S. Nor has the demonstration of the potential quality of a relationship ever been a prerequisite. There isn't even a requirement to demonstrate that a physical relationship can take place at all. In fact, even when it can be demonstrated that a physical relationship between the couple is impossible (i.e. if one or both of the parties is incarcerated with no possibility of regaining their freedom), marriage is such a fundamental right that states cannot deny marriage on even that basis.
I'm not offended by the fact that other people believe in God even though I do not. Hopefully your faith brings you as much satisfaction and solace as my lack of faith brings me. :)
KJ commented at 11/23/2009 12:25:00 PM:
I'm not sure how best to answer you, andyouwonderwhy, on the faith issue...I suppose that it might sound flip to say that I haven't really found a need to cling to anything or take comfort in anything other than the knowledge I have I possess the means to change my situation when things get difficult. It isn't as though I was never introduced to the concept of god, quite the contrary. I just never found anything in the concept of god that I didn't already possess in myself.
Abraham commented at 11/24/2009 8:28:00 AM:
KJ, you said, "age-based discrimination is different." I suppose you would be in agreement that there ought to be some age-based "discrimination." Maybe you would call it "justifiable" discrimination. So just because a group has been "discriminated" against, doesn't mean that the discrimination was unjustified.
All of my examples, age (10 year olds), illegal aliens, polygamist, and incest, have been discriminated against because our accepted standards say that they should not be included in certain rights, benefits, or privileges. If any one of these groups were to demand that they have these rights, benefits and privileges, we would ask them to justify why they should have them. We would ask them to show why the standard should be changed to include them. In essence, we would be asking each of these groups why their status should be the same as everyone else.
With same-sex "marriages" the same ought to be true as well. I don't know of any where in history (in any culture and certainly not this one) where same-sex has been a part of anyone's accepted definition of marriage. So I think it is a fair question to ask, "Why should same-sex be included now?" Well, some say, "They are not hurting anyone." But I can not help but "call it as I see it" and say, the polygamist says, "We are not hurting anyone." And your only response to this point is to evade it. Also, the father says that he is not hurting or bothering anyone else when he seeks to take his adult daughter as his bride.
When challenged about their "marriages", same-sex people say, "We love each other." Polygamist and incest persons say the same. If one were to challenge why interracial marriages should be accepted, then I would say they can do what other couples have done, one of which is to procreate.
In my judgement, as fallible as I am, you nor anyone else have never given a valid reason why same-sex people should be granted the privileges of marriage. All I have heard is "we are discriminated against, we don't hurt anyone else, and we love each other." And all of these have been addressed above.
KJ, I am glad you are not offended by my faith in God. Are you offended if I try to persuade you with reasoning to believe as I do? If not, I hope to do that sometime. Thanks so much for your input and I look forward to "hearing" anything you have to say.
KJ commented at 11/25/2009 10:53:00 AM:
Why should same-sex be included now? Because the relationships are functionally equivalent to the heterosexual marriages we currently endorse. To offer one set of citizens a $30 set of legal protections, rights, and responsibilities to safeguard their relationship, provide for its dissolution, provide for succession, and protect their parental rights and all the other things that come with a marriage licensed recorded by the state and deny other citizens who have equivalent relationships that would be recognized by the state because they meet no currently disqualifying criteria except for the genders of the applicants is an indefensible legal and moral position.
No matter how uncomfortable or queasy the thought of a same-sex couple may make one, there simply is no current test for marriage that same-sex couples do not pass, except for the one about the genders of the spouses being different. There is no test for quality of the relationship. Not test for religious identity or endorsement by a church. No test for procreative ability. No test for ability to have a specific kind (or any kind) of physical interaction. No test except gender.
And the existing tests, for multiple spouses, incestuous relationships, etc. would all remain in place.
It's a very simple equation into which a lot of energy is expended attempting to inject variable after variable, each one straining harder than the last to be relevant. We do not allow incestuous marriages; incest presumes a preceding relationship in which the two parties are not equals and one party is typically capable of asserting undue influence on the other. I can't offer a similarly general argument against polygamy, because I don't have one. If we're talking about the current mormon polygamists that still exist, then it's rather easy to point out that many of these marriages are arranged between the husband and the wives' parents; the wives are often underage; they are often forced or coerced into these marriages; or, because of their upbringing, they don't recognize their right to self-determination.
Legally, I believe that courts have decided that age-based discrimination either really isn't discrimination because it is temporary or that it is but is valid because there is a compelling public interest in requiring that parties reach some specified age of majority in order to be fully vested citizens. it's been awhile since I read up on that, so don't take that as gospel.
I probably wouldn't be offended that you tried to persuade me to believe in god or share your religious faith, but i would politely convey my lack of interest in continued efforts. I really have been down that road already, Abraham...all the way to the very end of it.
KJ commented at 11/27/2009 8:51:00 AM:
Abraham, you're trying to make my arguments eat their own tails. I have no idea what that age discrimination paragraph has morphed into. Why don't why skip that and just move onto race? It's much more closely related to gender discrimination than age discrimination.
I didn't punt on polygamy, I said I couldn't provide a general reason why there shouldn't be polygamy. And I still don't care to. And I don't really care about incest. Nobody is trying to legalize either and the basis for their prohibition really isn't related to the gender of the participants. I don't understand why you're hung up on incest and polygamy, except that the fact that they are prohibited seems to make your discrimination against homosexuals justifiable in your own head. You might as well use them to justify racial discrimination while you're at it. Same for age-based discrimination.
If I can't explain why they are different than the gender based discrimination occurring in regards to same-sex marriage, then I have to accept my limitations and move on. Some people will get it and some will not.
Yep, in this country we do pick and choose what we "honor and sanction." We picked individual liberty and equal treatment under the law and we made some rights beyond the ability of the majority to withhold from the minority.
I never said that I consider our society's survival trivial, nor did I pretend that biology doesn't need male-female pairings to reproduce. You're assigning positions to me based on something other than what I've said. That aside, it's a real stretch to treat marriage as a zero-sum game. We have demonstrated over and over again that it isn't. Do interracial couples detract from the honor of real marriages? Loving vs. Virginia didn't happen until 1967. Are all the marriages performed since then, and those pre-dating 1967 less honorable now? I think not, and I suspect that you don't either.
The only thing discriminating against (maybe) 5% of the population in this manner does is make that percentage of the population less secure in their pursuit of happiness and more unhappy with their marginalization at the hands of a majority who can offer no more defense for their bigotry than: it's always been this way; we like to feel special and better than you; and it's not discrimination if we say it isn't.
That small majority is already living together, having sex together, sharing their lives til death do they part, having kids and raising families. It seems to me that continuing to kick them because they've always been kicked is a very odd sort of position for a christian to find themselves in.
A decade or three or ten from now, this discrimination will look as nakedly evil to our successors as slavery does to us. We can bury freedom, but we can't kill it.
Abraham commented at 11/30/2009:
KJ, I don't need to skip my point on age-based discrimination because it is a parallel to same-sex discrimination. Ten year olds do not meet our standard of age and same-sex relationships do not meet the standard of "man and woman". If a ten year old wanted to get married, I would ask him to provide a convincing reason why he should be allowed to marry just like I ask you why same-sex relationships should be included in the ranks of marriage. Thus far, the only reason you have given for why they should be included is that they are "functionally the same." And I answered that in my last post.
KJ, you closed your last post by predicting that in the future we will view opposition to same-sex marriages as evil. Since you can't provide a real reason (from your point of view) why incest and polygamy should be illegal, then we should expect that in the future they will be making the same claims you are making today. They will say, "we should have individual liberty and equal treatment under the law (for polygamy and incest persons) and our rights to marry should be 'beyond the ability of the majority to withhold from the minority.'" If you can't show a difference between polygamy and same-sex relationships, then we can not move on without admitting that they stand or fall together.
You say in essence, that if incest and polygamy relationships must be linked to same-sex relationships, then they must be linked to interracial ones as well. The standard for marriage has always been "man and woman." We do not have to change that standard for interracial marriages. The barriers to interracial marriages were no different than the opposition marital couples faced because they were from different back grounds (religion, socially, or geographically). In eliminating the barrier to interracial marriages, the court said in Loving vs. Virginia, "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival...." We do not need same-sex "marriages" for our "existence and survival."
You said, "That small majority is already living together, having sex together, sharing their lives till death do they part, having kids and raising families." Same-sex couples are not having kids together. What you said would better apply to polygamy "marriages." Is it un-Christian to deny them the right to have more than one legal spouse? Is that kicking them?
Maybe we should just realize that same-sex persons do not fit the definition of what a marriage ought to be about, a man and woman. We do not hate the ten year old because he does not meet the age standard. We do not hate nudist because we require them to wear clothes (and more of them in the future may be asserting their "rights" too). We do not hate the exhibitionist because we make laws that say people can not have sex in public. We do not hate incest people in requiring them to marry outside of their immediate family. We do not hate the bigamist when we restrict him to one wife. And we don't hate homosexuals when we restrict marriage to a man and woman.
I firmly believe that in the future we will see more reasons why same-sex relationships are more akin to "relationships" of incest and polygamy. And we will wonder why we chose to "honor" same-sex relationships with the designation of marriage. As I said before, to And-youwonderwhy, "I believe that whenever a man or woman has strong romantic feelings for their own sex, it indicates that something is wrong. I feel the same for a boy who 'falls in love' with his mother or sister. We should not try to accommodate his unnatural feelings." You still have not shown what is "functionally equivalent" about same-sex relationships.
KJ commented at 12/1/2009 10:16:00 AM:
Abraham...age discrimination is different...people grow up and the restriction no longer applies.
The standard for marriage has not always been man and woman.
Nobody is trying to legalize polygamy. Maybe they should. If they were, I might be for it. But they aren't. That we are trying to fix one form of discrimination and not another is not a valid reason to continue to both forms of discrimination. When same-sex marriage is illegal nationwide, perhaps I will become an activist for polygamous marriages, too. Your religious beliefs don't confer on you a right to make anyone else conform to them. Your belief that someone else's pursuit of happiness is "wrong" doesn't confer on you the power to limit it. The constitution is not on your side.
Same sex couples are having kids together. Take off the blinders. They're adopting, they're using in-vitro, they're using surrogates. They're raising families. Families that are prevented from enjoying the security that comes from a $30 marriage certificate. They're spending thousands of dollars to cobble together a patchwork of legal protections that may or may not hold up when a crisis happens and they need those protections. Denying them the ability to secure their families while giving it to other couples is evil.
Lastly, nobody can hate like folks who believe in god. I've seen it my entire life and continue to see it. Claiming that you love the people that you're kicking and that you're kicking them for their own good doesn't change the fact that you're kicking them. I think Jesus would disapprove.
When people believe in god, it's an indication that something is wrong. I think that believing in god has led you (and billions of others throughout history) to all sorts of bad conclusions. Once people start down the path of believing in magical sky beings they can invent all sorts of justifications for hateful and hurtful behavior towards others, simply because they are serving a higher power, a higher power who conveniently endorses their misdeeds.
Luckily, our founding fathers were escaping religious persecution (by fellow christians) and sought to protect us all from the clutches of a theocracy by creating a secular country that protects everyone's right to practice their religion while simultaneously protecting us all from that practice at the same time.
KJ commented at 12/1/2009 1:24:00 PM:
Correction: "When same-sex marriage is LEGAL nationwide, perhaps I will become an activist for polygamous marriages, too."
Abraham commented at 12/2/2009 3:08:00 AM:
KJ, I am enjoying your posts and thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I find your last post especially interesting. And in a while, I hope to tell you what I think of it. And I look forward to "hearing" what you have to say about it. Until that time, I would like you to consider the following. I don't think you are a bad person. To the contrary, I think I have been "reasoning" with a kind, honest, and rational minded person. I don't know who you are, but if you were in need of some life-saving help and I could provide it, I would choose to help you above all strangers. In fact, I would love it if my days' experiences brought me into contact with more people like you. It is easy to love people like you even if I differ with you on these issues. If I met a homosexual person, I could just as easily love that person as well. I think that this kind of love can exist in my heart because I am an offspring of the eternal Being who made me.
I have not mentioned the Bible in my argumentation for a specific reason. More on that later. But since you mentioned believers (and my kind of believer is based on the Bible), I guess it should not surprise you if you discovered that I can love people who are not like you, people like my enemies. Because this book says, "....Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise" (Luke 6:27-31). Paul said something similar in Romans 12:9-21 which includes the quote, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him." So if there have been those in the past who did not love their enemies, maybe we could say they were not true Christians.
I think a lot of evil has been done in the name of God. But a lot of good has been done too. And I don't know of any humanistic organization that matches the relief efforts of those who are motivated by a devotion to the eternal Creator.
KJ commented at 12/2/2009 10:03:00 AM:
People who love people of the same sex as themselves, who build relationships and families and lives around their same sex partners are hungry, Abraham...they're hungry for the same security and right to their own happiness that we already to give to every heterosexual couple without restriction or scrutiny. They're hungry to make sure that their kids are taken care of in an emergency; they're hungry to make sure that their partners have full parenting rights; they're hungry to make sure that their kids will qualify for the social security benefits that they have funded their entire working careers; they're hungry to make sure that their families who might disapprove of their love can't destroy their partner's life if they die suddenly.
These aren't abstract problems faced by nebulous "other people" someplace far removed from our daily lives. These are real problems faced by real couples in our own community. Saying you can love them is one thing. Doing good by them, feeding them, possessing a sincere love for them in the model of Christ's agape...that seems to be something else entirely.
Relief efforts are nice. I'm not necessarily discounting them. But when you're looking at the pointy end of the believer's stick they seem somewhat less sincere.
KJ commented at 12/3/2009 12:13:00 AM:
As an example of the pointy end of that stick, we can look at Uganda, where christianists are behind a new law imposing a penalty of life imprisonment for homosexuals and a death sentence for actual homosexual sex. They're not alone...christianists here in the states, like Rick Warren, declined to denounce the law. Warren was asked about it since he sponsors a lot relief efforts in Uganda. It's too much trouble for him to endanger his relief efforts to denounce something so obviously immoral as life sentences for people who dare admit a same-sex attraction and a death sentence for actually touching someone of the same sex.
The pope, quick to shelter bishops and clergy responsible for the molestation of hundreds of thousands of children (if not millions), also doesn't seem to be bothered enough by his church's role in this proposed legislation. Note: catholics are the largest religious group in Uganda.
In the Western world, core constitutional protections prevent the rounding up, jailing and execution of a tiny minority simply for being public or for mere touching of one another. In countries like Uganda, there are no such protections. Christianists are free to demonstrate their love for homosexuals as they please.
Abraham commented at 12/3/2009 1:23:00 AM:
KJ, once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You protest that age-based "discrimination" is not parallel to same-sex "discrimination" because ten year olds can become 21 years olds and there wouldn't be a restriction. Implied in that point is the idea that same-sex attraction is permanent. I don't believe that is true. Nevertheless, they are still paralleled in that neither age-based or same-sex "discrimination" meet the standard to be included in the benefits of marriage. If a homosexual could never love a woman (which isn't true), his same-sex relationship should not be included in marriage.
You say no one is trying to legalize polygamy. That's an unfortunate point for you in that you have paralleled interracial relationships to same-sex ones. In 1967, could one have forecast that one day same-sex "marriages" would be an issue? You concede to me that you have no problem with polygamy and may one day fight for that too. Please tell me, how will we decide which wives and/or husbands should get the social security benefits? Please answer that since this is where your argument has taken you. And I suppose that after polygamy is legalized, if we are around long enough, we can then debate whether we can allow same-sex polygamy. My only point is simply that there is a standard which is "one man and one woman." No matter how touching one's story is, if our relationships do not conform to the standard of marriage, we are not entitled to the benefit of marriage. My heart has been touched by poor foreign students (with great personalities) who could not get the full benefits of education in the USA simply because they weren't citizens; just like same-sex relationships are not "man and woman."
You mentioned the "founding fathers" as if what they wrote in the constitution in any way was intended to include same-sex relationships in marriage. This kind of twisting of the constitution is much like people who try to exclude prayer from public gatherings based on the constitution when these "founding fathers" often had prayer in their public gatherings. You said, "Your belief that someone else's pursuit of happiness is "wrong" doesn't confer on you the power to limit it." The constitution is in favor of all of us being happy within the frame work of standards. The nudist might think his exhibition is pursuing his happiness.
You say, "Same sex couples are having kids together." Their children are always the product of male and female which should be the only basis of marriage, male and female.
Abraham commented at 12/7/2009 9:37:00 AM:
KJ, you say that I am guilty of not following what the New Testament "plainly means." Perhaps an example of my error would be Romans 12:9-21 where Paul in discussing love quotes, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink." Evidently, according to you, we can apply this word "hunger" to any kind of desire. And according to you, that is what the New Testament "plainly means." It is "plain" to me that YOU have "managed to twist (these Bible passages) around so that it means what you want it to (mean) rather than what it very plainly means."
When we rationally evaluate the evidence, we can not help but to conclude that God is real because some thing or some One outside of our universe is responsible life and the world we live in. And it might be true that in the past, men have used the fact of God's existence as an excuse to do wrong. Of course, when we don't give people benefits they don't qualify for, that is not an example of doing wrong.
It seems to me that one of your errors in these discussions as it relates to religious people is that you are grouping all religious people as a whole and then judging them as such. You should clearly recognize that all people don't believe the same things. I don't know what Rick believes and am not duty bound to defend him.
I don't see it as "problematic" to hold anyone accountable for any kind of wrong. I don't believe that I (or anyone else) is guilty of "hypocrisy, bigotry, and hate" when I take the position that same-sex relationships should not be included in marriage. But I believe I can address every issue that IS wrong equally and I am wondering do you believe the same? I am still wondering why we can see Ellen Degeneres on her show break down and cry for a dog someone took away but not "break down" about all this rape of women in this country. She pleaded with others for a dog, but not women like the one in West Palm Beach. In like manner, I would be critical of many so called religious people for failing to be a "good Samaritan" by passing "by on the other side" of the road (Luke 10:30-37) about issues like rape. I'm saying that religious people are not the only hypocrites.
Your conclusion reflects your lack of understanding of my position and is a misrepresentation of it. I conclude that same-sex relationships are the same as polygamy and when we refuse them the benefits of marriage, we are doing wrong in neither case. I believe it is wrong to abuse anyone whether he is a homosexual or when a woman or girl is raped. I believe in addressing both. But surely you believe rape is wrong. Why don't we hear more about it? Please explain that.