November 15, 2008

The role of religion in passing California's gay marriage ban.

Here's a NYT article by Jesse McKinley and Kirk Johnson:
Less than two weeks before Election Day, the chief strategist behind a ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage in California called an emergency meeting here.

“We’re going to lose this campaign if we don’t get more money,” the strategist, Frank Schubert, recalled telling leaders of Protect Marriage, the main group behind the ban.

The campaign issued an urgent appeal, and in a matter of days, it raised more than $5 million, including a $1 million donation from Alan C. Ashton, the grandson of a former president of the Mormon Church. The money allowed the drive to intensify a sharp-elbowed advertising campaign, and support for the measure was catapulted ahead; it ultimately won with 52 percent of the vote....

First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.
Much further down in the article, we see that this call for funds came after Prop 8 opponents were raking in huge sums, including "$3.9 million at a star-studded fund-raiser held at the Beverly Hills home of Ron Burkle." The "Yes" side needed to keep up with that and had to worry about a barrage of advertisements featuring appealing celebrities, such as the lovely Ellen Degeneres ad that "No on 8" released on October 17.

It bothers me that these 2 parts of the article are so widely separated, because it makes the "Yes" side look like it was playing a fearsome offensive game, when it was on the defense.

***

The article also says that "[b]y mid-October, most independent polls showed support for the proposition was growing, but it was still trailing." Is that right? According to Pollster, Prop 8 was leading by double digits through September, but that support was slipping, so that by mid-October, it was only up by +8. If Pollster is right, "Yes" needed to fight to regain the ground that had been lost to "No." And despite this effort, "Yes" continued to slip, down to +5 in late October, and from there to the election result, a mere +4.

So what did this infusion of support from Mormons really do? It didn't turn everything around, did it? It seems as though it only worked to allow "Yes" to hold on to enough of its earlier support to win.

***

The article also has some interesting discussion of the door-to-door effort: "Mormons made up 80 percent to 90 percent of the early volunteers." The percentage sound high, but I'm curious about what "early" refers to. One could exaggerate by choosing the relevant point in time to count the percentage.
The canvass work could be exacting and highly detailed. Many Mormon wards in California, not unlike Roman Catholic parishes, were assigned two ZIP codes to cover. Volunteers in one ward, according to training documents written by a Protect Marriage volunteer, obtained by people opposed to Proposition 8 and shown to The New York Times, had tasks ranging from “walkers,” assigned to knock on doors; to “sellers,” who would work with undecided voters later on; and to “closers,” who would get people to the polls on Election Day.

Suggested talking points were equally precise. If initial contact indicated a prospective voter believed God created marriage, the church volunteers were instructed to emphasize that Proposition 8 would restore the definition of marriage God intended.

But if a voter indicated human beings created marriage, Script B would roll instead, emphasizing that Proposition 8 was about marriage, not about attacking gay people, and about restoring into law an earlier ban struck down by the State Supreme Court in May.

“It is not our goal in this campaign to attack the homosexual lifestyle or to convince gays and lesbians that their behavior is wrong — the less we refer to homosexuality, the better,” one of the ward training documents said. “We are pro-marriage, not anti-gay.”
I've never read this detailed a discussion of how canvassers try to persuade voters. Personally, I do not even answer my door during the election season, and back when I did, I would never get into a conversation with someone about how I would vote. I'd just try to get rid of them. But I suppose plenty of people actually stand there and discuss the issues, and I'm not surprised to hear that canvassers have alternate scripts depending on how the prospective voter answers an introductory question. It's not devious or worrisome -- in general -- to have a Script A and a Script B, is it?

Are we troubled then, to hear that the "Yes" canvassers had alternate scripts that depended on whether the prospective voter was open to arguments that the right answer was God's answer?

***

The NYT article is headlined "Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage." That's a hefty assertion, and it comes after attacks that have targeted Mormons.
[Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] said it was too early to tell what the long-term implications might be for the church, but in any case, he added, none of that factored into the decision by church leaders to order a march into battle. “They felt there was only one way we could stand on such a fundamental moral issue, and they took that stand,” he said. “It was a matter of standing up for what the church believes is right.”
Was that phrase "order a march into battle" really justified? Should journalists use the metaphor of religion as war and imply that religious people have set aside their powers of reason and judgment and simply take orders from leaders? Otterson spoke of religious people having moral values and taking political positions based on those values. Surely, that is acceptable. Of course, Otterson has plenty of motivation to downplay the vision of churches wielding the power to impose religious dogma upon the general populace.
Mr. Ashton described the protests by same-sex marriage advocates as off-putting. “I think that shows colors,” Mr. Ashton said. “By their fruit, ye shall know them.”
That's the last line of the article, and I can't tell if the NYT wanted us to laugh at Ashton. "By their fruit, ye shall know them" is a Biblical verse -- Matthew 7:16 -- but quick Google shows that there are gay rights t-shirts using the phrase, exploiting the double meaning of "fruit." Did the Times mean for us to view Ashton as a clueless scripture-spewer?

129 comments:

SteveR said...

The tactics and infusion of money was no different than what was used to sweep Democrats into office throughout my state of New Mexico, including the election od liberal Mormon Tom Udall to the U.S. Senate.

SteveR said...
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AlphaLiberal said...

It will be nice when religiousts drop the idea that government exists to force their church's doctrine on other people.

Churches should be free to define their own standards for the marriages they perform, within the confines of their congregations.

Other than that, there should be marriage equality and no effort to make second class citizens of other people.

AlphaLiberal said...

"We are pro-marriage, not anti-gay.”"

False. You are banning marriage and that is anti-marriage.

For all the yelling and screaming, there is still no rationale reason given why two people of the same gender marrying has any affect on anyone else.

This marriage ban is simple prejudice and bigotry. And religion should be irrelevant to the policy. This is not a theocracy, it's a free country and we need to fight to keep it that way, apparently.

Are we troubled then, to hear that the "Yes" canvassers had alternate scripts that depended on whether the prospective voter was open to arguments that the right answer was God's answer?

I'm troubled these zealots pretend to speak for God. Was the Catholic Church "speaking for God" when they sheltered pedophiles, too? How can you argue with someone making such grandiose pretensions?

downtownlad said...

70% of the funding came from Mormons. Which is fine - they have a right to donate.

But gays and their allies have a right to boycott Mormons, their businesses, and those individuals.

Gays should do everything they can to expose and shame the donors to Proposition 8.

Mark O said...

For those on this thread who still do not believe that the Mormon Church’s extraordinary effort here was all about an equal protection decision that would ultimately legalize polygamy, show me any similar effort by the Mormons against a legislative directive.

Mormons are still viewed as an exotic cult, vulnerable to attack. Marriott had to take out an ad announcing he had not supported proposition 8. Yet, Obama’s position was the same (to the extent that his position on anything is real). If some one sent white powder to a black church would it not create a firestorm?

But, it’s okay to attack a smaller and more vulnerable minority than one’s own. I personally blame the Piute Tribe.

dbp said...

It will be nice when secularists drop the idea that religious people have no right to engage in the political process.

Liberal organizations should be free to define marriage any way they choose, without forcing anyone else to accept that definition.

Other than that, there should be marriage equality. All people, gay or straight should continue to be allowed to wed members of the opposite sex, if they so choose.

EDH said...

the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.

Did the NYT just use the term "unusual stew" to describe what might other wise be called unprecedented consensus among major religious groups?

And the remaining religious groups outside of this consensus, er, unusual stew, what should they be called?

Oh, I know, an inclusive piaia!

Dumb Plumber said...
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AlphaLiberal said...

Here's another arrogant priest using the church to further his religious views, this time denying communion to Obama voters in his flock. What an abuse to use communion as a political, partisan weapon!

So, the churches can interject themselves as deep into our political debate as they want, but they really can't be criticized, themselves, in our culture.

I don't buy it. You want to strip people of rights to further your narrow-minded and prejudiced agenda? Well, you're asking for a LOT of criticism and you've got it coming.

Including reconsideration of that massive taxpayer subsidy that is tax exemption.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Are we troubled then, to hear that the "Yes" canvassers had alternate scripts that depended on whether the prospective voter was open to arguments that the right answer was God's answer?

NO. That's just good salemanship. Any person who is trying to persuade another to 'buy' something uses this technique.

Presentation/ sales skills. 101

Features: list the factual features of the item, idea, whatever.

Benefits: describe the benefits or results of the item, idea

Objections: solicit objections or feelings about the product. Size up the prospect. What is important to the prospect, what is objectionable about the product, item, idea to the prospect.

Overcome objections: by
stressing the benefits again and presenting those points that will appeal to the prospect that might diminish or overcome the objection. Tailor your presentation to the observations about the prospect.

Close the sale: get agreement or a buy upon eliciting buying signals from the prospect who is now your client.

Plan A, it it doesn't work ....Plan B and so on. Basic sales.

downtownlad said...

dbp has inspired me to put another ad on a straight singles site, in order to fake women into thinking that I like them. Of course i don't, but if the bigots want me to start dating girls - I have no choice. I will do as they say.

I will choose the fat and ugly girls, as they are the most vulnerable. The longest I've had to lead anyone on for was two months until I got bored.

Maybe I will start posting the girl's responses on here.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I will choose the fat and ugly girls, as they are the most vulnerable. The longest I've had to lead anyone on for was two months until I got bored.

I hope you chose fat ugly girls who pack semi automatic pistols. :-)

AlphaLiberal said...

dbp:

It will be nice when secularists drop the idea that religious people have no right to engage in the political process.

Who said this? I don't see anyone saying this. They're just being engaged in the political debate, that's different than being denied a right to participate.

Aren't you just demanding that religionists should be able to impose their doctrine and be immune to criticism or political pressure being applied in return?

And, why do you think the powers of government should be used to impose religious doctrine on others who don't share that doctrine, or obedience to church hierarchy? (My idea of "religionism" or theocracy as a political belief system).

Palladian said...

"Here's another arrogant priest using the church to further his religious views..."

OMG!!!1 A priest using a church to further his religious views??!? Horror!

downtownlad said...

Here's the title of my post:

"Good-looking single white guy seeking a long-term relationship with a fun traditional, Christian girl."

Let's see what kind of responses I get.

Palladian said...

"Aren't you just demanding that religionists should be able to impose their doctrine and be immune to criticism or political pressure being applied in return?"

Aren't you just demanding that secularists should be able to impose their doctrine and be immune to criticism or political pressure being applied in return?

downtownlad said...

There you have it - Dust Bunny Queen advocates violence against gays. Shocker.

Oligonicella said...

dbp --

"It will be nice when secularists drop the idea that religious people have no right to engage in the political process."

Agreed. Your post was obvious parody and beat me to it, but I agree with that para.

It will also be nice when they (some) drop the pretense that they don't have an anti-religious agenda. The edges of both sides of this issue are behaving like asses.

downtownlad said...

Dust Bunny Queen thinks that gay people should date people of the opposite sex. But then when they do that - she thinks they should be shot.

AlphaLiberal said...

Gays should do everything they can to expose and shame the donors to Proposition 8.

I agree except to say not just gays, but all freedom-loving people. Much like the white abolitionists who helped abolish slavery.

Human civilization is strewn with examples of theocratic repression when religion dictates government policy. Yet here we have more examples of religionists trying to use their religious doctrine as the as the template for our laws.

downtownlad said...

Anti-religious agenda?

Yes, EVERY religious person is a non-intellectual ignoramous, the equivalent of people who believe in astrology and the tooth fairy.

But unlike religious scum, who've voted to take away my rights, I've never voted to take away their rights.

Palladian said...

"But unlike religious scum, who've voted to take away my rights, I've never voted to take away their rights."

Do you live in California?

Things That Come Between Us said...

It's a democracy, bitches. Get used to it.

Oligonicella said...

dtl --

Your attitude betrays your hate and ignorance.

downtownlad said...

I agree except to say not just gays, but all freedom-loving people. Much like the white abolitionists who helped abolish slavery.

Oh - I'm sure straight allies will make up about 2% of the marchers today.

Straight people don't like gay people very much. We know that from the results of these Constitutional Amendments that make gays second class citizens.

But yes - I give those straight allies (about 1% of the population) their due.

AlphaLiberal said...

Speaking of which, there are protests around the country today against the bigotry.

dbp said...

Glad to be an inspiration dtl, but I didn't find anything to object to and didn't write about your first post.

The only quibble I had with it is the idea of exposing and shaming donors to prop 8. In all my years, I have yet to meet someone who is not proud of his beliefs. So, rather than shaming donors to prop. 8, you (in their eyes) be doing something more akin to drumming up publicity for them.

downtownlad said...

I don't live in California. But until November 4th, I was allowed to get married there. Now I can't. So my rights were taken away from me.

So what's your point?

Meade said...

Maybe I Googled the wrong search terms: "fruit" + "sex"

But I don't have time for more searching - gotta get down to the protest demonstration at City Hall because I believe every citizen has the equal right endowed by his/her/its Creator to equally make the same mistake.

I'd Twitter it for you if I had one.

downtownlad said...

How do my attitudes betray ignorance? All religious people are stupid and hateful bigots.

But my attitudes do betray hate. I certainly do hate religious people. They are scum.

I'm Jewish. Thank god my people killed that bastard Jesus Christ. Good fucking riddance.

knox said...

Did the NYT just use the term "unusual stew" to describe what might other wise be called unprecedented consensus among major religious groups?

I noticed that too, and it made me laugh. If they were rallying around a liberal cause, they would have been praised for their ability to triumph over their differences, and be declared a diverse and vibrant group. There would have been lots of heart-warming quotes and detailed, quirky descriptions of various representatives from each group.

Instead they are an "unusual stew" and their ads have "sharp elbows" (?).

Oligonicella said...

downtownlad --

"How do my attitudes betray ignorance? All religious people are stupid and hateful bigots."

Why the hell ask me the question and then provide the answer?

Meade said...
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AlphaLiberal said...
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Meade said...

"Thank god my people killed that bastard Jesus..."

Thank God He forgives your people.

downtownlad said...

Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, turned water into wine and walked on water.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

AlphaLiberal said...

dtl, easy does it. Really, as much as this might hurt, you don't want to go off insulting all religious people. There are many opposed to these policies and you need more allies, not fewer.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There you have it - Dust Bunny Queen advocates violence against gays. Shocker

Not gay people, just you.


Dust Bunny Queen thinks that gay people should date people of the opposite sex. But then when they do that - she thinks they should be shot

Hardly. I don't think gay people should be forced to date anyone they don't want to date. I really don't care what you do with your little winky. Actually, I want DTL to never date anyone of the opposite sex for fear that he might accidentally pass on his nasty personality to another generation.

However, when someone goes out of their way to be cruel and harmful, I do think repercussions are in order.

dbp said...

"I'm Jewish. Thank god my people killed that bastard Jesus Christ."

I don't mean to be overly critical, but Jesus was a Jew and he was executed by the Romans. Yes, the Jewish establishment played a role, but then most of Jesus' followers were themselves Jewish too.

In addition, it was necessary that he be executed so that his resurrection could be the founding miracle of Christianity.

So thank you, to the extent that you seem to be on the right side of history here.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann wrote:

"It bothers me that these 2 parts of the [NYT] article are so widely separated, because it makes the "Yes" side look like it was playing a fearsome offensive game, when it was on the defense."

You are too funny. Please stop it you are killing me!

jdeeripper said...

The New York Times: "Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage."

More cowardice from the NYTimes.

They target White Mormons as the "Other" because they don't want to damage that White lefty/pro-gay/black/latino/celebrity Obama will save the world coalition.

The jdeeripper Times :"Blacks and Latinos Don't Want White Homos To Marry."

downtownlad said...Of course i don't, but if the bigots want me to start dating girls

Here are some Palin photos to get you started.

44 year old mother of 5.

downtownlad said...I'm Jewish. Thank god my people killed that bastard Jesus Christ. Good fucking riddance.

If your people had ignored him and he had lived he would be long forgotten. Same with MLK, the American black Jesus. If he had not been killed in 1968 he would have been viewed as a black preacher from the 60s whose wife left him after discovering his homosexual affairs.

Same with Obama. If he survives the next 4 years he's the black Jimmy Carter. If he is assassinated he's JFK/MLK on steroids.

Quayle said...
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downtownlad said...

I don't give a fuck about allies alphaliberal.

Gays will never have their rights in America. At least in my lifetime. And when I'm dead - well - I don't give a fuck about what happens when I'm dead. That's why I don't care about Global warming either.

So in the meantime - I will just treat religious people like scum. Just as they treat gays.

By the way, Mary got knocked up by Joseph and she made up a story about how she got pregnant. but we all know that was having sex. They should make a porno about Joseph fucking Mary.

downtownlad said...

Sorry Dust Bunny Queen - Haters like you have made it ILLEGAL for gay people to marry someone they love.

Gay men, if they want to get married, have no choice but to lead straight women on if they want to get married.

downtownlad said...

I already have a response!

Woo Hoo!

Oligonicella said...

downtownlad --
"Gay men, if they want to get married, have no choice but to lead straight women on if they want to get married."

Oh, so you admit that you see marriage as something you aren't actually deprived of or something that is to be desired between loving couples, but merely as some sort of status goal.

downtownlad said...

She's not fat enough.

I want a fat one. They are the easiest ones to string along because they are so desperate.

EDH said...

downtownlad,

From your statements here, I gather that you are not even remotely close to having the emotional maturity necessary to marry anyone, male or female.

downtownlad said...

Oligonicella really is a moron isn't she?

downtownlad said...

Oh - the religious wingnuts are getting mighty upset that a gay man is talking to a girl.

Boo Hoo.

This is exactly what you wanted. I'm just following your instructions. And if some religious fat girl gets her hopes up for a month or two, only to get rejected after that, well - that's just the consequences of your hate.

This is fun.

jdeeripper said...

downtownlad stop acting like some hysterical female.

You are embarrassing the other homos on here.

And reinforcing negative stereotypes as well.

downtownlad said...

Lots of Christian dating sites. I think I'm going to try Christiancafe.com next.

Oligonicella said...

downtownlad --

"Oligonicella really is a moron isn't she?"

More affirmation of your own idiocy, bigotry and hate.

downtownlad said...

Sorry jdeeripper - I'm straight now.

Lots of fat ugly girls waiting to be exploited.

downtownlad said...

Bigoted against whom? Christians? Mormons?

You betcha.

downtownlad said...
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downtownlad said...

All people, gay or straight should continue to be allowed to wed members of the opposite sex, if they so choose. - DBP

In case you're wondering where my comments are stemming from.

Oligonicella said...

From a parody of a previous post? Don't think so.

Things That Come Between Us said...
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downtownlad said...

There is no LORD.

Get. Over. It.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoff Matthews said...

Ok, first Ashton is not a descendant of a Mormon president. He might be a grandson of a councilor to a Mormon president. Either way, he made his money through a software company, WordPerfect. He donated his money to counter a donation by his former partner, Bruce Bastion, who donated to the No campaign.

DTL has claimed that Mormons accounted for 70% of donations. According to this site, it is 48%. What's your source for 70%?
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pe2023SzWXxE8wYX5qWeoIw

I believe that the Archbishop of San Francisco was the Bishop in Salt Lake City. He had worked with the LDS church in the past and I'm sure that's why they requested assistance from the LDS church.

The reason why they presented the Yes campaign as being on the offensive is that it plays into the victim identity that homosexuals, and other minorities, use to get what they want. This isn't entirely illegitimate. The author is probably supportive of the No campaign and that is reflected in their writing. The phrase "order a march into battle" suggests this as well.

If the LDS church did not encourage its members to participate in this issue, the Yes campaign would have been outspent by at least 2-1, and possibly 4-1 (if DTL's 70% claim is accurate). They would have had few volunteers. Their message would not have gotten out. In short, the No campaign would have been able to 'buy' the election. Instead it was an evenly matched contest with a close outcome. I imagine that if the outcome was close to the Prop 22 outcome (60%+ voting in favor), the reaction would not have been so heated.

I view Ashton's closing comment, "by their fruits ye shall know them" as illustrative. This scripture means that you will know people by how they act. It isn't religious people who drumming homosexuals out of employment, disrupting their business or advocating violence now, it's the homosexuals. They've become what they were fighting against. Already, we've seen one poster here say that he will date otherwise unattractive women for the sole purpose of hurting them. It takes an ugly sort of person to lash out at strangers. I would shed no tears if this ended badly for him. He is a petty little man who cannot empathize.

Synova said...

People don't believe that gays want to do anything but destroy marriage... that this is an attack on traditional values...

dtl proves it.

He's like a street preacher who's as offensive as possible so that when people are "mean" to him he can pointing out the baseless persecution to prove how holy the obnoxious street preacher is because Jesus said we'd be persecuted for our faith. And look! Wow! Persecution!

In dtl's case, he's proving that straight people, particularly Christians, hate gay people because he can force *everyone* to be mean to him.

It matters not at all that he's trying to be as obnoxiously hateful as he possibly can... it's still all about his gayness.

I tend to be *for* gay marriage but dtl has me convinced that it really IS about sticking it to the religious, that it really IS about breaking what you don't actually want, just because other people want it.

Intellectually I know that isn't true for some percentage of gays, but my conception of how large that percentage is is shrinking smaller and smaller.

DTL just wants to break other people's toys.

downtownlad said...

Synova is a liar. Show me one post where you have ever been supportive of gay marriage?

You can't.

You're a bigot. Which is fine. You're allowed to be a bigot.

And if you believe in God - you are very, very dumb.

downtownlad said...

But judging from Synova's picture - its quite obvious that she'll never get laid.

She's probably answering my ad right now.

downtownlad said...

I mean seriously - look at Synova's picture:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_6aG924UVzPc/SQ5aGZw-DrI/AAAAAAAAAIU/yBEBW7Sb87Y/S220-h/Jan+2008+325.jpg

No wonder I'm gay. How can I possibly find that attractive? How can I get a hard on from that?

downtownlad said...

You all wanted a culture war - well you're getting it.

This is war.

Anyway it's late - I'm off to bed.

MayBee said...

dtl is morphing into Titus

downtownlad said...

I'm going to jack off to this picture of Jesus.

http://blogs.hoycinema.com/myfiles/xeta2/jesus_342.sangre6.jpg

I should sleep soundly after that. Night.

peter hoh said...

dtl wrote, Gays will never have their rights in America. At least in my lifetime.

How much longer are you planning to live? And by "rights," do you mean more than same-sex marriage? Or do you mean non-discrimination, which seems like a more subjective measure.

If you are waiting for leather queens to be allowed to teach grade school in full costume, well, that may not happen in your lifetime. But a straight dominatrix won't be able to, either.

I think that same-sex marriage will be recognized in at least a quarter of the states within 10 years. Ten or 15 years after that, it will be recognized across the nation.

There's still a chance that some sort of civil-union might be offered as a national compromise, but I don't think it's likely. There is no mechanism for bringing the two sides together and working out a compromise.

Individuals who want SSM (or Marriage Equity, if you prefer) will continue to push for that, and states with sympathetic populations will continue to grant SSM.

Religious people make up the driving force behind SSM. From what I've seen, marriage is the goal for same sex couples who are not part of the traditional gay rights activist circles. Sometimes called picket fence gays and lesbians, they have been a mostly silent bloc -- until now.

The gay and lesbian children of pastors* were crucial to getting this change started in my church. Ten or 15 years ago, some of them stopped pretending that their children -- and their children's sexual orientation -- did not exist.

*Granted, this is a generalization, but it's where I saw this start to happen most frequently.

Over time, their kids began to push for marriage. Their living witness is changing minds. It's a slow process, but it's happening.

dtl, on the other hand, is choosing to piss on everybody in hopes that -- well, what exactly? Oh yeah, in hopes that he'll get attention.

Synova said...

dtl, I have repeatedly and consistently said that I favor gay marriage because marriage is the foundational unit of social welfare and thus is a good thing.

I've come out in favor of marriage involving more than two adults! Who else who comments here has done that?

What marriage isn't is a *right*, as marriage is not a right for anyone, but a severely limited thing and always has been.

What marriage is, is under severed and concerted attack in our culture. On any of the recent gay marriage threads you will find me saying that we ought to define marriage upward, make divorce harder, *and* that it should be available to same sex couples.

That you see what you chose to see only proves you don't *look*. You want to see hatred, so you see it. You want to believe that people are hateful so you can hate them.

Donna B. said...

dtl - why do you want to get married? What does marriage mean to you?

If it's legal rights to property, health insurance, etc... civil unions can accomplish that and I think there would be a lot of straight couples who would like that idea a lot for themselves.

Marriage is a religious idea and you've stated (quite clearly) you dislike religion and the religious. Why do you want to take part in a religious sacrament?

MayBee said...

I see Aravosis is trying to lead a boycott on Sundance. What a joke.
The last time I checked Aravosis's blog (granted, it was about 3 years ago), he was posting from his vacation in Morocco.
"You wouldn't think there is a care in the world!" he said.

It is illegal to engage in homosexual activity in Morocco.
Is Aravosis going to boycott every place where gay marriage is banned?
Will he refuse to travel to countries where homosexuality itself is banned?

Synova said...

Religious people make up the driving force behind SSM. From what I've seen, marriage is the goal for same sex couples who are not part of the traditional gay rights activist circles. Sometimes called picket fence gays and lesbians, they have been a mostly silent bloc -- until now.

This is my impression. Gay couples who want *to be* married (rather than who want to be allowed *to get* married) want the old-fashioned, traditional, profound sort of marriage... the sort that most heterosexuals have thrown away.

In a sense, they and the hard-core Christians are in agreement on the value of marriage. At least it seems to me, since both groups want marriage to mean something.

former law student said...

the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.

The NYT doesn't get out much, I'm afraid. This "unusual stew" sounds a lot like the Pro-Life movement.

Are we troubled then, to hear that the "Yes" canvassers had alternate scripts that depended on whether the prospective voter was open to arguments that the right answer was God's answer?

Coalitions often include people who want the same goal for different reasons. The welfare reform movement comprised social conservatives who believed women should not have children out of wedlock, fiscal conservatives who didn't see why their money should be used to support other people's kids, and advocates of self-reliance who believed that no one should reproduce who was unable to support their own offspring.

dtl: Fat and ugly girls are realistic about their dating prospects, and are likely to reject you unless you're reasonably fat and ugly yourself.

alpha: although attitudes are changing, same-sex marriage still represents a sea change in many people's notion of marriage. The No on 8 campaign rubbed people the wrong way by telling them they were ignorant bigots. They should have focused on the positive: i.e. happy gay couples. Dan Savage with his husband and kid should have been the poster boy, as well as those octogenarian lesbians who married right before one passed away. That would have brought tears to a stone.

Bissage said...

I’m curious to know why that Ellen DeGeneres ad does not include Portia de Rossi.

I’m sure there’s a good reason.

I just don’t know what it is.

peter hoh said...

Synova wrote In a sense, they and the hard-core Christians are in agreement on the value of marriage.

Yes, as shown by their interest in having religious ceremonies, even if they can't have civil ones.

Synova said...

I agree fls, but I'm not sure if just showing happy gay couples and old ladies would do it.

I think that focusing on the value of marriage, and the threat to marriage, would. Because that's actually taking people's fears seriously. By *any* measure, marriage in our culture is threatened. Out and out *say* that getting a marriage that doesn't mean anything anymore isn't winning, and make actual suggestions to work together to reverse the trend.

Or would that loose the liberals? Would "men are all evil" feminists fall into hysterics at restoring any small aspect of the patriarchal oppression they've escaped?

Synova said...

lose the liberals... loose the liberals bonds...

(I soooo hate the stupid word "lose".)

peter hoh said...

Bissage, the DeGeneres ad didn't include Portia de Rossi because of the HRC-style approach of not talking about actual gay and lesbian people.

Viginia Postrel discusses her thoughts about the hide-the-gays-strategy here.

Palladian said...

"DTL just wants to break other people's toys."

No, don't take any larger political or philosophical points from downtownlad's behavior. The cause of his behavior is 100% psychological. According to his defunct blog, he was a closet case until he was in his 30s, spending his time lying to people and trying to pass, and spending his evenings on his knees in a bathroom somewhere, sucking cock. This kind of duplicity and self-repression, especially when needlessly carried on into adulthood, can cause severe psychological problems. His behavior also suggests that he developed no normal psychological bonds with either of his parents or that if he did, those bonds were severed in some traumatic way. He displays the emotional immaturity of a toddler. People are probably familiar with the public tantrums of toddlers, episodes so extreme in their volume and vigor that they cannot be ignored. This is a way to force attention from parents who may withhold positive attention or affection. The attention will undoubtedly be negative, but it will still be attention of one sort, and the child will understand that it is easier and far less emotionally taxing to throw a fit and receive negative attention than it is to try to elicit a positive emotional engagement from distant or abusive parents. The trouble is, of course, that the child's priorities shift towards negative engagement, and they may never develop the ability to have positive engagements with people. This can lead to extraordinarily destructive behavior, destructive to both the sociopath and to everyone that comes in contact with him. He learned early in life that the only way to get people to notice him is to piss them off. Or hurt them. Or worse. There's a fine line between being an angry sociopath and being a violent psychopath.

Downtownlad is not interested in having a conversation with anyone about anything, because he learned early on that "conversations" were unrewarding. So he comes into threads, posts a high volume of inflammatory nonsense and personal insults (the equivalent of that tantrum in the middle of Kmart) and soon his twisted view of human interaction is again validated. Look, everyone is talking about me! Of course, the talk is all negative and soon the initial thrill of his disruption dissipates and so he leaves, sated for the day.

I often advise people not to engage with him, but I realize why that's difficult. The comments section of this blog is a social space. Downtownlad knows this. He knows, from his twisted childhood, that it's easy to disrupt the rules that allow social spaces to form and function effectively. This is also how the commenter Titus operates, and similar to how terrorism works, though all three with different goals and results. Such people know that violation of social space is easily achieved and that there will be a guaranteed reaction. Downtownlad does it through invective, insult and repetition. Titus does it by dropping his pants, masturbating and then shitting on the rug. Terrorists do it by blowing up ordinary people.

Downtownlad is re-enacting some primal scene and using us as unwilling actors in his endless and dreary little psychodrama. I plead with people, once again, not to let themselves be provoked.

Bissage said...

[P]eter, thanks for the link.

I'm on it.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter neff said...

Jeeez and all this time I thought he was just a douche.

rcocean said...

I wish Hawaii would pass a Prop 8. Think of the liberal/gay boycotts and then the great travel bargains.

Other places Gays should Boycott - Tahoe, Las Vegas (the good part), Seattle (in August), Big Sur, and Carmel.

Gays should boycott more and travel less.

Palladian said...

"Jeeez and all this time I thought he was just a douche."

Well, you can be a twisted sociopath and still be a douche. Kind of a requirement, actually.

walter neff said...

Yeah but if you are so twisted, how does the vinegar get through the tubing.

Because that dude seems to be full of vinegar.

Theo Boehm said...

I think everyone should boycott everything.

The way the economy is going, that may soon not be a choice.

Geoff Matthews said...

theo boem makes a good point. With the economy tanking, how do you sift the boycott from the collapse?

Any decrease in Utah GDP (and there will be one) will be trumpeted as an effect of the boycott by the boycotters, while cooler minds will do things like compare Utah's dip to California's or other states.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"Because that dude seems to be full of vinegar."

No, because in small doses good vinegar is wonderful on the right food. Downtownlad isn't good on anything. Especially a salad. I would never toss a salad with downtownlad.

Synova said...

BTW, aren't Mormons supposed to be always ready for complete economic collapse and the end of the world?

I thought there was some particular number of months that they were supposed to have supplies stocked up for.

(In other words... who says that Utah is going to hurt... much?)

Cedarford said...

I think everyone has noted why gay extremists are out smashing windows on Mormon temples and disrupting Catholic services instead of going into black or hispanic areas and behaving similarly. Same craven cowardice as PETA activists show when they splash paint and yell obscenities at little old ladies in fur coats, but not at leather-clad bikers.

Little chickenshits.

This all could have been ended in the 80s if the gays who desacrated St Patrick's Cathederal in NYC had been beaten up on the spot, had their cheeks rouged and asses shaven, dressed up as altar boys, tied up, and left for the priests with homo tendencies.

*****************
dbp said...
"I'm Jewish. Thank god my people killed that bastard Jesus Christ."

I don't mean to be overly critical, but Jesus was a Jew and he was executed by the Romans. Yes, the Jewish establishment played a role, but then most of Jesus' followers were themselves Jewish too.

Jewish high priesthood tried and convicted Jesus as a heretic. Then dragged him to the Romans, who by law held a monopoly under the Occupation of Palestine to have exclusive right to mete out capital punishment.
The Romans were not too keen on whacking heretics and doing the dirty work of the Jewish priests, but after seeing if the Jewish mob would defy the Sanhedrin and prefer the robber Barabbas to be executed over a heretic, the crowd decided, and Christ was executed.

****************
This is also how the commenter Titus operates, and similar to how terrorism works

I disagree, Titus can be quite vulgar, but he can also be quite funny. Roaring laughter funny, in fact.
Titus is no terrorist and he certainly does not pretend to be the morally superior salami-smoker of the salami smoker crowd, psychoanalyzing & policing "the gay ranks".

Things That Come Between Us said...

A slight adjustment:

Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.

blake said...

Palladian is quite right in his analysis of DTL.

What we know about DTL is that he's a liar. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he were not homosexual at all. He might just be a gold medal homophobe. I think it's likely he doesn't even know.

But I suspect, in simplest terms, he's evil. He has a terrorist's mindset as Palladian points out, that equation that says, "The world isn't what I want, therefore I can commit whatever horror I choose."

Of course, the point was never to change the world, but to commit the horror.

I'm reminded of Silence of the Lambs:

Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a transsexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.

Palladian said...

"This all could have been ended in the 80s if the gays who desacrated St Patrick's Cathederal in NYC had been beaten up on the spot, had their cheeks rouged and asses shaven, dressed up as altar boys, tied up, and left for the priests with homo tendencies."

Whoa! Talk about psychoanalysis! Yikes! What a glimpse into Cedarford's musty little fantasy world. You all know that this little scenario plays itself out in Cedarford's mind. Over and over. And over. I bet ol' Cedarford has had a little rouge-ing and shaving done to him in his day...

"Titus is no terrorist and he certainly does not pretend to be the morally superior salami-smoker of the salami smoker crowd, psychoanalyzing & policing "the gay ranks"."

I didn't say Titus was a terrorist. I said that they shared tactics. But I understand why you'd hate psychoanalysis.. it was invented by JEWS!!!!!1

You're a long-winded, limp-dicked little faux Nazi, Cedarford. But at heart you're a chickenshit, pants-pissing little coward.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Althouse said:
It bothers me that these 2 parts of the article are so widely separated, because it makes the "Yes" side look like it was playing a fearsome offensive game, when it was on the defense.

Uhh...they were the "YES" side, which means, umm, they were the ones responsible for putting this on the ballot. Their game was offense from the beginning, never defense, because THEY WERE THE ONES WHO PROPOSED THE PROPOSITION, right? How can you be bothered that they were made to look offensive, when they, the YES on 8 crowd, were by definition on the offense?

***

I just got home from one of today's rallies, here in Long Beach. It was a peaceful, somber affair. I was happily surprised to have the leader of the "protest" (it didn't feel like a protest so much as a community gathering) say from the get-go that while we could be angry, we should not seek to blame others. She told us that everyone, even those who voted "Yes," was a potential ally for our cause, and urged everyone to treat those on the other side with respect.

She, and other speakers, told us to put aside the inaccurate statistics about blacks and latino votes, and not let hate breed more hate. Everyone is our "brother or sister." The whole event took on a surprisingly religious tone, as pastors and church members took to the stage and preached about loving each other.

It got a little too focused on religion towards the end (I get it, not all religious people hate gay people), but all in all I appreciated the decent, strong, and empowering message of the whole day.

There were about 500 of us there (a small crowd compared to what's going on in LA and SF right now), and by the end of it, we were covered in ash and soot. California, by the way, is on fire right now.

Meade said...

I'm back from the protest demonstration. Underwhelmed. At one point, the guy with the microphone tried to get a chant going:

"What do we want?"

A couple people in the crowd answered weakly:

"Freedom"

Guy with microphone: "No, EQUALITY!"

This time when he asked "What do we want?" the crowd shouted back, predictably: "Equality."

Margaret Choo sang a "protest song" she had written for the event, apologized for being "guitarded," and sang a dopey little thing with the punchline being something like "shove NO on 8 up the asses of Mormons." The next speaker talked about how important it was for everyone to get out of their "comfort zones," whatever those are, and to talk to people who are "not like yourselves." I thought, you mean, like Mormons?

I found my daughter in the crowd, gave her a hug, took a few snapshots, and left before it was over.

Meade said...

I meant to say Margaret sang shoveYES on 8...

Theo Boehm said...

I must say this thread has been as uplifting and positive an experience I've had since I came down with the flu last week.

I can tell you that downtownlad's comments were definitely better than throwing up with a 103° fever.

They weren't quite as good as the chills and hacking cough, but I won't complain, because where else can I find a comment thread that put the stomach cramps into perspective.

Meade said...

At your advanced age, Theo, you really should think about getting an annual downtownlad shot.

Theo Boehm said...

Do you think Nurse Althouse might be able to inoculate us against it?

But hey, I'm not THAT old, although an ounce of prevention would certainly do everyone some good who are exposed around here.

TitusExfoliate said...

OK, I read through this crap.

I am not a terrorist and I am unlike anyone else here.

I am my own special creation.

My parents love me to death and I came out when I was like 10. I speak with my mother everyday, sometimes twice. She was so excited today. She just got back from a weekend tour of Chicago. She saw "Mame", Millenium Park, went out to dindin and breakfast and brunches and museums and tours of the city and stayed at the Double Tree which she loved. Total price tag for the weekend $275.00-with bus to and from Madison. Some senior special. I told her mother dear you can't even get a hotel here for $275.00 a night. Also, she told me that all tips were included. She usually stays at Motel 8's and 6's so this was a treat for her. She told me the tour was called The Devil in the White City tour. I said girl I read the book and am bringing it home for her during the holidays.

I am not a part of any gay group. As I have said before I generally hate other gays.

That being said, I have no interest in getting married myself. But I do hope a gay day comes, which I believe will, when my fellow gays and lesbians (who I generally don't like or talk to) will have that option.

I mean hello, remember when just a few years ago in Vermont the "civil union" thing was such a big deal? Now there are civil unions in New Hampshire, New Jersey and marriages in Massachusetts and Connecticut.


Motto of this story is to ignore the old Village People and updated Pet Shop Boys song, "Go West".

For gays, I guess a new song should debut, "Go East".

TitusExfoliate said...

One of the pet peeves of where I live is all the Gangsta Music blasting from the cars.

I live right by a busy intersection and on weekend nights it is so loud.

TitusExfoliate said...

One more thing. It is raining here but like 75 degrees.

Weird.

SMGalbraith said...

I have no interest in getting married myself. But I do hope a gay day comes, which I believe will, when my fellow gays and lesbians (who I generally don't like or talk to) will have that option.

Marry whomever you want. Find someone you want to share you life with, go to a church and get it sanctioned. Or have a private ceremony and marry that person.

It shouldn't be necessary to get the approval of the state (or others, really) for a union with someone you find.

Who needs the sanction or approval of the state to satisfy their life choices? Isn't the satisfaction between yourself and your loved one sufficient?

Duscany said...

downtownlad: "Other than that, there should be marriage equality and no effort to make second class citizens of other people."

But people who want to lower the age of consent for adolescent boys are second class citizens by definition.

downtownlad said...

Wow - Cedarford does have it right for once. Palladian is trying to "police the gay ranks" yet again.

I could always psycho-analyze Palladian. He's fat. Gay people don't look kindly on fatsos, ergo Palladian self-admittedly has no gay friends. Palladian takes out his anger on gay people.

But I don't know Palladian, so it would be foolish to try and psycho-analyze him.

And Palladian has never met me, yet he chooses to judge. Anyway for those who are curious, I am extremely successful. I have managed groups close to 200 people, and I have ex-employees e-mailing me 5 years later proactively telling me how I am the best manager they've ever had. I've already recruited 5 of my ex-employees to move to another country to join my team in a little less than a year. In other words, I am calm, cool, and level-headed.

As for friends, I have lots of them, although I spend most of my time with a about 20 close straight friends (3 are very close), and 3 gay friends. And since they are all gay friendly, we hardly ever talk politics. I spend a lot more time talking about the stock markets and finance.

The true psycho-analysis of me is very simple. I treat you the way you treat me. I don't have any interest in taking the high road. People who vote to make gays second class citizens are treating gays with contempt. Fine - I will treat you with contempt. You mock me, then I will mock you. If you use religion against me, I will mock your religion. It's pretty simple.

I am deliberately trying to offend in my comments. It's my tactic and reflects how I feel about you.

Lots of gays take this tactic. Just look at the comments on any popular gay blog, such as Americablog, and you will see lots of people with the same attitude as me.

But I don't comment there - it would be too boring.

Anyway - I need to go to the gym. I weighed 147.6 this morning, and I need to make sure I maintain that six-pack.

Michael said...

SMGalbraith said..."It shouldn't be necessary to get the approval of the state (or others, really) for a union with someone you find. Who needs the sanction or approval of the state to satisfy their life choices? Isn't the satisfaction between yourself and your loved one sufficient?"

Well, damn...that's very white of you.

Geoff Matthews said...

Michael,

Actually, that's very progressive of him. Haven't you ever heard a straight say "Why do I need a piece of paper to show I love someone?". I'd hear that all the time growing up.

Palladian said...

"Anyway - I need to go to the gym. I weighed 147.6 this morning, and I need to make sure I maintain that six-pack."

Yes, the Thai boys are very picky about their Johns I hear.

reader_iam said...

Downtownlad, et al: When you marry, under whatever auspices, I hope you all will remember this. It's come in handy, on occasion. (Which is not to say it's for everyone.)

downtownlad said...

Just remember. Palladian opposes civil rights for gay people.


He is as self-loathing a gay person as you can get.

downtownlad said...

Palladian opposes gay marriage.

Palladian opposes including gay people in the non-employment discrimination act.

Palladian supports kicking gay people out of the military

Palladian even opposes hospital visitation rights for gay people.

Enough said.

SMGalbraith said...

Well, damn...that's very white of you.

I don't worship the state or need its approval to go about my life or to recognize my living arrangements or decisions.

If the state (individual ones or using that synonymously with government) completely removed itself from involvement with marriages (issued no licenses, gave no spousal benefits, et cetera), that would have no significant effect on my marriage.

I would have to arrange spousal benefits and make other legal changes.

But my wife and I could not care less - not one bit - whether our marriage was approved or sanctioned by government. As long as they did not try to prevent us from living together and sharing our lives and property, we couldn't care less.

There, I tried to make it as simple for you as possible.

SMGalbraith said...

There, I tried to make it as simple for you as possible.

And for what's it worth - and it shouldn't be worth anything if one is mature enough to look at someone's arguments honestly - I favor extending marriage benefits (privileges) to same sex couples.

However, these benefits are not a "right" for same sex couples just as they are not a "right" for opposite sex couples. The state can completely remove itself from the matter of marriages and not recognize opposite sex marriages at any time.

Palladian said...

Just remember:

downtownlad likes to dress in a rubber bodysuit and pay boys in Thailand to beat him with lemongrass fronds.

downtownlad smuggles cocaine in his anus.

downtownlad is a huge Wayne Newton fan.

downtownlad spent a few weeks in prison once after being caught running through his neighbor's horse barn covered in honey and oatmeal.

downtownlad likes to make up ridiculous shit about people and then post it as fact in his comments, so why can't I do it too?

Enough said.

Meade said...

You mean he's NOT a Wayne Newton fan?

Big Mike said...

Does the NYT get anything right anymore? Somewhere along the line they, and the Washington Post and a whole lot of other mainstream news sources, developed a new definition of "news" that doesn't seem to include actually providing information that is true and accurate.

I'm not religious myself (when I can be bothered to think about it, I suppose I'd consider myself an atheist), but, Mr. "alphaliberal," you have it precisely backwards. It isn't the churches that are attempting to force their doctrine down other people's throats but a political movement -- liberalism -- and a political party that is attempting to force their own definitions of what is right and proper down the throats of the devout.

To most Christians -- and doubtlessly other religions -- marriage is a sacrament, and the use of the word "marriage" that you and other liberals insist on is just one more effort on your part to stick your thumb in their eyes. As it happens, people don't like getting thumbs stuck in their eyes so you can drop your insistence on the word "marriage" or you can get ready for a war. That's reality.

Most of us try to live in a real world; perhaps you should try it some time.

Meade said...

Big Mike: If marriage is a sacrament, an aspect of religion, what, under the Constitution, entitles government to involve itself in marriage at all?

blake said...

Meade,

I'd say the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That is to say, the colonies had always had their marriage laws and the Constitution wasn't meant to usurp those.

SMGalbraith said...

That is to say, the colonies had always had their marriage laws and the Constitution wasn't meant to usurp those.

Yes, but the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution was incorporated by Court rulings.

You'll have to look elsewhere, I think.

That is, if you're using religion as basis for state support/recognition of OSM.

blake said...

That is, if you're using religion as basis for state support/recognition of OSM.

I'm saying historically, the civil contract of marriage was influenced by religion, and the first amendment wasn't meant to interfere with that.

Micha Elyi said...

Thanks, Big Mike (12:06 PM), for your common sense response to alphaliberal's raging.

Also, alpha's raging (at 11:01 AM) is pregnant with several false implications; (1) that receiving the sacrament of Communion is somehow an automatic right the Church owes the one requesting it - wrong, wrong, wrong; and (2) that a priest who warns a parishoner that to receive the body and blood of the Risen Christ when the parishoner is in a state of mortal sin is to put ones soul in great jeopardy and to commit a great sacrilege. Anyone who knows what's going on (unlike alpha, apparently) would recognize that the parish priest is not punishing the parishoners who chose to participate in the sin of abortion by voting for abortion advocating politicians, rather that priest is rescuing those parishoners from horrible and eternal consequences due to their sin.

The priest did not toss the sinners from the Church, raise an angry mob to vandalize their homes and workplaces, or even condemn them to hell. What the priest did was to remind those sinners that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available to them and that once their sins are confessed and forgiven, the penitent can then be welcomed back into full communion with the Church and partake of the other sacraments without risking eternal damnation of their immortal souls.

Sigh. As far as alpha's grousing (at 10:37 AM) goes, it will be nice when we return to the days when atheists didn't entertain ideas that government exists to force the suppression of morality.

I could go for the privatization of the definition of marriage as long as I can freely use my private definition when deciding who to rent my property to or employ and promote in a job at my firm. Many leftists and other libertines forget that they take for granted that government will suppress folks selectively in support of their leftist libertine agendas.

Theo Boehm said...

Micha Elyi is correct about the basic theology of the issue as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. Communion, or any other Sacrament, is not a "right," as alphaliberal seems to have said in his 11:01 AM comment referred to by Micha Elyi. Neither is the Sacrament of Matrimony.

As a practical matter, few priests, and, I think not many bishops support the withholding of Communion to those who voted for pro-abortion candidates. Most politicians have to be pro-abortion to get elected, and in many if not most parts of the country, a moderate pro-abortion stance is the default position of State Legislators and certainly Members of Congress. Much of the Clergy holds the position that the good of electing officials who support other things included in Catholic social teaching outweighs their nominal support for something that has become a settled matter. That may be proof of the evil times in which we live, but it is a fact of life.

I'm not sure about the connection of the definition of marriage with anti-discrimination legislation and legal precedent. To my mind, they are not related. The state traditionally has had an interest in promoting stable marriage as an institution for child raising, the orderly management of property rights, etc. If societal norms regarding marriage change, in a democracy, the state's involvement with marriage will change along with them.

Again, as a practical matter, if we have a situation where a small but fierce and organized minority want something, it will be too burdensome for the majority to resist. The solution is to get the state out of the "marriage" business and into the provision of gender-neutral civil unions for anyone who wants one and meets whatever modest requirements the state may choose to impose. Gender-neutral civil unions are a step away from traditional marriage, but if the word "marriage" has taken on too much religious baggage in our secular republic, similar benefits may accrue to society from civil unions.

Couples who are religious, or those who wish to appropriate the word for whatever reason, may refer to non-governmental ceremonies and their subsequent mode of life as "marriage," but the state ought to have no further involvement with the term.

I was in France recently, and saw the practical application of a policy something like this. A wedding party came out of the local mairie, and headed down the street to the Church. The French Republic has long drawn a cordon sanitaire around the performance of public functions, and priests have no official standing in governmental matters, including secular marriage.

It would be a relatively straightforward step for States to adopt, and for the Federal Government to recognize, a gender-neutral version of this.

Marriage would still be a Sacrament to those who view it as such, the state would promote nearly the same societal benefits as traditional marriage, and both gay controversialists and defenders of traditional marriage might be, at long last, equally satisfied or dissatisfied, such that they would shut up and leave us alone.

reader_iam said...

as a practical matter, if we have a situation where a small but fierce and organized minority want something, it will be too burdensome for the majority to resist

I am thankful every day for those whose small but fierce organization of agitation led to the overthrowing of English dictation in favor of American vernacular.

Theo Boehm said...

As a practical matter, if we have a situation where a small but fierce and meandering solitary wants to make elliptical cracks about English usage, it would be too burdensome to point to examples of the varieties of her pots and their relationship to others' kettles.

reader_iam said...

Theo, I wasn't referring to your writing, which I enjoy, full stop. As for the rest, I accept it.