Same-Sex Marriage in the News (but not the Newsroom)

April 7, 2009 | 59 comments
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Lots of movement on the SSM front today (and this week in general).  Today, Vermont’s legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage.  Also, Washington D.C.’s city council passed a bill recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages.   Meanwhile, last week the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry under the state constitution.  And the California court will rule on the Prop 8 appeal in the next two months.  (I don’t think the appeal will succeed.)

There is no official statement that I’m aware of about these recent developments (the Newsroom is silent so far; the most recent releases on Prop 8 or SSM are two month old discussions of Prop 8 filings).  Will the church weigh in on these new  developments with official statements or California-like campaigns?  One thing is for certain — the last word on the topic is not yet in, and there will probably be lots of news in this area within the next few years.

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59 Responses to Same-Sex Marriage in the News (but not the Newsroom)

  1. Adam on April 7, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    That activist Vermont legislature! Always legislating from the legislature.

  2. Steve H. on April 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Something about a puny arm and the Missouri river comes to mind.

  3. adam e. on April 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    #2 But whose puny arm is unable to stop which tide?

  4. Rameumptom on April 7, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Most states aren’t like California, where anyone can throw together a proposition and put it on the ballot. I’m thinking the Church is not being vocal, because they are going to have to look at the local/state laws and see what they can do in each instance.

    Also to consider is the number of members in California is large, especially when compared with Vermont or Iowa’s memberships. We have several temples in California, but none in Vermont or Iowa, so the temple rites are not potentially threatened.

  5. jethro on April 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    #4, good points

    though temple rites were never threatened in CA either.

    one more reason they would never wade in on a VT initiative: they only like to join fights they can win.

  6. Rob Perkins on April 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    #5 — I think “never threatened” is impossible to say.

    The calls for revocation of tax exemptions, as well as examinations of edge cases resulting from the re-characterization of what is and is not legally evident hatred, and what may or may not be legally inevitable once courts begin to interpret new law, place the idea of the temple rites under threat in the realm of great uncertainty.

    Washington State is working through a far more peaceable approach to this particular civil problem, in my opinion.

  7. Kaimi Wenger on April 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I’m not sure of the action correlates to temple presence; after all, there is a temple in Massachusetts. (Gay marriage has been law for five years there, and no one has forced the church to perform gay weddings.)

    “Never threatened” seems like a reasonable description of the Marriage Cases decision, which explicitly states that:

    “No religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

  8. Ida Tarbell on April 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    If the Church’s involvement with Prop 8 was part of a broad effort to “protect” marriage

    and

    the Church still sees itself in the “protecting” marriage game

    how can it not respond?

    The Church had success with anti-ERA efforts in states with very few members.

  9. Dan on April 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Rameumpton,

    so the temple rites are not potentially threatened.

    They were never threatened in California. That was never the argument the Church ever used. Why would you?

  10. ECS on April 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Nice write up, Kaimi.

    I’m forever taken aback by members listing the possibility of the loss of the Church’s tax exemption as a primary reason to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriages.

    I understand that financial concerns may weigh in somewhere, but the loss of the Church’s tax exemption is frequently Number One or Number Two on most people’s List of The Horrible Things That Will Happen If Gays Marry Gays.

    First off, this reveals that the person holds an uninformed opinion (query: was the Church’s tax exemption ever seriously challenged when the Church denied blacks full membership?), and second, it’s shamelessly crass to tout the financial consequences of extending marriage rights to gays as a primary reason for denying these rights to families.

    I suggest ditching the tax exemption argument and sticking to the “God opposes same-sex marriage” argument. It’s honest, short, and to the point. And it doesn’t raise the issue of you wanting to keep more money in your pocket at the expense of granting a stable social and legal framework to gay parents and their children.

  11. Sam B. on April 7, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    ECS,
    I suspect that the reason Mormons trot out the tax-exemption thing is that that appears to be one of the favorite statements of Evangelical and other religious opponents to same-sex marriage. People are searching for a reason, and it’s one others have said, so it must be true. (The same way that email forward was written in actual words, so it must be true.)

    The tax argument has the added traction that Americans are scared of and don’t understand the tax code–and that standards for maintaining tax-exempt status are kind of murky, although not remarkably so–and so waving it around is a great scare tactic. (Notice that, although specious, the post-Prop 8 protestors’ argument that the Church should lose its tax exemption was equally specious–activists for lots of different viewpoints like using the tax code as a blunt instrument to make their point.)

    That said, you are certainly right that it is both a bad and a dumb argument to make.

  12. Phouchg on April 7, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    the church only cares about SSM in the Mormon Corridor. It realizes it is powerless in places like New England and Iowa and anywhere else it can’t achieve critical mass with its members.

  13. MikeInWeHo on April 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    re:1

    So often people rail against SSM because it’s against the will of the people and being imposed by activist judges.

    What happens to this argument when the legislatures of more states follow Vermont? It sure looks like those dominoes are going to fall fairly quickly in New England at least. Even in CA only the slimmest majority still opposes SSM and every survey shows that younger voters support it by significant margins, which portends an eventual reversal of Prop 8.

    Obviously I’m biased, but it sure seems like the trend lines point toward: SSM in more liberal states, civil unions in many others, outright bans in a few highly conservative states….and endless federal court battles as a result.

  14. WMP on April 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I think the church has made its point. Its position is clear. Perhaps now is the time for individual members in affected states to act without having to be “commanded in all things.”

    (Or, it could be that there aren’t that many Mormons in Vermont.)

  15. Kevin Winters on April 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Does anyone know what happened to the whole ‘did the Church personally fund Prop. 8′ question? I missed the conclusion of that issue.

  16. Steve on April 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    MikeInWeHo (#13),

    The response to a nationwide trend of state legislatures formally legalizing gay marriage would be a significant rightward shift in the composition of those state legislatures. Enough politically moderate people are opposed to SSM that voting for it would constitute a significant political liability for most state legislators.

    Depending on the state, state legislators usually aren’t the kind of careerists that you find in DC, so they may be more inclined to sacrifice their office (which usually isn’t their “career” anyway) to a cause they believe in.

    Prediction: when the Obamanon dies down and the Republican party manages to turn the sad, sorry page that is (or was) George W. Bush, we’re going to see a significant rightward shift in state legislatures.

  17. Dan on April 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Steve,

    Prediction: when the Obamanon dies down and the Republican party manages to turn the sad, sorry page that is (or was) George W. Bush, we’re going to see a significant rightward shift in state legislatures.

    With the strong shift toward Democrats among the younger population, I just don’t see this happening, at least not for a long time. The current batch of Republicans are turning their party into a regional party (though even in the Southern region, where they are most popular, more people have an unfavorable view of them than favorable). The Republican party is going to have to do a lot to improve itself in the regions where gay marriage does not scare the population against it, like the Northeast, the Northwest, and apparently the Great Plains (not really caring that much about this issue, I had no idea Iowa was working on this). You may be right that in Southern states the Republicans will continue to get state legislatures under their control, or increase their control, but I doubt they will do well anywhere else.

    What I do hope to see in these other regions (outside the South), is the rise of another opposition party, one that opposes both the Democrats and the Republicans. It is not good for democracy to have too strong a one-party rule in a region. Plus Democrats need someone more credible to keep them on their toes, and to keep them from getting lazy.

  18. MikeInWeHo on April 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    re: 16
    Wow, that’s interesting. I’m struck by how our perspectives vary dramatically depending on where we live and with whom we typically associate. My sense is the whole gay marriage thing will just fizzle out over the next decade. The liberal states will have it, other states won’t, the federal issues will drag on forever. Yawn. The evidence from Mass., Canada and Europe indicates eventually the bruhaha dies down and nobody really cares after that.

  19. manaen on April 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    17 Re: Republican prospects.
    .
    Without caring much which humanly-inadequate movement holds power at the moment, I’ll note that in 1975-6, after Nixongate, the GOP claimed only 15% of the registered voters and a favorite theme in the news was its eminent and complete demise.
    .
    Then came Carter —> Reagan’s 1980 landslide in which he won all states but Humphrey’s Minnesota.
    .
    It seems that whoever’s currently in power needs only a few years to reveal their particular human frailities and the masses will swing to the other side, who haven’t failed as poorly recently, because of lack of opportunity and not from superior ability.
    .
    Chapt 3 of John Taylor’s “Government of God” includes these relevant comments,
    .
    It is altogether an infatuation to think that a change in government will mend the circumstances, or increase the resources, when the whole world is groaning under corruption. If there are twenty men who have twenty pounds of bread to divide amongst them, it matters but little whether it is divided by three, ten, or the whole, it will not increase the amount. I grant, however, that there are flagrant abuses, of which we have mentioned some, associated with all kinds of governments, and many things to be complained of justly; but they arise from the wickedness of man, and the corrupt and artificial state of society. Do away with one set of rulers, and you have only the same materials to make another of; and if ever so honestly disposed, they are surrounded with such a train of circumstances, over which they have no control, that they cannot mend them.

    There is frequently much excitement on this subject; and many people, ignorant of these things, are led to suppose that their resources will be increased, and their circumstances bettered; but when they find, after much contention, struggling, and bloodshed, that it does not rain bread, cheese, and clothing; that it is only a change of men, papers, and parchment, chagrin and disappointment naturally follow.

    There is much that is good, and much that is bad in all governments; and I am not seeking here to portray a perfect government, but to show some of the evils associated with them, and the utter incompetency of *all* the plans of men to restore a perfect government; and as *all* their plans have failed, so they will fail, for it is the work of God, and not of man. The moral agency of man without God, has had its full development man’s weakness, wickedness, and corruption, have placed the world where it is: he can see as in a glass his incompetency, and folly, and nothing but the power of God can restore it. (emphasis added)

  20. Raymond Takashi Swenson on April 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Gays are already being left alone. After all, the US Supreme court already ruled unconsitutional any law that punishes them for homosexual behavior. As to gay marriage, does anyone know of a gay couple who refuses to have sex until they can legally marry? What does marriage mean to them?

    What it means is fully normalizing homosexual behavior in American law, whether marriage is involved or not.

    Canadian government agencies have been punishing religious pastors for preaching against gay marriage. In Arizona a Christian photographer was punished for declining to photograph a legally-meaningless lesbian “commitment ceremony”. In California, a doctor was sanctioned for declining for religious reasons from helping a lesbian couple have a child. In California, state law prohibits any public school employee from saying anything that any other person perceives might be offensive to a third person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, such as “Marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”

    The intent, already manifest, of the gay political agenda is to turn Jews, Christians and Muslims, who still hold to traditional sexual morality, into Dhimmi, second class citizens, whose religious beliefs are not only not recognized by the government, but are actively punished whenever they oppose the state orthodoxy that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is praiseworthy. None of us will be allowed to withdraw from bowing down to this new golden idol, without being thrown into the fiery furnace with Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego.

    This is a vast social experiment, undertaken without a thousandth of the analysis and consideration that was required before allowing the Legacy Highway to be built in salt marsh wetlands by the Great Salt Lake. Modern America has two opposed notions: First, that we should respect and preserve the natural world, with all its particular components, because it is an interdependent ecosystem and alteration of one part can bring disaster to the whole. Second, human social institutions can be changed by fiat, with no prior study of the consequences, even without the consent of all the people affected, because the natural development of social institutions like marriage and churches deserve no respect or protection, even as there is mounting evidence that the wreckless innovation of the last generation–fatherless children–is the primary root of all social pathologies.

  21. Alison Moore Smith on April 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Applause Raymond.

  22. Guy W. Murray on April 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm
    There is no official statement that I’m aware of about these recent developments (the Newsroom is silent so far; the most recent releases on Prop 8 or SSM are two month old discussions of Prop 8 filings). Will the church weigh in on these new developments with official statements or California-like campaigns?

    Kaimi:

    The Newsroom is not silent on these issues or developments. Still appearing on the Newsroom’s site you can find:

    Same Gender Attraction

    California and Same-Sex Marriage.

    The Divine Institution of Marriage

    The Family: A Proclamation to the World

    Same Sex Marriage and Proposition 8

    ECS #10

    I suggest ditching the tax exemption argument and sticking to the “God opposes same-sex marriage” argument. It’s honest, short, and to the point. And it doesn’t raise the issue of you wanting to keep more money in your pocket at the expense of granting a stable social and legal framework to gay parents and their children.

    I agree.

    Ray #20

    What it means is fully normalizing homosexual behavior in American law, whether marriage is involved or not.

    Bingo–Acceptance has always been what this battle is about–Marriage has only been taken hostage by the genderless marriage advocates to achieve the goal of societal acceptance.

    The intent, already manifest, of the gay political agenda is to turn Jews, Christians and Muslims, who still hold to traditional sexual morality, into Dhimmi, second class citizens, whose religious beliefs are not only not recognized by the government, but are actively punished whenever they oppose the state orthodoxy that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is praiseworthy. None of us will be allowed to withdraw from bowing down to this new golden idol, without being thrown into the fiery furnace with Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego.

    Bingo again. The post Prop. 8 aftermath has shown this to be exactly the case.

    This is a vast social experiment, undertaken without a thousandth of the analysis and consideration that was required before allowing the Legacy Highway to be built in salt marsh wetlands by the Great Salt Lake

    Third bingo–in a row. Very well put. Thanks.

    As President Monson said in this last conference, the moral footings of society are slipping–one of those happens to be genderless marriage agenda and its wholesale acceptance by a failed and fallen world.

    One thing is for certain — the last word on the topic is not yet in, and there will probably be lots of news in this area within the next few years.

    Perhaps not–but the last word that actually counts has already been spoken in the links referenced above. All the rest is just chatter–Sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

  23. Guy W. Murray on April 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Tried posting a comment, w/ some links which may now be caught in your spam filter.

  24. Dan on April 7, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Raymond,

    The intent, already manifest, of the gay political agenda is to turn Jews, Christians and Muslims, who still hold to traditional sexual morality, into Dhimmi, second class citizens, whose religious beliefs are not only not recognized by the government, but are actively punished whenever they oppose the state orthodoxy that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is praiseworthy.

    That’s not the intent. This is the argument of Christians who always perceive themselves to be the victim, always the “second class citizen” when in reality, Christianity still is the most dominant religious force in America, by far. In practically everything out there, you see Christianity. That gays can somehow turn this whole powerful movement into “second class citizens” is just absurd. I hate to put it to you this way, but try to be homosexual for a day, Raymond and see just how “second class” you feel. I’m touched by some of the experiences homosexuals have had to endure just being homosexual. It pervades all aspects of their lives, from how others interact with them to positions of employment in private business and in the military. Just try to be a homosexual and then come back and answer how it feels to be a “second class citizen.”

    None of us will be allowed to withdraw from bowing down to this new golden idol, without being thrown into the fiery furnace with Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego.

    That’s just scaremongering. Please keep this in perspective.

    This is a vast social experiment, undertaken without a thousandth of the analysis and consideration that was required before allowing the Legacy Highway to be built in salt marsh wetlands by the Great Salt Lake.

    Tell me of any social experiment that humanity has undertaken that has actually tried to be analytical and to take everything into account. How many examples are there? Humanity constantly fumbles in the dark in the attempt to understand itself. And it constantly fails, because that’s what happens when you fumble in the dark.

    I wish Christian conservatives would spend more of their energy and time arguing against the ills of heterosexual divorce (a far more devious and pernicious and deadly force against the family unit) than against such a small minority that really does not threaten traditional marriage. Please. As a son of parents who divorced when he was 12, I can attest that was far more damaging to my teenage life than the knowledge that some gay friend of mine wanted to be legally married to his partner.

  25. Dan on April 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I should add, spending time focusing on heterosexual divorce is not politically powerful. It just doesn’t work well as a wedge issue. Everyone already agrees heterosexual divorce is bad. The ironic thing is that by not really speaking out against heterosexual divorce, we’re silent on the real killer of the family unit. Raymond speaks about the “fatherless.” Well, where did those “fathers” go? They DIVORCED. Raymond, I recommend you spend your time working to get those fathers back to their children if you wish to improve the family unit. Far better time spent, methinks.

  26. Dan on April 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Sorry, one more thing. I think maybe Christianity deserves to be thrust in the minority for a while. They’ve lost their way, I think. They’ve forgotten their basic principles and tried to be too political. They’ve forgotten to focus on the issues that actually change and improve their lives, and the lives of all Americans. Maybe Christianity should decline for a while until they learn to get back to focusing on the important matters and not cry like babies about their sad victimhood.

  27. Latter-day Guy on April 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    RE 20,

    “As to gay marriage, does anyone know of a gay couple who refuses to have sex until they can legally marry?”

    Yup. There was a blog I read from a man who had no intimate relations with his partner until they were wed. Rare, but not non-existent. One wonders if the practice will increase among religious gays in those states where marriage is legal for them.

  28. Kaimi Wenger on April 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Guy,

    Of course the prior releases are still there. On the other hand, they are at least partly inapplicable here, aren’t they?

    For instance, several of those statements talk about unelected judges imposing their will on the people. But in both Vermont and D.C. today, the recognition of same-sex marriage has been done by elected legislatures.

    The church released new and separate statements about Prop 8 (several of them) despite the Proclamation already being in existence. The church has not yet issued any new statements about the latest developments.

    Raymond,

    As I’ve noted before, antidiscrimination laws are not legally linked to marriage. The photographer case (actually in New Mexico, not Arizona) happened in a state that does not recognize gay marriage.

    The same sorts of arguments — “I have the right not to serve Blacks if I want to” — were raised at the time of the Civil Rights Act (sometimes by church leaders!). They were wrong.

    “In California, a doctor was sanctioned for declining for religious reasons from helping a lesbian couple have a child.”

    State antidiscrimination law. Duly passed by the legislature. Voice of the people, right?

    “In California, state law prohibits any public school employee from saying anything that any other person perceives might be offensive to a third person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, such as Marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”

    Which state law is this, exactly?

  29. Guy W. Murray on April 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Kaimi #28

    Guy,
    Of course the prior releases are still there. On the other hand, they are at least partly inapplicable here, aren’t they?

    Partly yes, and partly no.

    For instance, several of those statements talk about unelected judges imposing their will on the people. But in both Vermont and D.C. today, the recognition of same-sex marriage has been done by elected legislatures.

    Good point–And, I agree that from a strictly political/legal/constitutional position, legislative enactment of genderless marriage is the more legitimate legal vehicle. But, not even legislative enactment vitiates the fundamental moral truths about family and marriage taught as by the Brethren.

    The church released new and separate statements about Prop 8 (several of them) despite the Proclamation already being in existence. The church has not yet issued any new statements about the latest developments.

    And, I’m not sure they need to–every time there is a political/legal hiccup on the genderless marriage horizon. The moral clarity and simple teachings of the united and unanimous Quorums of the First Presidency and The Twelve of eternal truths relating to marriage and the family–fundamental to the Restored Gospel, remain essentially the same. They aren’t altered in the least by subsequent press releases or statements–even by the Newsroom.

  30. Peter LLC on April 8, 2009 at 6:44 am

    This is a vast social experiment, undertaken without a thousandth of the analysis and consideration that was required before allowing the Legacy Highway to be built in salt marsh wetlands by the Great Salt Lake. Modern America has two opposed notions: First, that we should respect and preserve the natural world…

    And yet, at the end of the day, bulldozers rumbled through the salt marsh and built a freeway through it. Now Mike and Patty living in Orem can jump in their fosil-fueled cars and get to Steve and Mary’s baby shower in Idaho Falls a few minutes faster. Speaking of Idaho Falls, how’s the INL clean-up coming along?

  31. MarenM on April 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

    As an LDS Vermonter, I have to put in a few cents here.

    Yesterday was my 9 year old daughter’s big school field trip to the state capitol as they study state history this year. My husband (our Branch President) went as one of the chaperones. I’m not that politically conservative, but I am more so than my dear husband.

    When they got home, I asked my daughter how the field trip went. She said, “Well, it was an exciting day up there! We had a great time. We only got 15 minutes for lunch, though.”

    Later, as my husband was checking an online article from the New York Times, he explained what all the excitement had been about. My first reaction was, “WHAT?” As a morally conservative parent, it’s something I would have liked to have known was on the legislative schedule for the day of the 4th grade field trip. As a constituent, it’s something I would have liked to know was happening at all.

    Do I feel let down that the church didn’t send us a letter asking us to write our representative? Well, I’m not sure, actually.

    My personal view is that there ought to be legal equality. However, I would also like there to be a semantic difference- just a word that differentiates between the kind of marriage that is between a man and a woman and any other kind of marriage. Yes, I’m for semantic inequality because those are two (or three) different kinds of marriages. Is it possible?

    (I’m also in favor of a word that means specifically “my mother’s mother” like they have in Norwegian.)

  32. John Mansfield on April 8, 2009 at 10:01 am

    A 100-49 vote in the legislature expresses the will of the people as well as anything in a democracy can, so if there’s to be genderless marriage, this is the proper way to enact it, though it is shameful of Vermont that they’re so lost as to have done it. However, I’m not expecting any momentum to follow the state that Howard Dean once governed.

  33. Dan on April 8, 2009 at 11:03 am

    John Mansfield,

    However, I’m not expecting any momentum to follow the state that Howard Dean once governed.

    As Vermont goes, so NOT goes the nation? ;)

    This is a regional issue. Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts. New York is working on something soon too, from what I hear. Southern states will never enact such laws, and will not recognize gay marriage that take place in those states.

    I do wonder why the Church didn’t bother to make any effort to influence the vote of the legislature in Vermont, but they bothered in California. Surely this wasn’t a surprise, that Vermont’s legislature was working on such a bill. I am still under the impression that the Church’s position in Prop 8 in California will not be good in the long run.

  34. LDS Mom on April 8, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Alma 10:19, 27 Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices—yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should achoose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.
    27 And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges.

    The path is being set for our nation to “become as the Nephites of old.”

  35. Dan on April 8, 2009 at 11:27 am

    LDS Mom,

    27 And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges.

    It’s ironic, isn’t it. It was King Mosiah who set it up so that the judges and lawyers had the power in the Nephite kingdom…

  36. LDS Mom on April 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The Nephites elected those judges, as we elect our leaders. When we elect and appoint unrighteous leaders who then enshrine iniquity into the law of the land, we (and the rest of the world) are ripening for destruction. The Book of Mormon is a blueprint for our time, and the events in the Book of Mormon leading up to the coming of the Saviour to the Nephites will also happen leading up to the second coming. I firmly believe that we are in similar circumstances that are described at the end of Helaman or the beginning of 3rd Nephi.

  37. Allen Wyatt on April 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Kaimi (#28):

    The same sorts of arguments — “I have the right not to serve Blacks if I want to” — were raised at the time of the Civil Rights Act (sometimes by church leaders!). They were wrong.

    This conclusion is only possible if one views homosexuality as a characteristic just as innate as skin color. The scientific jury is still out on that topic, even though individuals may have made up their minds.

    For those who do not anchor sexual preferences in genetics, it would be more appropriate to say “I reserve the right not to serve those who choose to vote Republican, if I want to.” Last time I checked, it was perfectly legal to refuse to serve or buy from those whose political choices don’t agree with yours.

    To equate the Civil Rights struggle with the struggle for same-sex marriage is to start with different assumptions not accepted by most of those who really were involved in the Civil Rights struggle.

    -Allen

  38. Steve on April 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Allen,

    Haven’t you heard? There’s an “overwhelming body of data,” a “professional consensus within the scientific community,” etc, which concludes that one’s sexual orientation is completely beyond an individual’s control.

    Never mind the poor quality of the data, the questionable methodology used in the research, the unwarranted conclusions from the resultant data, and the overt biases of the researchers. It’s “scientifically correct” to assert that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically determined part of an individual’s being. To so much as question that scientific fact exposes you as a religious fanatic.

  39. Martin Pal on April 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Allen (#47) and Steve (#48) — Gay people not only have to put up with the daily struggles that being gay entails, but you want them to even have to justify their very being. Imagine if you had to justify your very being each and every day. Gay people know the truth of their existence and posts like yours belie a fear you need not have. Gay people know there is nothing wrong with them. If they don’t it’s because people like you and institutions have taught them so. And Bayard Rustin, a black man who was one of the architects of the civil rights movement along with MLK, was gay and was “really there” and might have a different point of view on your civil rights stance. And why do you feel a need to question the scientific facts, as you put it, of being gay? Do you just not want to believe it? What would happen if you DID believe it? When will you become tired of resisting what has been around since documentation has existed?

  40. Paula on April 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    #15, This site documents much of the member participation in Prop 8:
    http://mormonsfor8.com/
    As for the church “personally” funding the campaign, I think you mean, “did the church directly contribute to the campaign?”, and the answer is yes. Some of those contributions were reported rather late, and here’s a discussion of those contributions:
    http://mormonsfor8.com/?p=269

  41. Allen Wyatt on April 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Martin (#39) said:

    Gay people not only have to put up with the daily struggles that being gay entails, but you want them to even have to justify their very being.

    I have expressed no such desire. Are you reading minds?

    Imagine if you had to justify your very being each and every day.

    Their “very being?” Gay people need do no such thing. I haven’t asked them to, my religion does not require them to, nor does the society in which I live.

    Gay people know the truth of their existence and posts like yours belie a fear you need not have.

    I think you are reading more into my post than was there. Go back; read it again. I said that Kaimi’s words only made sense if one started with certain assumptions. That isn’t fear.

    Gay people know there is nothing wrong with them. If they don’t it’s because people like you and institutions have taught them so.

    So you can read the minds of “people like me.” Glad to hear it.

    And Bayard Rustin, a black man who was one of the architects of the civil rights movement along with MLK, was gay and was “really there” and might have a different point of view on your civil rights stance.

    He might. (And one would expect him to have a different take if he is, indeed, gay.) But he is not the arbiter of all things related to the Civil Rights movement, nor is he the spokesmen for what blacks feel about same-sex marriage. You might find this article in The New Black Magazine on the subject interesting.

    And why do you feel a need to question the scientific facts, as you put it, of being gay? Do you just not want to believe it? What would happen if you DID believe it?

    I give up… What would happen if you DIDN’T believe it? People can look at the same data and come to different conclusions. People can even change their minds on what the data mean. The only “scientific fact” is that there really are no conclusive scientific facts on the issues related to homosexuality or same-sex marriages. For every study you can produce that says homosexuality is innate, another can be produced that says it is not innate.

    When will you become tired of resisting what has been around since documentation has existed?

    So evidence of longevity means acquiescence is eventual? That smacks of another bumper-sticker slogan I’ve heard: Resistance is futile.

    While it may be futile, the resistance is mine to make. Truth be told, I just don’t like to see people declare unequivocal victory based on incomplete data. We are not all lemmings that must rush headlong toward what some may view as a societal cliff.

    -Allen

  42. Steve on April 8, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Martin (#41),

    I’m genuinely sorry about having made light of a serious and highly sensitive issue. Upon reflection it was thoughtless.

    In all seriousness, I meant to draw attention to the tendency of many emotionally interested people to draw conclusions based on a body of inconclusive data. Real science simply does not work that way. The most that can be concluded from the current body of data is that genetics MAY be ONE factor CONTRIBUTING to sexual orientation. I’m not “resisting” a scientific fact. Those who have drawn conclusions based on inconclusive data are the ones making a leap of faith.

    I think it’s a shame that our society classifies people as straight, gay, or bi, as if our core identity as human beings is best defined by our sexual preference (a phrase that has fallen out of favor, to be replaced by “orientation” or “identity). This attitude is expressed in your assertion that I “want them to even have to justify their very being.” Their very being? Hardly!

    Gay people know that there’s nothing wrong with them? Must be nice to be gay! I, for one, know that I’m a very imperfect person with much to work on before I can assert that there’s “nothing wrong with me.”

    Also, please don’t jump to conclusions about my personal beliefs on the matter. The only opinion I expressed was a (regretfully sarcastic) expression of skepticism about the asserted innateness of homosexuality.

  43. Name Withheld on April 8, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Just so I don’t jump to conclusions, Steve. If homosexuality cannot be considered innate, can heterosexuality? Or do we all choose to what gender we will be attracted and aroused? Are you as skeptical about the asserted innateness of heterosexuality?

    If I, as a heterosexual male can say that my attraction to women was always the way I felt, what makes it incorrect when my brother, a gay man, states that from a young age he was attracted to other males? Forget the attempts at scientific proof. The experience of most homosexuals argues against homosexually being a choice. If it was simply a choice, then there would be no suicides of homosexuals over the despondency they often feel given how society treats them; they would just simply choose to be attracted to women and all would be well.

  44. Steve on April 8, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Name Withheld,

    My wife needs the computer, but I’ll respond tomorrow. Good night!

  45. Name Withheld on April 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Steve you Luddite. Only one computer?

  46. Rob Perkins on April 9, 2009 at 11:40 am

    One doesn’t have to be homosexually oriented to feel despondency over the way society treats people. There are many ways for society to mistreat people.

    And it also occurs to me that lots of people are attracted to the opposite sex without, as was put, “all [being] well.”

    That’s not a persuasive argument, nor is the anecdotal evidence offered all that persuasive; it could be subject to groupthink or other self-reinforcing peer pressures which disturb or obscure the baseline (and complex!) causes leading to behavior based on a sexual orientation decision.

    I think gender orientation is brutally complex stuff, which is another reason not to “Forget the attempts at scientific proof.” Rigorous scientific inquiry, independent of societal pressures intent on a certain outcome, is precisely what this controversy needs most urgently. Even if there’s no other reason, I think figuring out precisely how it works would be very interesting.

  47. Rameumptom on April 9, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I gotta agree with Alan and Steve on the gay issue. While there may be a genetic component, evidence shows that there’s just as much nurture as nature in the situation. Having tendencies towards being gay is no different than tendencies towards alcoholism. Is it difficult to deal with? Yes. Is it tough when people look down on the town drunk? Yes. But should it be any other way? No. Because to coddle the town drunk would increase risks to society.
    It wasn’t that long ago that homosexuality was considered a mental illness, and studies done by pro-gay researchers show that a large majority of homosexuals have been influenced by others when they were young.
    Given that we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin, I’d say we need to support the Brethren on this one. It is not an issue of “racism” as some would claim. I lived in Montgomery, Alabama for 16 years, working in the poor sections of Montgomery and Tuskegee, and I can definitely tell you that those who have experienced racism would disagree with the concept that homosexuals are being discriminated against in the same way.

  48. SVB on April 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    #47 Ram,

    and I can definitely tell you that those who have experienced racism would disagree with the concept that homosexuals are being discriminated against in the same way.

    Tell that to Matthew Shepard.

    I was on an outing with customers, the marketing guy, and my gay friend/employee. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge where there were two gay guys holding hands. Bruce, the marketing guy, said something like – oh, how I would like to get out and punch those guys. Kevin, my friend, just shrank. Ugh.

    Maybe not as much discrimination now, but in the fairly recent passed at least as much. Gays at least had a closet to go to. What would it have been like if they were as noticeable as blacks?

    The whole issue is clouded by the multidimensional nature of the issue. My lesbian neighbors have no agenda except of live a quiet life and take care of their yard. My guess is that most gays and lesbians have no other agenda than that. This is not to say that there are others with much more in-your-face agendas. However, at the root, it is my belief that most of the “agendas” are aimed at saving the Matthew Shepard or not being fired by a highly opinionated boss, or not being beat up.

    To make the issue more complex there is the spectrum of sexuality. I am sure that there are true born gay guys. While that is true, there are also marginal gays who can live quite happily as heterosexual while resisting the draw of homosexuality. I am also very sure that the mechanisms of gayness and lesbianism are different. (Research shows that women are more universally sexually aroused than men are.) Which says that if gayness were not an option many lesbian women could easily choose straight. (I was astonished at the end of “Milk”. All of the gay men involved with Milk’s political success seemed to be still gay. Most of the lesbian political activists were married with children. What gives here? If gayness were a choice, which it might be more likely among women, we would expect more shifting, like among these women. Why were there not more of these male gays married with children like the women?)

    As a result anyone can pull out any little scrap of evidence to support their own biases. This is even before all of the fear mongering and homophobia on one side and the gay “agendas” on the other. I am with the recent suggestion in the news, that the state of “holy” matrimony be removed from the state and given back to the church. Marriage, as defined by the California constitution, is a civil contract between two people. Just do not expect the state to enforce the holiness aspect.

  49. Steve on April 9, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Name Withheld (#43 & 45),

    If I were a Luddite, I would have burned the computer long ago. I’m more of a Stoic minimalist.

    As promised (in #44) here’s my longwinded, rambling response to #43. (Note: I use the word “gay” below to describe homosexual persons of both genders.)

    You presented a dichotomy in #43 that is all too common in today’s thinking. Correct me if I misstate the common belief:

    Homosexuality is either:

    1. A fixed, discrete, physiological force hard-wired into a gay person by entirely genetic factors, OR

    2. A choice. Gay people are gay because they choose to be attracted to members of the same sex.

    I’m no expert, but I very strongly suspect that this is not only a false dichotomy, but also presents two polar extremes, niether of which is remotely on the mark.

    Human sexuality is not very well understood (even by the “experts”), probably because it’s a phenomenon upon which it’s impossible to be objective. We’re all a little too close to the subject, if you know what I mean. So, by way of disclaimer, the following are just the ramblings of a second-rate philosopher.

    Am I “just as skeptical about the asserted innateness of heterosexuality?” My answer: sort of.

    From a biological perspective it makes sense that heterosexual inclinations would be “innately” the norm, hence the perpetuation of the species.

    HOWEVER,

    I think it’s a mistake to assert that people are easily and objectively classifiable into the neat categories of straight, gay, and bi. (If I understand correctly, some folks on both sides of the issue would like to further oversimplify the model by asserting that bisexual people are just halfway-closeted gays.) These categories make sense if we’re going to use them to sort people according to their subjective self-identification (i.e. sexual PREFERENCE…”just check the box!”) But if we’re talking about a description of a person’s core “being,” in an attempt at classifying that person based on objective criteria, I think the straight/gay/bi model fails. That is, if we’re going to treat these categories as discrete rather than a continuum.

    Some human behavioral traits are considered “masculine” and others are considered “feminine.” Much of this is a matter of social conditioning, but much of it appears to be inborn. However, the physiological differences between men and women pale in comparison to our similarities, and every individual falls somewhere on a broad continuum of degree for each trait.

    For example, being a “nurturing” person is considered a “female” trait. My wife is clearly the better “nurturer” of the two of us, but this does not mean that I am utterly bereft of nurturing ability or inclination. (Many have been the nights I’ve cuddled our daughter back to sleep after a bad dream.) Aggresssiveness, on the other hand, is considered a “male” trait, but anybody who thinks women are completely lacking in aggressiveness must have lived his entire life in a monastery.

    Likewise, while attraction to women is fairly considered a “male” trait and attraction to men is fairly considered a “female” trait, I don’t think these traits are mutually exclusive and I doubt that any person has, by NATURE, a score of zero in the one and 100 in the other. The (healthy) human body is a beautiful thing, and I suspect that every human being has (again, by nature) at least some CAPACITY for sexual attraction to people of each gender.

    I suspect that, as we mature, the narrowing of our sexual preferences is more a matter of conditioning than of innate inclination. This conditioning goes far beyond whether we’re attracted to men or women, but shapes the specific physical features we find attractive. I’ve never been extremely specific about what I find attractive in women, other than a general appearance of health and the absence of significantly-out-of-proportion features (“ugly” features, to be cruel). Other men I know have a very clear mental picture of the women they find attractive (“between 5’9″ and 5’10”, 115-125 lbs, sandy blonde hair, measurements of…” etc.) What is commonly considered sexually attractive varies by culture and by timeframe. The women of a few African tribes wear lip plates to stretch out their lower lips, resulting in a physical feature that is considered sexually attractive within their culture, but that (not to be ethnocentric or anything) simply doesn’t “do it” for me. On the other hand, modern American media has unfortunately taught us that to be sexually attractive, a woman must be simultaneously underweight and busty…consequently there are very few sexually attractive women. A man, on the other hand, must be muscular, have a skeletal structure such that his shoulders are about twice the width of his pelvis, and have no body hair. But I digress.

    I can think of a personal example of how environmental conditioning has shaped my sexuality. I know a woman, slightly younger than me, who is absolutely beautiful. And yet I feel no sexual attraction to her. Why? Because she is my sister, and my culture has deeply ingrained in me the idea that siblings are simply not suitable sexual partners. Maybe this disinclination is at least partly rooted in nature (such a disinclination would, after all, be advantageous to the survival of the species, as inbred offspring often have health issues). I suspect otherwise, however, because while the incest taboo is found in most cultures, it is not universal and in some cultures incest is quite common.

    I am happily married to a beautiful woman who can drive me mad with desire without trying. I feel no sexual attraction to other men. It’s fair to say that I have a distinct heterosexual preference. But I suspect that my disinclination toward men has more to do with environmental conditioning (probably primarily in my childhood) than an innate aversion. (Basically, as far as I’m concerned, men have cooties.) My heterosexual preference does not compel the conclusion that I’m innately, immutably hardwired by nature to exclusively respond sexually to females, any more than that I’m hard-wired to automatically respond negatively to a stretched-out lip.

    I’ve rambled quite a bit. As I said above, these are just my personal musings. Maybe I’m not 100% correct. But of one thing I’m confident: human sexuality–at least that portion of it that derives from our glands and neurons–isn’t nearly as cut-and-dry as many champions on both sides of the current culture war would have us believe.

    I haven’t delved into the moral issues of homosexuality and homosexual activity (two different things!), nor do I plan to, except to make the following point.

    It seems to me that many people, in formulating their moral stance on homosexual behavior, utilize the following logical flow: John Doe, a man, is sexually attracted, through no choice of his own, to other men. Therefore, this attraction is a fundamental part of John’s identity. Therefore, it is moral for John to pursue a sexual relationship with another man, and for anyone to suggest otherwise is a morally condemnable attack on John’s person.

    To abstract from this logical pattern:

    J feels a consistent inclination, through no choice of his own, to engage in “behavior X.” Therefore, this inclination is a fundamental part of J’s identity. Therefore, it is moral for J to engage in “behavior X,” and for anyone to suggest otherwise is a morally condemnable attack on J’s person.

    I’m no logician, but this formula strikes me as being both flawed and dangerous.

  50. Charlie on April 10, 2009 at 3:17 am

    kaimi,

    I think that you missed the point completely on Prop 8.

    Sure the church, and newsroom, has already many various statements on marriage and SSM but Prop 8 was much more over concerns that some judges overturned the will of the people..etc AND that we joined a combined churches effort.

    Although the gay lobby (who are run by the opposer of everything good) has made it about LDSChurch vs Gays, that wasn’t how it started or why the church got involved.

  51. Dan on April 10, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Steve,

    That was well put in #49.

  52. nasamomdele on April 10, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Kaimi,

    The photographer case (actually in New Mexico, not Arizona) happened in a state that does not recognize gay marriage.

    Entirely beside the point. This looks fairly clearly like someone, in this case a private business person, being punished for private religious beliefs.

    The same sorts of arguments — “I have the right not to serve Blacks if I want to” — were raised at the time of the Civil Rights Act (sometimes by church leaders!). They were wrong.

    This is an ill-advised attempt at equivocation of race and gender. There is abundance of reasonable scientific doubt as to the genetic origin of homosexuality, whereas the genetic origins of race are fairly obvious.

    “In California, a doctor was sanctioned for declining for religious reasons from helping a lesbian couple have a child.”

    State antidiscrimination law. Duly passed by the legislature. Voice of the people, right?

    An elective, non-life-threatening procedure. Another fairly clear example of punishment for religious belief.

    There are more examples everyday of these types of things:

    A psychologist in Georgia was fired after she declined for religious reasons to counsel a lesbian about her relationship.

    A Christian student group was not recognized at a University of California law school because it denies membership to anyone practicing sex outside of traditional marriage.

    The Christian Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association lost a property tax exemption after it declined to allow its beachside pavilion to be used for a same-sex union ceremony.

    Recently, a Christian woman filed suit against Eastern Michigan University, which dismissed her from its counseling program because she declined to affirm the moral licitness of homosexual behavior.

    One thing is quite clear: Religious protections are in the Bill of Rights and must be addressed rather extensively- moreso than they are currently, as stigma dissolves from SSM.

    The argument that religious liberties are not infringed by homosexuality and further, by SSM, is already discredited.

    There is a video on Youtube of Hardball with the head of the National Organization for Marriage and the Human Rights Campaign’ Joe Solomonese wherein the NOM head clearly smears the HRC’s accusations that these things are simply ‘lies’.

    Denying infringements does not make them go away. The appropriate thing to do is address them and provide protection- there would be no harm in it. I think it will be a tricky thing to do to include that strong a right of exclusion into the freedom of religion, but worth it in the long run (for religions).

    If there is anything that both sides of this issue need, it is an extremeley large dose of humility.

  53. Martin Pal on April 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Allen (#41),

    Your refutation of my post stemmed in part because I answered two people’s posts as one. I should have done it separately.

    But as a point, I mentioned that “why do gay people have to justify their very being” all the time and when I mentioned the civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, you wrote “(And one would expect him to have a different take if he is, indeed, gay.)”

    Indeed! See what I mean.

    Another example (#52):
    <>

    Justify yourself! We need scientific evidence you are gay!
    If there is evidence, I may or may not believe it! Light and dark skinned blacks used to fight over whether one was better than the other. Give me a break.

    ***

    Anytime there is a discussion of topics like this I substitute the words gay and straight, homosexual and heterosexual, or black and gay and if you do the same you’ll see how ludicrous some discussions are.

    An above post (#47) trots out the same old comparisons of being gay as like being an alcoholic and the nature vs. nurture arguments (which totally ignore why there are some kids raised in identical situations as their straight siblings who turn out gay), and self-identified straight people can (and have) argued about this incessantly, while gay people wonder what all the fuss is about and continue trying to be who they are and live their lives without all of this unnecessary distraction.

    Steve (#49), your “logical” proposition above notably uses the word “behavior” whereas I use the word “being”. Behavior is one thing and being something is another. Which is why gay sexual behavior comes out of their “being” gay. People are all concerned about the sex act (behavior) rather than gay identity, or being, which can be devoid of sex as much as a straight identity can. So your “logical flow” pattern idea is flawed from the get-go, in my opinion.

    The only reason a lot of people want to research in to the area of WHY someone is gay or not is because they feel it is wrong, so if there is any doubt that you might be born that way then they can justify their opinion that being gay is something to be shunned, or changed, or veered away from or whatever else their agendas might entail.

    Sometime when I was young there was some discussion among the adults at a church picnic or social about a guy in town that was thought to be gay. I remember hearing a woman say (and I don’t know why she said it or where she was coming from–I was a kid!) that she thought that God made some people gay so they would have the time to do things the world needed without the responsibilities of having children to keep them from it. But the words “God made some people gay” have always stuck because, really, that is not something most religious people ever contemplate and it sounds like a truth that is often overlooked by those who make gays justify everything about themselves, when God does not judge the things he makes. The happiest gay people I know are the ones who have accepted themselves and live accordingly, despite the daily justifications that some demand.

  54. nasamomdele on April 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    #53,

    Light and dark skinned blacks used to fight over whether one was better than the other. Give me a break.

    ???

    The “God made people _______” comment is preposterous and insensitive. I assume God made crackbabies?

    Discovering whether homosexuality is a genetic origin like gender, is critical to determining what rights are natural for homosexuals. If it is, then being homosexual would be equivalent to being white, black, or another origin or race. If it isn’t, you might as well be talking about a ‘condition’, for lack of a better word. Not something that is necessarily curable or needs to be eradicated, but something that is, to some extent chosen. For SSM, this would make a huge difference. Homosexuals would have little to no precedent for changing centuries-old societal norms to fit a chosen behavior, especially if those who choose to live the norm do not want it changed.

    Something to think about next time you decide to emote without considering all that goes into such an issue.

  55. Steve on April 12, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Nasamomdele (#54),

    I’ve got to disagree with the first sentence in your second paragraph above. The “origin” of an impulse, inclination, or propensity is irrelevant to the the determination of whether that act is morally right or wrong. A moral person, perhaps by very definition, is one who restrains him or herself from doing bad things that he or she feels tempted to do. We know that God, in performing the final judgement that you and I are prohibited from engaging in, factors individual circumstances into the culpability of a person for his wrongful acts (sins of spiritually neglected children transferred to parents, etc.). Perhaps God assigns less blame to individuals who face greater temptation. I won’t attempt to wrap my feeble mortal mind around the infinite mercy and justice of God. But the moral issue of culpability is distinct from the issue of whether or not the underlying action is wrong. I may, for example, commit a wrongful act by mistake (attacking a man I believe to be in the process of mugging a litte old lady, when in reality the little old lady was mugging the man) without incurring moral culpability (although in some jurisdictions I could face criminal liability for assault and battery.)

    At the end of the day we simply don’t know what causes same-sex attraction, and we shouldn’t try to judge the hearts of people who experience it. That’s God’s domain. Human judgment should (in my opinion) focus on the prevention of harmful acts. Lets not waste our time debating on whether or not there’s an element of choice inherent in the experience of same-sex attraction. We don’t know, and it’s all but irrelevant.

    Martin (#53),

    Why is it necessary to define a person’s core “being” by his or her sexual preference? You seem to equate the assertion that homosexual activity is wrong with a declaration that a person who experiences same-sex attraction has no right to exist. This argument assumes that same-sex attraction is a phenomenon that defines the core identity of the person who experiences it. Baloney, I say. I feel urges to do morally wrong things all the time. I don’t think these urges define me, nor do they require me to “justify my existence.” That some of these urges are “natural” and come to me without my conscious choice does not make it right for me to follow them. The decision whether to follow them or suppress them (such a politically incorrect word!) is mine to make, and I am responsible for my actions either way.

    You may make the argument that homosexual activity is not morally wrong. I disagree, but I won’t argue that point, as my belief on the matter is ultimately an article of faith (though strong utilitarian arguments reach the same conclusion.) I will, however, summarize my argument with the following points:

    –One’s core identity is not properly defined by the sex of the persons to whom he or she is sexually attracted.

    –An unbidden desire to perform an act does not render that act morally right.

    –Disapproval of an act does not equal condemnation of the individual who feels inclined to perform the act.

    –The argument that “gay people are attracted to members of the same sex because they are gay, and they are defined as gay because they are attracted to members of the same sex” is a circular argument and a deterministic trap.

    Gay people face a great deal of bigotry from hate-filled, intolerant jerks, many of whom are hardly models of sexual purity themselves. Sexual morality IN GENERAL in the United States (and just about the whole world), is in an extremely messed-up state. For example, from the 1990 census to the 2000 census the rate of premarital cohabitation in the U.S. increased by 70%, and one of the articles linked to in “Notes from All Over” claims that out-of-wedlock births have increased by 25% in the last five years. Pornography is increasingly seen as legitimate “adult entertainment.” I wonder how many of the people who rail against gays to the exclusion of unchaste heterosexuals do so in a misguided effort to make themselves feel better about their own unchastity.

    Christians who accept the New Testament as being authoritative should recognize that it condemns homosexual practices. However, they should also recognize that every overt condemnation of homosexual practices in the New Testament is found within a verse or two of (or within the same verse as) a condemnation of heterosexual unchastity.

    Please don’t lump all people who disapprove of homosexual activity in the same category with hypocritical bigots who truly hate gays.

  56. nasamomdele on April 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Steve,

    I agree with everthing you said. I think you paint an accurate picture of the moral framework for making decisions. If SSM were strictly a moral conflict, that would be the end of it- decide on the merits of what would prevent bad behavior (I’m not passing a judgment either way here).

    However, the issue is a moral one for some, but a rights issue for a great many- and therefore refers to a different morality entirely, or an absence of morality (i.e. repulsion to legislating morality). Thus my reference to natural rights.

    In a way, I think you provide a connection between the two kinds of arguments. There is an aspect of morality in any rights-based argument, just as there are are rights inherent in morality. I don’t try to provide an answer to the headlining question. I just think there are a huge number of equally arguable factors to consider in the conflict- the “naturalness” of homosexuality being one (though not a pivotal factor, I admit).

    So rather than throw it out or forget it, as you seem to lean towards, I think further examination is necessary. It would lend another ounce of “truth” to some of the otherwise shrill arguments flying around out there.

  57. Martin Pal on April 14, 2009 at 1:48 am

    <>

    That’s completely opposite of what I was saying. Being gay encompasses a whole lot of things that have nothing to do with sex. Just as anyone’s life does. My point about straight people not letting gay people just be who they are is telling in the responses to every article about gay issues where people have all the answers and want gays to justify everything–why they were born the way they are, etc. Why not accept there are gay people? Why all the angst?

  58. Steve on April 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Martin (#57)

    “Being gay encompasses a whole lot of things that have nothing to do with sex.”

    Like what? Broadway show tunes? Stylish clothing? Vintage film festivals? Art Deco?

    Okay…sorry if I’m being insensitive again. I’m really going to try to understand where you’re going. I’ve always understood “gay” to be synonomous with “homosexual,” which is DEFINED by sexual attraction to members of one’s own sex.

    A gay couple used to live in the apartment upstairs from mine. One of them was an “ordinary Joe” who exhibited no outward indications of his sexual orientation. His partner was the consummate gay stereotype (lisping voice, happy-go-lucky attitude, sequined pants…you name it. He even did that “limp wrist” thing. I’m guessing he practiced it in front of a mirror.) One time we were all hanging out on the building’s front steps shooting the breeze, when Stereotype Man announced that he needed to “use the little girl’s room” and pranced up the stairs. Ordinary Joe just shook his head and said “he is such a [derrogatory slur for gay male].”

    I about died laughing. I commented that you know you’re out of the closet when you’re a man and your boyfriend calls you a “[derrogatory slur for gay male]”

    I then took the opportunity to ask an “insider” about a peculiar phenomenon I’ve noticed: while I’ve known several gay people who I never would have guessed were gay without their saying so, I’ve also known several gay people whose mannerisms made their sexual orientation “apparent.” I asked Ordinary Joe if he knew why this is.

    He replied (I’m probably paraphrasing a little; this was more than a year ago), “There’s ‘gay,’ and then there’s ‘queer.’ I’m gay. [Stereotype Man] is the queerest little [derrogatory slur for gay male] you’ll ever meet.”

    Basically, he explained to me that “gay” is a sexual orientation, while “queer” is more of a subculture (with which he didn’t identify.) I don’t know if his definitions are commonly accepted, but I’ll buy his argument that homosexuality does not necessarily include conforming to a stereotype or distinct personality profile.

    Martin, are you defining “gay” the way my former neighbor defined “queer?” If there’s necessarily more to being “gay” than sexual attraction to members of the same sex, what is it? You also seem determined to use “gay” as describing an individual’s defining characteristic, without responding to my assertions that our “sexual orientation paradigm” is a poor system of classification. I’m really, honestly trying to understand.

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    – ????? ??????? ??????????? ?????? ????? ? ???????? ????????????? ? ???. ??????????? ?????? ????????? ???? ??? ??? ??????????? ?????????? ?? ?????????? ? ?????????????.

    ???? ? ??? ????????? ?????-???? ?????? ???????, ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ? ?????? ?????????.

    ??????? ?????:
    ?????? ? ?????? ???????????. ??? ???? ? ???. ???? (???? ?? ?????). ????????? – ??????? 16-20 ???, ??????? ? ???????, ????? 1:2 (?????:???????????). ? ???? ?????????? ?????? ? 1000 ?????? – 500 ??????????? ? 15 $.
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    P.S. ??????? ???????, ?????? ?????? ?? ????????, ?? ????. ?? ????????? ???? ? ?? ?????? ?? ?????????????? ????????? . ??????? ????? ??????? ???? ?????.

    Big Cash Trap