Helen Thomas.

She is a speaker that we book fairly often. We get a lot of hate mail for her.

Why do people hate Helen Thomas so much?

Much of what we hear are derogatory comments regarding Helen Thomas&#146s appearance. This really pisses me off. As if the way she looks has anything to do with ANYTHING. I cannot think of a single time that I have seen a male journalist being criticized for his appearance. And there are a lot of ugly journalists out there.

My other rant today is about gay marriage. Obviously, I am supportive of gay marriage and gay rights. What annoys me is that while it is perfectly acceptable, encouraged in fact, for two women to get together and make out and have sex with each other, it is horrifying and wrong should those same two women actually want to GET MARRIED. Evil Evil Evil Lesbians! It is okay for you to be sexual with each other because it gives men erections, but it ends there girls! There will be no love or genuine emotion for each other! Sex only! No love! Love is for heterosexuals only! No soup for you! Come back, six months!

And honestly, those opposed to gay marriage really need to come up with a better argument than the whole &#147sanctity of marriage&#148 bullshit. There is no sanctity left anywhere in the US.

32 thoughts on “Helen Thomas.

  1. Neely

    My favorite argument for being opposed to gay marriage is that ‘God didn’t intend it to be that way… Marriage is a device for reproduction and that’s it. Why else get married?’ (so on and so forth…)

    People forget about separation of Church and State. What about those couples that don’t have any children (either because they don’t want any or just couldn’t conceive children, which is probably God’s way if we’re going to use this argument) but got married because they love each other and want to grow old together. Should they all get divorces since their marriage isn’t one for reproduction? And who in this day and age honestly (in America, anyway) doesn’t have sex before marriage. Sex is only supposed to be for reproduction, not because it feels good. (God’s way)

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Christa, about people needing to get their heads out of their asses before they speak out against gay marriage. (GO MATTY B. 2005!!!)

    But I still don’t understand how this affects the straights…can someone explain that one??

  2. DG

    It is my opinion that marriage or a relationship resembling marriage would be a shelter.
    Life can be viscious. Carving out a living at any niche in our society can be very tough. I imagine that any relationship that helps bind people together, helps strengthen members of that relationship against the economic, social and physical uncertainties of life is a good thing.
    Being 45(having been around) and not gay, but having known people that are, and coming from a child hood frought with parental alcoholism and domestic violence and abuse, I believe any relationship that builds
    you up is good. Regardless of whether the participants are monkeys, men, women, robots or any combination thereof.

  3. Dwayne

    It is my opinion that marriage or a relationship resembling marriage would be a shelter in bed.

    Life can be viscious in bed. Carving out a living at any niche in our society can be very tough in bed. I imagine that any relationship that helps bind people together, helps strengthen members of that relationship against the economic, social and physical uncertainties of life is a good thing in bed.

    Being 45 (having been around) and not gay, but having known people that are, and coming from a child hood frought with parental alcoholism and domestic violence and abuse, I believe any relationship that builds you up is good in bed.

    Regardless of whether the participants are monkeys, men, women, robots or any combination thereof in bed.

  4. DG

    Neely, I think that “the straights” are angry because they are unhappy with their own relationships. They probably got married young or for purely physical attraction, and now they
    want to shit on any one they perceive as being happy.
    Dwayne, thats pretty funny!

  5. ricardo montalban

    This whole issue is silly, just like almost anything that holds public attention.

    Long ago I came to understand that the United States – and by that I mean the laws and mores of this American society – does not love me. Never will love me. I dare to do this thing or that thing simply because it feels right for me, and those who control simply cannot abide my brand of intransigence.

    So basically I don’t give two shits about laws, policy, or anything of that ilk. I control my life, my time, my actions. Any time I waste railing against the establishment takes away from more productive and rewarding activities. Any dollars I could spend to support this cause or that would be better handed to someone truly in need, i.e. not an advertising agency.

    This all reminds me of a quote from _Band of Brothers_, in which Lt. Speirs explains to a young private how to deal with fear:

    “We’re all scared. You hid in that ditch because you think there’s still hope. But Blithe, the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function.”

    As soon as I accepted the fact that this country was never going to be congruent with even a majority of my beliefs, life became a lot easier for me. Rather than working to change laws to legitimize my behaviour, I just give the statute books a hearty “fuck you” and go on about my merry way. I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend useful hours of my day trying to save a country that does’t want to be saved. Fuck them. They can make all the laws they want, and I’ll be following right behind to piss on a good lot of them.

    If you think this makes me a bad little citizen, you may want to check your assumptions.

  6. brasten

    Unfortunately, Christa – as well as the others who posted before me – are completely missing the point.

    They are in the minority. The vast majority of Americans have shown time and again through votes and polls that they wish to MAINTAIN the current definition of marriage. It’s not these who are wanting to CHANGE the current state of things, but the minority supporting gay marriage.

    There are plenty of arguments for maintaining the current definition of marriage beyond the admittingly weak “sanctity of marriage” statements. But…

    *It is not -us- that need to come up with an argument, it is the MINORITY that wishes to CHANGE things…*

    Unfortunately for them, their pet argument about equality falls flat (homosexuals are given the same rights as heterosexuals… namely, the ability to marry ONE person of the OPPOSITE SEX). And beyond that, the lack of any other arguments, and rapid regress to personal attacks, shows the weak state of their position.

    Furthermore, the attitude taken by those like Ricardo here – or the current mayor of San Francisco – quickly descends into a state of anarchy. The law rules this land, and in the same way in which I abide by many laws I deeply disagree with, I have every right to expect others to do the same – or face the appropriate consequences.

    * Long time reader, Christa, keep it up. *

  7. Dwayne

    I think Brasten has a crush on Ricardo. A big homosexual crush that takes his breath away at night and gives him a headache in the morning. The kind of crush that can undo a man.

    However, both Brasten and Ricardo are wrong, as well as everyone else who is not me.

    Laws do matter because they keep people from doing what they want to do. If I really want to legally marry a man, I cannot, and if you think I should not want to marry a man, then you need recheck the consistency of your particular moral code.

    B’s argument against the equality argument falls flat itself. Under his logic, I could make a law that states “A man may only marry someone of the same race.” This law is equally applied to everyone, therefore it is equal, according to B.

    Just because a law is applied equally does not make the law itself equal. The law prefers to support people who want to marry people of the same race. It does not support people who want to marry a different race.

    So if a law makes a distinction that bans certain people from performing a certain act, it should have a good reason for doing so. For example, if there is a law against theft, there should be a good reason why a person should not steal something from another person. So what is the good reason why a man should only be able to marry a woman (and vice versa)?

    The current debate is over that “good reason.” So what is it? If it is no longer a good reason, then we should not have a law that is based on it. Much like the laws against interractial marriage were struck down once people actually thought about it without prejudice, the laws will eventually support a consenting adult wanting to marry another consenting adult.

    But I guess under B’s logic, a few decades ago, the white man wanting to marry a hispanic woman would have to justify why a white man should be able to do that because apparently he is a minority that has to justify his right against the status quo. If that sounds silly to you, then maybe you should take this debate seriously.

  8. DG

    200 years ago this great country was founded by men that thought they where well meaning. Perhaps they where, at least for that time. I say times change.
    Some of this country’s laws where based on
    religious morality and the then current interpetations of the scriptures.
    I think this web site provides some interesting ideas on interpetation:http://www.geocities.com/tannabrain/homo.html#1
    This country is based on the sanctity of law.
    Laws can be changed. Presidents can be changed. Senators can be changed. Thats what has made America great. Not war, not intolerence, but the process of law. A process that can include change.

  9. Tiffany

    If you love to say “Ricardo Montalban”, then you should start saying “Retardo Montalban”! Lynette said that once and every time I hear it, it makes me laugh and laugh. Even now.

    P.S. I’m home!!!!!!!

  10. brasten

    “Good Reason”

    As I attempted to state earlier, absent of any unconstitutionality, ‘good reason’ is satisfied simply by a majority opinion. That is the way in which our country works.

    There are two arguments here which often get mixed, the moral and the legal. I was coming from the legal standpoint. The law currently stands. It treats all equally, by your OWN admission (more on this in a second). Thus, from a legal standpoint, the definition of marriage must remain until such time as a majority vote changes it.

    As far as your argument about equality, equal treatment does NOT constitute equal satisfaction. Law cannot support everyone who wants to do every act. The law – in order for it to be constitutionally legal – must merely allow a specific act to be performed regardless of the person performing it. I can, for example, join the United States military. ANY American who chooses to enlist in the United States military can do so (subject to physical condition, etc). I – however – could not enlist in the British military (assuming they’d take me) and maintain my American citizenship. That law restriction is in no way unconstitutional, no matter how much I or any other US citizen may want to enlist in the British military.

    Morally/ethically speaking, you obviously believe homosexual marriage doesn’t constitute a problem. I do. Maybe that’s for religious reasons. Maybe it’s because I believe it will cause harm to America in some way. Maybe I’m a homophobe, or better yet, a repressed homosexual afraid to admit it. The point is, whatever my moral reasoning, it’s a ‘good reason’ to vote the way I do. And as long as the majority of voters believe the same way I do, that’s a ‘good reason’ to keep the law the way it is.

    DG – I agree. Laws can and should evolve. I’m as open to changing laws as the next guy.

  11. DG

    Brasten, I enjoy the way you construct arguments.
    I also enjoy the way Christa constructs arguments. Thats why I read Loafe.

  12. Dwayne

    Majority popular opinion does not make or break laws, as you state. It is not the way this country works. If that were true, we would not have had many of the civil rights breakthroughs from congress or, especially, the supreme court. This can also be seen by the election of Bush II, who was not elected by a majority vote of the American people.

    So your use of the word ‘majority’ is overloaded. Sure, a majority of the electoral college voted in Bush II. Sure, a majority of the senate and congress voted in the civil rights act. Sure, a majority of the supreme court judges ruled on roe v. wade. So the majority opinion of the American public really has no reflection on the outcome of the vote that actually matters by the people in power.

    Simply stated: It doesn’t matter that the majority of Americans are against homosexual marriage. It hasn’t by necessity mattered in the past and it won’t matter in the future. Opinion can sway people in power, but there are plenty of examples when people in power made a decision against popular opinion that Americans later agreed was the right choice.

    A law (like we are discussing) prevents people from doing a certain thing. We make that law because we think the act we wish to prevent is harmful. A law against theft is stating that stealing is harmful. A law against same-sex marriage is stating that a person marrying someone of the same sex is harmful.

    Notice that the theft law did not state that stealing from white people is harmful. It said stealing from anyone is harmful. So why do you wish to qualify the actor and recipient of the act in the case of same-sex marriage?

    If you wish to state that marrying anyone is harmful, that is one thing. If you wish to state that marrying a particular type of person is harmful, that is something different, and inherently unequal.

    Obviously we do not want everyone doing whatever they want when it interferes with another person’s rights. In general, laws preventing a certain action hold up under scrutiny when the law prevents an action that violates another citizen’s rights.

    I would like to know what right is being violated by same-sex marriage. If no right is being violated, then I would like to know how it is causing real harm to the nation. Law after law that does not meet these basic criteria are being struck down every year, and will continue to be (sodomy laws, etc).

    So if a law that prevents someone from doing something is not causing harm to individuals or state, then why does that law exist? What is the reason?

    Again, under your reasoning, you justify witholding rights from individuals because you are not comfortable with giving them those rights. Because you do not like homosexual marriage, you think a law should be in place that prevents it.

    Now, given that popular opinion has no correlation with law, and that homosexual marriage does not cause harm to anyone, what is your reason for preventing someone from doing a harmless action that would bring fulfillment into their lives?

    I understand that if you were given a choice to vote for/against same-sex marriage, you would vote against based on your personal prejudices. I understand. I also understand that this is the same reasoning for denying rights that racists and bigots have used. It’s as erroneous today and it was fifty years ago. So when are you going to say to yourself, “I cannot use my personal prejudices to prevent someone from doing something I disagree with, however immoral I may find it.”

  13. brasten

    Thanks, DG. =)

    I read Loafe because… well… I dunno. But I’ve been doing it for almost 3 years so there’s got to be a reason why.

  14. Dwayne

    One quick question for Brasten: How do you compare/contrast interracial marriage with homsexual marriage? I haven’t heard any real reasoning yet (in general, from other people I talk with) and am curious to know your take on it.

  15. ricardo montalban, a requiem


    Allow me three observations, if you will.

    For the first observation, an analogy. Assume I am a man (which I am). Under a hypothetical insurance policy, further assume that I am entitled to “appropriate medical care”. A hypothetical woman under the same insurance policy is entitled to one pelvic examination each year. I, as a man, cannot claim that I am being treated unfairly because I too do not receive an annual pelvic exam. I have not been discriminated against by the insurer; I simply possess different qualities from the woman, and thus my standard of what is “appropriate” differs from hers. To extend my analogy, civil unions should be supported such that homosexuals can “buy” the straight “insurance policy” that they have long been denied; however, they shouldn’t expect to get the pelvic exam just because they’re now policy holders (please spare me the pedestrian jokes that could follow from that last statement.)

    Observation next: my attitude does not promise a looming spectre of anarchy. Again this is my opinion, but the majority of Americans do not want to think for themselves – they just want to follow the crowd. This is why we have reality tv and boy bands and pop music in general … and yes, this is one reason why we have laws to tell us what we can and can’t do. When one is a child, one lacks the mental and experiential capacity to process higher-order thought; this is why parents (good parents, anyway) give children boundaries within which to operate. As one matures, the state takes over the role of parenting, allowing more freedom of choice while still maintaining a list of dos and don’ts – and most people are very comfortable with this. My position could not produce anarchy for the fact that (1) the powerful like to control and (2) the weak, although they may protest to the contrary, often want that same control. My opinion.

    Observation last: if anyone thinks that the law in America has anything to do with reason … well, again I would suggest you reexamine your assumptions on this point. By Congressional law, we are taxed, albeit slightly, on our every purchase of milk, cheese, beef, pork, and cotton. Why? So that an ad agency can spew commercials at us, educating the public about the vaunted benefits of each commodity. Ummm … yeah. I gotta say that from my perspective, the law in America is more about money-grubbing and vote-mongering than it is about reason. Maybe that’s not the way it should be, but that’s the way it is.

    It is not wrong to disobey a law that doesn’t pass my personal “right-ness” test. It IS wrong to do something, anything, that isn’t true to myself. This is not a bad way to live.

  16. ricardo montalban, henceforth r.m (if there is a henceforth, that is)

    aside: when one resorts to impugning the maker of an argument, rather than contesting the argument itself, one appears both desperate and logically undisciplined

  17. brasten

    Just so nobody thinks I ran off, I need to put this on hold and get some food and finish up here at work.

    Dwayne: I’ll happily reply in a few hours when I get home. I appreciate the discussions and will continue shortly. :)

    r.m: I completely agree with your aside. I try to abide by that guideline in my discussions, and hope I have done so here. :)

  18. Dwayne

    Having a penis means under my insurance policy I should have a penis exam. If a woman has a penis, then she too should have a penis exam. It has nothing to do with being a man or a woman. Same with marriage. If you accept as your definition that a man is a human with a penis, and a woman is a human with a vagina, how do you classify the person with both? This isn’t humor. The insurance company will cover the penis exam for anyone who has a penis.

    So if you define marriage as man + woman, instead of person + person, then yes, you will deny services to certain people. You’ll deny medical services to a woman with a penis and you’ll deny marriage to two women. And that is what this debate is about. What is the definition of marriage? We know what the traditional definition has been, but what do we want the definition to be?

    Yes, I agree with you that a person disobeying the law does not lead to anarchy. Obviously, everyone disobeying the law could lead to temporary anarchy, but like you said, most people will follow the law. The case of SF going against the law is not going to quickly descend into anarachy. The SF mayor is doing it to force the issue into court.

    Yes, I do think that American law has everything to do with reason. Are the unreasonable laws? Of course. But as time goes on, we Americans have generally discarded the unreasonable laws and I see no reason why this won’t and shouldn’t continue. There certainly seems to be a fair amount of unreason in the process of creating laws, but thankfully there seems to be a large proportion of reason in the process of striking down laws.

    I think someone could reasonably state that the totality of laws today are more consistently reasonable than the laws of 100 years ago. That gives me hope.

  19. Dwayne

    Point taken, RM. I apologize that I may have taken too personal of an approach to one of my posts.

    I don’t mean to paint you as a racist or bigot, Brasten. I was trying to show that a certain line of reasoning can be used to justify old laws that we now think were inhumane. Rereading what I said though, it certainly comes across harshly and directed right at you. I apologize.

  20. r.m

    And thus goes the longest-ever comment-thon on Loafe!

    Dwayne has nicely distilled the point of argument: what is the definition of marriage?

    This is a point I cannot talk to; I am not nearly learned enough to form valid arguments on this question. Or perhaps I’m too chicken to tread in unknown waters.

    But I can say this: in my personal thinking on this topic, I do not see this as a gay-vs-straight struggle, and I would be very much pleased for the media to take that spin away from the story (even though I know that will never happen.) This is a definitional matter, which gives me no great hope for a healthy resolution.

    I will also concede that the law makes comparative progress; but I never did truck too heavily in the comparative. My personal feeling is that I’m not going to wait for someone to tell me I can do something. And if the law was reasonable, the war on drugs would be turned into the war on addiction in general. Even a small child can intuit that touching a hot stove is bad, and the child determines not to do so (at least not intentionally) in the future. Contrast with America, that has “fought” the “war” on drugs for I-don’t-know-how-long now, to no avail. Even simple-minded me can recognize that if an approach has failed each year for the last 20 years, maybe a new plan is in order.

  21. Dwayne

    Yeah, that’s what I think it comes down to: what do you want the definition of marriage to be? And do you want to deny other people the chance to be included?

    I think of it like a club. I’m in this club called DefinitionOfMarriage Club and a bunch of people come to the front door. They say, “Hey, Dwayne, can we come in and party in your club?” and I look at them and say, “Well, I don’t know. You sure are different than me. We haven’t let you folks in here before.”

    “But we’re humans just like you and we won’t spoil your party with your girl, we just want to party in the same club.”

    “Yeah, I see your point. But that means I’ll have to change what I think about this club and who is allowed in.”

    “Sure, Dwayne, we understand, change can be hard. But we sure would like to party with you!”

    “Ah, hell, come on in, guys! The more the merrier! Just don’t try to grab my butt!”

    “Ha, ha, ha, Dwayne, you’re so funny! And cute! Let’s boogie!”

    Dancing ensues and I still dance just fine with my baby.

  22. brasten


    To answer your question about interracial marriage, I accept that the social and legal similarities are striking. However, I don’t necessarily feel that that is an extremely compelling argument for the necessary recognition of gay marriage.

    I agree that the interracial marriage situation sets a precident that must be considered in this situation. However it is the responsibility of those enacting laws to question the validity of each new step before taking it. Therefore, while society loosened marital restrictions in one situation, it doesn’t follow that they MUST in another. As such, I’m perfectly justified in evaluating this situation largely independantly of the past interracial decisions.

    One last objection: You state that, “A law (like we are discussing) prevents people from doing a certain thing.” I disagree.

    A preventative law essentially forbids a person from performing an action that would – in the absence of the law – otherwise be legal. This does not describe marriage laws at all! Marriage is a legal institution that provides a few various benefits to those who wish to abide by the conditions of that institution (namely, to be legally described as “married” to a member of the opposite sex). Marriage is not “assumed unless otherwise restricted.” Therefore, to say that there is a law which makes gay marriage illegal is incorrect. Rather, there is simply no legal institution which provides benefits for couples of the same sex.

    As an analogy, if I were to attend college (I did) and acquire enough credits to graduate, but I did NOT get the right KIND of credits (too many humanities, not enough science, for example), it would be illogical for me to complain that I DESERVE a degree because I worked JUST as hard and I have the same AMOUNT of credits as someone who IS getting a degree. It would be irrational for me to say the school has “restricted me” from graduating, is descriminating against me because I don’t fall into line with what they want, etc.. The fact is, I got the just reward for my work: the credits. The degree is something extra provided by the intitution I’m attending for getting credits in an order they’ve deemed most appropriate. I cannot change the requirements of the benefit simply because I do not meet them.

    I apologize for the length of this post – but I hope everyone has found this discussion as enjoyable as I. :)

    I will let you take the last word on the topic now, if you wish, Dwayne. :)

  23. Dwayne

    You’re right, I don’t think interracial marriage has any legal bearing on deciding the current definition of marriage, but I think it has use as a logical foil. If one constructs an argument such that it prevents same-sex marriage and that same argument can then be used to prevent mixed-race marriage, I think one must accept that she is against mixed-race marriage.

    This is why most arguments against same-sex marriage usually have a “moral” tinge to them. Religious arguments allow one to escape reason and make statements that are backed by a deity.

    If one admits to being against mixed-race marriage and same-sex marriage, then I can admit that person is consistent and there’s no further debate since one can’t get past the “because god told me so” excuse.

    Which means that, really, this debate comes down to morality. One either believes homosexuality is morally wrong or one doesn’t. If one doesn’t come down to this basic conflict, then I would wager there is an inconsistency in the logic. I haven’t yet read a practical, logical argument against same-sex marriage.

    On the next point, I disagree that the current marriage laws are not preventative laws. Let’s say we had a legal institution called XYZ for the purpose of defining a family unit. However, as part of the definition of XYZ, only white people may be members. Wouldn’t that prevent a hispanic family from enjoying the same status as a white family? And wouldn’t that be shot down?

    This is similar to your analogy about college. Only certain people are allowed to attain the status of “graduated.” However, notice the distinction: XYZ prevents members based on race. College prevents members of the “graduated class” based on academic performance (which includes kinds of classes taken).

    Preventing membership based on race is usually illegal. Preventing membership based on academic performance is legal. Preventing membership based on sex is also usually illegal.

    So what’s the difference between race and academic performance? Race (and sex) is a quality of a person that we find to have no correlation with the fitness of that person for just about any task. Academic performance is a measure of a person’s accomplishments that shows fitness based on historical achievement. Quite a difference.

    If one wishes to state that marriage is only between a man and a woman, then one states that the government should prevent membership based on sexual preference.

    Simply put: Do you think the gov’t should prevent membership to a certain institution by defining that institution to exclude a population of people based on a quality of that population that has no correlation to fitness for membership?

    Stating that a narrow definition is not preventative is playing a syntactic game. We could define “American citizen” to mean “a person who is not jewish” and then say, “Well, we aren’t preventing anyone from being an American citizen. That’s just the definition. Maybe we should have a different title with the same benefits, like American jewizen. Different but equal, right?”

    So I guess one has to decide if one thinks sexual preference is more akin to academic performance or to race, creed, and sex. Obviously, I think sexual preference has no bearing on fitness for just about any task, especially marriage. Maybe someone here can come up with some tasks that gays cannot perform as well as straights, or why they are not fit for marriage.

    [Also, as a side note, I fully accept and endorse that marriage should encompass polygamy, intrafamilial relationships (brother-sister, father-son, etc), and other situations involving consenting adults. This may shock or disgust some of you, but it is the logical extension of allowing the definition of marriage to broaden, and I am comfortable allowing people to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t harm others.]

    No need to stop here, Brasten. I’m all for continuing to hear your opinion and responses. I don’t think people debate this issue deeply enough; it usually ends up only scratching the surface before moving on, or hitting the religious roadblock.

  24. brasten

    Alright. :)

    I think you’ve illustrated my point quite nicely. Not granting membership into XYZ based on race is illegal. Not granting membership into XYZ based on sexual preference is also illegal. Not granting membership into XYZ based on inability or unwillingness to satisfy the behavioral requirements of XYZ is NOT ILLEGAL. This should be very clear: GAYs *CAN* get married. The behavioral requirements of marriage is that you choose a marital partner of the opposite sex. Nobody is restricting them based on their sexual preference, they have simply chosen not to meet the behavioral requirements laid out under the legal institution of marriage.

    I see that as the legal argument. There’s is NO legal basis to force the definition of marriage to loosen. You have already stated you agree with me on this. So the question of legality is answered.

    What does that leave? Morality, mostly. You believe homosexuality is perfectly fine. I agree with you that – given that premise – it is largely rational to open up marriage to include same-sex partners. Though I have heard arguments about marriage historically being used for geneological purposes and family structure support, I agree they are not the strongest arguments (tho by no means worthy of immediate dismissal – and I don’t accept Christa-esque arguments of “family structure doesn’t exist anymore anyways”. That is little more than shirking our own responsibility to uphold those things as valuable). Either way, I will grant you for the time being that absent of any moral conviction to the contrary, same-sex marriages seem to be supported by reason.

    Let me also say that I have ZERO problems with people who have moral disagreements with me. And if it comes down to that, an “agree-to-disagree” standpoint is best. But, I have a LARGE problem when a morality-based decision is considered irrational and unworthy of recognition off-the-bat. There is nothing inherently irrational about moral judgements of a particular action. Given my particular belief that homosexuality acts are morally incorrect, I have no particular desire to support changing the laws to allow for same-sex marriages. I would absolutely fight against ANY law that SPECIFICALLY prevented homosexuals from the act of marriage (as currently defined), but our laws do not currently do that.

    I understand gays are not able to do what they want. But that does not mean that what is going on here is abject discrimination.

    And I understand you feel my moral beliefs are closed-minded and approach bigotry – I’m sorry you feel that way. I have to constantly weigh what I think is best for the law, spirit, and future of this country against my moral beliefs. In this instance, I choose to leave the law where it is.

    As an interesting aside (and to continue the analogy), when I attended college (’97-’00), I did not receive a single scholarship. Each scholarship disqualification fell into one of three categories:

    1) I did not meet the scholastic requirements (high-school GPA wasn’t horrible, but by no means a 4.0.)
    2) The scholarship specifically targeted a particular segment of acadamia.. (nursing, electrical engineering, etc) Being a computer science major did not qualify.

    Neither one of those reasons particular upset me. My behaviors, actions, and choices in life simply did not match up to the requirements necessary to receive that benefit. However, in a world so ultra-sensitive to descrimination, it amazes me that there is such relative silence about the SOLE reason I was disqualified from 80% of those scholarships:

    3) I am white and I am a male.

  25. brasten

    *laughs*.. I appreciate your vote of confidence, DG. :) But Dwayne is making some EXCELLENT points. These debates are better for mutual learning than deciding a winner. :)

  26. Dwayne

    Behavioral requirements? Again, under this reasoning, we could say (transported back fifty years), “I’m sorry, Mr. Smith, but you are black and Ms. Thomas is white, so you cannot be married. You are not behaving in a way appropriate to how we define marriage. So, as much as you love and care for Ms. Thomas, maybe next time you better pick someone black.”

    So this argument limits a person’s freedom by telling them their behavior is unacceptable. However, the behavior is based on the identity of the actor, or in this particular case, the race or sexual preference of the actor.

    “Mr. Smith, we are not preventing you from marrying, we just don’t want you to marry someone who is white.”

    Who would agree that that is a racist statement?

    “Mr. Smith, we are not preventing you from marrying, we just don’t want you to marry someone who is male.”

    Who would agree that that is a sexist statement?

    I draw the parallel because the argument is the same. The only difference is the quality of the individual (race vs. sexual preference). So can someone tell me what the difference is between race and sexual preference in terms of civil rights? How is race more or less important than sexual preference?

    The answer is that some people view sexual preference as a moral issue. The argument for a difference between the two goes like this: “Race just is and we shouldn’t discriminate based on race. However, homosexuality is evil/unnatural, so we can of course discriminate against someone doing something wrong.”

    So, again, under this reasoning, one would never have approved of interracial marriage, because that “behavior” was not in line with the current definition of marriage at the time.

    But I’m glad you agree with me.

    With regards to legality, maybe I wasn’t clear. I think there is a legal basis for challenging the current definition of marriage. The legal basis is discrimination based on sexual preference.

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex. The Supreme Court has ruled that sexual orientation falls under the definition of sex. Some states (such as NY), have also passed state acts that specifically state this fact. (The Senate failed to pass a federal law that also spells this out.)

    So, discrimination against homosexuals is sexism and is protected in court, which is why Bush II wants to make a constitutional amendment because the Defense of Marriage Act will not stand if it goes to trial. It’s unconstitutional.

    If you wish to fight against a law that prevents same-sex marriage, then you should fight against the Defense of Marriage Act. It was enacted specifically to deny gay marriage on a federal and interstate level. Even if you don’t believe it was done intentionally, it was done effectively.

    (These laws do not usually apply to religious institutions. For example, a church may refuse to offer shelter to a homosexual. The government may not.)

    So, from a legal standpoint, gay marriage will eventually be allowed unless a constitutional amendment is passed. Or that is my wager anyway and we will see how it is played out. And I suppose it depends on lot on the possiblility of a regime change this year.

    If one wishes to adopt the argument that homosexuals should not be married because homosexuality is wrong, then further reasoning is required. Does one wish to state that a wrong-doer should not be married? If so, what wrong-doing applies to prevent one from being married? Does only sexual sin prevent marriage? Or only that particular sexual sin? If so, why? If the membership of marriage is based on the person’s moral character, how should the government judge the morality of character?

    As you can see, if you adopt a moral argument, you again start to run into questions and problems of consistency.

    Yes, I agree that decisions based on morality are not dismissable right off the bat. But most arguments are not couched in morality, they’re supposedly supported by reason. Once one starts to dig deeper, the logical errors float to the surface and then the moral assumptions are found. And the moral assumptions are usually based on terrible misinterpretations of the christian bible, and no one wants to be told she’s misread a book for the last thirty years. Oops.

    [As another aside, did you know that the word “abomination” used to refer to “man lying with man” is the same word used to refer to pork, mixed-cloth dress, and shellfish? The word actually means “unclean.” I hope that if the bible is the source of anti-homosexuality it is also the source of anti-bacon and anti-lobster feelings. Although I do agree that polyester-lycra blends are unflattering if not an abomination.]

    As to your aside, I also agree that race-based government scholarships are racist. They are a racist solution to a racist problem. But that is a whole other topic.

    My feelings about your particular chosen set of moral constraints are irrelevant. However, I think it behooves anyone to ask themselves why her morality should be forced onto everyone else. If you think homosexuality will destroy the government or the nation, that is certainly a good reason to be opposed. But is it a sound reason? Is it logical and reasonable?

    The only way to know is to write it out step by step, from assumptions and documented facts (like current logicians and philosophers do), or have a dialogue, like we are having (and like Socrates did).

  27. Dwayne

    I should add as a postscript to my previous novel that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of sexual orientation as sex is under some question since the language was not clear in the latest case. But I suppose we will find out in due time.

  28. cjm

    I think we should decide a winner. Open and free-flowing debates are great, but debates need a winner.

    My vote is Dwayne. I agree with him more than anyone else. I had never considered the interracial marriage aspect as it relates to this issue before. It is a very good point.

    Also, I have a few things to say. As usual.

    My argument has never been that family structure does not or should not exist. I think that family is the most important, valuable thing we have as a nation. But the structure of a family need not be just one narrow definition. A family can be anything. It can be friends, it can be brothers and sisters, lovers, children, cousins, communities, neighborhoods, villages. What is family to me does not have to be family to you.

    When you teach people that there is only one way to love, then you create problems, promote fear and encourage mistrust. For all the people who find “alternative” ways of living, they are made to feel like they are wrong, like they are inherently bad, that they are not just as worthy of the same respect and rights as someone who follows the conventional path. If you instill in people the power and beauty of acceptance than you have a strong and flourishing society that is undeniable.

    The way that I hear people talking about marriage, as if it is the single most holy, scared and precious thing there ever was, is just nonsense to me. I don’t understand it. Gay people can fuck up a marriage just as well as straight people. And they can succeed and have a loving, respectful, healthy marriage just as well as straight people. I think the majority of people would agree that infidelity is immoral and a scourge to marriage, but we are certainly not creating laws banning it are we?

    The current definition of marriage is antiquated and patriarchal. Of course conservatives, religious leaders and politicians are railing against homosexuals getting married. Their livelihood and system of beliefs are being threatened. I understand that fear. What I would like to see are laws based not on fear but on the very ideas that make America so great: freedom of choice and equal rights. Religion absolutely needs to be set aside on this issue and on any legal debate. Don’t you think restricting homosexuals to marry only a member of the opposite sex devalues marriage more than allowing them to marry who they want? It is most certainly on the same lines as racism. Blacks were once thought to not even be human. A lot of people still think that way and would like to go back to the days when whites married whites.

    Why are people so scared of allowing gay couples to marry each other? What great harm will it bring to our society? Straight people have done a pretty good job of fucking up the institution of marriage all on their own. Gay people couldn’t possibly do worse.

    If the law defined marriage as a union between two people of the same sex, but you happened to be a heterosexual, would you not want a reversal of that definition? Put aside your personal distaste for the sexual act and think about what is said when you deny two consenting, legal age adults the right to marry. It does not matter if you believe the sexual act between homosexuals is unnatural. Airplanes aren’t natural but we don’t see laws against that. And what a bunch of men said thousands of years ago is not important either. The Bible encouraged child sacrifice but I think we all agree that such an act is harmful and destructive to society and families.

    And honestly, this should not be a federal issue; it is a matter for state and local governments. For all of the Republicans yammering about less federal government, they sure do have their noses in everyone’s business.

  29. Stephanie A

    “The constitution gives rights, it’s not supposed to take them away.” — some guy on NPR on Gay Marriage