At last



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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30 Responses

  1. Avatar Bob says:

    No he’s not.Report

  2. Oh sure, kill all of my fun, Bob.Report

  3. Avatar Bob says:

    It’s my job, it’s what I do.Report

  4. And you do it well, my friend. You do it well.Report

  5. Avatar Bob says:

    Ah, shucks. I’m blushing.

    But on a more substantive note, I think Matt made a good point, or at least I understand him as saying, civil unions are really sort of second class special creations designed to mollify the public and gay folks. James seems to agree saying that conservatives might be happy to go down to defeat on that issue in state legislatures.

    I think Freddie made the same point months ago. I can see the argument that civil unions represent a sort of pat on the head to gay couples. “We’ll give you this, now shut-up.”Report

  6. Avatar Freddie says:

    civil unions are really sort of second class special creations designed to mollify the public and gay folks. James seems to agree saying that conservatives might be happy to go down to defeat on that issue in state legislatures.

    Right. Supporters of civil unions say “it’s different in name only” as if that’s a good thing. That’s part of why they are such a horrid idea; they exist precisely and only to create an underclass of marriages.Report

  7. Avatar Cascadian says:

    “That’s part of why they are such a horrid idea; they exist precisely and only to create an underclass of marriages.”

    If Civil Unions were open to straights as well as gays, I’m not sure that at the end of the day they would be the ones considered second class. It’s just as likely that marriage would be the institution for boring Christians hung up on sex, while Civil Unions would be for everyone else. When given choices, traditional marriage suffers.Report

  8. Avatar Bob says:

    I’d find CU’s totally acceptable if states that adopted them closed their marriage license bureaus, on opened Civil Union Bureaus.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This is where the findamental definition of “what marriage is” must be hammered out.

    If “marriage” is a covenant between two people, there is no government in the world that could *PREVENT* two people from being married. Heck, that’s the biggest argument that the pro-gay marriage forces have. Look at Uncle Adam and Uncle Steve. They live together, they collect art, they listen to NPR during dinner, they see the movies that NPR recommends, they discuss whether they want the lemongrass/peppermint soap or the lavender soap from Whole Foods, so on and so forth. “This *IS* what marriage *IS*!”, they cry. “Therefore they deserve some amount of legal protections!”

    Meanwhile, the “traditional marriage” folks argue that, hey, marriage comes from God, it’s defined, if you disagree with God, that’s your business, it’s our business to go forward with the definition of marriage given us From On High. When you corner one of these “traditional marriage” folks, you can get them to agree that it is, in fact, legal for two dudes to go to their Unitarian Church and have a ceremony (that probably mentions the wickedness of Columbus Day) that the so-called “pastor” calls a marriage and the two dudes can call themselves “married” in casual conversation to anyone who will listen but they still won’t be *really* married because, hey, God doesn’t consider them *really* married. Leviticus 20:13. But, for the record, I don’t think they should be stoned. And so on.

    It strikes me that the attitude that “civil unions are creating an underclass of marriage” takes for granted the idea that the “traditional marriage” folks are correct in their definition of marriage insofar as “marriage is defined From On High” (this “On High” being “The State”) rather than something forged between two individuals (or two individuals and “God”).

    It seems to me that the argument that gay couples are entitled to civil protections is based quite firmly on exceptionally strong (even moral) ground… but then goes a step too far to copy the worst stupid excesses of the religious definitions of marriage. It’s like they’re saying that the religious folks have the broad strokes right (marriage is defined externally) just they got the particulars wrong (who’s eligible, which “On High” they’re using, etc). It’s like they had this transcendent covenant between two people… and then they want to sully it up with arguments that they want to be more like The Christians.

    That said, the heart wants what the heart wants and if gay couples want to have The State use the same words in addition to giving the same protections, saying “you should want something better” is exceptionally presumptuous on my part.

    But I still can’t help feeling like a wonderful, transcendant point is being missed.Report

  10. Avatar Cascadian says:

    “But I still can’t help feeling like a wonderful, transcendant point is being missed.”

    Well said.Report

  11. Avatar Bob says:

    I doubt if this a “transcendant point” but it seems to me that gay marriage/civil unions debate is only about equality before the law. Some gay couples will seek blessings from on high and they will easily find godly men and women to bless their happy day. Others will happily forgo bullshit transcendent religious ceremonies blessed by charlatans of all stripes. State neutrality would seem to be the goal of us liberal and libertarian retches.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    “Equality before the law” strikes me as something like “equal tax rates”, “inheritance rights”, “hospital visitation rights”, etc.

    Is the difference between this piece of paper saying “civil unions” and that piece of paper saying “marriage” something that violates “equality” if the civil protections are identical (tax rates, inheritance rights, visitation, etc…)?Report

  13. Avatar Cascadian says:

    If I can’t have a CU, it does. I know, I know… I can have a CU with any man I want.Report

  14. Avatar Bob says:

    I’m sorry I don’t understand your question.Report

  15. Avatar Bob says:

    My #15 was in response to Jaybird at 13.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Is this paper saying “civil union” while that one saying “marriage” an example of inequality before the law?

    I mean, if the same legal and civil protections are there.

    (This, of course, will lead to a discussion of “Jim Crow” and discussions of the picture of the two water fountains which might lead me to ask about what might have happened had the two water fountains been, in fact, identical which may lead to a breakdown of the discussion where someone asks whether denial of gay marriage is seriously being compared to the legacy of slavery, homosexuals can “pass”, after all and someone will (jokingly) point out some guy they knew that totally couldn’t and someone will link to the onion story about the local homosexual who mistakenly thinks he’s still closeted, and things will really go downhill from there… but, I think, with restraint, we can avoid that.)Report

  17. Avatar Freddie says:

    Is this paper saying “civil union” while that one saying “marriage” an example of inequality before the law?

    Yes; and your preemption aside, it’s precisely analogous to the two water fountains. Even if they are identical to one another, they are unequal. The edifice exists precisely and only to demonstrate the inequality. There is no such thing as separate but equal. Separate is inherently unequal for the very fact of its separation.Report

  18. Avatar Cascadian says:

    “what might have happened had the two water fountains been, in fact, identical ”

    As long as you don’t leave me with the religiously tainted drinking spot, I’m all good.Report

  19. Avatar Jaybird says:

    “Even if they are identical to one another, they are unequal.”

    And we are back to what a marriage is.

    I don’t believe that “marriage” can possibly be granted by “The State”. “The State” does not have the competence. All “The State” can do is confer or deny some measure of civil protection. Marriage will be defined one per couple.

    The belief that The State can provide it seems to totally miss the point of what a marriage is.

    The arguments for why Uncle Adam and Uncle Steve are *already* married cover this. It seems to me that it be far, far more important that equal protection under the law be granted (even if the terminology of the relationship on the piece of paper in the manila folder in that particular drawer of the file cabinet is different) than to have the forms be identical.

    (Incidentally, I suspect that the forms will, eventually, be identical… but the quickest way to identical forms will be through a period where the forms are not identical but the legal protections are. Ironically, the request/demand for identical forms will result in a longer period where neither the forms nor the legal protections are identical. On an idealistic level, I support civil unions (for everybody) because marriage doesn’t flow from The State but is something forged between two people… but on a pragmatic level, I support civil unions because I suspect that the fastest way to full equality is through the ghetto of ‘separate but equal’ and, in the short term, it’s more important that the civil protections are granted than that the name on the form is identical to the name of all the other forms in that drawer of the file cabinet.)Report

  20. Avatar Bob says:

    Jaybird, I’ll admit it. I have no fricking idea what you are trying to convey with your transcendent point comment. If some TP is being lost make it.

    I’ll also admit that my call for equality before the law is a simple one. The state should not favor the heterosexual couple over the homosexual couple. If the state wishes to call the contract marriage it must be marriage for everyone. If the state wishes to call the contract civil unions it must be civil unions for everyone.

    There is no such thing as “separate but equal.”Report

  21. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Bob, I am a “bottom up” guy rather than a “top down” guy.

    When we say stuff like “marriage is a social good, therefore we should have our governments define and protect and extend priveleges to marriage”, that’s very much a top-down approach.

    My take is that a marriage is something forged between two people and The State saying “you folks aren’t really married” has approximately as much weight as when my Catholic in-laws say it. Why? Because my marriage is something that my wife and I have forged together. It was not given us by The State (though we did stand in a (female!) justice of the peace’s office and receive some measure of civil protection because of that particular act).

    My marriage is mine. With my wife, it is ours.

    And someone saying “well, you guys are really married because The State said you are” misses the point so completely as to be comic.

    If you met us, you’d know that we were married even if neither of us wore rings. Why? Because we *ARE* married. Colorado ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.

    That is the Transcendent Point.

    If someone thinks that they are not “really” married until The State acknowledges it, I suspect that this will be as much an indicator to the weakness of their eventual relationship as whether or not cake goes up the nose at the wedding reception.Report

  22. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Bob: if civil unions (unions minus the religious and traditional content) are superior, it gets harder to understand the opposition. Why not take the cherry and wait for everyone else to catch up?Report

  23. Avatar Bob says:

    Casadian, I’m in no way arguing that one is superior. I’m only arguing the state should not be picking winners or establishing separate intuitions.Report

  24. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Just something to think about.

    “establishing separate intuitions” should we let this one slide? 😉Report

  25. Avatar Bob says:

    Jaybird, I understand your bottom-up position, but I wish you might have found a better term when discussing marriage. Anyway.

    You and you wife have made a marriage, I completely accept your arrangements. (I know you were awaiting my blessing.) But all that seems beside the point, when it comes to the law. You are free to choose to act as you and your wife see fit, and put-up with the bitching of the in-laws or who ever. You and your wife could have equally gone another route. The boys next door don’t have your options, at least not all your options. The boys next door must seek separate legal documents, wills, power of attorney and such, that married couples gain at the alter or the court house. The boys will are not eligible for social security benefits and many other state conferred benefits. But you know all this.

    All I’m saying is give the boys next door the opportunity to give the finger to state recognized marriage or utilize it as they see fit.Report

  26. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Bob, allow me to restate (if I haven’t made it clear enough already) that I fully support the full extension of civil protections to homosexual couples.

    Well, I’m more of the mindset that there are way, way, way too many civil encroachments by the government and the “civil protections” afforded by marriage are more of a “lessened civil encroachment” than a “civil protection” and would prefer that The State encroach on everybody a hell of a lot less, but I understand that that is a pipe dream.

    As such, I’m stuck supporting extending civil protections to homosexual couples.

    As for “marriage”, I don’t think that that is something that The State has the competence to grant.

    But, hey. The heart wants what it wants and the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, etc.Report

  27. Avatar Cascadian says:

    “I understand your bottom-up position, but I wish you might have found a better term when discussing marriage”
    Good one, at least it’s not in the context of D/s.Report

  28. Avatar Bob says:

    Cascadian, As Jaybird once said, “I have my moments.” The sad fact is that his moments are much more frequent than mine.Report

  29. Avatar Bob says:

    Jaybird, I’m back, but just to say – any difference we might have on this topic are clearly at the margins, but “that’s where the fun is.” Bruce Springsteen.Report