Survey Says: 49% of Americans Don’t Much Like Homosexuality

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115 Responses

  1. Avatar Dan Summers says:

    Being a gay man who worked hard for marriage equality here in Maine, it is perhaps unsurprising that I would side with Ta-Nehisi on this. It seems wholly unsurprising to us now to look back and say that, as far as race was concerned, the white majority was never going to vote to relieve itself of the privilege’s it enjoyed. The only reason Dreher thinks recourse to a non-electoral solution for advocates of SSM is a reflection on the movement’s legitimacy is that he is comfortable with inequality for gay and lesbian people. For those of us whose lives are, in fact, made materially worse by this vote, the parallels are notable.

    I should also note that the person who offered the most profound and meaningful sympathy when, years ago, my partner faced overt job discrimination because of his sexual orientation was a black woman.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    At this point, focusing on the courts has resulted in State Constitutional bans.

    This isn’t just legislative reaction, this is something that courts can’t say “well, it’s unconstitutional” in response to… and I don’t know that there is enough 9th Amendment jurisprudence history in the US Supreme Court for it to hold that marriage is a right of The People rather than, say, 10th Amendment jurisprudence to say that it’s a matter for The States.

    There is too much history behind “can’t we, as a society, decide X?” and nowhere near enough “X is none of our business, no, not even as a society.”Report

    • Avatar Dan Summers in reply to Jaybird says:

      X is none of our business, no, not even as a society

      I find this perplexing. By “X,” w0uld you be including marriage? How would enlarging marriage to include same-sex couples be outside of “society’s” ambit? Isn’t saying “this is none of our business” simply another way of phrasing “we’re going to do nothing”? This is all very well if you’re a member of that part of society who is doing quite well. It’s a rather less desirable attitude if you are not.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dan Summers says:

        “We as a society control who can and who cannot marry. You people? Can’t get married.”

        This is the downside of deciding that we, as a society, have the right to give or deny marriage to people. If you decide that we, as a society, hold the keys, you have decided that we, as a society, can decide who doesn’t get access behind the door.

        By saying that “you two people cannot make this decision on your own, but you need our approval to make it *REAL*”, you have set up the framework whereby gay folks are “you people” in this particular scenario.Report

        • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Jaybird says:

          Jay, you should know as well as anyone that marriage is a social construct. Nobody “decided society holds the keys”. It only exists because of society (or maybe God, but I don’t really buy that given the myriad social arrangements in human history.)

          So, nobody “set up” any framework, the framework emerged through interaction. Anyone is free to decide to call their relationship a marriage. That isn’t what this is about. The fight for gay marriage is a fight for social validation as much as for state privileges. It’s a fight to make other people – especially, but not at all exclusively, the state – acknowledge their relationships as equal to anyone else’s.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JosephFM says:

            If the assumption is that rights are also social constructs, then what we have here is a logical outcome of that belief.

            Hey, we as a society get to say “nope, gays can’t be married”.

            Let’s say that someone said something like “if they don’t like living under rule of law and democracy, they can move to Somalia”, would that be a fair argument?

            Why or why not?Report

            • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Jaybird says:

              No…but because that’s a different society. And that borders on being a non-sequitur response. (Leaving aside that homosexuality would be even less tolerated there, which would also make said response loaded and hateful in ways it may not be in other circumstances.)

              But the thing is, marriage isn’t a right the way freedom of speech is a right, insofar as it must involve more than one person, however defined.
              It’s more like education, a “positive right” of the sort that, if I recall, you don’t believe in: you don’t have an innate right to one, but it’s usually a prerequsisite for being happy and successful in our society (partly because it’s generally necessary in order to make informed choices about anything), so one group of people shouldn’t be excluded from it. But people still are.

              As long as there is such a thing as marriage, people will say “no, you people can’t be married.” This doesn’t make it fair, or right, but it’s how people ARE, and trying to wish society away rather than changing it is unproductive at best.

              There is more to being a pacifist than moaning about how much better things would be if this thing people are fighting over didn’t exist.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JosephFM says:

                Do you have the right to say “nope, you’re not really married”?

                I am trying to think of someone that I might say that to… and the only person coming to mind is that Schiavo guy who claimed marriage to Terri despite having shacked up with another woman and had children by her. I might see saying “he wasn’t really married” to Terri.

                If we’ve got two people who say “hey, we’re married!” (to each other, of course), I don’t know upon what grounds I could possibly say “no, you’re not”.

                As such, I don’t see where you get the ability to say that.

                From there, I don’t see where society would get the ability to say that.

                All society can really do is deny hospital visitation rights.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Allow me to rephrase.

                You have the right to say whatever you want.

                But do you have the competence to accurately determine whether two people who say “we’re married?” (to each other, of course) aren’t really married?

                I sure as hell don’t.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Jaybird says:

                Dang, I was just about to jump on you for the implications of your earlier statement. Another day.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                Of course anybody has the right to say “you’re not really married”.

                Two people from one of those too-many-vowels islands get marred by chewing on tree bark and turning around three times in front of the male’s parents. It seems silly to say “they aren’t really married if it doesn’t happen within the Baptist Church.”

                It’s certainly possible, mind… but I daresay that someone who says such a thing is displaying a fair level of miscalculation when it comes to competent judgment of marriage. I daresay we’d all agree that someone who said such a thing was laughably wrong.

                Let’s look at someone saying that “two guys can’t get married”.

                I feel the same amount of embarassment on behalf of the speaker of that sentence as I do the previous. He (or she, I suppose) does not have the competence to make that judgment.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                And Schiavo?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                Dude, he had totally divorced Terri.

                He was married to that woman with whom he had shacked up and with whom he was raising children.

                How not?Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                I thought he remained married to Terri in order to fulfill her wishes. I see no record of divorce. Was he a bigamist?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                I make distinctions between “really married” and “having signed pieces of paper”.

                Were Terri and Mike’s name on the same piece of paper? Sure. No doubt.

                But I’m one of those crazy people who think that two guys can be married to each other despite standing on American soil.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                Ok, so the reason they weren’t married anymore was because: She was brain dead,; He was bonking someone else, didn’t give a shit about Terry and would rather stay in the lime light (He stayed in the game for the fun?); He couldn’t afford the lawyers or figure out the paperwork to get divorced? Why on earth would someone put themselves through such public abuse? The MEG was over and the MES doesn’t really count? I’m surprised.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                If marriage does not consist of living together, raising children together, shopping together, paying bills together, and etc together… what does marriage consist of?

                A signature on a piece of paper?Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                I’d say it’s up to the individuals in question. Two professionals are in a long distance relationship with one working the phones in London while the other maintains their practice in NY. A polygamous family from Pakistan emigrate to Canada. One wife stays in Pakistan to run the family business while the other wife moves with hubby to Toronto to start a new business. A traditional French family (one with a mistress) decide to have children but the wife is barren. The wife is brain dead from an auto accident and the husband refuses to give up on her wishes even though he starts a new family. If in all cases the people involved consider themselves committed for life, who am I to say they aren’t married? What are your criteria for someone to say they’re married. They’re obviously different from what I thought your position was.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                I think that marriage is something that also must be mutual.

                If X cannot be married to Y, then Y cannot be married to X. It’s not possible for X to be married to Y without Y being married to X.

                Do you think that Terri was married? Her signature, indeed, was on a piece of paper.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                Of course, we know now that there was very little of Terri during this time. Yet, let’s suppose that she didn’t consent to life support. Since she’s not there does her objection disappear? How about trusts? When you sleep are you still married? How about if you suffered a week long concussion? How bout when you’ve had a few. Explain that one to the Mrs. It’s OK dear, I couldn’t really consent.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                I? Oh, yes. I remain married. I assure you, I remain married.

                If someone else told me that they were still married under all of those circumstances, I wouldn’t be able to gainsay them.

                If their wife were in a brain-dead state and they lived with another woman and had children and raised those children together and he told me that he was still married to the brain-dead woman?

                I’d disagree.

                But, then again, my definition of “marriage” is not “signed a piece of paper”.

                If that is the definition we are using… indeed, Mike and Terri were married until her heart stopped beating.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                Maybe he just thought it was fun. It takes all kinds. For me to go through years of legal wrestling, keeping my new relationship in the shadows until death finally came for my previous partner, would involve quite a bit more than a piece of paper.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                I know that if anything happened to you Mrs. JB would of course throw herself on the pyre. But assuming for some reason she didn’t and you were in Terri’s position would you want Mrs JB to throw in the towel and admit she wasn’t really married anymore?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                I have done my best to avoid implying any motivation on his part.

                He was living with another woman and raising children with her.

                Would you call him a bigamist or merely an adulterer?

                I see him as someone who ceased to be married to Terri and started to be married to the other woman.

                And, please note, I am saying nothing about his motivations.

                As for Maribou, I have already asked her to cut my body into 51 different pieces and to mail each one to each state capital plus DC.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                I like the 51 pieces. But drudging back. Can polygamists say they’re married (let’s assume that they are from a place where this is legal, maybe one of your islands with all the vowels). How long does a person have to be unable to consent before the marriage is ended? Does this include a week long bender (might want to ask the Mrs. on this one)? What’s the allowable spatial separation before a marriage ends? I was drunk in Europe?Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                I would consider him an adulterer or maybe just poly. He didn’t marry the other woman until after Terri died and I’ve always had a thing for the whole scarlet letter shtick. I’m not real big on the monogamy thing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                I think that they stopped being married to each other and he continued to claim marital privilege despite obvious polygamy. I think that if he had not been shacking up with another woman his claim to marriage would be absolute. Absolutely.

                As it was…

                I dunno. I see that he stopped being married (as our culture doesn’t really have much of the poly thing going on) when he started raising those children with that other woman whom he impregnated.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                So, marriage has a cultural component? We don’t chew bark here? Leave that to the French and the Polynesians. And what do you tell Mr. Cheeks?Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Cascadian says:

                Is this right that you’re accepting that culture has an impact on what should be admitted to be marriage?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

                I’ve never denied that culture has an impact.

                I am of the opinion, however, that culture is a weak argument to either change something or to keep it the same. “Our culture does it this way and, if you don’t like it, move to Somalia” is an argument I’ve seen given on various topics. It strikes me that if that is a good argument to use against, say, tax law then it’s a good argument to use against, say, marriage law.

                Additionally, I’ve seen the argument given that we, as a society, have the right to come to decisions about this, that, and the other. I’m wondering why that argument (a much stronger one, if you ask me) doesn’t apply to this as well.

                I say this: (redacted) culture. Leave it up to individuals. The second you outsource your decisions to “culture”, you may find that they, as a society, have decided that you can’t get married and, if you don’t like living in a democracy, you can move to Somalia.Report

              • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Jaybird says:

                They don’t! But people do things that they really have no right to do all the time, but just saying “you don’t have the right to do that!!!” is generally not enough to get them to stop.Report

              • Avatar Kyle in reply to JosephFM says:

                You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word. #fact

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                “All society can really do is deny hospital visitation rights.”

                And so much more Jay. So very much more.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:


    • Avatar Dave in reply to Jaybird says:


      See Romer v Evans.

      This is a simple 14th Amendment police power question. Can a state arbitrarily discriminate against one class of individuals on the basis of some characteristic of that group? The answer in Romer is clearly NO. The beauty of Romer is that the court didn’t even have to go through the fundamental rights/heightened scrutiny analysis to get there.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dave says:

        Hrm. Interesting.

        Maybe it would survive the Supreme Court after all.

        I don’t know, though. It seems one heckuva risk to take.Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to Dave says:

        Grr…. Justice Kennedy sort of pulled Romer out of a magical hat.

        It’s really one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever read. It’s so heavy on Colorado-hates-teh-gays but not so heavy on why Amendment 2 was unconstitutional other than the fact that it was an odious law. Also, Scalia’s dissent if you can get past the implicit homophobia is a treat.

        “That is to say, the principle underlying the Court’s opinion is that one who is accorded equal treatment under the laws, but cannot as readily as others obtain preferential treatment under the laws, has been denied equal protection of the laws. If merely stating this alleged “equal protection” violation does not suffice to refute it, our constitutional jurisprudence has achieved terminal silliness.”Report

        • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Kyle says:

          I’m guessing you may be a lawyer — or, at the least, legalish. So I’ll ask you: I’ve yet to see a persuasive 14th amendment argument for SSM. Here’s my thinking, and perhaps you can help me see where I’m missing the crux of the argument … 

          Jon and Jane marry. No one asks them if they’re straight, both gay, or planning a mixed-orientation marriage … they just do the blood test, and sign some paperwork. Jon’s gay. Gays can marry. The state isn’t saying that Jon can’t marry — 100s of 1000s of MOMs stand in evidence.

          That state, here, is stating that “marriage” means something specifically — and has, for some time. There’s no more discrimination here (this is where I see the 14th Amendment argument failing), than, say, the government delineating between buying and renting a home.

          Jon and Jane are in the market for a home. They find one that fits them perfectly. They sign some papers and move in. If they’re paying $1100 a month to Sally, who holds the title, they’re renting … but if they pay $1100 to Bank of America, who holds the title, they’re buying. Regardless of whether you call it buying or renting, 5 years later, Jon and Jane have moved. The experience in large measure is the same. But government treats the two arrangements differently — and so do Jon and Jane (if only subconsciously). Jon and Jane’s rights haven’t been infringed because they don’t get the same perks as buyers. They’re renters, and words have meaning.

          Of course, the question of _whether_ there should be differential treatment between renters and buyers is a good one to have — but it shouldn’t ever be construed as a question of 14th amendment rights. Differentiation is an integral part of lawmaking, and as such, can’t be a prima facie argument against a given policy.Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to Silus Grok says:

            I’m not a lawyer, IIRC Mark is.

            What you’re saying is sort of the standard conservative jurist position, conservative in an institutional sense. That marriage is defined by the state, which sets the terms of the civil contract and nominally defined as between one woman and one man.

            That the courts would see marriage as between two individuals and the differential gender/sex requirements to amount to suspect classification/invidious discrimination based on sexual orientation is anathema to conservatives. As far as I understand it the Pro-SSM legal push is claiming just that.

            What’s been frustrating for those groups, however, is that the judiciary really doesn’t know what kind of scrutiny to give discrimination claims/laws based on sexual orientation. The highest is suspect class, which is given to race but not sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is lumped with age and disability in the rational basis (lowest) category. At that level, almost any competent state can cobble together a rational basis for discrimination, which is why states can’t fire police officers because they’re hispanic but they can if they get old.

            However, sexual orientation is given suspect classification in CA, CT, MA, VT, IA, and a couple of other states, which is why their state supreme courts are somewhat overrepresented in delivering pro-SSM rulings. In the spate of state constitutional amendments it’s a lot harder for other state Supreme Courts (and now California) to make similar rulings. Incidentally, a lot of people were really confused about Iowa…when really it was a very logical next battleground.

            This leaves SCOTUS. SCOTUS which just doesn’t have the votes to push sexual orientation up to suspect classification nor for that matter the desire to.

            Nor could SCOTUS deliver a pro-SSM marriage ruling without it. As a matter of vote counting, you could probably find more votes for bumping sexual orientation up to suspect classification than you could for ruling that state constitutional amendments in half the union amount to an invidious and discriminatory denial of due process and don’t pass a rational basis of defining a civil contract.

            Shorter, I don’t really see it going anywhere judicially, without a host of new judges and/or legislative initiative at the state level. As for convincing arguments for using the 14th amendment to achieve SSM, I think the ones that don’t rely on suspect classification are fairly shoddy. The ones that do, have a lot that needs to get done before the courts are going to rule in their favor.Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to Kyle says:

              To clarify, the arguments requiring bumping up sexual orientation to suspect classification are IMHO are fairly persuasive, however, unlike race and religious orientation which were fairly straight-forward, such a change -judicially – would have far more uncertain ramifications.

              Essentially, suspect classification and strict scrutiny is reserved for groups that are discrete and insular, share an immutable trait, are politically vulnerable, and have a history of discrimination.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Kyle says:

              This is about right. Certainly it describes the Iowa decision to a “T.” Once the State determines that it is impermissible for private actors to discriminate based on sexual orientation, it becomes very difficult for the State to justify its own discrimination based on sexual orientation.

              In other words, the State can’t justify telling private actors that sexual orientation is, in effect, a suspect classification, and then turn around and say that its own use of that same classification is somehow not suspect.

              That’s why equal protection analysis applies – once it has been determined that a particular trait is an improper basis for discrimination, ie, that the trait tells us nothing relevant about a person’s character, then the State cannot go ahead and treat that trait as if it were somehow relevant for purposes of the law.Report

            • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Kyle says:

              Thanks, Kyle, Mark!Report

  3. Avatar jamie says:

    I think that it’s possible to think that homosexuality is immoral without being a bigot or even opposing gay marriage. In fact, I happen to think it’s a sin, but (similar to adultery) not one that the government has any business regulating; thus, GLBTs should have all the civil rights of marriage available to heteros.Report

    • Avatar Katherine in reply to jamie says:

      That’s my view as well.Report

    • Avatar Elizabeth in reply to jamie says:

      That’s so refershing to hear. I can’t tell you how many religious people I know who think it’s God’s commandment to do everything they can to make gay peoples’ lives more difficult.Report

    • Avatar historystudent in reply to jamie says:

      And I think it is possible to not be bigoted against gays but still believe that the traditional American (Western) definition of marriage should not be changed. I respect that homosexual couples can and do have loving, committed, longterm relationships, and for those there are civil unions that provide the same legal benefits. But marriage is not a political prize to be expanded at the behest of one group. It is a solemn bond BETWEEN the sexes (one man and one woman in our country and many others). This is a unique bond because it and only it can (notice I wrote “can” and not “has to”) naturally procreate. I want that natural and unique bond respected for itself. I do not want marriage to be morphed into a legal union that could potentially include not just same sex couples but also other kinds of “unions.” I respect gays, but I do not support any attempt to change the scope and meaning of marriage. That’s not bigotry. That’s principle.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to historystudent says:

        The problem, as has been pointed out elsewhere, is that this concept of marriage doesn’t really hold water for most hets. I have no problem letting traditionalists keep the name. However, an institution or legal construct must then must be created for everyone else. It’s unacceptable for the holy rollers to lay claim to an institution and then act as its gate keeper. Keep your institution but quit trying to stop others from creating a secular version.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to historystudent says:

        The problem with this is that marriage has already been redefined by heterosexuals with the advent of 99.44% effective birth control.

        Marriage was, once upon a time, a covenant between two people who were assumed to be bonded with the purpose of having kids. If two people did not have kids, the assumption was either that one of them was barren or that they had separate bedrooms (for whatever reason). Those were the assumptions. There weren’t no third way.

        With the advent of effective birth control, marriage transformed from “the foundation of the family” to “a contract between two people who loved each other”.

        Once it became the latter, it wasn’t *THAT* hard to get to the whole “I’m not in love anymore, I’m not happy, I want a divorce” thing rolling. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, this *TOTALLY* came to a head. It went from having one friend who had divorced parents to, like, friggin’ everybody having parents who got divorced.

        It seemed like I had more friends with divorced parents than friends without from around 1987 to 1990.

        Hell, my generation is the one that engineered the term “starter marriage”. First marriage, no kids, whoops, didn’t work out, get divorced, no harm no foul. Hey, at least they didn’t have kids. I’ve got a handful of friends who had one of those.

        If marriage is nothing more than a social contract that two people who are in love and want a life partnership together (and if they have kids, great!), then it’s something that, why the hell not?, gays ought to have access to.

        If the argument is that marriage oughtn’t be redefined… well, that’s something that you need to take up with the birth control people.Report

        • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Jaybird says:

          See, the funny thing regarding above is that this illustrates my point. But I agree: if you’re complaining about the “redefinition of marriage”, you’re about a century too late, at least.

          (Though I’d attribute said changes as much to economic shifts as birth control.)Report

      • Avatar Jim in reply to historystudent says:

        No that’s bigotry.Report

  4. Avatar M.Z. says:

    The simple fact is that if current demographic trends hold true, a majority of Americans will eventually support marriage equality.

    It depends on what you mean by demographics. Since gay marriage is predominantly a white fetish, I’m assuming you are not speaking of the increasing role of blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. What you are likely saying is if the youth persist in their views and pass their views on to the next generation. We have little reason to believe this will happen. The acceptance of homosexuality has not been a straight line in history. It has ebbed and flowed. We are presently at a peak for sexual libertinism and homosexuality. If history is our guide (rather than Disco Stu), we will move in a more puritanical direction before too long.Report

    • Avatar Gold Star for Robot Boy in reply to M.Z. says:

      The acceptance of homosexuality has not been a straight line in history. It has ebbed and flowed.

      You sure about that?

    • Avatar Elizabeth in reply to M.Z. says:

      I agree that acceptance of homosexuality has gone in ebbs and flows, but over a much longer arch of history, not mere generations. We have never before seen a time in the history of the US where gays could mostly lead open and honest lives. In doing so, we show straight people that we’re pretty much just normal people just like them. Never before has the straight majority been able to count so many gay people as trusted and beloved friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers. Maybe we won’t make it to full marriage equality, but never again will we be able to go back to the time when gays were universally demonized, and had absolutely no rights.

      Also, with regard to marriage equality being a “white fetish” I would suggest you check out the latest battleground in Washington, DC. The leader of the pro-gay marriage group is a black man, as is the leader of our local chapter of the gay democratic group. I would urge you to watch footage from the marriage hearings before the DC council the past few weeks, where a very diverse crowd (I’d say majority non-white) testified on behalf of marriage equality.Report

  5. Avatar Trumwill says:

    I wish that I had gotten my act together and could have voted in my state’s “Everything But Marriage” law, but I am on vacation at the moment and in a different state. I want gays to be allowed to marry (and not just “Everything But”).

    That being said, I am still not comfortable with it coming through the courts. The best response to the 49% number is to try to bring it down and n0t to ignore it. The more than public opinion is circumvented, the more backlash you are likely to see. In the last couple election cycles alone, we’ve made great strides. The issue has gone from toxic to close. I think that if we do this the right way, it’s one of those things that will become considerably uncontroversial very quickly. With court rulings we may get what we want, but it’ll come at a cost.

    (I say “we” as in supporters of gay marriage equality. I am not myself homosexual, but fall in the 9% that find it morally acceptable)Report

  6. Avatar Murali says:

    What is the difference between saying that something is morally permissible and that something is not a moral issue? i.e. if there are no moral reasons for or against X, then X is morally permissible.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

      A matter of taste vs. a matter of morality.

      If you believe that homosexuality vs. heterosexuality is merely an issue of snails vs. oysters, then it’s a matter of taste.

      If, however, you believe that sex between two people who love each other very much in a lifepartnership situation is a positive good in and of itself, it’s a moral issue (and morally acceptable).

      There. That was my best shot.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        So you are admitting you are for hot, steamy snail on oyster sex????


      • Avatar Derek in reply to Jaybird says:

        If you believe that homosexuality vs. heterosexuality is merely an issue of snails vs. oysters, then it’s a matter of taste.

        If, however, you believe that sex between two people who love each other very much in a lifepartnership situation is a positive good in and of itself, it’s a moral issue (and morally acceptable).

        There. That was my best shot.

        I’m afraid that your best shot isn’t quite on target — it reduces marriage to a question of sexual practice, and nothing more. As has been mentioned earlier in these comments, our present-day marriages affect legal matters including our taxes, whom we can visit in the hospital, & etc.

        One’s opinion of the moral value of sex between adults in a committed life partnership has no bearing upon the legal status of said relationship, nor should it. I’m sure a clear majority of people would say they consider adultery to be immoral — but adultery is not illegal. That may not be exactly apples to apples, but my point is that the legal structure of our society is made of far more than just morality by consensus.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Derek says:

          Then you answer the original question.

          Here it is:

          “What is the difference between saying that something is morally permissible and that something is not a moral issue?”Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to Jaybird says:


            FWIW, I thought it was pretty good shot.Report

          • Avatar Derek in reply to Jaybird says:

            Right, fair enough.

            At least in the context of same-sex marriage, I would say that there is not a difference, in the sense that it’s not an either/or proposition. Whether or not (and to whom) it is morally permissible is overridden by its not being a moral issue. It is a legal issue, a societal issue, a question of equal protection.

            Jay, after I posted my previous comment I realized that my disagreement is not really with your answer to this question but the question itself, and by extension a criticism of the Pew poll’s relevance. If I had it to do over, I would have made that distinction instead of directly criticizing your comment. So, uh… anyway.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to Derek says:

          “One’s opinion of the moral value of sex between adults in a committed life partnership has no bearing upon the legal status of said relationship, nor should it.”

          First, that’s normative.

          Second, as a positive claim, it’s not that accurate.

          Third, way to not address the point and context of what Jaybird was responding to.Report

          • Avatar Derek in reply to Kyle says:

            Not crickets – shower droplets. I was getting dressed and ready to leave, which I must do in a minute.

            I’m not sure to what extent you’ll be satisfied by my addressing of the question in my last reply. I wasn’t attempting to derail the conversation; I thought that my affinity for (and interpretation of) the “not a moral issue” position might address some of the head-scratching over what it meant.

            I’m not entirely moved off of my contention that adultery is not illegal by the fact of Sinatra’s arrest more than 70 years ago, amusing story though it is. Given the puritanical-sounding original charge of “seduction,” at the time apparently even the adultery rap was considered a persnickety provincial statute.

            I have questions about a couple of your other points, but they’ll have to wait till later on.Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to Derek says:

              Nah, I was being a bit unfair, though admittedly dying to use that mugshot for something.


              I mean I think it’s a lot simpler to say get your morals out of my laws than to actually do that. In general, I’m a bit bothered by the ahistoricism of the approach. More specific to gay marriage, I think amoral arguments (as opposed to moral/immoral) just aren’t terribly effective.Report

          • Avatar Derek in reply to Kyle says:

            Kyle, I ask below for clarification on a handful of terms you used in earlier comments — not in order to be nitpicky, but because I’d be genuinely interested to read your response. However, given that there are only so many hours in a day you may well not care to address each and every one. If so, it’s cool — no worries.

            One’s opinion of the moral value of sex between adults in a committed life partnership has no bearing upon the legal status of said relationship, nor should it.

            First, that’s normative.

            Second, as a positive claim, it’s not that accurate.

            I don’t quite follow. Are you saying my statement is normative or positive? In my (admittedly limited) understanding of rhetoric/argumentation “normative” essentially means subjective, and “positive,” objective; if this is the case, then surely my statement can’t be both. So which is it, and how does this diminish my point?

            I think it’s a lot simpler to say get your morals out of my laws than to actually do that.

            True, very true.

            In general, I’m a bit bothered by the ahistoricism of the approach. More specific to gay marriage, I think amoral arguments (as opposed to moral/immoral) just aren’t terribly effective.

            I don’t mean to suggest that the amoral argument by itself is sufficient for the purpose of effecting social change. I do think that there is a place for it, though. Out in the morass of our national miscourse™ it’s common to hear indignant declarations that SSM is homosexuals demanding “special treatment” (usually followed by fallacious slippery-slope predictions that the next group to demand legal recognition for their marriages will be polygamists or bestiality practitioners, etc). What we’re generally calling the “amoral” approach is thereby useful to point out that, in fact, SSM advocates are striving only for equal treatment for same-sex couples.Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to Derek says:

              One’s opinion of the moral value of sex between adults in a committed life partnership has no bearing upon the legal status of said relationship, nor should it.

              I was asserting my belief that this is a normative statement. What I cut from my comment but should’ve left in was to ask you why you think this should be the case as opposed to leaving it as self-evidently good.

              My second comment was meant to address the potential counter-argument that you weren’t making a normative claim. However, looking back on it – my first interpretation was that you were saying more than you were. I read it as saying there was no relationship between legally defined relationships and external opinions of the moral value of sex between adults (even in committed relationships), which is broader than your assertion. So apologies there.

              I’m going to split the difference with you on the slippery slope predictions, depending upon how SSM becomes legalized it actually can seriously weaken the grounds upon which we continue to criminalize polygamy and bigamy. Which isn’t a reason by itself to oppose gay marriage, but it’s certainly a reason not to write off the concern as crazy talk.

              To go a little bit OT and explore this amoral business some more. I don’t think liberals in general but SSM advocates in particular should be so quick to cede the language of morality in today’s Schwulekulturkampf (should I trademark this?).

              In politics, it’s rare to win subjective battles with objective arguments. In a battle between “make gays equal” and “deus velt…for the children,” there’s a very clear winner. So is there a place for it? Probably. To me though, I think it’s a line of argument that only looks appealing if you already agree with the message. However, if there’s a lesson from the civil rights movements of the 50’s and 60’s it’s that equality was a moral argument, not a way around it.Report

            • Avatar Kyle in reply to Derek says:

              also, nice job with miscourseReport

  7. Avatar Sam M says:

    “it’s pretty easy to believe that bigotry drives political action against same-sex marriage when you yourself belong to a minority group that was a regular target of disenfranchisement (or worse) for more than a century. ”

    Maybe. But if true, would this not lead us to believe that African-Americans would be far more open to the idea that “bigotry drives political action against same-sex marriage”?

    But most things I have read indicate that African-Americans are actually more likely than the general population to oppose same-sex marriage.

    When this happens, do these people consider themselves bigots?Report

  8. Avatar Kyle says:

    “In the meantime though, I think LGBT activist groups should take a page from the Civil Rights Movement and again begin focusing their challenges on the courts. It simply doesn’t make any sense to rely on the generosity of the majority (indeed, if black people did, segregation would have lasted for a whole lot longer).”

    LGBT activist groups have focused on challenges to the courts and well considering how Prop 8 turned out, that wasn’t exactly a winning strategy. In fact, it made it actively harder to legalize gay marriage through normal legislative channels. Which isn’t to blame it on the activists but to recognize that the ability to amend state constitutions to overturn judicial decisions is a counterattack that opponents of civil rights didn’t exactly have.

    Also, when it comes to landmark Civil Rights court cases, they were instrumental in galvanizing support and moving things in the right direction but it took decades and often Congressional action to actually make significant progress (see school desegregation and Brown).

    I think the judicial strategy is likely to result in majoritarian backlashes, fleeting and incomplete victories, and the creation of a new litmus test for judges that could make the courts another cultural battleground.

    If LGBT activists were as tactical, measured, and patient as the coalitions who sought to advance civil rights through the courts, I might agree. However, I doubt that they are. I doubt the nation will stand for it. I doubt opponents today will be caught off-guard and as under prepared as opponents of civil rights litigation.Report

    • Avatar Bayesian in reply to Kyle says:

      Kyle, what is the referent of “it” that you “doubt the nation will stand for”? I think you mean the pro-LGBT rights/SSM coalition (of which I am a member) trying to advance their cause by leading primarily with the courts (note that in many cases, e.g. Maine, the lead is with legislatures, not courts) versus winning referenda – correct?

      If I read you correctly, a) any particular comparison with some other leading-with-the-courts group/coalition that you’d care to offer as an example of the nation not standing for the court-leading strategy? I anticipate you bringing up abortion; proleptically I counter-offer the environmental movement (or for that matter, the church state disentanglement “movement”, which began with those damnably :} litigious and un-American Jehovah’s Witnesses and the like).

      b) what form do you expect the backlash to take? You mention litmus tests. I can see that happening – abortion again being the obvious precedent (cue standard if overblown comparison to abortion legalization process in the rest of the developed world).

      BTW, I agree with what I think you are saying about SSM specifically and substantive LGBT equality being likely to be a very live and divisive issue for at least a couple of generations.

      semi-OT, but I have no idea what you mean by opponents of civil rights litigation being “caught off-guard and under prepared”. I admit, the only two cases whose history I know at all well are Mendez and Brown, but (especially in Mendez) I don’t see what as a legal strategy the racists were supposed to have followed. No snark intended – if you had been legal advisor to the white citizens’ council or Buckley or Faubus or whomever, what would you have advised them to do? (note well, I’m not suggesting you retrospectively favor their positions; I can retrospectively tell the Kaiser how to win WW1 while being glad he didn’t). Please forgive and correct my ignorance if the answer is widely known – my stomach for reading the League of South, ISI, Claremont Institute etc. where I might be expected to find the answer is limited.Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to Bayesian says:

        ACK! Unclear antecedent alert. I doubt the nation would stand for gay marriage imposed via judicial fiat. I think there would be a decently sized mushy center of people who don’t really care all that much who would be incensed at being told what to do/accept.

        I find Maine disappointing because a.) I’m not a fan of referenda in general and b.) it did lead with the legislature and I fear what happened will have a deterrent effect in other states.

        A.) Abortion is the obvious example and I think the most analogous because in a lot of ways it’s an issue that strikes many of the same chords on culture, community, personal choice, and religious values in this country.

        I would challenge how analogous the environmental movement is because it does retain a fair amount of power in terms of state/federal legislation passed and federal regulatory power. It could just be me but I don’t think of judicial leadership in environmentalism.

        I think it’s less apt but school desegregation, which was an issue of judicial leadership for over a decade. Resistance to Brown was an issue addressed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and not for nothing.

        B.) I would prefer judges that aren’t asked about how they’ll rule on gay marriage, first of all. Second, I think the shocking success of referenda and state constitutional amendment drives to keep “opposite marriage” the only type of marriage, raises the bar. Trench warfare and fear of the slippery slope on gay marriage might make people less likely to pass other laws granting rights.

        I just think there are two important things to remember, time is definitely on the side of pro-SSM forces in a way that is quicker and more obvious than it was with either women or african-americans.
        Second, I think it means more for a majority to recognize and legislate affirmatively for gay marriage than to have the courts rub it in the faces of a slight or sizeable majority of people, depending on your state.Report

        • Avatar Bayesian in reply to Kyle says:

          Gotta run, so forgive the quick answer.

          If you read the hardcore anti-environmental writings, they do perceive the environmental movement as a profoundly antidemocratic litigation/adminstrative agency ratchet (in their mind taking laws like the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, etc. far beyond their “original intent”, just as e.g. incorporation via the due process clause violates “original intent”).

          How about the second example – atheists are still as hated as ever (though certainly more in the larger society’s face overall), but though the ratchet is getting stickier I would argue that the overall trend of church state litigation over the last say twenty years is still slightly in the secularists’ favor. Do you disagree? Do you think taking a “public acceptance before litigation” strategy would have been more successful?

          BTW, I agree that the demographic/political trends over the next generation or so _probably_ favor full legal equality for LGBTs, but I’m far from certain how long the trend will persist – thinking teh ghey is teh ick to a criminalizable degree is, while far from as universal as the right would like to think, dishearteningly common in the anthropological literature (i.e. independent of the specific strand in the Abrahamic religions and their respective civilizations). I have reasonable hope that the pendulum will swing far enough before reversing that “our” gains can be locked in enough to provide hysteresis against the reaction, but I’m far from sure.

          BTW, yes, I know that my anthropological argument could be used to support a probabilistic argument for a return to women as property, but:

          1) The societal restructuring caused by technological development IMHO puts a stronger ratchet under women’s emancipation than it does under LGBT equality; and
          2) I _think_, but can’t really defend due to not enough factual (e.g. neurological extended phenotype) basis, that the deep seated sources of “teh ghey is teh ick” are _less_ amenable to suppressed by “polite society” pressures (as compared to e.g. overt racism).Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to Bayesian says:

            In terms of the, “public acceptance before litigation,” strategy, I think you can find analogues and contrasts but the more different they are the less useful. In this case, hardcore anti-environmentalists don’t have the same clout and organization as do anti-abortionists and anti-SSM advocates.

            With atheists, I would say litigation has helped push the culture along but by the same token that stems from consensus respect for the 1st amendment (in general) and a different body of jurisprudence than the pro-SSM route which runs through an area of ongoing (not settled) cultural debate about the limits of toleration and respect and the far murkier waters of the 14th amendment jurisprudence.

            “2) I _think_, but can’t really defend due to not enough factual (e.g. neurological extended phenotype) basis, that the deep seated sources of “teh ghey is teh ick” are _less_ amenable to suppressed by “polite society” pressures (as compared to e.g. overt racism).”

            I would agree with this, I also think that’s why the approaches should be radically different. I don’t think you can understand racism and counter it. In the way that you can understand were some strands of homophobia/bias stem from and work to counter them.

            Put another way, there’s enough evidence to say that generations of people knowing out gays who are friends, family members, and co-workers, is a big reason why acceptance is trending upwards. I don’t think generations of knowing more black people, however, has had the same effect.Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to Bayesian says:

        On the OT question, you know it’s less that there should’ve been or was an obvious racist legal strategy, it’s just that in pursuing civil rights litigation not just for african-americans but for women, unmarried couples, etc…

        The NAACP and the ACLU were very smart about it. They built up precedents, they had institutional allies, they were selective in which cases they brought and when. There simply was no coherent conservative legal movement until these successes created one as a response.

        Now there is. I think it’s entirely unclear that you could replicate the successful litigation that essentially created our legal framework for looking at issues of discrimination, sexual rights, and privacy rights – among others – in today’s legal environment.

        So I could give it a thought, but my comment has less to do with specific strategy than a completely different operational environment.Report

        • Avatar Bayesian in reply to Kyle says:

          OK. That the operational environment now is quite different I agree. I (mis-)triggered on the “off-guard and under prepared”. The racists had plenty of time to prepare – e.g. the move of the modal Democrat to the pro-civil rights position was written on the wall by 1948; I suppose a Really Smart Person might have been able to predict the Southern Strategy in 1948 as well based on the Democrat’s motion and Duverger’s Law.Report

  9. Avatar Silus Grok says:

    I must say that I’m hesitant to wade into this discussion. First, I’m a newcomer to the blog, so I have no capital here; I’m just another handsome avatar. Second, I’ve discovered — time and again — that my opinion is unpopular. At some level, I’d like to think, it’s unpopular because I don’t have the time, space, or rhetorical tools to do it justice. But mostly it’s unpopular because it seems, for all it’s worth, to be the opinion of an Uncle Tom.

    But that’s never stopped me before.

    I’m a gay man — out and well-adjusted — who doesn’t support gay marriage. Had I lived in California, I would have voted YES on 8 … and had I lived in Washington, I would have been on the “wrong” side of their recent initiative as well. Maine is a little different, by virtue of the strange ballot language and the complex history of the issue, there — neither of which I have my head wrapped around.

    I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t pretend to understand 200+ years of precedent — but my reading of the US Constitution doesn’t really leave much room to quibble on the issue. Any man and woman — regardless of their orientation, religion, race, or pretty much anything besides age and their not being cousins — can marry in this country. That’s what marriage is. Defining marriage thusly is no more discrimination than defining renting and buy a home as two separate affairs — even though they look the same on paper. With that perspective in mind, I can’t help but believe that ramming the issue through the courts — expecting/demanding that the courts invent something out of whole cloth — is anything but an affront to the rule of law.

    Moreover, acceptance by fiat doesn’t work. Change takes time … a LOT of time. And impatience is not an excuse for petulance.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Silus Grok says:

      Mmhmm, well that’s fine. So far you’re similar to the right in that you have a strong negative position regarding SSM. You also are like the right in that your commentary is bereft of any positive position about homosexuals.

      So that is to say: If not SSM then what?

      To this the position of the right is “Nothing. Now please disappear back into your closets.” Clearly slightly less than half the populace doesn’t agree with that position and it’s the growing half of the population too.

      So is that your position as well? If not, then what?Report

      • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to North says:

        I’m not entirely sure what you mean when you say that my “commentary is bereft of any positive position about homosexuals”. I absolutely adore myself … and I’m gay. I’ll likely have a better response when I understand the concern better.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Silus Grok says:

          No problem, I will try and elaborate. In these terms a negative positon would be one that negates my position. For instance there is a hole in the road. I say “lets lay a board over the hole.” You say “No laying a board over the hole is a bad idea.” You have a negative position towards the board laying idea in that you are opposed to it. If instead you said “No, lets fill the hole in with gravel.” You have a positive position in that rather than merely negating a proposed solution to the problem you are also proposing an alternative to the solution you disagree with.

          Does that help at all?Report

          • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to North says:

            Yes, it does … my position lacked an affirmative response. Mostly because an affirmative response would have drug me deeper into the discussion that I was ready to wade. That said, I gave the bones of an affirmative response to Kyle, below.


      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Oh and welcome to the site. Put on a monocle and make yourself at home.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Silus Grok says:

      Yay new voices. Yay unpopular opinions.

      That said, I think that’s a perfectly fair opinion. I’m curious though, do you not support gay marriage at all – or do you not support particular methods of fighting for gay marriage?Report

      • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Kyle says:

        D) All the Above 🙂

        … I don’t support gay marriage. I would support civil unions (with some caveats).

        … I also have grave concerns over how this battle is unfolding. In our rush to carve out a PR coup for ourselves, we are leaving other families in the lurch. There are plenty of ways we could address the hardships that same-sex couples — and, in particular, same-sex parents — that would ALSO address the needs of families, generally.

        Here’s an example of my thinking: partner health benefits. In America, today — much to my thorough disappointment — health benefits flow from the workplace: I work, I have employee insurance, my spouse is covered (most of the time). So what do we do? We fight for same-sex partner benefits (for direct redress) or same-sex marriage (as an indirect approach). But what if we simply stepped back from the problem, took off our lapel pins, and asked how we could really help ALL families … I’d say we extend the employee’s benefits to cover all members of the household (we’d have to define that a bit, of course). What would that do? It’d certainly cover same-sex partners, common law spouses, adult children living at home — it would even incentivize dad to bring his aged mother home from the nursing home. Suddenly, we have multi-generational households again. Now THAT’S something to crow about.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to Silus Grok says:


          I actually feel the fight for gay marriage distracts time and energy from less emotionally resonant issues for something that is probably more symbolically powerful than instrumentally important.

          For example, sure marriage is great, but employment discrimination, developing support networks for gay teens, public health initiatives etc… are all – in my book – more substantively important. Put another way, I doubt allowing two women to register at Pottery Barn is the most effective way to put a sizeable dent in the considerably high rate of not-straight teen suicide.

          So, on that, I think we agree. If not on the value of gay marriage itself.Report

          • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Kyle says:

            @Sam: the laws, of course, would be crafted in a way to exact costs for the benefit rendered. In other words, you and your beer buddies would be forced to consider whether the benefit of being a “household” outweighed the costs. The secret, of course, would be crafting a cost schedule that encouraged the behavior @Cascadian suggests, namely: “encouraging people to take care of each other rather than relying on welfare” — while knitting the members of said household together in a way to prevent associations of convenience.Report

        • Avatar Sam M in reply to Silus Grok says:

          “I’d say we extend the employee’s benefits to cover all members of the household (we’d have to define that a bit, of course). What would that do?”

          I’ll tell you what it would have done for me: A few years back, I was living with a few buddies in a beer-can-strewn hovel in Baltimore. At least one of us was always unemployed. Sometimes two. Only the ones working had insurance.

          We talked a lot about what would happen if companies would pay for “partner” benefits the same way they paid for spousal benefits. We wondered if we would have “played gay.” It was just a discussion. And I am sure we would have never done that. Or… I hope not. But we were young and stupid, so you never know.

          What I am getting at is that the notion of “defining” a household or a family gets really, really complicated once you start meddling with the definition. Should a live-in girlfriend count? What if she has been a live-in girlfriend for the past 18 years and she has three kids with you? Why would we have laws that do not give insurance to her, but laws that do require a company to give insurance to some guy’s fourth wife in five years?

          And come to think of it… why NOT a drinking buddy? I lived with mine for many years. We had what you might consider a committed relationship. when they were out of work, my paycheck kept them off welfare. They did the same for me.

          Some people choose to have a conventional life with a wife and 2.4 kids. Some people choose not to. So once you start saying, OK, this counts, this we will support and subsidize, pretty soon other people come calling.

          This is neither an argument for or against gay marriage. But a reminder that crap can get pretty complicated pretty fast. Because jerk-ass people like me and my friends will be pretty happy to game the system, for what’s theirs. Or will at least consider doing so if you make it worth their while.Report

          • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Sam M says:

            You’re beer buddies are a great example. If we conceive of the government as encouraging people to take care of each other rather than relying on welfare instead of trying to recreate some fictional account of the fifties, heck yeah. You should have been given a deduction and support for helping your clan. You gave them support both emotionally and financially. Supposedly, you helped them on their journey and you kept them off of welfare. All good.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Silus Grok says:

          Hmm well far as I’m aware there actually isn’t much to any statute or government law the makes corporate health benefits accrue to married partners right now. Most companies, my own as well, extend health benefits to spouses (and in many cases to their great credit to same sex spouses) of their own volition. So would this proposal not represent a significant new government involvement into corporate health benefits?

          Of course I suppose this particular issue may be moot as the current administration is coming remarkably close to instituting quite an overhaul to the current system anyhow.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Silus Grok says:

      Yes! Welcome to new and interesting opinions given by new and interesting people!

      This post does do a good job of reminding me that whatever my opinion of this topic is… it’s not exactly *MY* fight. I think that any two people should be allowed to hammer out stuff for themselves, of course… but given that that isn’t an option, how much of this is *MY* fight one way or the other?Report

      • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Jaybird says:

        This is absolutely your fight. To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite TV shows, we “live together or die alone”. The family is an integral part of the fabric of society — and, as such, demands our vigilant care. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gay marriage, ambivalence isn’t really an option. And while I don’t think you meant it this way, Jaybird, too many of our compatriots bow out of important discussions with that phrase — that it’s not “their fight” — only to get back to their XBOX sooner.

        And what’s worse: opinion makers see this sentiment and play it up … mocking opponents of SSM in comedy skits where they ask us if our marriages are any worse the wear because Adam and Steve have gotten hitched.

        * bristles as shallow but effective rhetoric *Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Silus Grok says:

          Well, I take some comfort in the thought that my preferred solution isn’t terribly paternalistic in the whole “I know what’s best for (group)” sense. Let those inclined to get married get married, let those inclined to union civilly do that, let those inclined to live in sin do that, and let those inclined to complain about the other people do that. Let not the gummint get involved as marriage is a First Amendment issue and various religions can do more or less whatever they want so long as tax law is prepared to deal with the consequences and everything else is nobody’s business.

          But I don’t like the whole “(members of group) should X!” thing that sometimes shows up.

          (Members of group) are individuals, first and foremost. To treat them as (members of group) rather than individuals is to do them a disservice.

          I support gay marriage not because I’m gay but because I don’t think that people should have the ability to deny marriage to two people who want to get married.

          Far too often, I encounter arguments that say “well, we as a society ought to be able to deny marriage to this group, that group, and this other group… but we should totally start granting marriage to THIS GROUP HERE!!!”

          And then, when it goes up to a vote, we hear how we, as a society, are bigots because we, as a society, didn’t want to change things from how they were yesterday.

          It’s frustrating, I think, is what I’m saying.Report

        • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Silus Grok says:

          “mocking opponents of SSM in comedy skits where they ask us if our marriages are any worse the wear because Adam and Steve have gotten hitched.”

          Are you married? Troll?Report

  10. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Not being petulant hardly explains the theoretical votes against. Technically Dread Scott is correct and the Fourteenth is a scam. I can buy, “I want no part of this marriage stuff”. I can also buy leave marriage to the traditionalists but give me or my brothers “everything but”. That’s as far as I can see.Report

  11. Avatar North says:

    Jamelle I’m going to have to say that I’m with Kyle on this one. It’s a great post and good analysis but the prescription is ill advised IMHO.
    The courts are a weak branch of government to try and hang SSM off of. We’ve already seen the extent of their inability to bring about SSM and speaking personally I don’t think it would be a good idea to get it that way anyhow even if they had the power to grant it.

    Politically I believe that the SSM debate in this country has actually been progressing very well. Compared to racial civil rights the rights of gay people have moved with wildfire speed. The fact that homosexuality cuts across racial lines and that almost everyone is (increasingly) in close contact with gay people is probably a strong factor in the speed of the progress. The courts have done a wonderful task getting the ball rolling but I think that the cause as “grown” beyond them and that excessive fixation on the courts would set us back badly. The battle has moved into the legislatures and gays have done well robbing their opponents of one of their best sound bites by achieving gay rights legislatively as well as judicially. We now are enjoying the spectacle of seeing the right who only a few short years ago were singing the praises of the principled constitutional legislatures that were being short-circuited by the courts now scrambling to assemble populist mobs to overturn legislative decisions. There’s a lot of narrative power in that.

    Long term of course the best way to win SSM is also the most natural. Gays merely need to stop hiding and be politely unapologetic about their orientation and existence. Rafts of studies have shown that knowing a gay person personally produces an enormous plunge in anti-gay attitudes.

    Politically the ground is pretty fertile too. Don’t ask don’t tell is being blatantly measured for the butchers block as we speak. As soon as that obnoxious anachronism gets the axe then gay patriots and service members will be able to add their voices to the discussion without fear. I don’t think Americans will fancy telling their own veterans that there is no civil option for marrying the person they love. As soon as California gets their act together the odds are excellent that there will be a reversal of that states position. New York is ready to enact SSM legislatively, it’s more gummed up by the intricacies of New York state politics than it is by powerful opposition in the legislature.

    This isn’t to short change the anguish that gay people suffer under the current affairs. As a person who recently married my husband in Canada I’m keenly aware of it. But as long as we keep pushing the way we’re going it’s not a question of if SSM will happen but when. Even the right wingers generally admit it.Report

  12. Avatar Texbetsy says:

    Stupid poll.

    I don’t much like carrots either, but I would never deny anyone else the right to marry one.

    My belief about homosexuality should not have any relevance to my support of marriage equality, except possibly between people and carrots.Report

  13. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Oh my! It seems like Carrie Prejean won’t be the spokesperson for the anti-gay camp for long. Justice.Report

  14. Avatar A.R.Yngve says:

    Then why not rewrite the original Declaration of Human Rights to fit the actual views of the public:
    “We The People believe that all men (except Negroes, Sodomites, Musulmans, Jews, Catholicks, Atheists, Mexicans and any Foreigners we may come to dislike in the future)…”

  15. Avatar J. Scott Coatsworth says:

    You say the gay rights movement should go back to the courts, and stop trying to win this at the ballot box. What you’re overlooking is that, to date, EVERY SINGLE BALLOT BOX FIGHT was brought by the religious right. Gay rights advocates have never, to my knowledge (yet at least) brought a single vote to the people. We’ve instead been forced to fight there by our opponents every time. So I don’t think it’s up to us whether or not this gets fought in front of voters. Am I wrong?Report