The inevitable march toward equality continues

| April 8, 2009 | 24 Replies

Iowa & Vermont just became the third and fourth American states to legalise gay marriage. They join Massachusetts and Connecticut in a small but no doubt slowly growing club: states who are no longer bound to bigotry against their own citizens. Running score: Humanity – 4; Dark-Aged superstitious bollocks – 46. But the human beings are making ground.

Also, it seems DC is now willing to recognise same-sex marriages performed in other states. Do I hear a tide turning here? Sploosh, sploosh. Yes. Yes, I do. I’m willing to take bets on how long it takes the remaining 46 to come around (in the case of Calfiornia, to come back around). It might take a decade or even a few decades, but one thing’s for sure: it’s inevitable. Fighting this is as effective as Canute attempting to hold back the ocean.

Image by joeandkelly at Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image by joeandkelly at Flickr (Creative Commons)

Predictably, various proponents of the “gay marriage = slippery slope to hell in a handbasket where everyone can marry their sister” or “omg the liberal ay-leet are a-tryin’ to dess-troy Jeee-zuss with their The Gay Agendas!” arguments are coming out of the woodwork, riding their highest horses onto oversized soapboxes and, well, bitching and moaning like a pack of moaning bitches. Some make the arse-backwards claim that The Gays are trying to destory marriage itself! Well, somebody needs to explain that to me. Gay couples want to be a part of something that they’ve been excluded from for their entire lives – how does that equate to wanting to destroy it? All gay people want is the same thing everyone else gets: the right, bestowed at birth, to marry the love of their life. They don’t want to ruin it for anyone, including themselves.

Of course (and as usual) when it comes to fundamentalist hand-wringing loons, the reality of the situation is something completely different. They say it’ll destroy the institution of marriage, they say it’ll mean the end of the family, some even seem to think it’s all part of The Gay Agenda’s plan to have The Gay taught in every schoolroom in the country (and by “The Gay” these people mean “have sex with anything, anywhere, anytime”). However, what they really mean is “Wah. Sob. We’re losing our grip on an exclusive Christian heterosexual privilege that we didn’t earn (but got really, really used to having, puh-raise Jee-zuss) and have really only held onto through laziness/reluctance/fear of losing votes on the part of the legislature and disproportionate fundamentalist representation & lobbying in government going back two or three decades. Oh noes! People are waking up and realising that not only will they not go to Hell for giving The Gays equality, they’re also starting to realise we in the Religious Right are not as numerous or important as everybody used to think we are (and they may be onto the fact that we’re hyper-reactionary & paranoid with delusions of persecution – or perhaps they’ve just realised we’re full of shit)! And not only that, it’s all happening democratically and we on the nutjob fringe don’t have the numbers to stem the tide forever! Oh, and thinking about gays just makes me feel … icky … so they shouldn’t get to marry each other. It’s unnatural … or something. There’s even something in Leviticus about them being, well, icky, in the eyes of God (but we won’t discuss the other parts of the Bible that make selling my daughters into slavery or killing the children of my enemies or massacring, with bears, children who tease bald people just fine – they’re just metaphors, outdated tribal moralities or other things that can be described by various phrases designed to both support our bigotry and deflect criticism of it).”

Tough cheese, brethren. You’ve had it your way for long enough and it’s time to let the other kids play. Time for equality – not “special rights”, not privileges above and beyond those of good ol’ God-fearin’ straight folk – just the same rights and the same privileges everyone who happens to like the opposite sex gets. Hell, some would argue that it’s straight people who’ve had the special treatment for so long and that it’s simply time to level the playing field for everyone.

As any childcare worker or nanny could tell you, the kid who gets spoiled rotten his whole life and suddenly gets asked to include other kids in his sandbox is always going to throw a tantrum. So what do you do? Give him a cuddle and make the others go away? Or tell him to harden up and deal with reality? You can’t insulate yourself from stuff you find objectionable forever. After all, people here in the real world have been tolerating bleating fundie idiocracy and its accompanying rise to inordinate levels of power and influence for years. Well, it’s time for a dose of reality. Time for all hysterical homophobes to harden up and deal with the inevitable progress of fairness & equality – or be remembered in a similar light as those who opposed Rosa Parks sitting where she damn well pleased.

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Category: Civil Rights, Culture, Sex, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Hank was born of bird-watching bushwalking music-loving parents from whom he gained his love of nature, the universe & bicycles. Today he's a musician, non-profit aid worker, beagle keeper and fair & balanced internet commentator - but that just means he has a chip on each shoulder.

Comments (24)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Hank: I agree with you entirely. But not everyone agrees with you (as you indicate quite clearly). Check out the self-pity overflowing from this hard-to-believe ad. Hey, PEOPLE! No one took anything from you. You are free to live how YOU want. Oh, I forgot. You might see a gay couple walking by holding hands and that would RUIN your lives. "Baaaaa!" I can hear them wailing. Whenever my police department isn't kicking down the door of a gay couple to keep them from having private consensual sex, it ruins MY life! Whenever we aren't condemning gay sex at the public school, we are encouraging our children to be gay!"

    And dig the end of the video. These people are coming together "in love" to do battle against those who think gays should have the same rights as straights.

    <embed src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1155201977&quot; bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashVars="videoId=18852128001&playerId=1155201977&viewerSecureGatewayURL =https://console.brightcove.com/services/amfgateway&servicesURL=http://services.brightcove.com/services&cdnURL=http://admin.brightcove.com&domain=embed&autoStart=false&" base="http://admin.brightcove.com&quot; name="flashObj" width="486" height="412" seamlesstabbing="false" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" swLiveConnect="true" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash"></embed&gt;

  2. Hank says:

    Hoo baby!

    I'd call Poe on that and laugh my arse off – if I didn't know better. Which is precisely what's so very sad: people actually believe that the simple of fact of a gay couple (not a triple, not a quadruple and a gibbon, but two people) being married is somehow going to affect, in a vastly negative way, their freedom of religion or speech or the freedom to indoctrinate their kids with hatred, not understanding, of people that are different. If people choose to find homosexuality distateful or whatever, they're free to do so. Nothing about these rulings is going to change that, noone's going to force The Gay down their kids' throats at school and nobody reasonable gives a sweet god-damn about their paranoia. This clip belongs next to Glenn Beck's latest ultra-nationalist tinfoil-hatted blubbering – which actually did make me laugh my arse off – and Ben Stein's "Darwin = Holocaust" bullshit from Expelled and subsequent "science leads you to killing people" interview comment (which did not make me laugh).

  3. Danny says:

    I love reading DI, it usually presents a view opposing to my own, which I think is healthy. I enjoy discourse and debate. However, I have to admit that I was trepidacious about commenting because I don't speak like or think like the type of people you present as the opposition, even though I disagree with some of your points. I don't want to seem rude, just letting you know that the language discourages discussion… which is fine if that's the intent. But honestly, I can appreciate the emotion behind your writing if you're speaking as someone who has been hurt or offended by the hyper-critical "religious right."

    I wanted you to elaborate on the comment "All gay people want is the same thing everyone else gets: the right, bestowed at birth, to marry the love of their life." What do you mean by "bestowed at birth?" Are you speaking of a legal right, humanitarian right, or something else?

  4. AnonaMiss says:

    Yay gay marriage, long time coming, equality Constitutional rights woo.

    That said, am I honestly the only one on this whole site who sees that "Omg the liberal ay-leet are a-tryin’ to dess-troy Jeee-zuss with their The Gay Agendas!" is as offensive a characterization as "Raundry done right, one dorrar!"? Just because a certain prejudice and stereotype are based on a class-and-location dialect rather than a racial dialect does NOT make them any more acceptable.

    You call it "concern trolling", while the sociolinguistics of power just attest to YOUR privilege as a speaker of a higher-status dialect.

    I dropped it on the other thread because, as Erich pointed out, you did acknowledge that what you said was over the top, and I figured you'd tone it down after that. (Also because I got tired of clicking through the archives once it went off the first page.) Clearly that's not the case, so I'm calling you on it again.

  5. Hank says:

    Welcome Danny

    Put simply, I speak of the right that heterosexuals in free nations have to marry whom they choose. People (myself included) grow up knowing, taking for granted and barely even thinking about the fact that they can someday marry whomever they want. Unless, of course, it turns out they're not heterosexual, in which case the government (in 46 out of 50 states in the US) says "no, you can't make your relationship official and recognised because marriage = man + woman" – with no real justification. That's the point. Marriage in free countries is a birthright and withheld from noone – unless it turns out you're not heterosexual, then you have to fight tooth and bloody nail for it. For years.

    Comments from anyone are always welcome at DI (with a few small caveats: see the comments policy) and at my posts. I only ask that people be able to justify their opinions and be reasonable. I realise my style can seem combative or provocative or just plain cranky to some people, but it's not meant to be – it's just that I'm often writing in reaction to something, which is the source of the emotional content, plus I find writing and playing about with words a lot of fun. So go forth without trepidation!

    As for the "religious right", I haven't been personally discriminated against by them but that's not relevant – the principle of marriage equality in 21st century democracies is worth writing about by anyone with a concern for civil rights and humanity. The very same issue plagues my own country (Australia), and many others, as we speak. Simply, I've yet to hear any argument against gay marriage which makes any damn sense. It frustrates me that my loving, committed, law-abiding, tax-paying gay friends have to fight this ridiculous battle in the year 2009. Or just go to New Zealand!

  6. Danny says:

    Hank,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. I can appreciate the fun wordplay, didn't see the satire at first…

    Where I was leading at with my question was really a question about the nature of inherent rights within a humanistic/naturalistic framework. Who says anyone has a right to get married, gay or straight? Whence are rights? Whence comes marriage?

    If I've got a captive audience, I have a sincere question that I've not been able answer. Is the heart of the matter on gay marriage about equal legal rights (e.g., for taxes, inheritance issues, adoption, and the like), or about equal social acceptance of the lifestyle? Do people who are gay truly not mind if some majority of the population morally disagrees with their lifestyle as long as they receive civil and legal rights the same as marriage, or are they tired of and offended by people disagreeing with their lifestyle and so think that calling it the same as a hetero marriage is a victory toward equal moral acceptance?

    Basically, I'm asking if a civil union that provided EXACTLY the same rights as married couples would be satisfactory, or in your eyes does the mere fact that it doesn't have the moniker "marriage" carry too strong a social stigma and therefore it'll never carry the same acceptance?

    For the record, I don't think being gay is a choice and I'm sincerely bothered by the way many gay people are treated. This topic is so sticky because it touches on our most sensitive areas as humans; our sole identities. In trying to condemn gay marriage and ostracize gay people, people are telling gay people "your core identity and core impulses are sick and wrong," which is quite sad. Likewise, in trying to condemn and ostracize people with religious views and following centuries-old traditions, people are saying "your core identity and core belief system is sick and wrong."

  7. Hank says:

    “AnonaMiss” whoever the hell you are (more than one DI member has theories on that), your concern is noted. I’m sure whoever it is you’re protecting appreciates it. I’m equally sure nobody here gives a good god damn.

    You figured I’d tone “it” down and now you’re disappointed that I didn’t? Well, aint that a damn shame. It’s also a good lesson about expectations & projection.

    Opposition to gay marriage comes in many & varied forms. All too often it’s the form of southern Christian fundamentalism. That’s a fact. Hence the caricature – a caricature of values specific to a certain sub-set of a population group from a specific geographical location, not of class or of socio-economic status. After all, some very stinking rich people (including but not limited to extremely wealthy TV preachers who make shitloads of money and talk about gays threatening the American family – the chaps who are most deserving of my caricature) talk with a twang. I submit that it’s you who made an erroneous connection between “southern twang” and “poor southern person.” You seem dedicated to coming here, trolling for attention and painting me as some kind of racist or classist or some other kind of bigot. Your argument has been found wanting.

    Now, stylistic criticism aside, feel free to return when (if!) you have a comment that’s on-topic.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      I’m enjoying the irony. A guy who goes WAY out on the limb to advocate gay rights is being called a bigot because he does his work by satirically assuming the character of a gay-hating fundamentalist demagogue.

    • Hank says:

      Irony. Like goldy or bronzey, only made of iron.

      So sayeth Blackadder, second series :)

      I find it interesting that AnonaWhoeverTheHeckSheIs is happy to be so proper and damning and forthright and stick up, troll-club brandished, for the poor oppressed caricature – and all under a crappy pseudonym. One would expect convictions so strongly held would warrant putting one's own name to them, not some alias pulled from one's rectum.

  8. Danny says:

    FYI–I just read the comment and email policy and don't want my in-comment inquiries to cause redirection off topic. The post just stirred up some questions I had and so launched them, but I want to follow etiquette within this community.

    Thanks!

  9. Hank says:

    Thanks Danny

    Good questions! I think the heart of the matter, realistically, is about equal legal, financial & family rights as you described. Naturally I think it would be great if people did just accept that gay people aren't monsters out to ruin the party for straight people but again, realistically, it's not going to happen. People have the right to act like bastards towards their fellow man for no reason and there are always plenty of people willing to exercise that right. The gay people I know are fully aware that there are segments of the population that find their "lifestyle" abhorrent or morally objectionable or some other wowserism (aside: I consider that a misnomer – a lifestyle is something chosen and I agree with you that sexual orientation is no such conscious choice). But it doesn't bother them. This fight isn't about getting people to "accept" them, just to stop governments excluding them from certain privileges of a free society that are unrestricted to everyone else. After all, my gay friends work, pay taxes, are licensed to drive, vote, obey the law (or face the penalties as anyone else if they don't) and enjoy all the privileges and have the same responsibilities as I do. I see no reason that they should be excluded from being married, like I am. Obviously not all gay people want to get married but the same applies to straight people.

    I think if a civil union provided precisely the same legal status as a marriage, then why not just call it a marriage if that's what it legally functions as anyway? Why the need for one term for one group of people and a different term for another? Why continue this separation, even if only in word but not in law? Pro-equality advocates just want, well, equality. Not special treatment, not to be "separate but equal", but to be actually equal – the same treatment and same rights for everyone. You could, if you wanted, argue that it's the anti-gay marriage crowd who are after special treatment and privilege. I realise, however, that it can be difficult for some people to see that they're privileged because they've never known anything different – "it's no privilege, it's just how things are". Like I said in my post, if you've been privileged your whole life and are suddenly asked to include others in something you've always thought was yours and always would be, it can be a bit of a shock to the system. But sometimes systems need to be shocked so they can grow and improve and strengthen.

    I liked your last paragraph – not only are anti-gay advocates saying "your life and who you are is sick and wrong", they're adding "because of that, you don't deserve to be a full member of our society." Which sickens me. Separating societies into different groups based on more or less superficial differences has been tried on more than one occasion and never with good results.

    To touch on the comment about religious people; personally it's not the religion itself that I condemn. People can believe what they want. It's what people do in the service of their faith that shows who they truly are. Sadly, especially for moderate or progressive religious people, much opposition to equality comes from strongly religious people or groups who use religion to justify the oppression of or discrimination against their perceived "enemies". It's like they're putting up a sign saying "no discussion allowed; this is God's word" and at the same time washing their hands of responsibility for their own all-too-human bigotry.

    Finally, don't worry too much about going off-topic. We're pretty liberal about that kind of stuff around here – it's just when stuff gets really tangential or preachy or offensive that things start getting edited.

    Cheers, hope you drop in again

    H

    • Danny says:

      Hank: I think if a civil union provided precisely the same legal status as a marriage, then why not just call it a marriage if that’s what it legally functions as anyway? Why the need for one term for one group of people and a different term for another? … Not special treatment, not to be “separate but equal”, but to be actually equal – the same treatment and same rights for everyone.

      This is probably where we deviate on this issue. I am for equal legal rights for committed gay couples just as there are now for married couples. However, the differences between gay couples and straight couples are different enough that I think changing the current definition of marriage is not the best. To me, the differences between the sex act and lifestyle dynamics with gay couples versus straight couples is not just a difference of degree, but a difference of type. They're fundamentally different so calling it the same thing does not seem like "equality."

      It's the same bone I pick with people who, in the name of racial equality, say that we should all be color blind when dealing with our fellow man. If "color blind" means to act as if they are not the color they are, then an intrinsic uniqueness about that person has been lost. Rather than be "color blind" with race, I think it better to recognize and celebrate the differences while not discriminating. I understand this is a challenge in society because either extreme (making bland our unique qualities in the name of equality or wrongly discriminating based on these differences) is an easy and natural pitfall.

      The analogy may be weak, but calling gay and straight marriage all "marriage" is like saying we should call people of all colors "white." Since the term marriage already has the connotation of "man and woman," then why not "civil union" or even "gay marriage?"

      Gay marriage and straight marriage are not equal in substance.

    • Tony Coyle says:

      Dan: I hear what you're saying but disagree on many fronts.

      Marriage is the cultural term that equates to a 'full civil union'. It has been hi-jacked by the religious to have a narrower definition that typically recognized from a wider cultural perspective.

      If you want to change anything, get the religious to change their term to 'married by god'.

      Marriage has nothing to do with sex, or how it is performed. Would you require a 'straight' couple who prefer S&M to have some different term for their 'marriage'? Their sex is different. It just happens to appear 'normal' from the outside.

      Your conflation with race is also disagreeable to me.

      Race is, literally, skin deep. The genetic differences are essentially non-existant. I (with a largely celtic background) have more genetic differences compared to some other 'whites' than many 'blacks' do.

      There is no rationale for 'race' other than historical contingency. It is a tribal meme that we should be blind to. Just as we are blind to red or blond hair, or above/below average height, or of overall body shape (ecto- or endo-morph?), so too we should be blind to 'race'.

      I'm not 'white'. I'm Human. Isn't that a better term?

      I'm not straight or gay. I'm in love with another Human.

      Picking differences is ultimately segregationist. It's one of the reasons there are so many protestant sects, and so many different religions, and so many different nations.

      I'd rather move beyond segregation as a driving force.

    • Danny says:

      Tony, thanks for the reply and I think you have some legit points. I agree (and had the thought as I was writing it) that conflating the marriage issue with race was not equivalent.

      "If you want to change anything, get the religious to change their term to ‘married by god’." That's perfectly acceptable to me and probably closer to what religious people want. Then they can have their "god" identifier to single them out.

      "I’m not ‘white’. I’m Human. Isn’t that a better term?" That works in some contexts and I agree with the principle. However, this seems to be getting into semantics or a discussion on ontological classifications of humans. I agree that trying to call different types of marriage by different monikers can be segregationist. That was not my motive, my motive was to keep the word "equality" from being hijacked for wrong uses. I believe in the equality of all humanity in terms of inherent dignity and human rights. However, I just can't make the leap of calling all sexual behaviors, all religious beliefs, all meaningful human endeavors as "equal" given the enormous differences they all encompass. Again, maybe this is just a semantic argument about the word "equal."

      I am, and we all are first and foremost humans. In my case, I am a human with peach skin (as an aside, I've never liked the terms black and white in reference to skin, no one's skin is truly black or truly white), brown hair, brown eyes, big nose, bald head. And in our society and culture just the mere existence of these traits distinguishes me from others.

      I suppose I haven't yet arrived at your level where I can imagine a world where these differences mean absolutely nothing, even if not just for visual identifiers. These identifiers should speak nothing of my intellect, character, or beliefs, but they do speak to my heritage, which is no small matter…

      I must say, you've persuaded me a bit on this matter.

  10. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I don't get it. The video that is. Are they saying that by allowing gay marriage the government is outlawing straight marriage? Or are they whining about losing their "right" to impose their beliefs on someone else? or maybe they are afraid that by letting everyone be equals they will somehow be just a little bit less "special"?

    And what about this "one man- one woman" nonsense. They claim the Bible says this but throughout the Bible are many examples of men having multiple wives, and additional concubines.

    The concept of marriage is found an almost all societies regardless of religion. in every case it is concerned with the legal status of common property between tow parties, a sort of merger of families.

    And while I thinking about it, why do conservatives tend to accuse liberals of being gay. When a sex scandal involves a liberal, it is usually a heterosexual extramarital affair, but when the sex scandal involves a conservative, it is often a homosexual affair.

  11. TonyC says:

    Hank: great post!

    My perspective is that the truly appalling thing about marriage is that religions think they 'own' the term!

    Culturally, religions have managed to maintain a hold on three life events: birth, death, and marriage. In none of these are they *legally* empowered.

    Religious marriage is not legally recognized *anywhere* (AFAIK) in the western world. You need to 'register your marriage', and your pastor or priest needs to be 'licensed' by the state to perform such legal ceremonies.

    In many countries, priests and pastors cannot perform the legal ceremony at all. The actual legal ceremony is typically a five minute, meet the registrar, pay your dues, sign the docket, show your evidence/affadavits/whatever, get your certificate thing. You can have whatever other ceremony you please, before or after – it means nothing from a legal standpoint.

    The big issue with gay marriage is that it is an issue at all!

    Marriage is NOT a religious institution. It is certainly not a Christian institution (Jews & Buddists & Moslems & Wiccans & … are not married? Really?). So why are Christian 'constraints' dictating the law of the land? Simply because Christians (and especially those on the right) have a large & powerful lobby out of all proportion to their actual numbers or influence in the country at large.

  12. Hank says:

    True as the sky is blue, TonyC. Marriage, in my country, as in the US, UK, the West in general, is a contract between two consenting adults which is made official and binding by the government or relevant local authority (eg a JP, notary public etc). Including religion in your ceremony is completely optional and, as far as the government's concerned, completely irrelevant to the legality of your marriage (but there's always one person at a secular wedding – including my own – that whines "it would have been nicer if it were in a church". Clearly getting married under a huge tree in the botanic gardens on a perfect summer day with all our loved ones attending wasn't "nice" enough for the relative in question!).

    I agree with you – the biggest issue here is that in the 21st century we still have to protest this shit (to paraphrase an anti-Prop 8 sign).

    —————————————————–

    Danny, after re-phrasing "separate but equal" to "equal but different" you then said:

    "To me, the differences between the sex act and lifestyle dynamics with gay couples versus straight couples is not just a difference of degree, but a difference of type. They’re fundamentally different so calling it the same thing does not seem like “equality.” "

    So, should the simple mechanics of homosexual sex preclude two gay people from being able to call their legally-recognised union a "marriage"? How is their sex life even anyone's business? How exactly should the precise method of genital stimulation make any difference to a couple's civil rights? Should gay (or straight) people have their intimate lives examined and approved and categorised by the government before being granted civil rights deemed appropriate for their levels of kink? If so, I'm sure there would be many straight couples that wouldn't make the cut for full marriage rights. Believe it or not, gay people are as capable of having normal, boring, once-a-week "married" sex just as straight people are. They're not all 24/7 kink-machines. It's a grossly overused stereotype and forms absolutely no basis for denying people their rights.

    And what are "lifestyle dynamics" and how do they (or should they) determine whether someone should have the right to commit to another and have that commitment recognised by the state? Have you made or read extensive studies on the lifestyles of gays vs straights and drawn logical conclusions? Have you lived among them as one of them, as Dianne Fossey did with the mountain gorillas? I ask because I need to know the sources of those opinions.

    "I believe in the equality of all humanity in terms of inherent dignity and human rights. However, I just can’t make the leap of calling all sexual behaviors, all religious beliefs, all meaningful human endeavors as “equal” given the enormous differences they all encompass. Again, maybe this is just a semantic argument about the word “equal.” "

    Leaving aside the fact that your qualifying second sentence makes that first sentence look somewhat hollow, might I suggest if you can't make the leap of calling "all sexual behaviours" equal (leaving aside human endeavour and religion for now) then maybe you should stop focusing on what people do with each other in bed – after all, that's nobody's business. Shift the focus to a couple's capability to commit to each other. Two men or two women are exactly as capable of committing to each other's security and emotional fulfillment as any man & woman. Take a peek at heterosexual divorce rates – with at least one third of marriages collapsing, it's not like we straights hold marriage particularly sacred! Or, just focus on the fact that, until an obvious case of lawlessness, any human deserves as much respect & support from his/her government as any other.

    I don't think semantics should be allowed to muddy the meaning of "equal" in this case. Either two people are treated equally – ie, exactly the same – or they're not. This isn't an argument for special rights or privileged treatment, it's just a fight to be treated exactly the same as other people.

    I lean heavily toward the opinion that sexual orientation is as much a conscious choice as your birthday or skin tone. Even if homosexuality was, as many people seem to think, some twisted little kink that can be ironed out, as long as what they do is legal and all involved are cool with what's going on then noone should have a right to discriminate against people on the basis of sexuality. Like I've said before, gay people have the responsibility to vote and pay their bills and obey the law like everyone else and, quite simply, I see no reason to continue denying large numbers of people a simple right that everyone else just gets because they're straight.

    • Danny says:

      Hank and Mindy… what can I say, you have me dead to rights. In re-reading my posts some of what I said sounds like I was talking out my butt, I'll chalk that up to my unfiltered id late at night and probably some latent unease over cultural shifts.

      What you both did was help clarify what other people think of when they say equal. Sorry for the rephrase Hank, it wasn't intentional.

      I'll whittle my final comment down to it's essence. I don't love people who are gay and am not opposed to gay marriage, and believe all humans are equal. I also believe that matters of sex differ greatly from person to person. Though we like to call all our sexual predispositions "private" or "personal", inevitably these personal matters spill out into the public sphere, hence they will never be fully private/personal issues since all these issues have varying degrees of a cultural impact which cannot be swept under the rug by calling them private (hope this is self-evident because I don't have an example on hand).

      Lastly, I too appreciate the responses from everyone. I consider myself a seeker of truth and so I'm not afraid to expose my shallow mindedness because I can count on those more wise to illuminate my folly. Plus, the posts and comments SOMETIMES sound like an echo chamber in terms of viewpoints so I'll draw the ire in order to evoke more meaning, but hopefully never for the sake of just being a contrarian. Sort of like Socrates' apprentice asking "why?"

      Thanks.

    • Tony Coyle says:

      I would welcome an apprentice.

      (would you make the tea?)

      (not hemlock, please!)

    • Danny says:

      Shoot, when I said "don’t love people who are gay and am not opposed to gay marriage" I meant to remove "don't"… it originally read "I don't hate" but changed it to love but forgot to remove the don't. I don't want anyone to page Dr. Freud…what a mess.

      I apologize.

    • Danny says:

      Sounds fun Tony… to answer your first question, "no thank you."

  13. Mindy Carney says:

    First, Hank – fantastic post, truly – I almost burst into spontaneous applause, stopping only upon realizing I'd embarrass myself in public.

    Second, I would like to point out that "Puh-raise Jeez-zus" is not a demographic stereotype (or at least that was not my immediate reaction) as it is a public prostyletizing stylistic maneuver. Just search Jimmy Swaggart on youtube, and you'll hear JEE-zus repeatedly. So Anonawhoever, relax.

    Third, Danny, how refreshing to read a back-and-forth discussion that did not deteriorate to name-calling and arm-folded stomping and fingers-in-the-ear refusals to hear the other perspective. Nice to know you're out there. As for semantics on the word "equal," I'd like to point something out.

    Prostitution is prostitution, yes? It is illegal in most of the US, and regardless of the specific sex act, if you pay for it, you broke the law. If one victimizes another person with any sexual act, a law is broken. If a married couple, in the privacy of their own relationship, play with all kinds of toys and do all kinds of kinky bizarre things to each other with, say, foodstuffs, that isn't going to fall under the guise of some other state of matrimony, right? Everyone else may find it "icky," distasteful, whatever – but no one else has one smidgen of jurisdiction over it but that couple. They, OTOH, might find once-a-month missionary sex with the sole intent of procreation just as horrifyingly objectionable. Of course that very staid sex and a cache of vegetables aimed at various orifices under the backyard deck in the snow, say, are NOT, in anyone's definition, equal.

    But they are, because they are the private behaviors of committed couples. And thus have very little do with the definition of the word marriage.

    I think I need more coffee.

  14. Erich Vieth says:

    Stephen Colbert:

    "I don't believe it is a choice, I believe you're born thinking gays don't have the right to get married or even be joined in union. And folks, the gays have no right to out those people."

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/27/colbert-

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    We've got to protect marriage, you know–see here: http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/1966/sanctityo

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