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The Chilling of Our First Amendment Rights

August 4th, 2011

by Maggie Gallagher

The First Amendment is more than a legal guarantee. It is a culture — a key American value — which holds that in a decent and free society, law-abiding citizens should not face reprisals for speaking up with civility for the moral good as they see it.

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s remarkable opening statement in [Wednesday's] Senate hearing on a bill to repeal DOMA called attention to a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife:

The minority very much hoped to call a witness today at this hearing to testify in support of DOMA. I am sure she would have done an excellent job.

She declined, however, citing as one reason the threats and intimidation that have been leveled against not only her but her family as a result of her public support for DOMA. She will continue to write on this subject, but will no longer speak publicly about it. This chilling of First Amendment rights is unacceptable.

When Chris Johnson, a reporter from the Washington Blade, called and asked if that woman was me, I was at first amused. No, of course not. I am not refusing to make public appearances. I was not invited this time.

But I could sympathize. I just returned from interviewing a Toronto sportscaster who was fired for tweeting that he believed “in the true and authentic meaning of marriage.” Next week, I will go to North Carolina to interview another man whose contract was terminated when the HR head of his company found out he had written against gay marriage.

The death threats and hateful mail New York state senator Rev. Ruben Diaz says he has received are not unusual. Whole professions are in the process of being closed to anyone who espouses — and acts — on the view that marriage is the union of husband and wife.

Fox News is not covering this. Conservative media outlets, except for a few beacons such as NR, are virtually silent.

The underlying truth that “pro-equality” Republicans need to understand is this: They are aiding and abetting a political movement that, at this point in history, seeks to make traditional Christian views on sex and marriage unacceptable in the public square — just as racist views on interracial marriage are unacceptable — by heaping scorn and hatred on any American who does something to support marriage as one man and one woman.

The marriage debate is about redefining not only marriage, but the relationship between Judeo-Christian values and the American tradition.

I just wonder what these “pro-equality” conservatives think will be left to conserve after that.

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  1. Sean
    August 4th, 2011 at 15:22 | #1

    Imagine if you advocated a public policy that harmed black children, such as withholding childhood vaccinations from them. Would you expect that society would receive your viewpoint as a legitimate one, the equal of, say, the viewpoint that childhood vaccinations should be available for ALL children?

    While no one should fear for his or her personal safety (ask gays and lesbians about what that’s like!) for a hateful viewpoint, don’t except civility from others opposed to it. As more and more people abandon legal sexuality-based discrimination, accept you marginalized status. Feel free to parrot your partners the Westboro Baptist Church, as persist despite the public ridicule.

    “…a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife”

    No one is intolerant of different-sex couples marrying, just denying that right to same-sex couples. It’s your attempts to outlaw the marriage rights of same-sex couples that invites ridicule.

  2. Heidi
    August 5th, 2011 at 07:20 | #2

    The First Amendment protects the individual from GOVERNMENT punishment for (most) speech. It does not apply to private individuals or entities.

    “The underlying truth that ‘pro-equality’ Republicans need to understand is this: They are aiding and abetting a political movement that, at this point in history, seeks to make traditional Christian views on sex and marriage unacceptable in the public square — just as racist views on interracial marriage are unacceptable — by heaping scorn and hatred on any American who does something to support marriage as one man and one woman.”

    You are not entitled to have your particular religious viewpoint accepted in the public square, although you are certainly free to espouse it. The marketplace of ideas is always functioning to help Americans decide which point of view out of the available options is worthy of acceptance and support. I will never support the use of death threats, harassment or violence, but I absolutely do support vigorous opposition to the idea that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples when it comes to exercising the fundamental right to marry.

    More importantly, however, is the fact that no one is suggesting that “traditional Christians” are not entitled to their particular point of view with respect to marriage and family. No one is preventing you from believing what you want about marriage, nor is anyone prohibiting you from forming your own families according to your religious beliefs. Instead, we are asserting that your particular religious beliefs about marriage should not be enshrined in the civil, secular law, especially when to do so causes harm to LGBT persons and their families. If your opposition to marriage equality is viewed by the public as akin to interracial marriage, perhaps you should examine the reasons why the public feels as it does.

  3. Leo
    August 5th, 2011 at 08:35 | #3

    The gay lobby favors ridicule and incivility against one side of the argument, but demands respect for their side of the argument. The gay lobby wants employment protections (which I favor), but cheers when someone is fired for their “incorrect” political or religious beliefs. (In this economy losing your job is a threat to your personal ability to keep yourself safe, fed, and housed.) The gay lobby wants to drive large numbers people of faith from the public square because of the extreme views of a few, but they object if the behavior of a few homosexuals is used to characterize all.

    “no one should fear for his or her personal safety” Only at this stage and only if you don’t depend on your job to make a living. And why, if as Sean often says, NOM supporters are just like the KKK, why not put them in jail? Wouldn’t that make society better?

    Somehow mysterious new un-enumerated rights are valued more than enumerated rights. This, combined with an assault on the concept of democracy, is laying the ground work for tyranny.

    I used to be quite sympathetic to “gay rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda, and desire for incivility clear.

  4. Anne
    August 5th, 2011 at 14:41 | #4

    @Heidi
    “You are not entitled to have your particular religious viewpoint accepted in the public square,”

    We most cetainly are entitled to have our viewpoint accepted in the public square. If the majority viewpoint expressed in the public square happens to be consistent with a particualr religion or group of religions, it is qualified to be adopted as the governmental moral code. The fact that a particular viewpoint is upheld by a particular religion in no way precludes the viewpoint as moral code acceptable for the basis of civil rights. The Government is prohibited from adopting a religion. It is also prohibited from denying anyone’s right to practice their religion. Neither of those concepts suggests that the civil code we adopt as a Government and any particular religious doctrine may not contain the same elements.

    Again, religion is a right, not a disease.

    We are Catholic/Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/Budhist/Atheist………and Citizens. We all get to contribute our perspective to the moral code we adopt as a society and government.

  5. John Noe
    August 5th, 2011 at 17:48 | #5

    Heidi: Ignores two important facts. We have made a verty strong non religious and secular case against SSM. It does not matter about whether or not some religion is imposing its views. If a strong non religious and sound fundamental policy and argument is made then that can be made into law. You do not drop the law just because some religion also advocates against it. Again as Dr. Morse has already shown in her strong secular reasons to oppose SSM. Their is overwhelming practical non religious reasons of why SSM is bad for society.
    The second important fact that she ignores is when they actually agree with a law and have no problem if a religion also agrees with it and is imposing its views on all of us. That same Bible speaks out against stealing, murder, drunkenness, perjury, defamation, and a host of other evils that are enshrined in law. Notice: The people against religious people imposing their views on society do not make the same objections on the points I made above.

  6. Anne
    August 6th, 2011 at 03:50 | #6

    @Leo
    “I used to be quite sympathetic to “gay rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda, and desire for incivility clear.”

    @Sean
    I knew you were on our side all along. Great work Sean!

  7. Sean
    August 6th, 2011 at 05:51 | #7

    “The gay lobby favors ridicule and incivility against one side of the argument, but demands respect for their side of the argument.”

    I can’t speak for the gay lobby but as a supporter of equal civil rights for all citizens, I suspect that marriage equality supporters are growing tired and frustrated at explaining how denying marriage rights to gay couples and their children harms them, and how this is met with indifference. It’s not particularly civil to advocate that a minority group be denied a civil right, by the way.

    “The gay lobby wants employment protections (which I favor), but cheers when someone is fired for their “incorrect” political or religious beliefs.”

    When someone denigrates gays, or blacks, or Jews, their employer may find that offensive enough to warrant firing.

    “The gay lobby wants to drive large numbers people of faith from the public square…”

    Again, I can’t speak for the gay lobby, whoever that is, but as someone who insists that his government treat all citizens equally, lacking a rational public purpose for doing otherwise, I don’t care what religionists think, just so they don’t impose their religious/homophobic/straight supremacist views on others.

    “And why, if as Sean often says, NOM supporters are just like the KKK, why not put them in jail? Wouldn’t that make society better?”

    Do we put KKK members in jail? I wasn’t aware of that. Like the Westboro Baptist Church, I believe they possess the right to speak freely, no matter how unsavory their views, and maintain their freedom while doing so.

    “Somehow mysterious new un-enumerated rights are valued more than enumerated rights.”

    The US Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment (14th Amendment and 5th Amendment) as well as guarantees of due process are neither new nor mysterious. The 5th Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights. The 14th Amendment was added after the Civil War ended. There is an enormous amount of legal casework that has fleshed out what these amendments mean and how they apply.

    “I used to be quite sympathetic to “gay rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda, and desire for incivility clear.”

    Putting “gay rights” in scare quotes betrays any sympathy to them. No one desires incivility, but the time for civility is over, when equality supporters keep explaining the harms you are doing to gay couples and their children, and you keep ignoring them.

  8. Sean
    August 6th, 2011 at 05:58 | #8

    “We most certainly are entitled to have our viewpoint accepted in the public square.”

    You most certainly aren’t. That’s why pre-marital sex, adultery and divorce are all legal, even though religionists claim that God forbids them (and according to the Bible, she does). That’s why we don’t force school kids to engage in prayer, or teach them creationism (except in Texas now).

    “If the majority viewpoint expressed in the public square happens to be consistent with a particualr religion or group of religions, it is qualified to be adopted as the governmental moral code.”

    Nope. The government can’t create a law that does nothing more than promulgate a moral belief. There has to be a rational purpose, too. And no law that violates the US Constitution can remain in place, no matter how many citizens want it.

    “Again, religion is a right, not a disease.”

    Freedom from religion is a right, too, and the basis for why all the biblical prohibitions are legal. The more the religionists use religious belief as the basis for denying equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples, the more it forces the courts to strike down those discriminatory marriage laws.

  9. Sean
    August 6th, 2011 at 06:04 | #9

    “Again as Dr. Morse has already shown in her strong secular reasons to oppose SSM. Their is overwhelming practical non religious reasons of why SSM is bad for society.”

    I’ve been following this website pretty closely for a couple of years now and I’ve never seen “strong secular reasons” outlaw same-sex marriage. Depending on your personal viewpoint, there may be strong secular reasons to oppose it, but not to outlaw it. I strongly oppose divorce, but I can’t really make a convincing argument to outlaw it. The main issue is whether to outlaw same-sex marriage not whether to oppose it. I completely support your right to oppose whatever you want, even if your viewpoint is foolish or unsupportable morally.

    “Their is overwhelming practical non religious reasons of why SSM is bad for society.”

    I beg to differ. Again, you may see consequences you don’t like, such as increased acceptance of homosexuality and gay relationships, or children being raised by gay couples, but they don’t rise to the level of being bad for society. And they don’t offset all the good to society that legal same-sex marriage brings.

  10. Leo
    August 6th, 2011 at 08:01 | #10

    “Imagine if you advocated a public policy that harmed black children, such as withholding childhood vaccinations from them. Would you expect that society would receive your viewpoint as a legitimate one, the equal of, say, the viewpoint that childhood vaccinations should be available for ALL children?”

    Sean never tires of equating sex and race and never tires to trying to claim opposing points of view are not just wrong, but illegitimate.

    What if diseases were race specific? Then one race would not need to be vaccinated against a given disease, which would be to their benefit since all vaccinations carry some health risk as well as a financial cost. Of course, there are no diseases that are wholly race specific. And racial purity in America is a social construct not a genetic reality. I recently heard Lewis Gates say that all the African Americans his project has genetically tested are part European. And Europeans are a genetic mix as well.

    But there are medical conditions that are sex specific. Sex is not race, and men are not women. Sean cannot get pregnant with its specific medical complications, costs, and benefits. All societies have created an institution designed to protect women in their asymmetric relations with men (men can impregnate women, but women cannot impregnate men) and designed to unite biological parents to their offspring and to each other, that institution is heterosexual marriage. Repurposing that institution leaves no other institution to fulfill that purpose. Legally redefining that institution destroys the legal basis of those purposes.

  11. Betsy
    August 6th, 2011 at 14:29 | #11
  12. Leo
    August 6th, 2011 at 23:48 | #12

    There is no constitutional right to legal endorsement of just any behavior, even if a minority happens to like that behavior. Discrimination on the basis of behavior is, in fact, the basis of rational law. The law treats different behaviors differently. What is growing tiring is the claim that a minority behavior entitles that minority to rewrite the foundations of the law to their liking in the name of equality while shamelessly denigrating anyone who disagrees with them. Sean has to always fall back on equating behavioral discrimination with racial discrimination and the actions of the KKK. That is getting tiring, and the analogy and the insult never quite works with most voters and most courts. The courts haven’t equated race with sex and accordingly haven’t outlawed segregated toilets. White guilt works well with some whites, but most blacks haven’t bought into the notion that sex is just like race. My black friend who was called a bigot for supporting Prop 8 was not impressed. Smokers should use Sean’s tactic. They are a minority whose habits are increasingly discriminated against. Likewise drug users are discriminated against. Pornographers and porn users are another minority whose habits are discriminated against. Adulterers are another group that is discriminated against. Sean maintains marriage has nothing to do with sex. This is one position adulterers are happy to agree with. Adultery may not be illegal, but it isn’t given a special protected legal status either and shouldn’t be.

    Sean has to ignore the Chief Justice Earl Warren’s appeals to morality. The Brown was weak on legal precedent, but strong on morality, and it was the morality of that decision that made it popular with most of the country. Sean now believes morality is an anachronistic concept, a fine sleight of hand given his reliance on Brown. Sean has to ignore the fact that the Supreme Court in the Baker decision didn’t agree with his position, even though the Baker decision came after the Loving decision and the 14th amendment was specifically raised in that case. Baker is the case that is on point and the prevailing precedent. I just don’t buy Sean’s legal position. In fact, I find it offensive. Nevertheless, I don’t believe anyone should be fired for advocating this position unless that position affects their job performance. Will Sean return the favor? No. Yet his position is contrary to the spirit of free expression. I ask, in Sean’s view, wouldn’t society be better off if all NOM supporters were fired from their jobs? Wouldn’t society be better off if they were put in jail for hateful speech (as was tried in Sweden)? Wouldn’t society be better off if their children were subject to compulsory reeducation? What level of incivility and legal action would Sean draw the line at? Trying to prohibit NOM from buying ad time on TV? Prohibiting them from speaking on campuses or disrupting their appearances? Chilling their right to peaceful assembly by disrupting their peaceful demonstrations? Prohibiting their supporters from hiring the legal counsel of their choice? The Ku Klux Act of 1871 gave the president the power to intervene in troubled states with the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Does Sean propose to invoke that act to effectively suppress NOM? More recently KKK has been successfully sued for heavy damages for their criminal activities, and if they refused to comply with the judgment, they could have been jailed for that. Why doesn’t Sean sue the NOM if the NOM is just like the KKK?

    It is funny when Sean claims to know little of the gay lobby or its positions. It is as if we were having a long running discussion of gun control and he had no knowledge of the gun lobby or their positions. It seems just a bit disingenuous. But if the gay lobby disagrees with Sean, then they should speak up and criticize his comments.

    I used to be for civil unions to address the harms Sean alleges, but Sean has talked me out of them. I could be talked back into them, but Sean doesn’t want civil unions. He demands the redefinition of marriage for the rest of society so he can feel more comfortable with his behavior. I would even let him redefine marriage if he could offer the rest of us an institution that would protect women in their asymmetric relations with men and that would connect biological parents with each other and their offspring, these being rational public purposes for traditional marriage, but he insists marriage must be de-gendered and neutered and have nothing whatsoever to do the sex or children. Civil unions are a live and let live solution, but Sean insists on the legal destruction of the definition that prevails in most states by constitutional provision and in most countries and which was upheld overwhelmingly by Congress and duly signed into federal law, and which most courts, despite diligent judge shopping, have upheld. I guess Sean feels most of the world is just like the KKK. Instead of directly engaging the carefully reasoned article like the one in “The Case Against,” Sean just recycles his old arguments. The longer I dialog with Sean, the more ridiculous his well-articulated and endlessly repeated positions turn out to be on sober examination.

  13. Leo
    August 7th, 2011 at 01:00 | #13

    I wish to address Sean’s assertion that law should and must be divorced from morality.

    “Law which orders society, but which is divorced from morality is dangerous. A society can be perfectly ordered and extremely well run and do terrible things. Imagine a United States wherein anyone who has not been employed, in a taxable job, for 6 months out of a year is put on probation and if they are not employed for 6 months out of the next year they are executed. It would have several salutary effects. There would be far fewer people on the dole. There would be a strong incentive for people to be productive. Additionally, since people would have a strong incentive to not work under the table, a large portion of the underground economy would surface and be taxed. And all it would take is to kill those among the 13.7 currently unemployed in the U.S. who can’t find and keep a job.”

    http://crimlaw.blogspot.com/2011/05/lawyers-morality-law.html

    “All laws, whether prescriptive or prohibitive, legislate morality. All laws, regardless of their content or their intent, arise from a system of values, from a belief that some things are right and others wrong, that some things are good and others bad, that some things are better and others worse. In the formulation and enforcement of law, the question is never whether or not morality will be legislated, but which one. That question is fundamentally important because not all systems of morality are equal. Some are wise, others foolish. Few are still in their first incarnation, nearly all having been enshrined as law at some time or place, often with predictable results. For better or worse, every piece of legislation touches directly or indirectly on moral issues, or is based on moral judgments and evaluations concerning what it is we want or believe ought to be, what it is we want or believe we ought to produce and preserve….

    All cultures are expressions of deeply rooted values. Cultures are the historical outgrowth of those values — the historical human consequences of those values — values that sometimes lead to compassion, beauty, war, deprivation, heroism, or degeneration. Law is a function of culture — all cultures have law — which means that law is a function of values or morality.”

    http://www.equip.org/articles/law-and-morality

    We have seen, however, in colonialism and conquest, the laws, customs, culture, and morals of the conquered people are suppressed by the colonialists and conquerors and replaced by a new framework of laws, customs, cultures, and morality in the name of rationality, progress, and enlightenment. Their children are often even reassigned and reeducated accordingly. We are in danger of being colonized by our cultural elites and judicial activists funded and backed by wealthy lobbyists intent on suppressing both long-standing and honored tradition and the will of the majority. I intend to resist this assault on our democracy and defend the traditions, culture, laws, values and morality of our forefathers.

  14. Sean
    August 7th, 2011 at 07:53 | #14

    @Leo

    “Sean never tires of equating sex and race and never tires to trying to claim opposing points of view are not just wrong, but illegitimate.”

    Discriminating against gay people and discriminating against black people are “similarly situated” concepts. Both are needless, serve no public purpose and cause tangible harm to the groups discriminated against. Both are irrational. And both claim child victims as collateral damage: you may dislike black adults or gay adults, but you hurt their children, too, when you advocate public policy that limits the rights of the adults. Get the connection now?

    “All societies have created an institution designed to protect women in their asymmetric relations with men”

    I think few woman get married in order to protect their asymmetric relations with a man. I think many women would resent the notion that they need protection! In any event, these perceived protections are not in any way endangered or diminished when same-sex couples marry.

    “Legally redefining that institution destroys the legal basis of those purposes.”

    Legally redefining Equality poses far graver dangers. Marriage has been redefined throughout the centuries, and is obviously continuing its evolution. But if we start redefining Equality, in order to exclude gay and lesbian Americans from marriage, we risk the foundation of our society and legal system.

  15. Leo
    August 7th, 2011 at 21:23 | #16

    “Discriminating against gay people and discriminating against black people are “similarly situated” concepts. Both are needless, serve no public purpose and cause tangible harm to the groups discriminated against. Both are irrational. And both claim child victims as collateral damage: you may dislike black adults or gay adults, but you hurt their children, too, when you advocate public policy that limits the rights of the adults. Get the connection now?”

    Blacks and homosexuals are not similarly situated. Most blacks agree with that proposition. Being black is not a behavior. The whole basis of law is that some behaviors are legally sanctioned, some prohibited, and some not prohibited, but still not given legal sanction. Gay “marriages” produce no children (interracial marriages are not similarly situated in that regard). They only have children by having the state reassign them from their natural heterosexual parents. This harms the children (by denying them a mother or a father and placing them in a situation likely to be contrary to their genetic makeup) and the natural parents (whose parental rights are weakened or destroyed). Moreover, Sean’s solution limits the rights are all natural parents by creating the legal category of de facto parents, threatening the rights are all parents and children when they interact with another adult who is neither an adoptive nor a biological parent.

    Gays, of course, are perfectly free to enter into traditional marriage, and straights are perfectly free to cohabit with persons of the same sex. The law is not discriminating on the basis of orientation. It is just not catering to everyone’s whim. But there is no constitutional right to demand that the state cater to any group’s sexual preference.

    “I think few woman get married in order to protect their asymmetric relations with a man. I think many women would resent the notion that they need protection! In any event, these perceived protections are not in any way endangered or diminished when same-sex couples marry.”

    Of course, Sean must prove no woman enters into marriage to protect herself from exploitation by men for his position to be valid. And such protections will are undermined if man-woman relationships must (by law!) be treated exactly as man-man relationships. Moreover, Sean insists that marriage has nothing to do with sex or children. Quite a few women still demand marriage before they will consent to sex with a man (since, among other things, they face the unique burden of a possible pregnancy as well as for moral reasons). Quite a few women with demand heavy judgments in divorce if their husbands are sexually unfaithful. Quite a few women expect that in such a divorce, they will have custody and the husband will be required to pay considerable child support. Under Sean’s concept of marriage, marriage has nothing to do with sex and nothing to do with children, so the woman’s expectations are totally irrational and accordingly will have no basis in law. Sean refuses to consider the logical consequences of a radical redefinition of marriage into something de-gendered and neutered. He has to pretend there will be no consequences down the road once lawyers realize the possibilities the new definition opens up.

    “Legally redefining that institution destroys the legal basis of those purposes.”

    “Legally redefining Equality poses far graver dangers. Marriage has been redefined throughout the centuries, and is obviously continuing its evolution. But if we start redefining Equality, in order to exclude gay and lesbian Americans from marriage, we risk the foundation of our society and legal system.”

    It is Sean who is radically redefining equality, threatening the foundation of our society and legal system. Equality doesn’t mean all behaviors and preferences must be treated equally. And why bring up the qualification of being American? Doesn’t a radical, leveling equality demand all persons be treated equally before the law regardless of citizenship or national origin? The French and Russian Revolutions were based on radical leveling notions, and they weren’t so benign, were they?

  16. Anne
    August 8th, 2011 at 06:59 | #17

    @Leo
    God Bless you for your patience and perseverance.

  17. August 8th, 2011 at 11:32 | #18

    Anne :
    @Leo
    “I used to be quite sympathetic to “gay rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda, and desire for incivility clear.”
    @Sean
    I knew you were on our side all along. Great work Sean!

    I’ve already replied to this particular exchange but for some reason it didn’t make it through the moderators. Not sure why.

    What I said then, and will repeat now, is that anyone who has a favorable view of a minority’s civil rights, only to be turned against that minority having civil rights, because a commenter on a blog got on their nerves was never really favorable or supportive in the first place.

    Imagine if you replaced “gay” with any other group’s rights. Women, let’s say. Imagine if John Noe had said, ““I used to be quite sympathetic to “women’s rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda, and desire for incivility clear.”

    So, what? John Noe’s annoyance with Sean’s alleged “goals, agenda, and desire for incivility” single-handedly turned him against an entire group of American citizens?

    What a silly and unbelievable statement. Don’t lay your anti-gay ways at Sean’s feet — own them.

  18. Sean
    August 8th, 2011 at 16:04 | #19

    “Blacks and homosexuals are not similarly situated. Most blacks agree with that proposition. Being black is not a behavior.”

    Being gay is not a behavior: you don’t have to lift a finger to be gay, just be sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

    “The whole basis of law is that some behaviors are legally sanctioned, some prohibited, and some not prohibited, but still not given legal sanction.”

    Fair enough. And you should know that the US Supreme Court says that gay behavior is perfectly legal. Lawrence v. Texas, 2003.

    “Gay “marriages” produce no children”

    Neither to elderly marriage or infertile couple marriages, or marriages where the couples don’t want children and use reliable birth control. So obviously, the implication that marriage is somehow related to children is a false one.

    “They only have children by having the state reassign them from their natural heterosexual parents.”

    You mean like adoptive straight couples?

    “Sean’s solution limits the rights are all natural parents by creating the legal category of de facto parents”

    Oy vey, the “de facto” parenting schtick. And yet aren’t adoptive straight parents “de facto” parents? Honestly, why is something ok when straight people do it, but horrible when gay people do it?

    “The law is not discriminating on the basis of orientation.”

    Think again. Denying gay couples the right to marry very much is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Straight people form different-sex couples; gay people form same-sex couples. Christians worship on Sundays; Jews worship on Saturdays. Right-handed people sign their names with their right hands; left-handed people sign their names with their left hands.

    There isn’t a sane person on the planet who would expect a Jew to worship on Sunday if his religious beliefs instructs him to worship on Saturday. There isn’t a sane person on the planet who expects a left-handed person to write with his right hand because that’s how most people do it. Yet there’s all sorts of people who expect gay people to either live their lives alone, in legally unprotected relationships, or marry an opposite-sex person (because that’s what straight people do). It’s crazy!

    “Quite a few women still demand marriage before they will consent to sex with a man”

    So what? Most women put out on the first date these days!

    “Under Sean’s concept of marriage, marriage has nothing to do with sex and nothing to do with children”

    It’s not Sean’s concept, but society’s concept: no couple has to have sex in order to get or stay married. No couple has to have children to get, or stay, married, and no couple with children has to get married. You can call this Sean’s rules, but they’re not Sean’s rules, they’re our society’s rules.

    “Equality doesn’t mean all behaviors and preferences must be treated equally.”

    We’re talking about human beings here, not behaviors. And frankly, the government has to have a reason to outlaw behaviors, too.

    “Sean refuses to consider the logical consequences of a radical redefinition of marriage into something de-gendered and neutered.”

    That’s not true. Sean has considered, and rejected, most “the sky is falling!” declarations because they are not grounded in reality. Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples is hardly radical. It’s not nearly so radical as changing marriage from a lifetime commitment, a change that has ravished our society.

  19. Anne
    August 8th, 2011 at 17:52 | #20

    @Emma
    “So, what? John Noe’s annoyance with Sean’s alleged “goals, agenda, and desire for incivility” single-handedly turned him against an entire group of American citizens?”

    It’s not John Noe who Sean has so handily persuaded. It’s Leo. And he didn’t “turn him against an entire group of American citizens”.

    I don’t want to presume speak on Leo’s behalf, but it seems to me that what Sean did was exposed the true nature and incivility of the homosexual agenda and alerted Leo to the hazards and consequences of allowing our collective civil liberties (remember Emma, civil liberties apply to all of us) to be driven by such a reckless motive with such potentially dangerous consequences.

  20. Ruth
    August 8th, 2011 at 18:27 | #21

    @Emma
    “Imagine if [JN] had said, ““I used to be quite sympathetic to “women’s rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda, and desire for incivility clear.””

    If the group of issues being called “women’s rights” included veiled goals and agendas with which JN did not agree; if those in favor of “women’s rights” desired incivility, why shouldn’t JN see the truth and make his disagreement known?

  21. John Noe
    August 8th, 2011 at 18:50 | #22

    Imagine if you replaced “gay” with any other group’s rights. Women, let’s say. Imagine if John Noe had said, ““I used to be quite sympathetic to “women’s rights” until Sean and others have made their goals, agenda

    What if John Noe had replaced gay with women’s or blacks. First off women and blacks are people and not human behavior and second of all for example blacks suffered discrimination when they tried to obey the laws equally like everybody else. It was not necessary for blacks or women to make up their own laws, voluntarily not obey the law even though they had the equality like everybody else, then claim discrimination. Let us do an apples for apples comparison.

    When blacks and women wanted to get married it was only a civil rights violation if they were denied that right when they tried to exercise it. So let us say a black woman wanted to marry a white man. She tries to obey the law equally like everybody else but is denied interracial marriage. She suffered discrinination. Notice that she did not make up her own law and claim discrimination. It was not necessary to create the phony discrimination in the first place.
    Now let us compare the homosexual. If he tries to marry someone of the opposite sex the same as the interracial couple he is allowed to do so. He suffers no discrinination. However he choses to freely not follow the law and then claims discrimination. Make up my own law and rules and when denied scream discrimination. Notice that if the homosexual had followed the law equally like everybody else he could have married. He created and manufactured his own discrinination. It was necessary to disobey the law in the first place to have this discrimination. Of course this does not apply to woman and blacks. Notice how Emma in misquoting me ignores the obvious. Thus the phony discrimination.

  22. John Noe
    August 8th, 2011 at 19:15 | #23

    Imagine if you replaced “gay” with any other group’s rights. Since Emma wants to misrepresnt what I mean let us do that. Let us replace gay with any other group. It could be anybody. Any religion, Catholic, Evagelical, Buddist etc. Any other minority group that is out there (nudists, masons etc.)

    You belong to some religion or you are a mason or you are a nudist or anything else and you want to get married. Can you redefine marriage and make up your own law and then get married and have it called equal marriage? No!!!!!!! Sorry folks that is for the gays only. Only the gays in Americia have that right. So for those of you who belong to a religion that believes in incest, you cannot redefine marriage that way and claim discrimination on the basis of religion.
    Or maybe you wish to adopt. The law says that in order to adopt you must provide a mother and a father. Would a religious person, nudist, or mason say that is not how we adopt and claim discrimination. Would a mason claim not to provide a mother and father and still demand to be able to adopt? No!!!!!!!! Sorry folks, I am afraid unless you are gay you have to obey the law equally like everybody else. Only the gay rights people are allowed to make up their own adoption rules and then show up at private adoption agencies and claim a right to adoption.

    Here is a what if we replaced gay rights with somebody else. Let us say you are a nudist. You want to have a nudist wedding. Do you have a right to demand that a wedding photographer, florist, or bed and breakfast Inn accomondate your lifestyle and behavior and service your nude wedding against their conscience or beliefs? If they don’t then you and the ACLU will file a discrimination lawsuit. Sorry folks, I am afraid only the gays have the right to trespass onto somebody else’s private property and demand that they accomondate their behavior and conduct against their religious or moral views. For all other Americans, well this does not apply to you. According to Emma and her liberal and progressive friends we cannot tolerate homophobia but nudeaphobia is okay even though they were born that way when they came out of their mothers womb. I am sure there is some sort of nude gene out there that explains why we have so many people being born with no clothes on.

    Now does Emma and the others know what I mean when I say what if we replaced the gay with other people’s rights.

  23. August 8th, 2011 at 19:33 | #24

    @Sean
    “Fair enough. And you should know that the US Supreme Court says that gay behavior is perfectly legal. Lawrence v. Texas, 2003.”

    Only in private, as an intimate behavior, not as a public status or with the same procreative ends as heterosexual sexual behavior, which is prohibited to unmarried couples in many jurisdictions.

    “Neither to elderly marriage or infertile couple marriages, or marriages where the couples don’t want children and use reliable birth control. So obviously, the implication that marriage is somehow related to children is a false one.”

    Elderly and infertile couples are not prohibited from attempting or succeeding at creating offspring, they have a right to create offspring, like all marriages. Same-sex couples do not have a right to create offspring and should not be allowed to, they are similar to sibling couples and other relations that are not allowed to marry.

    ““They only have children by having the state reassign them from their natural heterosexual parents.”

    You mean like adoptive straight couples?”

    Adoptive straight couples are only allowed to marry if they are allowed to procreate their own children also. Ie, a brother and a sister might be allowed to adopt a child (why not?) but they would not be allowed to marry.

  24. Anne
    August 9th, 2011 at 05:55 | #25

    @John Noe
    “Here is a what if we replaced gay rights with somebody else. Let us say you are a nudist. You want to have a nudist wedding. Do you have a right to demand that a wedding photographer, florist, or bed and breakfast Inn accomondate your lifestyle and behavior and service your nude wedding against their conscience or beliefs? If they don’t then you and the ACLU will file a discrimination lawsuit. Sorry folks, I am afraid only the gays have the right to trespass onto somebody else’s private property and demand that they accomondate their behavior and conduct against their religious or moral views. For all other Americans, well this does not apply to you. According to Emma and her liberal and progressive friends we cannot tolerate homophobia but nudeaphobia is okay even though they were born that way when they came out of their mothers womb. I am sure there is some sort of nude gene out there that explains why we have so many people being born with no clothes on.”

    Well said John Noe. You give me hope.

  25. August 9th, 2011 at 16:31 | #26

    “Sorry folks, I am afraid only the gays have the right to trespass onto somebody else’s private property and demand that they accomondate their behavior and conduct against their religious or moral views.”

    Actually, Anne, that’s not well said at all. The problem is that every anti-discrimination law that protects gays also protects straights in exactly the same way. These laws don’t talk about outlawing discrimination against gays — they outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. That covers gays AND straights.

    So all of John’s oft-repeated rhetoric about “only gays have the right” is completely incorrect. Please don’t encourage such misstatements.

  26. Sean
    August 9th, 2011 at 19:04 | #27

    “First off women and blacks are people and not human behavior”

    Gays and lesbians aren’t “human behavior” either. You don’t have to do anything to be gay or lesbian. You don’t have to do anything to be straight. Sexual orientation is the gender-based focus of your romantic longings.

  27. Sean
    August 9th, 2011 at 19:06 | #28

    “Notice that if the homosexual had followed the law equally like everybody else he could have married. He created and manufactured his own discrinination.”

    Notice that gay couples aren’t allowed to follow the law equally like straight couples: gay couples are turned down for marriage licenses, in most states.

  28. Sean
    August 9th, 2011 at 19:07 | #29

    “Same-sex couples do not have a right to create offspring and should not be allowed to”

    Really? Where? What state says that same-sex couples shall not create offspring? And what is the punishment if they do?

  29. Sean
    August 9th, 2011 at 19:14 | #30

    “So for those of you who belong to a religion that believes in incest, you cannot redefine marriage that way and claim discrimination on the basis of religion.”

    That’s because incest is illegal, and religionists can’t break the law just because their religion says to. Being gay is not illegal; it is perfectly legal, and no less an authority than the US Supreme Court says that gay sex is legal and cannot be criminalized.

    “Let us say you are a nudist. You want to have a nudist wedding. Do you have a right to demand that a wedding photographer, florist, or bed and breakfast Inn accomondate your lifestyle and behavior and service your nude wedding against their conscience or beliefs?”

    Of course not! But refusing to participate in a nude wedding doesn’t unduly burden anyone’s constitutional rights. “Wanting to be nude” is not the legal equivalent of being gay; being gay is an unchosen part of who someone is. Wanting to be nude is a choice.

    How about the White Supremacist wedding photographer who refuses to photograph a black couple’s wedding? Is that ok?

  30. John Noe
    August 9th, 2011 at 22:21 | #31

    Rob’s post at post #26 is one big fat lie. It also shows the arrogance of the homosexuals. Demanding that their behavior and only theirs alone is to be afforded special civil rights and this does not apply to any other human conduct. Very sadly these people hijacked the civil rights laws intended for people and applied them exclusively to their form of human conduct. All the issues I raised in the previous posts are real.

    If any other human conduct or behavior group, religion, or social organization( Masons for example) tries to get the same intrepretation of the Constitution to them that is demanded by homosexuals it is rejected. It is like having two Constitutions, one for the homosexuals and one for the rest of us. Notice how Rob ignored all other forms of human conduct.

    Even the sexual orientation claim by the homosexuals is phony. The fact is you can discriminate all you want agianst sexual orientation as long as it is not towards the homosexuals. Do rapists and child molesters get protection for their sexual orientation? What if they claimed they were born that way, it must be in the genes you know because no one would chose to become a rapist or a child molester.

    This actually happened. A convicted rapist wants to be set free. He is claiming discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation.

  31. John Noe
    August 9th, 2011 at 22:24 | #32

    Notice that gay couples aren’t allowed to follow the law equally like straight couples: gay couples are turned down for marriage licenses, in most states

    That is because the homosexual couple is not obeying the law equally like everybody else. If the homosexual obeys the one man/one woman law like everybody else then they can get married.

  32. John Noe
    August 9th, 2011 at 22:26 | #33

    Gays and lesbians aren’t “human behavior” either. You don’t have to do anything to be gay or lesbian.

    Homosexuality is human behavior and conduct and in no way compares to people like women and blacks. The civil rights laws apply to people and not human conduct.

  33. August 9th, 2011 at 23:13 | #34

    @Sean
    It’s careful wording: “Same-sex couples do not have a right to create offspring” means that prohibiting it doesn’t violate any rights, there is no civil or human or fundamental right to procreate with someone of the same sex. None found in nature or history or in principle, and rather, doing it would violate many other human rights that are found in history, nature and principle. So there’s no right to do it. But currently only Missouri prohibits implanting embryos that are the union of two people of the same sex, as well as many European countries, and possibly more I’m not aware of. Congress needs to prohibit it.

  34. August 9th, 2011 at 23:17 | #35

    Oh, the punishment if they do in Missouri is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, for just attempting it. I think it should be four times higher than that.

  35. Leo
    August 10th, 2011 at 08:52 | #36

    @Emma

    What if 150 years ago I had said, I used to be sympathetic to slaveholder’s property rights, but after long conversations with them, I am no longer supportive of “slaveholder’s rights?”

    Not all claimed rights are equally valid. Some may have no validity at all. I find slavery to be a moral evil and believe it should be outlawed, even though Sean tells me morality should have no place in the law.

    I have no personal antipathy towards Sean or you, and even if I did, it would be irrelevant to pointing out the flaws in your reasoning.

    The feelings I wish to own are in defense of the culture, law, custom, and morality of marriage as so eloquently defended by Dr. Morse. That is a feeling I own and own proudly.

  36. Anne
    August 10th, 2011 at 12:52 | #37

    @Rob Tisinai
    Actually, Anne, that’s not well said at all.

    Should a wedding photographer be forced to photograph a nude wedding?

    Aren’t nudists just another “oppressed minority”?

  37. Leo
    August 10th, 2011 at 20:28 | #38

    @Anne

    Thank you. I write these comments not to convince Sean, but for you and likeminded readers.

    @Sean

    Adoptive parents are not the same as “de facto” parents. I oppose the concept of “de facto” parenthood whether the parents are gay or straight. The problem is that your theory of law will logically force on society the concept of “de facto” parenthood, a concept championed by GLBT groups.

    The state does not have to recognize all preferences as equal. Some automobile drivers prefer to drive on sidewalks. Some bicyclists would like to ride on urban superhighways. Some people would prefer to have multiple spouses. Some people prefer public nudity. Some people prefer to use drugs. Some people might like their automobile drivers license allow them to fly planes. Some people are not allowed to participate in social security because of the profession they have chosen. The state does not have to grant equal access to all institutions based on preferences. All the state has to show is that a given definition or limitation is not purely malicious, or irrational, or non-functional. Traditional marriage easily passes this hurdle.

    The public purposes of marriage, such as attaching biological parents to their offspring and protecting women in their asymmetric sexual relationships with men, make it appropriately a heterosexual institution. Therefore, having separate institutions for same sex couples and opposite sex couples is rational and functional not irrational and negatively discriminatory. Denying same sex couples any institution that recognizes their unique needs and vulnerabilities, would, in fact, be hurtful to them and to society, especially since appropriate institutions and contracts can be created or made available to same sex couples without undermining centuries of family law that address the unique needs of heterosexual couples.

    Sean apparently believes that a legal, cultural, and moral environment where marriage has nothing to do with sex or with children would be good for women and children. Sean has strange views about women. Most women don’t want or live in a society where they are expected to have sex on the first date, Sean’s alternative universe notwithstanding. I understand Sean doesn’t have a preference for women. Whatever. I am shocked, however, at his low opinion of women and his expectations of their behavior.

  38. August 11th, 2011 at 12:42 | #39

    Anne, your response to me was not a response to what I said. I’ll repeat it:

    “Actually, Anne, that’s not well said at all. The problem is that every anti-discrimination law that protects gays also protects straights in exactly the same way. These laws don’t talk about outlawing discrimination against gays — they outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. That covers gays AND straights.

    So all of John’s oft-repeated rhetoric about “only gays have the right” is completely incorrect. Please don’t encourage such misstatements.”

  39. Anne
    August 11th, 2011 at 18:48 | #40

    @Rob Tisinai
    “So all of John’s oft-repeated rhetoric about “only gays have the right” is completely incorrect. Please don’t encourage such misstatements.”

    John appears to be discussing a general concept of discrimination. Your comment is the one which limited the discussion to sexual orientation. The fact of the matter is that “sexual orientation” is not a physical trait. It is an inclination. If government can legislate anti-discrimination with regard to any human inclination, then the example of inclination to nudity becomes a legitimate cause as do incest, polygamy, beastiality…..

    By my observation, the majority of people here in support of “gay rights” seem to be unwilling to expand the concept of “anti-discrimination based on orientation” beyond their specific agenda of homosexual sex.

    As for whether the current anti-discrimination law regarding sexual orientation applies equally to “gays and straights”, it may be true in theory. But the reality is that the law itself is limited in definition of what “sexual orientation” includes, and that aspect of the law is biased on behalf of the homosexual community.

  40. August 11th, 2011 at 23:19 | #41

    No, Anne, John is trying to assert that gays have rights that straights do not. There’s no other way to interpret the phrase “only gays have the right.”

    As for this: “But the reality is that the law itself is limited in definition of what “sexual orientation” includes, and that aspect of the law is biased on behalf of the homosexual community.”

    Evidence, Anne, evidence?

  41. Sean
    August 12th, 2011 at 19:24 | #42

    “Homosexuality is human behavior and conduct and in no way compares to people like women and blacks. The civil rights laws apply to people and not human conduct.”

    This one just refuses to die LOL….no, being gay is not a behavior, it is a condition or characteristic. You don’t have to do anything to be gay, just like you don’t have to do anything to be straight.

  42. Sean
    August 12th, 2011 at 19:38 | #43

    “The problem is that your theory of law will logically force on society the concept of “de facto” parenthood, a concept championed by GLBT groups.”

    And what’s wrong with “de facto” parents? And how is “de facto” parenting cured by banning same-sex marriage?

    “The state does not have to recognize all preferences as equal.”

    No, that’s true, but it can’t treat similarly situated persons or groups differently for no rational public purpose. The state can’t say, well, a lot of us are straight and want to feel special, so we’ll just give marriage rights to other straight people. The state is not usually in the business of making some groups feel special or wanted or more desirable than other groups.

    “The public purposes of marriage, such as attaching biological parents to their offspring and protecting women in their asymmetric sexual relationships with men, make it appropriately a heterosexual institution.”

    It would also make unsuitable for infertile straight couples, and elderly couples. But if this were the real public purpose, these kinds of couples would be denied marriage licenses, too. And granting marriage licenses to infertile couples, as with gay couples, does not affect procreational couples. I don’t think anyone recognizes anything about “asymmetrical” relationships for women, least of all women!

    “Sean apparently believes that a legal, cultural, and moral environment where marriage has nothing to do with sex or with children would be good for women and children.”

    I think marriage has a great deal to do with sex, and both straight and gay couples can engage in sex, so there’s no reason to distinguish marriage on that basis. And Sean has repeatedly said that marriage is best for children, whether raised by gay couples or straight couples. Any couples raising children should be required by law to get married, in Sean’s opinon. Or at least strongly encouraged and incentivized!

    “Sean has strange views about women.”

    Well, sometimes, maybe.

    “Most women don’t want or live in a society where they are expected to have sex on the first date, Sean’s alternative universe notwithstanding.”

    Sean is no supporter of unwanted sexual relations! Sean has observed that all too often, some men and women engage in sex on the first date. It is simply a fact, not a judgment.

    “I understand Sean doesn’t have a preference for women. Whatever. I am shocked, however, at his low opinion of women and his expectations of their behavior”

    Sean has a strong preference for women, and also a respect for children, inasmuch as all children deserve to have married parents whenever possible, because it creates greater security for them. Sean wishes Leo cared as much about children.

  43. Sean
    August 12th, 2011 at 19:51 | #44

    “If government can legislate anti-discrimination with regard to any human inclination…”

    No one says it can. What it can’t do is decide to reward one kind of human inclination but not another kind, when both kinds are similarly situated. If the human inclination is “sexual orientation,” the government can’t say that being straight is worthy of special rights, but being gay isn’t, unless there’s some kind of reason for doing so.

    “By my observation, the majority of people here in support of “gay rights” seem to be unwilling to expand the concept of “anti-discrimination based on orientation” beyond their specific agenda of homosexual sex.:

    I think gay people also believe that bisexual and transgendered people deserve equal rights to marriage. I assume gay and lesbian people believe all sexual orientations should be allowed to marry, too.

  44. Anne
    August 13th, 2011 at 10:02 | #45

    @Rob Tisinai
    “As for this: “But the reality is that the law itself is limited in definition of what “sexual orientation” includes, and that aspect of the law is biased on behalf of the homosexual community.”

    Evidence, Anne, evidence?”

    The comment was a summary of the entire post which plainly states the evidence.

    Read the rest of the post, Rob, read the rest of the post.

  45. August 14th, 2011 at 08:04 | #46

    @Anne: I have read the the whole post. Maggie makes no reference to sexual orientation discrimination laws that are biased in favor of gays. In face, she makes no reference discrimination law at all.

    If I’m wrong, perhaps you can quote the part where she does.

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