Gay Patriot Header Image

“Tone Deaf” Campaign to Defeat CA Marriage Initiative?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:57 pm - June 10, 2008.
Filed under: California politics,Gay Marriage

In January, after attending a meeting the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center announcing a new initiative, LetCaliforniaRing, to promote gay marriage in California, I faulted the group’s campaign video for doing little that is likely to “change minds.” Their campaign seemed designed not to those voters skeptical of changing the state definition of the institution to include same-sex couples, but to make gay activists and their supporters on their left feel good about themselves.

If those spearheading that initiative are in charge of the campaign to defeat the initiative on this fall’s ballot proposing to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the proposition is all but certain to pass.

I’m not alone in this belief. Pointing out that “gay activists have lost nearly every fight to stop gay marriage bans,” Patrick Range McDonald, who blogs at the LA Weekly, faults the language of the initiative’s opponents:

Equality For All seems to be rolling out a decidedly partisan message. On its web site, for example, the coalition repeatedly cites “extremists” and the “right-wing” as the enemy. (The Human Rights Campaign also sends out emails seeking donations with references to “our right-wing opponents.”) These are political buzz words that will undoubtedly turn off Republican voters, much in the same way Democrats see red whenever Republicans disparagingly say “liberal,” and the gays cannot afford to needlessly offend anyone–no matter what the current polls say.

It never really is a particularly good idea to insult the people whose votes you’re trying to win:

All in all, the fiery language suggests political amateurs or the politically tone deaf are currently running the show for the gays. Even worse, veterans of past gay marriage defeats may be at the helm.

In many cases, those “veterans” sought to demonize the proponents of the traditional definition of marriage. They may help them feel good about themselves by projecting their own insecurities on their ideological adversaries, but it won’t do much to make those currently wary of gay marriage feel good about about voting to change the longstanding definition of the institution.

The idea is to show why gay marriage is good not just for gay people, but for society at large. I’ve said this before. And so have others. Now, the idea is to turn this message into a political campaign, one that changes minds in order to win votes.

Share

36 Comments

  1. Equality California is repeating the same mistakes that cost them losing in 2000.

    They are just as blind and deaf like the HRC. Yet another division of the Democratic Party.

    Comment by Matt from California — June 10, 2008 @ 11:08 pm - June 10, 2008

  2. The idea is to show why gay marriage is good not just for gay people, but for society at large.

    Sorry, that’s unlikely to work in the context of a sound-bite driven four month campaign. The only thing that’s liable to work is to sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of voters that the proposition could negatively affect straight people that voters take the safe way out and vote down the proposition. That’s what worked in Arizona where the homohaters even had McBush making commercials for them.

    Comment by Ian S — June 10, 2008 @ 11:16 pm - June 10, 2008

  3. Thank you for his post. It’s so encouraging to hear of people putting so much into standing up for gay marriage.

    http://www.simplyqueer.com

    Comment by Alexandra — June 11, 2008 @ 1:17 am - June 11, 2008

  4. One thing is for sure, if the gay activists leading the campaign are anything like Ian, the measure will pass in a landslide.

    I agree, GPW. Ideas matter. As I’ve said before, liberal gays and lesbians are the only ones in the world who think gay relationships are equivalent to straight relationships; everyone else has taken biology.

    And if lefty-homos think they are going to win marriage by arguing that biology isn’t true, they’re in for a rude awakening.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 11, 2008 @ 2:14 am - June 11, 2008

  5. I think the average person is feeling very insecure right now. Be it oil prices, food prices, taxes, bills, our non-representative govts, war, terrorism , shitty schools, the youths acting like maniacs , etc…

    (These are all things that the Left either ignores or makes worse)

    Now on top of that put this cultural and religious assault on one of the most sacred religious and societal institutions being imposed on them by unaccountable courts…

    I bet some people have to view this as gay people being so incredibly free of any other hardship that they can now launch this unneccesary legal assault and just be appalled by the self-centeredness of it.

    Comment by Vince P — June 11, 2008 @ 2:25 am - June 11, 2008

  6. Personally I think the amendment is going to pass, by how much and what the aftermath is in the courts is what will be the most interesting to see. This being said, I think the biggest problem in this campaign is the political ideology of the groups. They’ve so tied themselves to the Left that this is the only kind of rhetoric they seem to know. Preaching to the choir will only get you so far. Motivation of one’s ‘troop’ is of course necessary, but unless force is employed (for which there has to be a reasonable amount of success, absent in this case) than subterfuge (insufficient in this case) or persuasion of an opposing ‘foe’ is needed. Basic Sun Tzu which they would be wise to review for his principles are useful in more areas than just warfare.

    Comment by John — June 11, 2008 @ 9:09 am - June 11, 2008

  7. The idea is to show why gay marriage is good not just for gay people, but for society at large.

    Bingo!

    I have really tried to find the argument that would convince me that gay marriage is good for society at large. So far, I am stuck on civil unions as a way to clear up some legal problems.

    Meanwhile, I am weary of being branded a bigot or “homohater” (as ian calls us) when I jolly well don’t care what you do so long as I don’t have to approve or participate.

    There are states, such as Massachusetts, where people are so worried about getting gold stars on their Tolerance Charts that they would probably redefine marriage as “a union between a willing entity and one or more entities who will go along with it.” Why offend a fundamentalist Muslim?

    Comment by heliotrope — June 11, 2008 @ 10:46 am - June 11, 2008

  8. #7 – Well, helio, as Lady Astor once said, “I don’t care what people do in public as long as it doesn’t frighten the horses.”

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — June 11, 2008 @ 12:43 pm - June 11, 2008

  9. #8

    Or as i try to ingrain in newbies in D/s ‘Don’t freak the mundanes’

    Comment by The Livewire — June 11, 2008 @ 2:10 pm - June 11, 2008

  10. Comment by Peter Hughes — June 11, 2008 @ 12:43 pm – June 11, 2008

    I’m always reminded of Winnie’s retort to the good Lady whenever I see her name:

    Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I’d put poison in your coffee.”

    PM Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

    :D

    Comment by John — June 11, 2008 @ 5:20 pm - June 11, 2008

  11. Heliotrope:

    Isn’t granting gays and lesbians the freedom to marry a good for society? Expanding the sphere of freedom for citizens is for me a beneficial act. If this is not so in this case, why not?

    I realize that there is the theocratic argument that same-sex marriage goes against God’s will and society should endeavor to run along the lines set forth by God. But a person has to live in a theocracy for that argument to have traction.

    As far as the tradition argument goes, tradition is constantly undergoing change — fluidity is the nature of existence. Some people may be uncomfortable with (and even hostile to) change, but since change is inevitable, then objecting to change simply because it is change becomes untenable beyond the realm of personal preference. If a change is to be objected to, it seems to me that it needs to be shown that the specific change contemplated will cause societal harm.

    I realize that you do not want to be branded a bigot or homohater, and you have not come across that way in these threads. But the question remains: why object to same-sex marriage? If your objection is based on religious belief, then we disagree on premises.

    If your objection is that same-sex marriage is a deviation from tradition, the question becomes: why not object to all deviations from tradition? How should a person sort through the various deviations that have occurred historically and determine which are allowable and which must be resisted? The fierce objection to this change and not others raises the possibility that homophobia and heterosexism are fueling (in whole or part) people’s passions.

    A person could also object that gays and lesbians exhibit certain behaviors that disqualify them from being allowed to marry. But all the behaviors I have seen put forth in such arguments are ones engaged in by people who are already allowed to marry. Once again, logic fails.

    I am glad that you do not care what gays and lesbians do, but the question is: why do you object to same-sex marriage when you say that you do not care what they do? No one is asking for your approval, but when you take a stance of active disapproval, it helps to put forth an argument if you want to combat the possible impression of being a homohater.

    You have argued that the line defending traditional marriage must be drawn here. But why? What makes this instance more crucial than others?

    A person could argue that allowing same-sex marriage will start society off on a slippery slope toward (enter your favorite nightmare scenario here). But all of life is a slippery slope, full of changes and alterations. There are no plateaus.

    Comment by Brian in Brooklyn — June 11, 2008 @ 6:00 pm - June 11, 2008

  12. Isn’t granting gays and lesbians the freedom to marry a good for society? Expanding the sphere of freedom for citizens is for me a beneficial act.

    Problem is, Brian, you already have the freedom to marry, just the same as heterosexuals do — to a person of the opposite sex and appropriate age who is not related to you and who is not already married.

    The issue here is that your sexual attractions don’t line up with all of those restrictions; therefore, you want them removed in the name of “freedom”.

    There is a good reason for all of those restrictions. At the base, it is because the underlying unit of all society, from which civilization springs, is the unity of a man and a woman that both creates and nourishes children and thus perpetuates itself. Heterosexual marriage provides stability to society now and the structure on which its future is constructed. Humanity has been working its way through the issue of marriage for millenia, and settled on the one-man, one-woman formula eons ago for obvious reasons; of all the pairings, it is the lightest, simplest, most elegant, and most suited towards the perpetuation and stabilization of society.

    The problem here, Brian, is that you simply are incapable of admitting that there are fundamental differences between opposite-sex and same-sex couples in terms of both societal impact and benefit. At the most basic, no same-sex couple can produce its own children; the vast majority of opposite-sex couples can. Indeed the sole reason YOU exist in the first place is because of heterosexuality.

    In contrast, gay marriage is simply a matter of convenience. Furthermore, as heliotrope points out, that convenience can be perfectly well satisfied by other means.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 11, 2008 @ 7:29 pm - June 11, 2008

  13. NDT, thanks for putting the arguement in such eloquent terms. One thing Dan has postured for a while is – marriage has never been anything but a union of both sexes. And to my knowledge – never more than one man.
    This is true in all cultures and all civilizations.

    Simply because it makes a gay person feel better, is not reason to change and institution that has been a cornerstone in all cultures. This is how children are born and raised.

    Of course nowadays we have many honorable gay couples who are ‘married’ and raising wonderful children. Society must accommodate them, but does it need to throw out millennia of social structure to do so?

    The other day I had this discussion with a lovely liberal lady – she kept going back to comparing gays to blacks. Sorry two different categories.

    Comment by Leah — June 11, 2008 @ 7:51 pm - June 11, 2008

  14. NDT, thats the most eloquent explanation I have heard yet. I wish I could write that well.

    I would only add that because gay couples are incapable as a class, not as occasional exceptions, of reproduction and raising of their own children, allowing gay marriage would necessarily mean changing the definition — changing the purpose of marriage.

    We could no longer claim that the reason society supports marriage is to encourage the nuclear family if we admit an entire class of relationship that is by definition incapable of forming nuclear families.

    So gays are arguing, whether they are aware of it or not (I think most are unaware), that society should change the very reason it values marriage in the first place so that they can be included. (Which is a very powerful testament to how excluded and different gays really feel they are)

    They argue that society should want to encourage adults to form relationships because its good for society if people take care of eachother instead of society needing to take care of them. Which may or may not be true.

    But what they fail to understand is if the purpose of marriage becomes to encourage adults to take care of one another, then there is no logical reason why any adults should not be allowed to marry. Siblings and other relatives are just as capable of taking care of eachother as gay couples are. And if taking care of eachother is the goal, a group marriage would be even better than a couple.

    Gay marraige necessarily changes the definition of marriage. And changing the definition of marriage has broad implications. It is incumbent on proponents of gay marriage to show that those changes would be good for, and would not harm the institution or society.

    And they haven’t even begun to establish that.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 11, 2008 @ 9:16 pm - June 11, 2008

  15. I think there are several important arguments that need to be made to fight the proposed amendment.

    1.) Same-sex marriage is not bad for society. This is not exactly the same as saying that it’s good for society, and I think it needs to be heard. We need to fight the false dichotomy that anti-gay groups present when they say that heterosexual marriage is good for society, and therefore gay marriage should be illegal. Heterosexual marriage is good for society, and it will continue to be good for society when homosexual marriage is legal.

    2.) Same-sex marriage is good for society. We shouldn’t take this for granted. “Equality” is a great concept, but it isn’t necessarily a motivating factor for people who don’t feel unequal. Legal same-sex marriage will create a net gain in social stability by encouraging gay couples to settle down and to be faithful. It will also provide a safety net for thousands of children.

    3.) The proposed amendment is poorly worded and, if passed, could have disastrous consequences for everyone in the state.

    I know, I know, gay activists kinda sorta want this election to be a referendum on whether gay relationships are okay. But the fact remains that this odd, grammatically questionable amendment could lead to a clusterf— for the state of California. Its selling point, as a petition, was that it was simple and direct. That simplicity means that courts will have to do a lot of decision-making when it comes to interpreting the amendment, and no one knows exactly how that will turn out. It could lead to problems for couples in domestic partnerships. It could even lead to the end of marriage as an institution in California (a court could decide that, since the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to treat homosexual and heterosexual couples differently, then the only way to reconcile the amendment with the rest of the Constitution is for there to be no marriages in California for anyone.)

    There are many good reasons to oppose this amendment.

    Comment by Phil — June 12, 2008 @ 2:16 am - June 12, 2008

  16. I’m sorry Phil, you can’t just declare that gay marriage won’t be bad for society, and declare that it is good for society, you actually have to provide evidence to back those claims up.

    Here are some possible scenarios to get you started:

    1. Up until now gay couples haven’t been able to participate in the institution, so their affect on it has been nil. What happens if we legalize gay marriage and gays overwhelmingly choose not to participate in it? What happens to societal attitudes towards marriage if given the opportunity this whole group of people says, “eh, I’m not interested?” Especially considering the disproportionate influence gays exert over industries such as fashion, film, television, news, etc?

    2. Similarly, what if gays do get married, but continue to eschew traditional monogomous marriage in favor of “open” marriages as is so prevalent inthe gay community now? That could have a very negative affect on the institution and on society. How can you illustrate that it wont?

    3. Or finally, there’s the issue of changiing the definition to begin with. If the institution goes from being one that is centered on encouraging the nuclear family, and focused on the best interest of children, what happens when you change the definition, as allowing gay marriage must necessarily do, to be focused on the benefits to the adults? How can you illustrate that taking the focus off the nuclear family and children and putting it on the adults will not have long term detrimental effects to society.

    Gay marriage is legal in much of Europe, and marriage rates are also declining in much of Europe while out of wedlock births are rising. I know correlation doesnt prove causation, but the impetus is not on defenders of traditional marriage to show that changing the institution would harm it, the impetus is on proponents of gay marriage to illustrate that it wouldnt.

    And frankly, I think there are next to zero gays and lesbians that have actually bothered to examine whether gay marriage would harm the institution or not.

    I also don’t think any of them have bothered to consider whether the majority of gays and lesbians would actually seek to uphold the traditional values of the institution: monogamy, fidelity, child rearing, or would rather change the institution to fit their lifestyles.

    To be perfectly honest, I dont think most gays and lesbians give a rats ass about the institution or its implications to society. I think they want what they want when they want it. And what they really want is an official government stamp of approval saying “being gay is just as good as being straight” after which they will go right back to “partying and playing” til the sun comes up, the consequences to the institution and to society be damned. And having given none of this any thought whatsoever they simply assume tuat because they want it it would be good.

    How easy life would be if things were that simple.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 12, 2008 @ 6:18 am - June 12, 2008

  17. Oh, and one more.

    4. If we change the definition of the institution from one that exists to encourage nuclear families and the best scenario for child rearing, to defining it as an institution that exists to encourage adults to take care of eachother, then where is there any logical barrier to allowing any adults to marry. Two sisters or a brother and a sister can take care of eachother just as well as a gay couple can. In fact a group of people can take care of eachother much better than two people can.

    You see, there is a rational basis for excluding gay couples from marriage. When you encourage all men and women to couple up with one another, the maximum number of children will be born into legally binding relationships between their biological parents.

    But if you do away with that exclusion, because “its good for society if people take care of eachother”, then there is no rational basis, and so no justifiable legal basis, for excluding any group of adults of any number from getting married.

    Do you begin to see some of the many ways in which changing the purpose of the institution could be detrimental?

    Comment by American Elephant — June 12, 2008 @ 6:35 am - June 12, 2008

  18. The problem with your arguments, American Elephant, is that they are all non-unique. There is nothing special about gays as a class which allows them to do what you say they might (or not do what you say they can’t do.)

    What happens if we legalize gay marriage and gays overwhelmingly choose not to participate in it?

    This question could be asked of any class of people that the asker thinks are less inclined to pop the question to each other. What if Jamaicans choose not to participate, or if left-handers choose not to participate?

    Further, the question can be turned on its head: what happens to the institution if we don’t legalize same-sex marriage and create the impression among young people that marriage is an exclusive/elitist/or even a prejudiced institution?

    I know several young heterosexual couples who have told me that they don’t plan to get married until their gay siblings/friends/coworkers can.

    The risk, in politicizing marriage the way that social conservatives are, is that it is creating the impression that marriage is a Christian institution, instead of a civil institution. It creates the impression that marriage is only for social conservatives, or that it is only for people who are currently interested in starting a family. Young heterosexuals who are not Christian, or who are not socially conservative, or who are not planning to start a family right away, will begin to see marriage as something that “other people do.”

    Are we agreed that marriage is something that is good for society even for liberal non-Christians who aren’t planning to have kids anytime soon? I happen to think that it is; I’m not sure what your stance is.

    Similarly, what if gays do get married, but continue to eschew traditional monogomous marriage in favor of “open” marriages as is so prevalent in the gay community now?

    Again, when I say that your arguments are “non-unique,” I don’t mean that you are being unoriginal. I mean that what you bring up is possible for any married couple, not just for gays.

    But your question seems to be, “If we give gay couples a legal structure which encourages fidelity, and which makes it financially and socially difficult to commit adultery, will this increase or reduce the amount of promiscuity in the gay community?” I think it pretty likely that it will reduce it. I don’t think it will eliminate promiscuity in gay couples any more than the existence of marriage eliminates promiscuity in heterosexuals.

    what happens when you change the definition, as allowing gay marriage must necessarily do, to be focused on the benefits to the adults?

    Marriage, in all 50 states, is legal between couples regardless of their ability to bear children. Women who have had hysterectomies and men whose testicles are blown off by landmines can marry, as can elderly couples past child-bearing age.

    So your question is, in reality: “What happens when you change the definition of this institution that allows couples who can’t possibly have children to marry, to an institution that allows couples who can’t possibly have children to marry?”

    The status quo, in all fifty states, is to permit couples to marry even if they have zero chance of creating their own biological offspring. So focusing on that aspect of gay marriages is a bit of a red herring, because the status quo will not change. Since gay couples can already raise children, the only change to the status quo will be that the couples raising those children can now get married, which results in benefits to the children.

    It might also be worth noting that the stability of marriage provides peace of mind not just for the couple, but also for their families and loved ones. Mothers and fathers of gay children would not have the same worries about whether their sons and daughters can ever get married.

    This strengthens another function of marriage: the creation of a support system for the elderly and aging. Not only will gay couples have a stronger support system as they age, so too will their parents.

    Comment by Phil — June 12, 2008 @ 3:07 pm - June 12, 2008

  19. There is nothing special about gays as a class which allows them to do what you say they might (or not do what you say they can’t do.)

    Apparently people still are not getting this.

    Heterosexual couples MAY be unable to produce children that are biologically related to both members of the couple due to health, biological damage, or age.

    Howev, ALL same-sex couples, REGARDLESS of health, biological damage, or age, are unable to produce children that are biologically related to both members of the couple.

    Bluntly put, Phil, those who deny the difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples ignore the fact that they did not come from the biological union of a same-sex couple, but of an OPPOSITE-sex couple. There can be heterosexuality without homosexuality, as we see in the animal kingdom, but there can be no homosexuality without heterosexuality; it simply cannot reproduce itself otherwise.

    Hence, the difference — and hence why society is perfectly justified in treating heterosexual and homosexual couples differently.

    I know several young heterosexual couples who have told me that they don’t plan to get married until their gay siblings/friends/coworkers can.

    Good. In fact, those people should never get married.

    What that makes clear is that those young people see marriage as nothing more than a social convenience. Obviously it holds no benefit or imperative to them; they can have their sexual lives, own their property, do their taxes, and have their children perfectly well without it.

    Since marriage has such little value to them, it seems quite obvious that they won’t stretch themselves to keep it. Hence, they should just stay unmarried, since there is obviously no benefit to them to be married and it would only create inconveniences when they tire of their current sexual partners and want to move on to others.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 12, 2008 @ 4:45 pm - June 12, 2008

  20. To summarize, what this boils down to is whether marriage is an institution for convenience of the individuals involved in the here and now, or whether it is something intended to build, stabilize, protect, and perpetuate society.

    For gay liberals and liberal heterosexuals, it’s obviously the former. They encourage heterosexuals not to marry in a show of “solidarity” with gay people. They encourage promiscuity by claiming that monogamy is “authoritarian”. They insist, as we see here, that all relationships are equal and should receive marriage benefits, including polygamous, brother-sister, and other relationships. Their perspective is only concerned with the here and now; for example, they argue that gay couples should be allowed to marry to provide for their elderly parents, but never bother to explain what happens in the future and who’s going to provide for THEM.

    For others, marriage is not about convenience in the here and now for the married people, but about protection, support, and nurturing for the future of society — the children that that couple produces. THEY are the ones who benefit from having clear parental relationships. THEY are the ones whose legal rights and biological rights are best protected by the structure of marriage. THEY are the ones who reap the most reward — and ultimately, in return, THEY provide support for the elderly and the perpetuation of society that benefits all.

    Again, the underlying unit of all society, from which civilization springs, is the unity of a man and a woman that both creates and nourishes children and thus perpetuates itself. Heterosexual marriage provides stability to society now and the structure on which its future is constructed. Humanity has been working its way through the issue of marriage for millenia, and settled on the one-man, one-woman formula eons ago for obvious reasons; of all the pairings, it is the lightest, simplest, most elegant, and most suited towards the perpetuation and stabilization of society.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 12, 2008 @ 4:56 pm - June 12, 2008

  21. There can be heterosexuality without homosexuality, as we see in the animal kingdom, but there can be no homosexuality without heterosexuality; it simply cannot reproduce itself otherwise.

    This is the false dichotomy I mentioned above. We don’t need to choose between having homosexuality and heterosexuality in our society; in fact, they can (and do) coexist.

    Good. In fact, those people should never get married.

    That’s another interesting argument; what your saying is that some people ought not get married. So, according to this line of thinking, a decline in marriage, like that mentioned by American Elephant in post 16, might actually be a good thing.

    I don’t know that I agree with your logic, but it is another argument in favor of legal same-sex marriage.

    Comment by Phil — June 12, 2008 @ 5:38 pm - June 12, 2008

  22. NDT: Whew! It is great to sit back and let a true master take the reins.

    I think I have reached the point of “because the majority says so!”

    Nature survives on the balance between continuity and change. Change for the sake of change is the ideology of a cancer cell. Continuity for the sake of continuity is fine for granite but stupid for sandstone. Change based on the continuum is the business of evolution.

    No one has shown me the slightest reason why homosexual marriage is the next logical step in evolution. If opening the doors to options is the order of the day, why just the homosexual formula? Doesn’t polygamy have a far longer and stronger track record?

    The vast majority does not have to defend tradition. If marriage needs to be reformed, it will absorb those changes that make sense to the majority. The chutzpah of challenging the majority to show why they oppose homosexual marriage or polygamy is astounding. Somehow, the concept of minority right has morphed into minority demand.

    At the very least, I do not oppose homosexual marriage so much as I oppose tinkering with the marriage formula altogether. We really owe the “compelling state interest” a far better discussion than the amorphous “equality” and “freedom” claims. Clearly, the family, children and the posterity underlie the current “compelling state interest” in regulating marriage.

    Comment by heliotrope — June 12, 2008 @ 7:53 pm - June 12, 2008

  23. I think I have reached the point of “because the majority says so!”

    It’s about time someone joined me over there.

    The Majority says so. Period. If people want to destroy the meaning of marriage, then it’s up to them to make thier case.

    It’s not up to the Majority to justify anything

    Comment by Vince P — June 12, 2008 @ 8:14 pm - June 12, 2008

  24. We don’t need to choose between having homosexuality and heterosexuality in our society; in fact, they can (and do) coexist.

    Tell us, Phil; did you get here by same-sex intercourse and as the result of a same-sex couple? Or are you here by the fact of opposite-sex intercourse and as the result of an opposite-sex couple?

    If heterosexuality and homosexuality are the same, as you claim, then you should be able to provide proof of gay men having sex with each other and producing children, or lesbians having sex with each other and producing children, as a byproduct.

    That’s another interesting argument; what your saying is that some people ought not get married. So, according to this line of thinking, a decline in marriage, like that mentioned by American Elephant in post 16, might actually be a good thing.

    Of course — if you consider people being unwilling to be monogamous and make the lifetime commitment to marriage, or children being born out of wedlock, to be a good.

    A decline in marriage shows that the institution has been cheapened and has lost value to peoples’ lives in favor of promiscuity and an absence of commitment. It is no surprise that that attitude is so prevalent in Europe, where such values as monogamy and commitment are not considered “with it” and are too “traditional”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 13, 2008 @ 3:04 am - June 13, 2008

  25. If heterosexuality and homosexuality are the same, as you claim

    Huh? I never claimed that. I simply claimed that they can, and do, coexist. It is false to suggest that the existence of homosexuality somehow obliterates the existence of heterosexuality.

    At my workplace, I have straight coworkers who are married with children. I have gay coworkers who are in relationships without children. And there are straight and gay coworkers who either aren’t married yet, or chose not to get married. There’s none of the conflict that you present: the existence of gay couples doesn’t prevent the straight couples from bearing and raising their children.

    This coexistence seems ideal. What possible alternative would you propose?

    Comment by Phil — June 13, 2008 @ 6:32 am - June 13, 2008

  26. Huh? I never claimed that. I simply claimed that they can, and do, coexist. It is false to suggest that the existence of homosexuality somehow obliterates the existence of heterosexuality.

    The point, Phil, is that heterosexuality can exist perfectly well without homosexuality, but homosexuality cannot exist without heterosexuality.

    Coexistence is not the question. As heliotrope and others have pointed out before, they have no problem with homosexuality coexisting; what they have a problem with is society being forced to treat it the same as heterosexuality when it clearly is not.

    If one is able to acknowledge and deal with that reality, grounded in biology, science, and millenia of human experience, then their position makes perfect sense.

    However, the need of gay liberals for “marriage” is not rational. It is based on a contempt for heterosexual society, as witnessed by their insistence that promiscuity is “normal” among married heterosexuals. It is based on an ideological belief that monogamy is “authoritarian” and that fidelity in marriage should be a matter of interpretation. It is based on a rationalization, as expressed in the Beyond Marriage link, that there are no differences and that all relationships, including polyamorous ones, should be granted marriage rights.

    Finally, and most foremost, it is based on an attempt by gay liberals to use the court system to force people to like them — without having to cease the promiscuous, leftist, antireligious, and anti-heterosexual behaviors that make people dislike them in the first place.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 13, 2008 @ 11:44 am - June 13, 2008

  27. Finally, and most foremost, it is based on an attempt by gay liberals to use the court system to force people to like them — without having to cease the promiscuous, leftist, antireligious, and anti-heterosexual behaviors that make people dislike them in the first place.

    Bingo! Wish I had said that! Dead on, NDT!

    Comment by heliotrope — June 13, 2008 @ 12:13 pm - June 13, 2008

  28. The risk, in politicizing marriage the way that social conservatives are

    You’re frankly high if you think conservatives are the ones polticizing marriage. If they are politicizing it then it has been political for eons, because they are simply trying protect the institution as it has always existed from people like you who have gone to court to force radical change on a society that doesnt want it.

    The problem with your arguments, American Elephant, is that they are all non-unique. There is nothing special about gays as a class which allows them to do what you say they might (or not do what you say they can’t do.)

    The hell there’s not. Their relationships are an entirely biologically different type of relationship that cannot reproduce. We have already established that there is no equal protection issue. therefore it falls upon gays to show that radically changing the definition of marriage would not harm the institution or in any way lessen the benefit thta society gets from it.

    What if Jamaicans choose not to participate, or if left-handers choose not to participate?

    Jamaicans and left handers are not asking to radically change the definition of the institution, they are participating in it as it exists.

    Again, when I say that your arguments are “non-unique,” I don’t mean that you are being unoriginal. I mean that what you bring up is possible for any married couple, not just for gays.

    again, no other group is asking to radically alter the definition of marriage. gays are. that is why gays must answer these questions and polynesians dont have to. There is no significant difference between a polynesian straight couple, and any other straight couple. they are all the basic unit that is necessary to form nuclear families. Gays want to open the institution to other types of relationships that have no relation to the formation of nuclear families whatsoever.

    And moreover, it is because gay relationships are entirely different that the gay community has developed attitudes towards marriage and monogamy that are very different from the attitudes of straigt society. Thats a conflict. And its a conflict gays must show will resolve itself in a way that conforms to and does not change societal attitudes towards the institution.

    But I dont think gays can show that, because I dont think gays have any intention whatsoever of conforming to societal attitudes towards marriage.

    And finally, as I said before, gays must show that changing the definition by itself will not harm the institution. one of the biggest problems marriage has is that too many people think of it as an institution that exists to celebrate or validate love, instead of about stability, procreation and child rearing. And so we have an increasing number of people who get married solely for love, and get divorced when they decide theyre not in love anymore, and who cares what the effect is on children or societty, its all about me me me.

    I dont see any way in which changing the definition to include same sex couples doesnt by definition compound and exacerbate that problem.

    Gays must show that it doesnt.

    Comment by American Elephant — June 13, 2008 @ 2:50 pm - June 13, 2008

  29. A lot of this is metadiscourse, that is, discussion about the discussion. (In fact, that’s what GayPatriot’s initial essay was, critiquing the messages being sent in opposition to the amendment.

    So, there’s a slight difference between pointing out that an argument is fallacious or illogical, and arguing for the opposite side

    For example:

    American Elephant’s Argument1:
    What happens if we legalize gay marriage and gays overwhelmingly choose not to participate in it?

    My critique:
    This question could be asked of any class of people that the asker thinks are less inclined to pop the question to each other.

    AE’s response:
    Jamaicans and left handers are not asking to radically change the definition of the institution, they are participating in it as it exists.

    To which I reply: of course. It would be ridiculous to deny marriage to Jamaicans and left handers “because they might choose not to get married.”

    So let’s sum up the logic of AE’s Argument1:

    “It would be ridiculous to deny marriage to Jamaicans or left handers ‘because they might not get married.’ Therefore, it is logical to deny marriage to same-sex couples ‘because they might not get married.’”

    That’s what non-unique means. Any category of people, really, could choose not to get married. So the argument doesn’t stand up on its own.; more is required.

    My laptop is dying, so I’ll post and respond more later.

    Comment by Phil — June 13, 2008 @ 8:25 pm - June 13, 2008

  30. Here’s American Elephant’s Argument2:

    what if gays do get married, but continue to eschew traditional monogomous marriage in favor of “open” marriages as is so prevalent inthe gay community now?

    It’s similar to the first one, and it is also non-unique. All groups that can currently get married, however you slice them up, could choose to engage in “open” marriages. Albinos, Italians, comic book fans, “Sex and the City” fans–any possible group of heterosexuals could choose to engage in this behavior.

    American Elephant’s Argument3:

    what happens when you change the definition, as allowing gay marriage must necessarily do, to be focused on the benefits to the adults?

    It’s not entirely fair to say that this argument is non-unique; it requires a little interpretation. The gist of the supposition here, however, seems to be that allowing gay couples to marry takes the focus off of the children and puts it onto the adults.

    This would be logically reasonable if all married couples had children. It might even make rational sense if all couples who can legally marry were required, or even expected, to have the potential to bear children. But in practice, there are many categories of couples who cannot conceive and bear children, in addition to the many couples who choose not to bear children. Any heterosexual couple in which a female has passed the age of menopause, or had a hysterectomy, has a seriously difficult time conceiving children.

    Further, we allow couples to stay married even after their children are grown and their capacity to produce more offspring becomes nil. This could be because marriage serves more than one purpose in our society.

    If we presented these counter-examples as a counterargument, it would sound silly:
    “Elderly couples and infertile couples cannot conceive children, therefore we should not allow them to marry” is a silly thing to say.

    So let’s rephrase a rebuttal of such a silly example into something which takes AE’s argument into account:

    “I would be ridiculous to deny post-menopausal women the right to marry, therefore it is logical to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.”

    It becomes a non-sequitur, perhaps because the original argument was a red herring.

    Again, this post is not an argument in favor of same-sex marriage, it’s just a discussion of some of the arguments against it. It does not follow that because three bad arguments were presented, therefore same-sex marriage must be a social good.

    However, I think it’s useful and important, in this era of the quick soundbyte, to point out bad arguments, and to point out flaws in logic.

    Comment by Phil — June 13, 2008 @ 9:29 pm - June 13, 2008

  31. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the aspect of American Elephant’s arguments that I’ve been ignoring: that is, he contends that gays are likely to engage in the behaviors that he identifies.

    So, while Jamaicans and left-handers and librarians could do all of these things, AE maintains that gay couples have a greater chance of doing them.

    It’s an interesting argument to analyze, because it is predictive. You can’t just apply formal logic to it because it is a future statistic: it either will or won’t happen. One might present evidence either for it or to the contrary, but it’s an impossible contention to prove or disprove, simply because it is a prediction.

    The rationale behind it, however, could be disputed. That rationale is: it is appropriate to deny something to a group of people within society based on the behavior of members of that group.

    For example, it would be ridiculous to suggest that all gay men will eschew marriage, or that all gay men (or women) will choose to engage in open marriages. So, the basis of AE’s claim is that we should hold all members of a group of people responsible for, not just the behavior, but the potential future behavior, of individuals within that group.

    It’s an interesting idea. I’m not certain that I agree with it; there’s a lurking “ickiness” to the logical outcomes of such a rationale. What are other people’s thoughts? Is it appropriate to hold all members of a group or class accountable for the behavior of every possible member of that group or class?

    Comment by Phil — June 13, 2008 @ 9:43 pm - June 13, 2008

  32. Phil:

    Marriage is a union between a husband (man) and wife (woman)

    Get over it.

    Comment by Vince P — June 13, 2008 @ 11:56 pm - June 13, 2008

  33. This would be logically reasonable if all married couples had children. It might even make rational sense if all couples who can legally marry were required, or even expected, to have the potential to bear children. But in practice, there are many categories of couples who cannot conceive and bear children, in addition to the many couples who choose not to bear children. Any heterosexual couple in which a female has passed the age of menopause, or had a hysterectomy, has a seriously difficult time conceiving children.

    Amusingly, this is juxtaposed with this criticism.

    Is it appropriate to hold all members of a group or class accountable for the behavior of every possible member of that group or class?

    That is amusing, Phil, because you are arguing that what you claim to be the “exception” among homosexuals should not be taken as grounds for policy, but then argue that the obvious exception among heterosexuals, i.e. infertile couples, should be used as grounds for policy.

    Again, there is a very clear-cut, black-and-white point that you are doing your best to ignore: no same-sex couple is capable of producing children themselves. The vast and overwhelming majority of heterosexual couples ARE. The fact that there are a few that can’t and/or don’t does NOT change the fact that NO same-sex couples can.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 15, 2008 @ 12:42 pm - June 15, 2008

  34. As a native San Francisco Bay Area citizen, I am appalled at how the Supreme Court of Clowns of California came about their recent decision on gay marriage. The preamble to the Constitution of this Great Country is We The People, Not We the Supreme Court of California. The Supreme Clowns of California performed legislation from the bench, a process no where to be found in the California Constitution, much less the Constitution of the United States of America. What I find even more appalling is the gay and lesbians citizens of California who find this decision just fine – they will be heading to the court houses on June 16 to obtain licenses to marry. I see “me first” in this scenario, not what is ‘right’ meaning that I really don’t think any of you see the big issue with how you have been given the “right to marry”. I am not inclined to support gay marriage for a variety of reasons, with the big one being that in supporting gay marriage, then those same rights need to be given to people who want to marry animals, cousins, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and more than one cousin, sister, brother, etc. And if any of you think that won’t happen, people like nutball Jeffers are just waiting in line letting the gays and lesbians do all the work. Have domestic partnerships, legal unions, etc, whatever. I don’t care. Furthermore, I don’t understand what many people see as big issue for gays doesn’t seem to bother gay people. The people who support gay marriage in this country are also the people who think that people that George Bush is more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden or people like Obama’s friends, including Bill AYers and Louis Farrakhan. Osama, Obama, Ayers, Wright, Farakkahn support people who practice of Islam and want to make “Friends” with people like the Dictator Of Iran, i.e. Obama. Let’s face it, gays do not bode well with people who practice Islam – whether they are fantics or not. Extreme Islamic supports “HATE” gays and gays don’t do well in countries like Saudi Arbia, Iran, etc. The question I must ask is, do gay people really think when it comes down to the wire that the people who support gay marriage would protect any of you from the likes of any Islamic fanatic… I am sorry, but I don’t think so. See it is easy to bash Bush and right-wing nutballs in in the United States, because Bush and the right-wing nutballs in this country aren’t going to hurt you. They are not going to throw you in jail or torture you or kill you. It is against their moral beliefs to hurt anyone whether they are gay or not. However, none of the left-wingers who support gays in this country will bash or point out that the Isalmic Terrorists in this world would not hesitate to kill or toture a gay person. Yet gays are overwhelming liberal and support people like Obama who want to make friends with the Dictator of Iran. I am sorry, but I think making a pac with the Dictator of Iran is like making a pac with the Nazi’s – it just means you are next….

    Comment by cowgirl — June 15, 2008 @ 10:14 pm - June 15, 2008

  35. cowgirl: excellent

    Comment by Vince P — June 16, 2008 @ 7:58 am - June 16, 2008

  36. Why is it that no one makes the argument that allowing gays to enter into domestic partnerships will open the door to allowing people to enter into domestic partnerships with animals? It seems to follow the same line of thinking as cowgirl’s post.

    Comment by Rudy — June 19, 2008 @ 6:15 am - June 19, 2008

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.