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  1. This post has it exactly right. Magic Nanny does not wave her wand and make change happen. It comes first through society and culture, and then is reflected in our laws. When we try it the other way around, it never works.

    Which is precisely why same-sex marriage and polygamy will not simultaneously exist, as recognized by law. The character of a society that legally recognizes one is utterly incompatible with that which recognizes the other.

    Societies in which polygamy is legal are viciously anti-gay. They are also oppressive toward women. Those which are friendly to gays tend toward equality for women — and are, therefore, not amenable to legalized polygamy. Women whose status is even roughly equal to that of men simply will not live under polygamy.

    Even in the United States, the communities that practice polygamy must sequester women away in a separate and strictly subordinate status.

    Those who fear that legalizing same-sex marriage will automatically usher in legalized polygamy seem to believe that Magic Nanny might — presto chang-o — wave her wand and make this happen. One change, to them, automatically equates another. This is absurd, and betrays a total ignorance not only of history, but of social trends in modern times.

    Comment by Lori Heine — June 22, 2011 @ 5:10 am - June 22, 2011

  2. I agree with Yglesias, but for different reasons. As Locke and Rousseau both have pointed out, and as the Preamble to our Constitution make concrete for the US, the people are Sovereign, and the government works for us. Within this framework, the legislature, as the elected representatives of their respective subgroupings of the people, enact laws to achieve various ends–ideally the ends of the people and not of the government. Also within this framework, the judicial branch rules, first (if usually tacitly) on the legitimacy–the constitutionality–of the law in question, and then it rules on the case at hand based on what the law before them actually says (assuming they haven’t struck it down). By design, our judges do not legislate from the bench (though this is too often honored in the breach); this is explicitly and exclusively the role of the people’s legislative representatives.

    Accordingly, judges are wrong to “interpret” a law in a way suitable to them whenever they might disagree with it, or even if they think (and perhaps rightly) the law is in some way bad. If they cannot find it unconstitutional, their oath of office, and their role under the Constitution, demand that they apply the law as it is.

    Further, there is no problem, in principle, with the legislature enacting laws that impact–drive, even–societal change. If We the People don’t like that, we have recourse every two years to fire the miscreants and replace them with legislators who will repeal that law. However, there’s no principle-based problem with some leaders driving societal change in the general community–which is where, as Ms Heine correctly says, that durable change must originate. And if these leaders (or some of them) act from the legislature, that’s both OK and correctable by the community that elected him/her.

    This, of course, puts a premium on all of us–the citizens who, as individuals, collectively make up our various communities and our larger society–to remain both vigilant and active in the political process.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — June 22, 2011 @ 8:39 am - June 22, 2011

  3. Virtually all gains made by gay folks in the past 40 years towards our acceptance as decent people has been made without legislative or judicial help; and sometimes even despite laws and rulings against us. No court ruling is going to change anyone’s mind about us. Long before laws against us were removed we had already started the process of removing the negativism, person by person, mostly starting with our families and hetero friends. Even Bowers v. Hardwick did not dent the trend, nor did Lawrence push it. And the trend is still moving forward.

    I can say that rarely have I felt impinged upon by silly laws against us. Quite amazingly, in the small town South where I chose to live, the police were protecting gay bars despite laws in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama that outlawed our smooching (with penalties up to 10 years at hard labor even for so much as a kiss.)

    It’s rather simple as to why — there’s this abstract notion of “homosexuality” that is not liked, but then when people know gay folks personally there’s just no way they can continue the campaigns against us. The reality of us has simply trumped the legality of us. And I feel strongly that sometime in the next decade the whole anti-gay thing will simply dry up and blow away.

    And we don’t need any “tolerance” resolutions or laws — we already have one — the Declaration of Independence — All are created equal by our Creator — and if you don’t think your Creator made gay folks in his image, than my Creator wants to have a word with yours. And thus I feel very positive that these are the good old days for gay folks — no matter who becomes the next president.

    Comment by Jim Hlavac — June 22, 2011 @ 9:18 am - June 22, 2011

  4. I don’t understand this post. Dan, you really “couldn’t agree more” with Iglesias’ statement (that you quoted), “for the vast majority of American history, the judicial branch has been a very conservative elite-dominated institution”? What conservative elite? Was it conservative of them, that in the late 19th century they ignored part of the Constitution as written, namely the 14th amendment? It may have been racially reactionary, but is that part of conservative?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 22, 2011 @ 10:10 am - June 22, 2011

  5. (continued) I could see where in another country like Germany or Japan or Russia, it might be part of conservative. But I have always thought that “conservative” in America means conserving the values of the American Revolution: all men are created equal; government exists to protect the life/liberty/property of all; government must be limited, as it readily becomes the oppressor; government power must be viewed with suspicion especially when it violates liberty and/or the constitutional text (both of which Jim Crow did violate); etc.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 22, 2011 @ 10:19 am - June 22, 2011

  6. Hmm what is GoProud’s position on Santorum wanting to outlaw sodomy again?
    “sodomy laws properly exist to prevent acts which “undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family”

    Is Chris Barron going to divorce his husband if Santorum gets the nomination? Would you be willing to give up bum sex to reclaim the white house?

    Comment by Tim — June 22, 2011 @ 5:01 pm - June 22, 2011

  7. Rick Santorum’s candidacy is entirely an ego trip. So, why even bring it up, Tim? And what does this fringe candidate’s commentary have to do with the post to which you attach it?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — June 22, 2011 @ 5:38 pm - June 22, 2011

  8. I rarely double comment on a post — but Tim’s GOProud Santorum question is intriguing — and I am not a member of GOProud or any other gay group (I do not play well with others.) The short answer is that Santorum isn’t going to get anywhere with his cockamamie idea of outlawing “sissy smooching” (nothing like a cute term to defang the man.) Congress is not going to pass such a law, I doubt it would get beyond a committee. And there has never been a federal anti-gay sex law other than in the UCMJ.

    On the other hand, the questions that gays of any political persuasion should ask Mr. Santorum is: Him and what army will enforce it? How will he enforce this law? Closing down gay bars? Well, that would get a few riots going, I’m sure. Banning gay pride events, yah, right. Other questions: “What part of Liberty, Mr. Santorum, does this fall under?” Another question: “How much will it cost? How will it impact the budget?” Still another idea to pose to the man: “Sir, you will have to arrest us all, and we will demand to be arrested, and you to incarcerate us, and you will call this punishment and we will call this the weirdest Club Med ever devised by the folly of man.”

    So I’m not worried about the blather of Santorum. I dislike him for other reasons however.

    Comment by Jim Hlavac — June 22, 2011 @ 5:40 pm - June 22, 2011

  9. Tim @ #6 asks:

    Is Chris Barron going to divorce his husband if Santorum gets the nomination? Would you be willing to give up bum sex to reclaim the white house?

    Is a male going to divorce his “husband?” We are supposed to assume that same sex marriage is not a corruption of marriage. I get it. But how is “his husband” not a corruption of the English language?

    I heartily recommend that Tim and his elite moral relativists conjure up a vocabulary to fit their circumstances. My suggestion derives from Tim’s second question: “Would you be willing to give up bum sex to reclaim the white house?”

    I suggest you call your married mate your “bumster.” Hat tip to Tim. Good on you. You could call your home the Bumstead.

    Comment by Heliotrope — June 22, 2011 @ 6:10 pm - June 22, 2011

  10. Timmeh’s question is why Republicans don’t take gays seriously.

    The economy is getting worse, the job market is abysmal, and government spending is out of control…..and Timmeh’s main concern in life is that someone, somewhere, is supporting sodomy laws.

    You couldn’t do a better job of demonstrating that the vast majority of gays and lesbians are imbecilic single-issue voters incapable of thinking with or about anything other than their genitals.

    It’s beyond hilarious to watch Timmeh whine about “giving up bum sex to reclaim the White House” when you realize that Timmeh, with his blind support for Obama and the Obama Party, has already given up fiscal sanity, the economy, jobs, business, national growth, and international relationships because bum sex was more important.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 22, 2011 @ 7:37 pm - June 22, 2011

  11. Hmm what is GoProud’s position on Santorum wanting to outlaw sodomy again?

    Could you provide a more recent quote which backs up your claim? The one you provide preceded the Lawrence decision.

    Comment by TGC — June 23, 2011 @ 5:13 am - June 23, 2011

  12. Although,

    Finally, Mr. Obama has made a strategic blunder. While he needs to raise money and organize, he decided to be a candidate this year rather than president. He has thus unnecessarily abandoned one of incumbency’s great strengths, which is the opportunity to govern and distance himself from partisan politics until next spring. Instead, Team Obama has attacked potential GOP opponents and slandered Republican proposals with abandon. This is not what the public is looking for from the former apostle of hope and change.

    – Karl Rove

    http://tinyurl.com/69d8skd

    Comment by TGC — June 23, 2011 @ 6:08 am - June 23, 2011

  13. Damn! Wrong thread.

    Comment by TGC — June 23, 2011 @ 6:25 am - June 23, 2011

  14. Word Origin & History

    conservative

    as a modern political tradition, conservatism traces to Edmund Burke’s opposition to the Fr. Revolution (1790), but the word conservative is not found in his writing. It was coined by his Fr. disciples, (e.g. Chateaubriand, who titled his journal defending clerical and political restoration “Le Conservateur” ). Conservative as the name of a British political faction it first appeared in an 1830 issue of the “Quarterly Review,” in an unsigned article sometimes attributed to John Wilson Croker. It replaced Tory (q.v.) by 1843, reflecting both a change from the pejorative name (in use for 150 years) and repudiation of some reactionary policies. Extended to similar spirits in other parties from 1845.
    “Strictly speaking, conservatism is not a political system, but rather a way of looking at the civil order. The conservative of Peru … will differ greatly from those of Australia, for though they may share a preference for things established, the institutions and customs which they desire to preserve are not identical.” [Russell Kirk (1918-1994)]
    Phrases such as a conservative estimate make no sense etymologically.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conservative

    Comment by rusty — June 23, 2011 @ 8:52 am - June 23, 2011

  15. @Dan Santorum is mentioned several times in the article you linked to, as well as a reference to GoProud, I thought it was perfectly topical and in line with the conversation. Did you read the whole article? Personally while i can understand the sentiment I disagree with the final premise. Legal gains codified social evolution, however without the codification backsliding is to easy. Look at Canada, the conservative party just voted to retain the dissolution of same sex marriage in their party planks despite widespread acceptance of the issue there.

    So Santorum is now just a vanity candidate? So we don’t have to take people serious or at their word if you think that they don’t have a chance? I disagree.

    @Nd30 another tiresome red herring, we gays shouldn’t worry about the law because PEOPLE ARE OUT OF WORK!! therefore when someone says they want you as a person as a being considered criminal and suspect well that’s ok because other people will have jobs.

    Comment by Tim — June 23, 2011 @ 11:04 am - June 23, 2011

  16. #15: “So Santorum is now just a vanity candidate? So we don’t have to take people serious or at their word if you think that they don’t have a chance? I disagree.”

    That’s hilarious. A liberal arguing that political candidates must be carefully scrutinized and evaluated based upon what they say. Tim means REPUBLICAN political candidates must be evaluated based on what they say. Applying the same rule to Democrats constitutes “H8,” “smear tactics,” “slander,” “character assassination,” “racism,” or just “lies.”

    Or did I miss something? Is it now okay to call a black Democrat a “socialist” after he explains to a taxpayer on camera that he plans to raise his taxes because he wants to “spread the wealth around”?

    Comment by Sean A — June 23, 2011 @ 12:18 pm - June 23, 2011

  17. @Sean A please stop using my socialist funded streets and highways, and don’t think about calling the police, fire fighters, or the military. These are also socialist funded projects.
    Why are you so immature to think that the word socialist is always negative? and what else do you think our tax code does than redistribute wealth? The tax breaks, the credits, the tiered rates, that’s wealth redistribution show me the republican majority that’s pushing a flat tax.

    Comment by Tim — June 23, 2011 @ 12:29 pm - June 23, 2011

  18. Also all candidates should be vetted regardless of party. You’ll never find me with a different opinion than that.

    Comment by Tim — June 23, 2011 @ 12:30 pm - June 23, 2011

  19. #17: “Why are you so immature to think that the word socialist is always negative?”

    Tim, are you directing this question to me? I think it’s a better question for the members of your party and the leftist media who condemned anyone calling Obama a socialist as racist “H8ERS”. I mean, if socialism is so great then how can being called a socialist be a negative slur? Hmm?

    Comment by Sean A — June 23, 2011 @ 1:42 pm - June 23, 2011

  20. #18: “Also all candidates should be vetted regardless of party. You’ll never find me with a different opinion than that.”

    Bullshit. You’re a fu*king liar and everyone on this blog knows it.

    Comment by Sean A — June 23, 2011 @ 1:43 pm - June 23, 2011

  21. While Tim triples down on stupid, did anybody see the LRC announcement, the other day, cheering a NY Republican for (co?) sponsoring ENDA?

    Comment by TGC — June 23, 2011 @ 1:52 pm - June 23, 2011

  22. “Why are you so immature to think that the word socialist is always negative?”

    There actually was a time, not too many years ago, when most American Leftists were insulted when they were called socialists. The fact that they have now been duped into believing it’s actually a good thing shows how far the brainwashing has gone.

    It never ceases to amaze me how pliable “progressives” can really be.
    For every one of them who’s capable of independent and rational thought, there are 100 little sheeple, passively grazing away.

    Comment by Lori Heine — June 23, 2011 @ 2:07 pm - June 23, 2011

  23. Nd30 another tiresome red herring, we gays shouldn’t worry about the law because PEOPLE ARE OUT OF WORK!! therefore when someone says they want you as a person as a being considered criminal and suspect well that’s ok because other people will have jobs.

    Yes, Tim; it is better for society that people have jobs.

    Why do you hate people being employed so much? Why is buttsex so much more important to you than other people being able to work and make a living?

    That’s what is really funny about socialists like Timmeh; they whine about “the poor” and whatnot, but at the end of the day, what’s important to them is getting their way, and “the poor” can just go hang. Their selfish needs are priority number one to them, and if it comes down to people having jobs versus them having buttsex, they put buttsex first.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 23, 2011 @ 3:16 pm - June 23, 2011

  24. @Sean A as a person who’s been called a fag since age 12 I hardly care about your filthy taunts, nor does your faulty logic hold water. Calling someone gay or a fag may demean them in your eyes but it doesn’t make them a bad person. You are just really don’t get it.

    @lori I really am only concerned with what theword really means, and since we live in a socialist country I don’t see any harm in it. In fact I think our public works projects are equal to or greater than any of our other privately funded accomplishments.

    Comment by Tim — June 24, 2011 @ 11:18 am - June 24, 2011

  25. @Nd30 I notice you didn’t go celibate despite your religious faith and not being married.

    Comment by Tim — June 24, 2011 @ 11:18 am - June 24, 2011

  26. 25.@Nd30 I notice you didn’t go celibate despite your religious faith and not being married.

    Comment by Tim — June 24, 2011 @ 11:18 am – June 24, 2011

    Nope. That’s because “responsibility” does not have to equal celibacy. And given your track record of ignorance about and reactionary bigotry towards religious beliefs, your attempt to invoke them is simply hilarious.

    Your problem, Timmeh, is that gays like yourself equate being responsible with being celibate. If you can’t be blindly promiscuous, to you, that’s as bad as no sex at all. You rebel against ANY restrictions and any consequences for your behavior.

    That’s why you like the government so much. Least common denominator, wholly inefficient, and able to compel people to do things at gunpoint. Tailor-made for an irresponsible individual like yourself who thinks being judged on your character, behavior, and performance is loathsome and demands handouts just for wanting buttsex with children.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 24, 2011 @ 11:39 am - June 24, 2011

  27. In fact I think our public works projects are equal to or greater than any of our other privately funded accomplishments.

    Which is why government is 20% of GDP, and private industry is only four times larger.

    Once you realize that Timmeh and his socialist ilk really think that government is the primary driver of our economy, their behavior becomes comprehensible. Timmeh wants government to be expanded as big as possible because Timmeh believes that government is always best and that private industry is just crowding out that perfect government that could be doing it for us.

    You would think that liberals like Timmeh who claim to be so much better educated would have at least studied the basic economics of the Soviet bloc, which was their dream world: government dominated, private industry was discouraged or directly suppressed, and the government determined who would produce what at what price and that no one would be paid more than anyone else for doing it.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 24, 2011 @ 11:43 am - June 24, 2011

  28. Remember all the private land set aside for the citizens of this country by corporations? Set apart and unusable just to preserve the beauty of what is equally owned by us all? Remember when corporations stopped dumping raw chemicals into rivers because it was bad for the environment and killing our families? Remember when corporations voluntarily ended racial segregation.
    Remember when corporations went to the moon? Conquered Germany? Stopped Polio…

    Remember what we can accomplish together.

    Comment by Tim — June 24, 2011 @ 5:20 pm - June 24, 2011

  29. Remember when Government denied people cures ? Remember when Government allowed Foreign Nationals to gain guns to terrorize others and kill Americans? Remember when Government set aside land for drug cartels?

    Tim is eager to see the government as a benevolent father figure. I’m sure when he picks his boyfriend up from High School, the 15 year old sees him in the same way.

    Comment by The_Livewire — June 24, 2011 @ 6:31 pm - June 24, 2011

  30. Tim is all aflutter with false premise. Small government is equally capable as large government (and perhaps more so) in setting aside park land, building and maintaining road systems, maintaining the common defense, etc.

    Business (which must be modestly regulated as even private citizens must be modestly regulated) is the engine that creates economic growth. Naturally, the dentist must be licensed, the factory restricted from polluting, the farmer kept from spreading e. coli through the products.

    Then there is the government that regulates what must be taught, how you light your reading lamp and prevents you from snacking on too many transfats.

    There is always a tension between what constitutes guard rails and when the people are being herded by rings in their noses.

    Tim likes to pretend that the Preamble of the Constitution does not explain limited government. He sees it as a mandate for extreme statism and full government control of the people.

    Comment by Heliotrope — June 24, 2011 @ 7:58 pm - June 24, 2011

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