Take Action: Defend Marriage Equality in Maine

The last few months have been a rollercoaster ride for advocates of marriage equality in the United States. There was the bitter disappointment of Prop 8 passing in California in the 2008 elections, but soon after, it was assuaged in part by victories for marriage equality in Iowa and Vermont. Soon thereafter, Maine and New Hampshire joined the ranks of the states that offer full civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The momentum is unquestionably on our side. Every poll ever conducted has found that support for same-sex marriage commands a decisive majority among the younger generation, and grows nationally year by year. The shrill, hateful bigots who use religion as a justification for taking away other people’s human rights, in the long run, are on the losing side of history. There is no doubt that this is true.

But this is no excuse for complacency. Like every successful civil rights movement, we can’t sit back and wait for victory to come to us – we have to work for it, we have to earn it. The harder we work, and the more we give to defend a worthy cause, the sooner the day will come when said religious bigots get the comeuppance they so richly deserve, and when gay and lesbian couples get the full legal equality they so richly deserve.

That’s why I’m calling on every Daylight Atheism reader to support the cause of marriage equality in Maine. Just like in California, religious fundamentalists have put a question on the ballot – Proposition 1 – which, if approved by voters this November, would overturn the legislature’s decision and take away same-sex couples’ right to marry. This initiative is principally sponsored and funded by the Roman Catholic Church and the National Organization for Marriage, a homophobic religious-right group.

However, unlike in California, where defenders of marriage equality were unprepared and disorganized, there’s every sign this time that the good guys are taking this seriously and have geared up to fight back against the forces of religious hate. Groups like Protect Maine Equality are leading the fight against this unjust and malicious proposal.

But victory is far from assured – with the election just weeks away, polls still show the two sides in a statistical dead heat. There’s still a chance for either side to win this. And the cause of equality needs your help!

No matter who you are or where you live, if you’re an American citizen, you can help. If you live in or near Maine, you can volunteer. If you don’t, you can still donate money. And if you can’t afford that, you can talk about it, you can blog about it, you can write letters to the editor or your representatives in office. (These tips for activism courtesy of Greta Christina, who has an eloquent explanation of why this is such a big deal.) Massachusetts, which has had same-sex marriage for years, has the lowest divorce rate in the nation – and falling. Iowans overwhelmingly say that same-sex marriage has made no difference in their lives. These are facts we need to publicize. Stand up, speak out, and make your voice heard!

If we win this fight – if, for the first time ever, same-sex marriage wins in a public referendum – it could be a decisive blow to fundamentalist religious bigots, one that would stop their movement in its tracks once and for all. Maine could be the turning point where we’ll one day be able to say, “That’s where the tide was turned; that’s where the battle for equality was won.” But it will only happen if atheists, freethinkers, and people of conscience band together to oppose the grasping, malevolent theocrats who think their religion gives them the right to force us to live by their rules. We can beat them, but we need your help. Volunteer today and do your part!

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Rob

    I just made a donation. Thanks for the reminder, it’s high time we caught up to South Africa on this.

  • keddaw

    While I agree with this movement wholeheartedly I do object to calling it marriage equality: it is simply equality for one group, there are plenty of deserving groups who will not receive equality when this passes.

    First relations should be allowed to marry and be given the same rights as all other couples. If you have an issue with the possibility of birth defects then arrange to have them sign a pledge not to have children together, but you cannot morally stop them from marrying.

    Polyamorous groups are not covered by this either. How can you possibly allow two people to get married but deny them the same right if there are three of them?

    The reason these groups are left out is because they are a quiet and small minority. The reason I support equal rights for gay people is because the principle is sound and just. The reason I support these other groups is because the priniciple is sound and just.

    While they are small battles in the grand scheme of things I hope your readers have the moral fortitude to stand up for all minority groups when the majority trample their rights and not just the fashionable or winnable ones.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    . How can you possibly allow two people to get married but deny them the same right if there are three of them?

    Fair enough I suppose as long as pension entitlements, inheritence etc could be equitably arranged.

    First relations should be allowed to marry and be given the same rights as all other couples.

    How far do you want this to go? Cousins? possibly fine. Siblings? Parents and offspring? my ethical warning lights are flashing.

    If you have an issue with the possibility of birth defects then arrange to have them sign a pledge not to have children together

    and what happens if the pledge is broken?

  • Leum

    Incest, even between siblings rarely leads to birth defects in the first generation. It’s only when there’ve been several incestuous generations that inbreeding begins to produce defects. And whether or not family members can get married, they’re still going to have sex (and possibly children) if they want to.

    That said, I see no reason to oppose same-sex marriage simply on the grounds that it won’t cover everyone. Having a public referendum in support of same-sex marriage will strike a critical blow against the opponents of LGBT rights.

    Oh, and want to start a betting pool to how quickly the right-wing will bring this to court if it passes and ask judges who are “totally not activists, no this is different” to overturn it?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I’m just surprised at how quickly this thread got steered into a thicket of conservatives slippery-slope stereotypes. It can’t be long before someone warns of god’s wrath.

  • magista

    keddaw, there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with multiple persons being involved in a relationship. As long as they are adults, and consenting and not coerced, and so on, I think that the polyamourous have every right to get married as well.

    The difficulty as I see it, though, comes up in cases of diminished capacity for one partner. Who, in multiple marriage, is the one responsible for decisions that affect the life in question? Wife #1? Husband #2?

    I’m not saying that multiple marriages should be forbidden for that reason, simply that the law requires a much greater reworking than it does for the marriage of two same-sex individuals, and as such, is probably better handled separately.

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    If we win this fight – if, for the first time ever, same-sex marriage wins in a public referendum – it could be a decisive blow to fundamentalist religious bigots, one that would stop their movement in its tracks once and for all.

    I agree that a win in Maine would be a stunning blow to the Religious Right, but I wouldn’t be too quick to declare it a knockout punch. The RR is well funded, well organized and united on this issue. They’re also resilient. They’ll regroup, step up their hateful rhetoric and take their fight elsewhere. A victory in Maine would be significant, but it would simply be one in a long series of battles that will remain to be fought. Having said all that, I think the LGBT community is ready to take the fight through the long haul; they’ve endured discrimination long enough (far too long, actually). Prop 8 was discouraging, but it was also a wake-up call. Valuable lessons were learned and won’t be soon forgotten.

  • Caiphen

    It’s good to see action in the US for this minority. In Australia the issue is not even being seriously considered. The previous Prime Minister (PM) wouldn’t even hear the matter and the current PM isn’t interested either. Both are christian. It’s sad to see leadership ruled by the fear of hellfire.

  • TommyP

    Ebon, I love how you say “our side”. Thank you.

  • http://chronos-tachyon.net/ Chronos

    Damn, didn’t realize how fast the Maine vote was coming up. I’d previously donated when Greta Christina put out her call-to-arms back in August, but I went ahead and donated again because it looks like they could use the help.

  • Alex Weaver

    How far do you want this to go? Cousins? possibly fine. Siblings? Parents and offspring? my ethical warning lights are flashing.

    Why not, if they’re of age? I don’t see this raising ethical warning lights – gag reflex lights, sure, but what argument is there to level against this that isn’t just as applicable to multiple [less "icky"] other situations whose prohibition is not being endorsed?

  • Alex Weaver

    Polyamorous groups are not covered by this either. How can you possibly allow two people to get married but deny them the same right if there are three of them?

    On the other hand, there are severe logistical problems with this given the array of legal rights and privileges granted to a person with regard to their spouse, and the serious abuse potential given these privileges and the tax benefits for marriage.

  • keddaw

    In reverse order:
    There should be NO tax benefits (or penalties) for marries couples/groups. How people choose to live together should not impact their rights or obligations.
    If the incestuous couple were of the same sex kids would not be a problem, so if you can get your head round that then it isn’t too far to allow relations of different genders to marry.
    The law has dealt with difficult splits for hundreds of years, involving companies and people. This would actually be a good way to force the state’s hand and make marriage a much more mundane legal agreement that would work with any number of partners.

    Quite frankly any sexual/legal/financial/marital situation that consenting adults wish to get themselves involved in should not be the business of me, you or the government as long as no-one is being harmes and they are consenting adults.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    I hesitate to continue this diversion as I am sure that the situation in Maine is a worthier topic for discussion and concern. However my misgiving over legalised incest has less to do with the “icky” factor (I’m not easily icked) but the potential for abuse. There is a totally different dynamic of power and influence within families than between non related adults. A father (for example) might easily groom a child in such a way that they feel obligated even as adults to enter into a relationship they abhor (particularly and ironically, in strongly religious closed communities)and even sibling relationships could be corrupted this way. This is not to suggest that close incestuous relationships can’t arise in a spontaneous mutually concensual way and in that case I certainly have no moral objection.
    Needless to say society at large would struggle with legalised incest. It has taken a very long time for the average person to accept in principle that same sex relationships are natural for some individuals; incest is a much bigger taboo.

  • Caiphen

    Just a thought. Dismiss it if you see fit as I’m by no means dogmatic on this. Aren’t incestuous relationships non beneficial for the continuing evolution of our species? If we were truly being rational about this, don’t you think that such relationships should be kept prohibited? If we legalised such, a multi generational culture of incest could thrive in closed communities. What are your thoughts?

  • keddaw

    @Caiphen
    By your logic it would also be beneficial to stop people over 40 from breeding as the risk of several genetic disorders jumps by a factor of 10.
    You should also disallow anyone who has various genetic markers that increase their chances of having a genetically ‘inferior’ child.
    The children issue also misses the homosexual incestual relationships. There is no chance of children so you wouldn’t, logically, ban that. Your argument then becomes a wierd mirror image of the religious position. You allow homosexual incest but not heterosexual incest.
    As for incest becoming common I simply cannot see it ever happening. There is such an inherent ‘yuck’ factor for most people that very few would ever engage in it. But just because you or I have no wish to engage in it does not mean that we should stop people who do wish to.

  • Caiphen

    Good point. Law makers of the future, as they will inevitably become more atheistic, have a lot to consider. The legalisation of homosexual marriage is the first step of many.

  • rennis

    “……The shrill, hateful bigots who use religion as a justification for taking away other people’s human rights, in the long run, are on the losing side of history….”

    So do you mean to generalize and infer that it is not possible for someone to oppose your views and values on marriage without being mean, hateful, or a biggot?

    shrill, hateful bigots, homophobic, religious hate, fundamentalist religious bigots, malevolent….. Wow! Is it necessary to insult and use such speech to make your points? If freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any other dogma; would it be desirable to filter out prejudice and stereotyping when presenting views?

  • Sarah Braasch

    Religion is hatred and bigotry. They are synonymous. Religion is the institutionalization of hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, and homophobia. Religion is the institutionalization of hatred of the other. To state such is not to cast aspersions upon religion, but simply to state the truth. A truth, which many are loathe to declare, because the religious claim exemption from critical analysis for their so-called faiths.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Rennis, if you can point out some way that someone can oppose equal rights for gays and not be mean, hateful, or bigotted, then please share. If not, then the description is accurate.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    So do you mean to generalize and infer that it is not possible for someone to oppose your views and values on marriage without being mean, hateful, or a biggot?

    Yes.

    Wow! Is it necessary to insult and use such speech to make your points?

    No, it’s not “necessary”, but it is an appropriate response to the irrational hatred and prejudice displayed by religious opponents of marriage equality. Coming to a conclusion on the basis of reason doesn’t mean we can’t be forceful and passionate in defending it. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are my neighbors, my friends, my loved ones and my fellow Americans. Why shouldn’t I be angry that superstitious bigots want to deny them the right to spend their lives together? Why should I not be stirred to emotion when I see falsehoods, lies, and stereotypes based on fear and ignorance being disseminated in an attempt to deny people their human rights?

  • Maynard

    I’m with you Rennis. So shrill! It burns my little ears! :o/

  • rennis

    “Rennis, if you can point out some way that someone can oppose equal rights for gays and not be mean, hateful, or bigotted, then please share. If not, then the description is accurate…..” Comment #20 by: OMGF

    Sure, it is my belief that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I do not hold that belief in order to “be mean” to anyone and I certaintly do not hate people who are gay or lesbians. In fact, one of the most inspirational teachers one of my children had going through school was gay. Our family had tremendous respect for him and are deeply appreciative of the influence he had on our son. As an administrator in a public school, years later I had the opportunity to recruit and hire this teacher in the district where I worked and I jumped at the chance. I have enjoyed seeing him bring success and passion for music to a new set of students. That being said, I still hold the same views on marriage. I do not hate this fine teacher nor do I wish him any ill will. I happen to hold a different core value than he.

    I also do not hold ill will toward Sarah, OMGF, or Ebonuse. We disagree on many things and even agree on a few. When I do comment I try to do so in a non sarcastic, insulting or hateful manner. I understand that the views you hold come from a completely different worldview that you hold. I understand now that Ebonuse and many others feel that insults and hatred toward Christians such as myself is a perfectly acceptable response. I am saddened and surprised but I understand.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    rennis “I happen to hold a different core value than he.”
    So your core value is that his family isn’t as good as yours?

  • Leum

    Sure, it is my belief that marriage is should be an institution between a man and a woman.

    Fixed it for you.

  • rennis

    rennis “I happen to hold a different core value than he.”
    So your core value is that his family isn’t as good as yours? by: Modusoperandi

    My core value as it relates to marriage is that it is an institution between a man and a woman. I have no idea of what his family situation is since he has never offered nor have I ever asked since it has nothng to do with his ability to be an outstanding teacher. I do believe that gay marriage is outside of God’s holy word and is therefore wrong. In order to respond to your attempted extention of my value, I would need to explain on the basis of my Biblical worldview. Since you reject the Bible, it would be a futile attempt to explain since in the end you would reject any explanation given. I will say this….I recognize that I am a sinner. I have confessed my sin, repented, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. God is holy, I am not. I try to examine my life daily and try to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. I do not dislike those who have not accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. In fact I care deeply about them and pray that someday they will come to know His saving grace. When in discussions such as this I try to do so in a calm and caring way. I do not get angry or hateful toward those who insult or make fun of my beleifs. Since you and many of the others on this site do not hold the same core values as me, why should I get angry or hurl insults at you? Without the same core values there is no reason for me to expect you to hold the same views. I actually get much more frustrated at those who claim to be Christians with their words and then deny them with their actions! That is what the world will not accept.

    Since freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason; I find it interesting to see so many posts that denegrate to insult, profanity, and illogical assumptiions or conclusions. This seems contradictory to the entire philisophical viewpoint so many on this site espouse. In a similar vein, when the late term abortion provider Dr. Tiller was gunned down there was much condemnation of the killer on this web site and rightly so. I was one of those to express outrage. Yet when pro-life advocate Jim Pouillon was gunned down on 9/11 I don’t think I saw the same condemnation of the killer on this web site.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I do believe that gay marriage is outside of God’s holy word and is therefore wrong.

    Rennis, why should everyone in society be restricted to doing what your religious beliefs approve of? Orthodox Jews consider it outside God’s holy word to eat pork. Should we make that a law binding on everyone? Fundamentalist Muslims believe it is outside God’s holy word for women to go out in public without covering their faces. Should we pass that into law as well? In a secular nation with a separation of church and state, why should your religious beliefs prevail and no one else’s?

    Since freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason; I find it interesting to see so many posts that denegrate to insult, profanity, and illogical assumptiions or conclusions. This seems contradictory to the entire philisophical viewpoint so many on this site espouse.

    I think what this comes down to, Rennis, is that you don’t like being called a bigot and would prefer to think of yourself as a moral person while holding onto your prejudice. This would explain your wounded shock at my original post (“But I have a gay friend! You’re not calling me a bigot, are you?”).

    Well, I don’t give bigots that excuse. It doesn’t make any difference to me how many gay friends you have, nor how politely you express yourself. If you oppose full civil equality for same-sex couples, you are a bigot, and what you believe is wrong.

    Yet when pro-life advocate Jim Pouillon was gunned down on 9/11 I don’t think I saw the same condemnation of the killer on this web site.

    I do not feel the need to express condemnation of everything that happens that I disapprove of. And there is no broader movement advocating and justifying violence against anti-abortion protestors, whereas the anti-abortion movement undeniably does have a terrorist wing which cheers on violence against abortion providers and regards it as morally justifiable. That kind of violence-promoting ideology is what I see the need to most strongly condemn, not the random acts of lone nuts.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    On topic, this recent post from Pam’s House Blend lists over thirty civil benefits that are offered to heterosexual married couples (and thus, by default, denied to same-sex couples).

  • rennis

    If we all agree and condemn child molesters, murderers or those cheat at checkers; does that mean that we are bigots towards thoses groups since the Miriam Webster dictionary defines bigot as: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

    By definition would that also mean that some of the views expressed by this website and some contributers are also bigoted?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    If fighting for the XIV Amendment makes me a bigot, then the word has lost all meaning.

    If not tolerating intolerance is bigoted, then the word has lost all meaning.

  • Sarah Braasch

    Seriously, rennis? I no longer take you seriously after that comment.

    As a society we should all be intolerant of anyone who attempts to limit the rights of others — the right to live, the right to control one’s own body, the right to control one’s own sexuality, the right to control one’s own identity, the right to control one’s own intimate relationships.

    Of course, there are limits. That is what the law is for — to maximize individual freedom while we all must still live together. Yes, at some point the person who think it’s part of his or her religion to kill someone else must be curtailed, or rape someone else, or steal from someone else, etc., etc.. Not because some Bronze Age fairy tales told us it’s immoral (in fact they indicate the opposite), but because of game theory. Because this is the only way to perpetuate our species. And, because we choose to live in a free society, a liberal constitutional democracy. Because the human being is the least common denominator, and, therefore, the bearer of rights.

    You know this. You’ve just run out of arguments and are grabbing at what’s left at the bottom of the barrel.

    Technically, yes, it is possible to be intolerant of intolerance. And, yes, I am. I don’t really care if you think your religion dictates to you that you should go out of your way to try to diminish the rights of gays, women, or anyone who disagrees with you. That does make me intolerant of the religious.

    I am so tired of the religious playing this ridiculous semantics game.

    Just count yourself lucky that you live in a society that doesn’t persecute you as holding the minority religious / moral view.

  • rennis

    If not tolerating intolerance is bigoted, then the word has lost all meaning…Comment #30 by: Modusoperandi

    As a point of clarification do you mean intolerance toward gay marriage or intolerance toward Christians? I’m unsure from your post.

    When one goes to the poll to vote, he/she typically votes based on the value system they hold. If it is a matter of morality, the questions becomes who determines what is morally correct. For most Christians that is God, for many athiests it is self.

    I understand your right and obligation is to vote what your conscience tells you is correct. Mine, too.

  • Sarah Braasch

    Morality has no place in the law. Keep your morality to yourself, thank you very much.

    This is why a majority vote does not a democracy make.

    A true democracy requires institutions, including an independent judiciary responsible for insuring the constitutional protections of individuals against the moral majority who would strip minorities of their rights via a simple majoritarian vote in the blink of an eye (i.e. California and Prop 8).

    This is why so much of the talk nowadays lambasting the judiciary as an undemocratic institution to be curtailed scares me to death.

    I fear that our democracy is devolving into a system of religious federalism — people vote with their religious groups and not as individuals, therefore the state derives its sovereignty not from the individual citizens but from the religious groups.

    What the Mormons did in California with respect to Prop 8 is a terrifying warning and should be a rallying cry to all persons who like living in a free society, in a liberal constitutional democracy.

  • XPK

    @rennis – You are grasping at straws, sir. Your reason to be intolerant of gay people is because a book written 2000 years ago says that it is a sin. That same book says a lot of other things are sins and worthy of death but I am sure you disregard those out of convenience. Our reason to question your view is that there is research showing that gay couples are just as good at parenting as heterosexual couples. Also, the state with the lowest divorce rate is also the one with the longest track record of equality for same-sex couples.

    If you think being gay is a sin and if the person does not confess said sin and follow Christ then they are worthy of eternal damnation, how is that not an insult to a homosexual persons’ belief system? It is one thing to say, “Man, I’m just not into gay” but completely another to say, “Man, I’m so sorry that you are gay cause you are going to burn in hell unless you change that….but I still love you and respect you as a person…just not a GAY person.”

  • rennis

    “…Our reason to question your view is that there is research showing that gay couples are just as good at parenting as heterosexual couples. Also, the state with the lowest divorce rate is also the one with the longest track record of equality for same sex couples.” XPK

    If I understand your reasoning then, am I to understand that your (“Our reason”) for rejecting my values on marriage is based upon some research that relates to gay parenting? I would suggest that such research might be a valid entry if we were discussing parenting which we aren’t. Am I also to understand that the divorce rate is lower because some of the couples or of the same gender? I am not seeing the connection with your logic.

    “…If you think being gay is a sin and if the person does not confess said sin and follow Christ then they are worthy of eternal damnation, how is that not an insult to a homosexual persons’ belief system?…” It is not a matter of being an insult, just as you probably are not worried as to whether or not your views and opinions are insulting to me.

    “…another to say, “Man, I’m so sorry that you are gay cause you are going to burn in hell unless you change that….” Please note that those are your words and not mine. I would never tell a gay person such a thing. If asked or if in the context of a conversation I was given the opportunity, I would love to share the gospel with them, just as I would any other unsaved person. I would agree with you from the standpoint that I would love and respect them as a person.

    “…As a society we should all be intolerant of anyone who attempts to limit the rights of others — the right to live, the right to control one’s own body, the right to control one’s own sexuality, the right to control one’s own identity, the right to control one’s own intimate relationships. Of course, there are limits…” Sarah

    It seems as though there is already a contradiction. “Of course, there are limits”. Who then has that right to decide what those limits should be?

    “…Morality has no place in the law….” Sarah

    If it is not someone’s morality being legislated what is it? Based on your response it appears to be the morality of the judges who get to tell us what is moral.

    Ebonmuse: Thank you for your explanations. Your explanation of not mentioning the murder of the prolife protestor made perfect sense.

    Ebonmuse, why should everyone in society be restricted to doing what your beliefs approve of?

    Do you consider yourself to be a bigot or do you consider yourself to be a moral person while holding onto your prejudice against Christians because they have some beliefs and values different from yours? Why is your position against all Christians not bigoted? I want to be sure to understand the proper use and context of the word.

    Please do not take these last two questions as me being a “wise guy” or disrespectful. I am truly interested as to how you would respond.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Ebonmuse, why should everyone in society be restricted to doing what your beliefs approve of?

    When have I ever said anything even remotely like that? You are inventing positions and attributing them to me.

    If I held the position you describe, I would advocate outlawing Christianity, but I have never said anything of the sort. My position is and has always been that people have the right to live their own lives as they see fit, so long as they do not harm others or interfere with their equal right to do the same. Same-sex couples have not asked for Christians to lose any freedom that they currently possess. Christian fundamentalists, on the other hand, are the ones asserting a right to reach into other people’s lives and force those others to live according to their conceptions of morality. There is no comparison here.

  • XPK

    @rennis – you ignored the part about the bible, which I assume is the basis for your morality/beliefs. Is stating that the Bible contradicts itself in multiple places an insult or is it a fact? Is stating that the Bible was written by a host of different authors over many different centuries an insult or is it a fact? Is stating that you pick and choose passages to agree with but ignore other verses where you do not agree an insult or is it a fact?

    Look, I just think you do not have a logical reason to be against or vote against gay marriage rights, that’s all. Ultimately, homosexual couples gaining the rights and privileges currently given only to heterosexual couples (in most states) does not affect you at all on a personal level. However, not having those rights does affect homosexual couples very negatively on a personal level. I pointed out the research to show that marriage rights for homosexuals hasn’t ground society to a halt and has even had a positive effect (regarding the the divorce rate especially), so again, what is your logic in opposing it?

    Finally, I know you would never “tell a gay person such a thing” to their face, but an eternity burning in hell is what you believe will happen to them whether you say it to their face (or on this blog) or not.

  • 2-D Man

    Am I also to understand that the divorce rate is lower because some of the couples or of the same gender?

    No. You are to understand that same-sex marriages are not harmful additions to the current institution.

    If you think being gay is a sin and if the person does not confess said sin and follow Christ then they are worthy of eternal damnation, how is that not an insult to a homosexual persons’ belief system?

    It is not a matter of being an insult, just as you probably are not worried as to whether or not your views and opinions are insulting to me.

    Insults are not relevant. You do not have the right to not be insulted. (although you do have the right to split infinitives)

    Who then has that right to decide what those limits should be?

    I was under the impression that your constitution had already decided those limits.

    If it is not someone’s morality being legislated what is it?

    Upholding of the constitution. Congress is charged with ensuring the well-being and equal protections of the citizens. Morality need not apply.

  • Sarah Braasch

    I am the first to admit that our system of checks and balances between majoritarian (i.e. political) and counter-majoritarian (non-political) branches of government is a back and forth dialogue. And, I do believe that both elements are necessary. This also means that change, be it social change or legal change, takes time. That is always the chicken and the egg argument. Is it better that society should change first and the law follow or that the law change first and that society follow. I think both occurs. I think this is healthy. I think the argument itself is healthy. I think this is a very rough estimation of an attempt to employ game theory to maximize individual freedom.

    What leads me to worry so much is that there are elements in play who would destroy this system, which I love so well, and which has led to our tremendous liberal constitutional democracy. There are those who wish to undermine the judiciary, who would prefer a majoritarian democracy where might makes right and the minorities are stripped of their constitutional protections. Many of those would like to install a theocracy by way of a majoritarian democracy.

    Our founding fathers knew to fear tyranny of the majority just as much as tyranny by way of monarchy or oligarchy. Thank goodness that those who insisted upon a Bill of Rights in the Constitution won the argument at our inception. I shudder to think where we would be now without it.

    2-D Man is absolutely right. The driving impetus behind our Constitution, its overarching theme, is the maximization of individual freedom. Morality need not come into play at all. And, anyway, morality is in the eye of the beholder.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    rennis,
    Just because you have gay friends or try to speak without directly insulting people doesn’t mean that your positions are not bigotted, hateful, etc. What if I were to say to you:

    “Sure, it is my belief that voting is an institution for men. I do not hold that belief in order to “be mean” to anyone and I certaintly do not hate women. In fact, one of the most inspirational teachers one of my children had going through school was a woman….

    Please note that those are your words and not mine. I would never tell a woman such a thing. If asked or if in the context of a conversation I was given the opportunity, I would love to share the issues with them, just as I would any other unintellectual person. I would agree with you from the standpoint that I would love and respect them as a person.”

    Can you spot the parallels? It’s not such a far-fetched thing as arguments such as these were used to deny women the vote not too long ago in our nation’s history. I think you’d agree that it was bigotted to deny women the vote, but you don’t seem to think that it applies in your case in denying secular rights to gays?

    Note to all: I don’t support the views in the hypothetical quote that I have above, I’m just making an argument.

    I understand now that Ebonuse and many others feel that insults and hatred toward Christians such as myself is a perfectly acceptable response. I am saddened and surprised but I understand.

    Where has this happened? I’m saddened but not surprised that you would make accusations such as these against us.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    “Sure, it is my belief that voting is an institution for men. I do not hold that belief in order to “be mean” to anyone and I certaintly do not hate women. In fact, one of the most inspirational teachers one of my children had going through school was a woman….

    Fantastic, OMGF. This makes the point superbly clear.

    Too many people, especially religious fundamentalists, conceive of bigotry exclusively in terms of open hate and violence: Fred Phelps screaming at funerals, Southern sheriffs unleashing dogs and water hoses on peaceful marchers, lynchings and cross-burnings by the KKK. This soothes their conscience by allowing them to convince themselves that since they’re being civil and peaceful, they can’t possibly be prejudiced – an attitude Rennis has demonstrated to perfection in this thread.

    Well, that’s a self-justifying illusion we shouldn’t permit to go unchallenged. Prejudice is prejudice, regardless of whether it’s expressed with a smile or with soft words. And if you advocate denying someone their civil rights, if you’re advocating unequal protection of the laws, then you are a bigot, regardless of how politely you express that viewpoint. And whether it’s implicit or explicit, open or insidious, bigotry is just as morally unacceptable.

  • rennis

    OMGF…The arguments and points raised by OMGF are interesting but invalid parallels to draw. Obviously I would disagree with you since I do not view “voting” as immoral. But you make your point well. While you support homosexual activity and marriage as moral; there may be other areas that would would consider to be immoral and would not support such as pedophilia or beastiality. You may in those cases be inclined to deny the same civil rights in those cases. When you ask “Where has this happened?” I’m sure that this is intended as sarcasm as well since you can clearly read and identify the insults and hatred directed at Christians here.

    XPK- I did not defend the Bible to you for one reason. Since you reject the Bible you would also reject any defense given for it. It would simply be an exercise in futility on my part. It would be as though we were speaking two different languages. I do think other contributers to this site could learn from your posts… you challenge, disagree, and make counter arguments without the need to sink to insults and name calling. You allow your intellect and logic to speak for you.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    No rennis, I really don’t see the insults that you have claimed are so prevalent on this blog. In fact, if memory serves, you’ve levied this charge at us since you started posting here and every time I’ve asked you to back it up. Every time I’ve asked, you’ve either ignored me or simply claimed that anyone can see them and not given examples. And, here we are again, with you unable and/or unwilling to back up your accusations. The only thing I can see is that you are taking offense to the accurate representation of anti-gay sentiment as being hateful and bigotted, but quite frankly it is. If you are insulted by that, then I suggest that you examine why it’s accurate and take strides to better yourself so that the label no longer accurately applies to you.

    You may in those cases be inclined to deny the same civil rights in those cases.

    I would only deny civil rights if we have a rational reason to do so. I think it’s telling that you would compare homosexuality to bestiality, but there is a rational reason not to allow bestiality (besides things like syphilis) and that is that animals can’t give consent, so the act would not be between two consenting partners. We don’t allow pedophilia for the same reason, that pedophilia is a predatory type of behavior and children are really not in a position to give informed consent.

    Now, I suggest that you try to stay on topic and not try to compare homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality, because it simply makes you look even more bigotted.

  • Maynard

    It would simply be an exercise in futility…

    Why you gotta drag Tommykey into this? He hasn’t even posted on this topic.

  • rennis

    OMGF..”Now, I suggest that you try to stay on topic and not try to compare homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality, because it simply makes you look even more bigotted.”

    I did not compare or equate. It was a parallel such as your belief that only men should vote. “What if I were to say to you: “Sure, it is my belief that voting is an institution for men.” …Comment #40 by: OMGF | September 28, 2009, 10:25 am

    Now it is obvious from the context of your post that you clearly do not hold such a position. You were merely citing an example with which I would agree with you in order to scaffold your reasoning to the position in which we disagree. I would have hoped that you would also see that same reasoning in my post. Obviously you were unable or unwilling to see that, so I regret having attempted to use such an outlandish parallel. I should have parenthetically stated that as such. I thought you would have picked up on that. For that I apologize.

    As far as staying on topic, this would apply to all who did not strictly address gay marriage. As far as addressing the topic of insults, that usually is why I post. I just feel that it is possible to debate based on reasoning and argument without the insults. I also understand that you are unwilling or unable to see the insults or you are unwilling to acknowledge when they are present. I just think it is possible to have a civli discourse without them. XPK would be an example.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    rennis,

    I did not compare or equate.

    Um, yeah, you did.

    I would have hoped that you would also see that same reasoning in my post.

    I did not and still don’t. I stated the reasons in my last comment. I don’t think it’s an accident or coincidence that you chose pedophilia and bestiality, since those are often linked by the anti-gay bigots on your side.

    As far as addressing the topic of insults, that usually is why I post. I just feel that it is possible to debate based on reasoning and argument without the insults. I also understand that you are unwilling or unable to see the insults or you are unwilling to acknowledge when they are present.

    And I understand that when asked, you will continually assert that they are there but spectacularly fail to back it up. Thank you for once again affirming that. The fact of the matter is that these debates are about reasoning and logic and the only “insults” that happen (for the most part) are the ones that you imagine and try to accuse us of making. Why do you make accusations that you can’t and won’t defend?

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Rennis

    While you support homosexual activity and marriage as moral; there may be other areas that would would consider to be immoral and would not support such as pedophilia or beastiality.

    I was happy just watching this debate go by, but I can’t let that pass without comment. At the risk of paraphrasing OMGF and Ebon, I fail to see how you can see this as an equivalent analogy to…

    Sure, it is my belief that voting is an institution for men. I do not hold that belief in order to “be mean” to anyone and I certaintly do not hate women. In fact, one of the most inspirational teachers one of my children had going through school was a woman….

    In the former you are equating Homosexuals to predatory and sexually exploitative pedophiles, whilst OMGF was quite reasonably comparing them to a similarly socially disadvantaged group (women). You are doing both yourself and your Christian beliefs a gross disservice by failing to acknowledge how insulting this is to homosexuals, who are no more likely to be into pedophilia or bestiality than the average heterosexual. I too see innate bigotry in the casual way you make this connection.
    On the general marriage equality issue, your quarrel with it is NOT a moral one, it is a religious and doctrinal one which should have no bearing on the legal status of couples, same sex or otherwise, who wish to marry.
    I will try to offer another analogy from the other perspective and as it happens a personal one. My fiancee and I will marry next year, we are a heterosexual couple (which I am sure you will approve of)so there is no legal bar to us being married in the UK or anywhere as far as I know. However there are a few people who are “morally” outraged by our marriage and would prevent it if possible. Why? because she is 20 and I am 51.The bible is awash with age-gap marriages so no moral imperative to object there yet a significant number of people who meet us, but don’t know us well* are uncomfortable with the relationship. I say all this merely to ask then, should this prejudiced group of people be allowed to lobby my government to legislate against (large)age-gap marriages, just because it doesn’t suit their world view or should two consenting adults be allowed to organise our lives anyway we wish so long as others are not harmed? If not, why should christians be allowed to lobby government to ban same sex marriage by the same criteria?

    *you will I hope be pleased to know that close friends and family are not amongs our critics.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    Since Rennis called OMGF’s analogy about female suffrage an invalid parallel, here’s something else he probably hasn’t considered.

    When you study the record of history and examine many of the practices of the past that are considered immoral today, a common thread is that nearly all of them were defended in their time by appeals to God’s will. For instance, when the Confederacy seceded over its right to keep slaves, that practice was defended by appealing to Christianity and the Bible. The Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens, said in his famous “Cornerstone Speech”:

    With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system… It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them. For his own purposes, he has made one race to differ from another, as he has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.”

    When Jim Crow and segregation was the law of the land in the South a generation later, that, too, was defended by appealing to Christianity and the Bible. When he ruled that the interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving were guilty of breaking Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law, Judge Leon Bazile said:

    Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

    And when women were fighting for the right to vote, yes, their opponents also defended themselves by appealing to Christianity and the Bible. The suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton said:

    In the early days of woman-suffrage agitation, I saw that the greatest obstacle we had to overcome was the Bible. It was hurled at us on every side.

    Nowadays, modern Christians recognize that the positions of their predecessors were irrational, prejudiced and cruel, yet they’re still using the Bible in support of today’s bigotries. This tactic does not have an enviable success rate. What makes Rennis and those like him so sure that this time they have it right when every previous generation of Christian bigots thought the same thing?

  • Peter N

    I know I’m reaching back a couple of days — I just noticed this thread — but this jumped out at me:

    If it is a matter of morality, the questions becomes who determines what is morally correct. For most Christians that is God, for many athiests it is self.

    Whoa, there, rennis! The source of what is morally correct for every Christian, and that includes you, is also SELF. You alone wade through all the contradictory laws, commandments, and traditions derived from the many books of the Bible, contemplate all you have learned from your family, teachers, and pastors, and what you have figured out for yourself, and then live life as you see fit.

    You can justify almost any position based on the Bible and its surrounding traditions — otherwise, why would there be so many Christian denominations, with starkly contrasting views (on the matter of same-sex marriage, for example)?

    And let’s not forget what Jesus himself said about homosexuality and same-sex marriage: “_________________.”

  • monkeymind

    I hope you will excuse me for jumping into this discussion, but… I find the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage equates to “legislating morality” or forcing anyone’s conscience to be very pernicious.

    Consider the following scenarios, which are very likely playing out right now somewhere in the U.S.

    1. A divorced man and his fiancee ask the priest of their Catholic church to marry them. The priest replies, “I’m sorry, but according to the tenets of our church, you cannot be married in the sight of God. You are asking me to condone sin.” The couple then goes to the church down the road, where the minister is happy to marry them. At the end of the ceremony, the couple gets the exact same piece of paper they would have gotten at the end of the Catholic ceremony, except with the minister’s signature instead of the priest’s.

    Is anyone’s morality being forced on anyone else in this scenario?

    2. Two people of the same sex want to get married. The priest says “No dice.” The minister says “I would love to celebrate your marriage in our church, but I must warn you that I am not allowed to sign the paper that says you are legally married.” (or “I must warn you that pending legislation may invalidate the piece of paper I sign after the ceremony.”)

    Is anyone’s morality being forced on anyone else in this scenario?

    3. Scenario 2 again, but this time, the minister gets to sign the paper for the same sex couple.

    Is anyone’s morality being forced on anyone else in this scenario? If your answer to #1 is different than #3, why?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Yes.

    When the state (the issuer of marriage licenses, not the church) says, “No,” to a homosexual couple for no compelling reason other than Xians claim that it violates their “morals” (which aren’t actually moral) then yes, the state is pushing the “morals” of Xians on others.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X